TechZone 360 Week in Review

By Tony Rizzo March 23, 2013

This week has brought with it some very interesting news of major people changes brewing at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). We mean personnel changes that are of the life changing sort - that, depending on who steps in can potentially change the face of the communications and Internet industry in profound - and not necessarily positive ways. Earlier this week we were confronted by the news that FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell announced his resignation ahead of his term's actual expiration. This in turn naturally led to expectations that the really big shoe would likely also drop. And sure enough…

Early this morning FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced his own departure, confirming at a meeting with his staff his intentions to depart in the coming weeks. FCC decisions regarding the regulation or lack thereof of such things as the Internet, privacy concerns, media convergence and restructuring, federal-state jurisdictional challenges, what constitutes common carriage versus an information service - the list is long. And numerous decisions of the Genachowski era are still awaiting closure due to numerous court challenges on virtually anything and everything the FCC does. Who will be nominated to succeed Genachowski? Bi-partisan or totally partisan? The democrats will still hold a 3 to 2 advantage on the commission when the dust settles but how contentious will the fight be between the parties and the POTUS? There is much at stake.

Three other very interesting federal government issues have come up this week. The first sounds more like a bad scene in a bad spy movie - Both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are reportedly investigating Microsoft concerning its relationships with business partners and a former Microsoft representative in China that allegedly bribed foreign government officials in return for software contracts. There are also allegations of improper conduct with resellers and consultants in Italy and Romania. Who knew.

The U.S. Supreme Court this week handed down a very interesting decision and a very important ruling. With what amounts to an "overwhelming majority vote" given today's divided court, the justices, in a six-three decision, over-turned earlier rulings of the appeals courts that said that copyrighted goods made abroad could not lawfully be resold in the United States without obtaining permission from the copyright holder first. Per the ruling those goods can now be resold. Read the article to find out why this is of major importance, especially to the likes of eBay.

Finally, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - in a move that's sure to spook conspiracy buffs - is about to sign a deal Amazon valued at up to $600 million over the course of the next 10 years that will have the CIA working with Amazon Web Services to build a private cloud that will in turn be packed with big data. It would seem Jeff Bezos is about to get a very high level of security clearance. Now that he's managed to dig out of the deep ocean the L5 rockets that powered the Saturn rocket that took Apollo to the moon through a salvage team he personally funded, he clearly needs something new to keep him busy.

But enough about the feds. Let's get back to another favorite topic - Samsung vs. Apple. Everyone knows that last week Samsung unveiled the new Galaxy S4. Much has since been written - reviews have been churned out, specs have been laid out, and of course much has been said about all of those new Samsung "S Apps" the company spent most of its time talking about at the S4 event. So is Samsung now riding a runaway train to massive success? Is it now the de facto innovation leader? Uh…no, we don't think so. In fact we think that following last week's event Apple should now be completely jumping for joy and be giddy with excitement.

BTW, YouTube has now officially reached a subscriber base of one billion. That is 15 percent of the world's population. And did you know that 30 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute? It still doesn't make any money for Google, which paid $1.65 billion for the privilege of owning it, but it sure does attract a lot of usage.

Finally this week, we have a tale of two technology pioneers to share. Two videos appeared this week that offer some fascinating views of the history of technology and its future. Steve Wozniak - who will be keynoting TMC's 2013 ITEXPO Las Vegas in August - turned up in a video dating back to 1984 wherein he gave a presentation on the roots of the original Apple I. And a video of Sergey Brin turned up this week covering a short talk he gave at the just completed Ted conference - on Google Glass of course. The two videos, which we've provided, offer a unique set of technology bookends and insights.

Have a great weekend!

TechZone360 Senior Editor

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