Week of: June 4, 2011

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Showdown Looms Over AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

In March, AT&T announced a deal to acquire rival wireless carrier T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion in cash and stock to create the nation’s wireless carrier, but a showdown looms in Washington, D.C., as it faces increased government and multiple interests have moved to block the merger. If the pending deal were approved, it would make AT&T the nation’s largest wireless carrier, with over 130 million subscribers, over 40% of the market. Along with rival Verizon, these two companies would control 70% of the increasingly valuable mobile communication market. Sprint, the nation’s third largest major wireless carrier, has a lot to lose if the deal goes through, and has formally asked the Federal Communications Commission to block the deal on anti-competitive grounds…

Sony to Restore Full Services, Including PlayStation Store, by Week’s End

The PlayStation Network went went offline back on April 20 following a security breach in which millions of accounts were compromised, and Sony finally brought services back online nearly a month later, back on May 14–except in Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea, where governments stepped in and imposed strict guidelines over security concerns. However, while users could now play online games with their friends, one notable exception was the PlayStation Store. Some titles required entering a one-time access code to unlock features, such as multiplayer, or bonus content, and with the Store down, they were left frustrated. Sony has promised that full services, including the PlayStation Store, will be back online by the end of the week. This couldn’t come at a better time for Sony, with the Electronic Entertainment Expo, a major video game industry event happening next week, June 7-9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Amazon Launches Mac Download Store

Amazon quietly launched it’s Mac Download Store, with over 250 software and game titles for Mac OS X. Many of the titles aren’t available in Apple’s App Store due to more stringent requirements, while Amazon only requires developers to integrate their payment system and generate license keys when titles are downloaded, but the store only downloads a standard software installer; it’s still up to the user to install the software and enter license codes. While more restrictive, in the Apple App Store, purchased apps are downloaded and installed automatically, ready to use. It’s worth noting that Amazon is calling the service the “Mac Downloads Store,” probably to avoid conflict with Apple over the term “App Store.” The two companies are currently involved in a legal dispute, with Apple suing Amazon for infringing on its trademark “App Store” for the Android Appstore, while Amazon has argued that the term is generic.