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1/3/2007
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Apple Gives Steve Jobs Clean Bill Of Health In Options

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: AT&T Concessions Bode Well For Consumers And Businesses Alike
2. Today's Top Story
    - Apple Gives Steve Jobs Clean Bill Of Health In Options Probe
3. Breaking News
    - Yahoo Closes News Forums
    - Microsoft Claims Vista's Aero Interface Doesn't Slow PCs
    - Microsoft Says No Favorable Coverage Expected In Laptop Giveaway
    - Exchange 2007 Drops Outlook Rights
    - France's Space Agency To Post UFO Database
    - Hackers Spam 'Happy New Year' Worm
    - Survey: Online Holiday Shoppers More Satisfied With Retailers This Year
4. In Depth: AT&T-BellSouth Merger
    - FCC Plans A Vote On AT&T-BellSouth Merger Concessions
    - AT&T-BellSouth Stalemate Continues; McDowell Won't Vote
    - FCC Vote On AT&T-BellSouth Merger Stays On 'Hold'
    - FCC Continues Its Deliberations On The AT&T-BellSouth Merger
    - FCC Chairman's Attempt To Break AT&T-BellSouth Merger Stalemate Meets Resistance
    - U.S. Judge Still Eyeing Telecom Merger Settlements
5. Voice Of Authority
    - DRM For HD Disks Is Already Broken
6. White Papers
    - The Changing Landscape Of Supply Chain Organizations
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
An economic forecaster is like a cross-eyed javelin thrower: They don't win many accuracy contests, but they keep the crowd's attention. -- Anonymous


1. Editor's Note: AT&T Concessions Bode Well For Consumers And Businesses Alike

The long, dragged-out battle over net neutrality took a decisive turn last week. Anxious to push through the largest telecom deal in U.S. history by the end of the year, AT&T made some serious concessions to the critics of its proposal to buy BellSouth. Most notably, the telecom giant assured members of the Federal Communications Commission that it will not discriminate -- either positively or negatively -- in the quality of service it provides to any users of its network.

Here's the actual paragraph in the letter of commitment filed with the FCC late last week that couldn't have been clearer on this point (boldface mine):

    AT&T/BellSouth also commits that it will maintain a neutral network and neutral routing in its wireline broadband Internet access service. This commitment shall be satisfied by AT&T/BellSouth's agreement not to provide or to sell to Internet content, application, or service providers, including those affiliated with AT&T/BellSouth, any service that privileges, degrades or prioritizes any packet transmitted over AT&T/BellSouth's wireline broadband Internet access service based on its source, ownership or destination.

Naturally, AT&T is not doing this out of the goodness of its heart. Since one of the merger's supporters, FCC commissioner Robert McDowell, announced that he would not vote due to ethical considerations, the company had no way in Hades of getting the FCC's approval without the support of the two Democrats on the commission, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein. Both were resolutely opposed to the deal without some assurances that the merged telecom behemoth wouldn't put the interests of certain content, application, or service providers ahead of others.

Craig Matsumoto over at Light Reading provides a thorough analysis of what the concession does and doesn't cover.

But like other bloggers, he generally concludes this is a major victory for those who have been pulling for all Internet traffic to be treated the same.

What's your reaction to this news? Do you think it's a good thing or a bad thing for consumers? businesses? that AT&T has offered to make these concessions? Let us know by responding to my entry in the InformationWeek Weblog.

Alice LaPlante
Alice.laplante@gmail.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Apple Gives Steve Jobs Clean Bill Of Health In Options Probe
A directors' committee cleared Jobs but said the company will restate financial data and take an $84 million charge.


3. Breaking News

Yahoo Closes News Forums
The company plans overhaul of message boards linked to individual articles on the portal's news site.

Microsoft Claims Vista's Aero Interface Doesn't Slow PCs
Principled Technologies, which conducted the research for Microsoft, is offering a download of the report.

Microsoft Says No Favorable Coverage Expected In Laptop Giveaway
Recipients encouraged to disclose receiving the expensive computers, which were intended to solicit "valuable feedback" from the influential tech bloggers, says company.

Exchange 2007 Drops Outlook Rights
Unlike in previous versions, Exchange 2007 doesn't include Outlook client access licenses—except for companies that have bought into its Software Assurance upgrade program.

France's Space Agency To Post UFO Database
Archive of 1,600 reported sightings will be available online by February.

Hackers Spam 'Happy New Year' Worm
Security experts warn against opening New Year-related messages to ward off this fast-moving worm, which disables Windows firewall and several security programs.

Survey: Online Holiday Shoppers More Satisfied With Retailers This Year
In the aggregate, shoppers were slightly more satisfied with apparel Web sites than with mass merchants and electronic retailers.


----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----

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4. In Depth: AT&T-BellSouth Merger

FCC Plans A Vote On AT&T-BellSouth Merger Concessions
AT&T takes a more conciliatory stance in its rush to win regulatory approval before Congress changes hands in January.

AT&T-BellSouth Stalemate Continues; McDowell Won't Vote
The decision by commissioner McDowell to refrain from voting means the commission will have to consider whether to impose conditions on the deal, including net neutrality requirements.

FCC Vote On AT&T-BellSouth Merger Stays On 'Hold'
However, chairman Kevin Martin told reporters he is "anxious" to resolve the issue that has been stalemated for several weeks.

FCC Continues Its Deliberations On The AT&T-BellSouth Merger
The FCC has been deadlocked 2-2 along party lines with the swing vote likely to be in the hands of Republican commissioner Robert McDowell, who was cleared to vote on the merger by the FCC's general counsel late last week.

FCC Chairman's Attempt To Break AT&T-BellSouth Merger Stalemate Meets Resistance
With the FCC deadlocked 2-2 on the proposed acquisition, Martin is seeking to "unrecuse" a commissioner that he thinks will vote to approve the deal.

U.S. Judge Still Eyeing Telecom Merger Settlements
A federal judge Thursday vowed to thoroughly scrutinize Bush administration antitrust settlements last year that permitted two major U.S. telecommunications merger deals.


5. Voice Of Authority

DRM For HD Disks Is Already Broken
David DeJean notes that the big players who had hoped to put together a failsafe digital rights management (DRM) solution for high-definition video content have just had their hopes crushed by resourceful hackers. But the problem isn't hackers, according to DeJean: The problem is DRM itself.


6. White Papers

The Changing Landscape Of Supply Chain Organizations
Forrester surveyed 167 supply chain decision-makers in North America to find out how their supply chain organizations have been affected by market dynamics, and found that an increased focus on supply chains as a competitive advantage substantially improves enterprises' bottom lines.


7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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