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Data Sheet—Tuesday, November 22, 2016

If you’re AT&T or Comcast, you might like the sounds of Donald Trump’s transition team. But if you are a small content creator or someone who likes a wide range of services being available through your ISP, you probably aren’t going to like it much at all.

That’s because the two advisers who President-elect Donald Trump named to help oversee his telecom policy agenda at the Federal Communications Commission are not friends of net neutrality. And they are likely to have a lot of sway over future FCC policy.

Jeff Eisenach is an economist who once worked for Verizon, and Mark Jamison used to be part of Sprint’s lobbying team. Both men have written about how they are not in favor of net neutrality rules, which keep Internet service providers from giving preferential treatment to certain forms of online content or services.

Eisenach, in particular, has been a vocal opponent of net neutrality as co-chairman of consulting firm National Economic Research Associates. He once called net neutrality rules “crony capitalism,” arguing that imposing these rules would be “highly damaging” to the marketplace.

Many believe that AT&T and Comcast have already weakened the principle of net neutrality significantly by using features such as “zero rating,” in which services they own or have licensed don’t use up any bandwidth or data when users access them.

The FCC has said it is monitoring these kinds of efforts, and net neutrality defenders have pushed for more action to stop them from happening. But a Trump administration could make it even easier for them to give up any pretense of adhering to net neutrality rules at all.

Mathew Ingram



IBM isn’t put off by Brexit. The tech giant plans to build four new cloud data centers in the U.K., adding to the two it already uses to serve customers such as travel group Thomson, retailers Boots and Dixons Carphone, and National Grid. It didn’t disclose the size of its investment. (Reuters)

Oracle makes another big cloud acquisition. It will pay between $600 million and $700 million to buy Dyn, a well-known provider of domain name services—geek speak for technology that maps Internet servers to specific websites. Dyn was the company targeted by a widespread Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack in late October. (Fortune)

Apple may be ditching its wireless router business. The engineers working on AirPort, the Wi-Fi product first introduced by Steve Jobs, have been reassigned, reports Bloomberg. The company hasn’t released an updated version in at least three years. (Fortune, Bloomberg)

Arista gets brief reprieve in Cisco fight. U.S. customs officials will allow the company to import certain redesigned Ethernet networking products that were previously banned by the International Trade Commission. Cisco has accused Arista of both patent and copyright infringement. Their trial is scheduled to begin next week in federal court in California. (Reuters)

Google adds more brainpower to artificial intelligence effort. It’s staffing up a new division in Montreal and investing $4.5 million in a research laboratory at a local university. The Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms is led by Yoshua Bengio, considered one of the foremost experts in machine learning. (Fortune)

Goldman Sachs, Banco Santander pull out of blockchain group. The banks are parting ways with R3 CEV, a consortium representing around 70 financial firms. According to a source close to the matter, Goldman—one of R3’s original supporters—wasn’t on board with an upcoming fundraising deal. Both Goldman and Banco Santander are both investors in a rival startup, Digital Asset Holdings. (Fortune)


The era of cloud price discounts is fading. Not so long ago, the discussion of whether businesses should use Amazon, Microsoft, or Google data centers—instead of their own—centered mostly around pricing. The conventional wisdom was that cloud computing equaled inexpensive while using internal data centers was pricey.

According to new research from Deutsche Bank, however, the era of discounts has peaked—as service providers invest in technologies for improving processing times and for shaping new analytics and artificial intelligence services. One caveat, savvy Fortune 500 companies can get significant discounts in the course of cutting enterprise contracts with Microsoft or Amazon—if they play their cards right. More on the dynamics around pricing cloud services.


Amazon Isn’t Just Gunning for Netflix—It’s Going After ESPN, Too, by Mathew Ingram

Here’s Why Analysts Think Netflix Is Unstoppable, by Lucinda Shen

Facebook Doesn’t Need One Editor, It Needs 1,000 of Them, by Mathew Ingram

How Some Unicorns Are Gearing Up to Go Public, by Kia Kokalitcheva

Chinese Startup Unveils Record-Breaking Electric Vehicle, by Kirsten Korosec 


Feds will investigate Facebook drone crash. Federal air-safety officials are looking into what caused the “structural failure” of one of the company’s massive experimental drones, designed to offer wireless Internet communications in rural areas, earlier this year. (Time, Wall Street Journal)

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.
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