CenturyLink revamps network services group
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Cablevision sues CWA for defamation over Brooklyn service speed claims
Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) has sued the Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 1 and Local 1109 in New York State Supreme Court, Nassau County, for what the cable MSO asserts are “patently false and defamatory claims” that Cablevision's Internet service in Brooklyn is consistently about 25% slower than that provided in the nearby Bronx.Perhaps not coincidentally, Cablevision workers in Brooklyn voted early last year to unionize via the CWA, while the MSO’s employees in the Bronx declined to take the same step. The CWA has implied that the difference in service levels is Cablevision’s way of punishing its Brooklyn workers, according to media reports (see, for example, here).Cablevision says the CWA has embarked on a smear campaign beginning this past October. According to the suit, this campaign includes what a Cablevision press statement termed “the widespread dissemination of intentionally false and malicious information” concerning the difference in service levels offered to Brooklyn customers versus those enjoyed in the Bronx."The CWA Union has acted in a deceptive and libelous manner with the deliberate intention of harming Cablevision, misleading our customers and injuring the reputation of our company,” Cablevision asserts. “It is outrageous that the CWA and its Local 1109, which represents a small number of employees in one Cablevision facility in Brooklyn, would resort to these actions as part of a malicious campaign to intimidate our company. This is an insult to our Brooklyn employees and our customers, and we are taking legal action to ensure that this illegal behavior stops."Cablevision also complains that CWA members have protested at a Cablevision cancer research fundraising event, unleashed “robocalls” to Cablevision customers which the company claims offered distorted information about the cable MSO’s policies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and “misled” government officials and customers.
CenturyLink revamps network services group
CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) says it has combined its Enterprise Markets Group - Network Services and Regional Markets Group into a single organization, effective immediately. The newly combined group will report to Chief Operating Officer Karen Puckett.The changes don’t affect CenturyLink's Wholesale Markets Group (WMG) and Enterprise Markets Group - Data Hosting segments. That includes Savvis, which remains part of the Data Hosting segment.Starting with the first quarter of this year, CenturyLink will report the performance of four segments in its financial statements: Consumer, Business, Wholesale, and Data Hosting services."Our business segment continues to grow, and this organizational shift streamlines our end-to-end service delivery, support, and sales to our network services enterprise customers by creating one cohesive organization focused on them," said CenturyLink CEO and President Glen F. Post, III."Our local operating model is a key component in the success of our business and consumer service and sales," Post added. "In addition to her new responsibilities, Karen will continue to retain all of her existing duties, including our local market teams and consumer-focused operations. She is a proven effective leader and will ensure our continued strong focus on our customers."
FTC raps Google's knuckles as it concludes anti-trust investigation
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has concluded an anti-trust investigation of Google Inc. and found more to be concerned about with the company’s patents than in its search business. Google has therefore promised the FTC that it will provide access to "essential" patents affecting the development of such consumer devices as smart phones, laptop and tablet computers, and gaming consoles.The FTC specifically pointed to the patents Google now owns thanks to the acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Google has promised not seek injunctions that might impede its competitors from fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory access to "critical standarized technologies" that those patents might cover.Google also promised to make it easier for search engine advertisers to manage campaigns on its AdWords platform and competing platforms simultaneously.“The changes Google has agreed to make will ensure that consumers continue to reap the benefits of competition in the online marketplace and in the market for innovative wireless devices they enjoy,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz via a press release. “This was an incredibly thorough and careful investigation by the Commission, and the outcome is a strong and enforceable set of agreements.“We are especially glad to see that Google will live up to its commitments to license its standard-essential patents, which will ensure that companies willing to license these patents can compete in the market for wireless devices,” Leibowitz added. “This decision strengthens the standard-setting process that is at the heart of innovation in today’s technology markets.”While Beth Wilkinson, outside counsel to the FTC, labeled Google’s concessions “significant” in the same release, Google fared much better than some observers had feared, as it dodged legal action.“Regarding the specific allegations that the company biased its search results to hurt competition, the evidence collected to date did not justify legal action by the Commission,” said Wilkinson. “Undoubtedly, Google took aggressive actions to gain advantage over rival search providers. However, the FTC’s mission is to protect competition, and not individual competitors. The evidence did not demonstrate that Google’s actions in this area stifled competition in violation of U.S. law.”While Google can now breathe easier in the U.S., it still faces similar anti-trust investigations in other parts of the world, including Europe.
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