June 07, 2011

Internet High Tech Sells Out to AT&T/T-Mobile Merger - But Two Majors Are Missing

The New York Times is reporting that a litany of high tech and other firms filed letters with the FCC yesterday, in support of AT&T's proposed assimilation of T-Mobile, in a merger that would quickly lead to what would effectively be a mobile services duopoly in the United States.

The list of merger supporters includes Facebook, Microsoft and their minion Yahoo, Oracle, Research in Motion, and more, including a number of venture capital firms such as Sequoia Partners.

Last March, in AT&T's T-Mobile Merger Ploy: Rewarding the Worst, I explained why the proposed merger was a terrible deal for consumers.

By supporting the merger, these firms have shown their true colors as far as caring about consumers is concerned. Take note of it.

But wait a minute. Something appears amiss within the carefully coordinated confines of the "Bring back Ma Bell" merger love fest.

Standing out by their absence, neither Google nor Apple appear to have currently joined the CYA rush to sycophantically suckle the teat of the nearly omnipotent AT&T that would emerge if the merger is approved.

Google confirmed to me today that they have not taken a formal position on the merger. I was unable to immediately reach appropriate persons at Apple regarding their formal take on this matter.

Apple and Google having not currently joined the AT&T/T-Mobile merger parade is particularly fascinating when we consider Apple's close iPhone-based relationship with AT&T, and Google's Android-related association with T-Mobile.

Given that Google and Apple will have to work with AT&T in the future, I would not necessarily expect either of these firms to publicly oppose the merger per se.

But it speaks volumes that neither of these key Internet enterprises have taken public positions in favor of the merger at this time, in distinct contrast to Microsoft, Facebook, and the other entities who are enthusiastically supporting such a drastically anti-consumer coupling.

Obviously, situations and positions can change as events evolve. But from where I'm sitting right now, it seems pretty apparent who is on the side of mobile services consumers, versus who is willing to eagerly sell those consumers down the river.

The firms not joining the list of AT&T/T-mobile merger supporters appear to have taken full measure of the many ways that the merger would hurt ordinary mobile and Internet users.

The companies actively supporting the merger, as far as this issue is concerned anyway, appear to be full of something else entirely.


Posted by Lauren at June 7, 2011 09:58 AM | Permalink
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