Bad news for Verizon subscribers: Verizon isn't just raping you on your bill, they're really getting you up the pooper because they're making a few more dollars off of you by selling your personal data. Things like where you are, what you're doing on your phone, your gender, age, and personal details like whether you're a "sports enthusiast, frequent diner, or pet owner."
Meanwhile, the FTC is investigating Google for possibly "abusing its dominance of internet search in violation of antitrust laws" and - get this - "misusing patent protections to block rivals' smartphones from coming to market." What?
As Ron said a few days ago:
... And really, he pretty much nailed it. Combined, Verizon and AT&T control 75% of the US wireless market, leaving just 25% for Sprint (#3), T-Mobile (#4), regional, and prepaid carriers. If that doesn't sound bad to you at first blush, keep in mind that carriers control a limited resource - spectrum. (Imagine if two companies owned 75% of the beaches - how shitty would that be?) Worse, the cellular industry is insanely capital-intensive. Softbank is giving Sprint an $8 billion (that's $8,000,000,000.00) infusion in order to kind of, hopefully catch up to the big two in terms of coverage.
But let's be honest: we give precisely zero fucks how expensive it is for the carriers, because it is so goddamn expensive for us as consumers. Or, more precisely, it's expensive if you want good service. You can always go prepaid for cheap service, or the Sprint/T-Mobile route for mid-range, but to get top-tier, you have to pay a massive premium.
It's no secret that carriers have long gouged us (look at #4) in the US, but AT&T and Verizon aren't just nailing us in relation to other US carriers; compared to the plans found overseas, even budget carriers like Sprint and T-Mobile are expensive. For example:
AT&T: 450 minutes, unlimited texting, and 300 MB of data for $100/month. $99 for the phone with 2-year contract.
O2 (UK): unlimited minutes, unlimited texting, and 1GB of data for $58/month (when directly converted from British pounds to US dollars). $0 for the same phone with 2-year contract.
Yeah, nothing to worry about here. That seems completely okay to me, too, FTC. You know who really looks downright shady to me? GOOGLE. With their whole "do no evil" mantra and their consumer-friendly practices. Pioneering self-driving cars and heads-up displays? Sounds like malicious intent to me - certainly not advancing the human race. Oh, and all that patent trolling they do - despicable.
We have patent trolls running absolutely rampant, major corporations (*cough* APPLE *cough*) suing for bogus software patents, everyone has to license something stupid from everyone else and it drives costs up for everyone and diverts money from innovation to ass-covering. And yet, as I said above, the FTC is actually considering a lawsuit against Google for patent misuse.
JESUS GOOGLE, QUIT SUING EVERYO-- oh, wait.
Because, hey, clearly letting your products be assaulted by lawsuits left, right, and center for a few years before finally stepping in and fighting back is being overly aggressive. It's a good thing the FTC doesn't run the school system, or nerdy kids would get in trouble for being bullied.
[Note: to clarify, I'm not trying to suggest Google is beyond questioning. I'm just saying, priorities.]