Comcast: Let’s call the whole thing off
Just one day after a U.S. regulator was said to be calling for hearings on the proposed $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable come reports that Comcast is ready to abandon the tie-up, and may make an announcement on Friday. The combined companies would control more than half of the broadband Internet access market in the U.S.—a market where customers already grumble about their lack of choice, and pay more for less than people in virtually every other developed country. The omens for gaining regulatory approval have been darkening: not only did the Federal Communications Commission want hearings on the matter, but the Department of Justice, which monitors antitrust issues, was also apparently not a fan of the deal.
Amazon breaks out cloud revenue to show a thriving, profitable business
For the first time since Amazon Web Services started up nine years ago, its parent company is breaking out the unit’s revenue in its quarterly financials, and the numbers look good. In the most recent quarter it tallied nearly $1.57 billion in sales and turned a $265 million profit.
Cloud services lift Microsoft results, too
Microsoft has reported better-than-expected financial results for the quarter just ended, helped by strong sales of cloud services like Office 365 and Azure. The results were hurt by the weak PC market, however, with sales of Microsoft’s Windows and Office software both declining. That meant that while sales were strong, profits declined from last year.
Retail tracking firm slapped for snooping on shoppers
Acer is ready to play in both Chromebooks and Windows 10
The big new hardware rivalry shaping up is between Windows 10 laptops and Chromebooks, and Acer is ready to arm both camps with the low-priced laptops and laptop-tablet hybrids it announced on Thursday. Its new Chromebook 15 CB3-531 laptop will ship in July priced from $199. A new lineup of Aspire laptops and hybrids, likely shipping with Windows 8.1 but upgradeable to Windows 10, has models starting at just a bit more, $249 and $299.
Microsoft wants Surface to edge out Chromebooks in education
Meanwhile, Microsoft is targeting Chromebooks in the education market, where they have been outselling Windows PCs in K-12 schools. It plans to introduce an even cheaper model of the Surface 3 tablet and sell it to schools at a discount, PC World reports.
Samsung ramping up production to meet Galaxy S6 Edge demand
The Galaxy S6 Edge is apparently so popular that Samsung has added a factory ahead of schedule to make the curved screens for the device, Bloomberg reports. The new line at Samsung Display more than doubles monthly output to 5 million screens from about 2 million currently.
Kleiner Perkins threatens Pao with legal fees if she appeals
Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins successfully defended itself against the gender discrimination case brought by Ellen Pao. Now it’s looking to ensure that no more of its legal, but still very dirty, laundry, will be aired, by sending her a nearly $1 million bill for legal fees which it will forgive if she promises not to appeal.
On World Tech Update this week, the U.S. government warns airlines about hackers and a robot explores a crippled nuclear power plant in Japan.
One last thing
Smart home technology looks cool, and checking your thermostat via smartphone is kind of engaging, but significant energy savings have yet to take off.