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The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is taking a close look at the proposed deal between cable giant Comcast and film and television company NBC Universal, reportedly looking to impose restrictions on what would be a Comcast-controlled NBC company that would prevent it from favoring Comcast's online video distribution services over those of third parties such as Apple's iTunes Store and Netflix.
Few observers expect either the Justice Department or the Federal Communications Commission to block outright the roughly $13.75 billion deal to purchase 51% of NBC Universal from General Electric Co. One reason: Because the two companies aren't direct competitors, it's harder to mount an antitrust challenge.

Both agencies, however, are likely to impose significant conditions to prevent Comcast from withholding, or threatening to withhold, NBC Universal's programming from competitors, including companies that distribute TV shows and movies over the Internet, such as Apple Inc. and Netflix Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.
NBC and Apple have had a rocky relationship in the past, with the two companies facing off in a pricing dispute that saw the iTunes Store stop offering downloads of new NBC shows in the fall 2007 season and not resume offering new content until a year later.

More recently, NBC declined to join Apple's pilot program to allow TV show rentals for 99 cents, with NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker claiming that such a move would "devalue" the network's content.

Article Link: FCC May Require Comcast-NBC Deal to Offer Content to Apple
 

Chaszmyr

macrumors 601
Aug 9, 2002
4,267
85
This seems like a really weird for the government to mandate (or to even be able to mandate).

I don't like Comcast at all, and so I don't support any merger that makes them even bigger than they already are.


Oh and why are you posting this when the real news story hasn't broken on this site yet! (See Apple.com)
 
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Dmac77

macrumors 68020
Jan 2, 2008
2,165
2
Michigan
More recently, NBC declined to join Apple's pilot program to allow TV show rentals for 99 cents, with NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker claiming that such a move would "devalue" the network's content.

What content? All their shows suck. The only things that still has value at NBC are the Olympics and the news devision.

-Don
 
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gcliv

macrumors member
Feb 19, 2008
38
12
And just who the heck is the government to define who they must compete with and how they will compete with them? Which companies get favorable deals and which don't? This reeks of crony capitalism.

Until an actual antitrust violation occurs, they need to keep their grubby fingers out of private business!
 
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sobeservices2

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Sep 22, 2010
10
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WHO EVER DENIES APPLE IS FED UP!

Apple is the best and if your going to deny them your stupid.
Piss off all the Apple people out there that's dumb.
 
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Jul 29, 2008
217
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I don't think they should merge at all.

Agreed. It's already bad enough that most people have the choice of exactly ONE non-satellite carrier. (And in some urban areas, where sat dishes either aren't allowed or aren't possible, you don't even have the satellite option.) But if this is going to be allowed, the Comcast definitely has to demonstrate that NBC can be accessed via other means. Comcast probably wouldn't mind much being obliged to deal with Apple, since an AppleTV or iTunes option to work around Comcast TV services would in many cases require delivery via Comcast Internet services.

They getcha either way. The real problem is, we need more fiber-optic landlines. Government's involvement should be to build a national data delivery infrastructure, just as they did with the Interstate Highway system. Sadly, the sort of thing government SHOULD be doing is exactly what it doesn't do.
 
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siddavis

macrumors 6502
Feb 23, 2009
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

No doubt.

What I don't understand is a government body dictating this. Wouldn't this be one of the main reasons for them to aquire NBC - to "own" the content?
 
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sobeservices2

Suspended
Sep 22, 2010
10
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Comcast suck....

They should start controlling comcast and force them to improve there customer service before they start doing **** like this.

I be I am not the only person who feels thinks comcast sucks. and we are all forced to just deal with it they have no computation. We all have to suffer
 
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NebulaClash

macrumors 68000
Feb 4, 2010
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Weird to see the get-the-government-off-my-back comments. The government is merely enforcing the law. Don't like the law, change it.
 
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barkomatic

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2008
4,225
2,196
Manhattan
And just who the heck is the government to define who they must compete with and how they will compete with them? Which companies get favorable deals and which don't? This reeks of crony capitalism.

Until an actual antitrust violation occurs, they need to keep their grubby fingers out of private business!

Because Cable companies want to control what content is available online and would make you pay a whole lot more for it if they could. They want you to keep paying them hundreds of dollars a month simply to watch TV.

If NBC is forced to offer rentals on iTunes and netflix and/or HTML 5 online then I'm not bothered by the merger. It would be even better if they forced NBC to create an iPad application.
 
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1080p

macrumors 68030
Mar 17, 2010
2,872
2,554
Planet Earth
Comcast suck....

They should start controlling comcast and force them to improve there customer service before they start doing **** like this.

I be I am not the only person who feels thinks comcast sucks. and we are all forced to just deal with it they have no computation. We all have to suffer

I am tired of all of this big government putting their nose in where it doesn't belong.
 
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John.B

macrumors 601
Jan 15, 2008
4,158
671
Holocene Epoch
This seems like a really weird for the government to mandate (or to even be able to mandate).
It's a basic premise of antitrust laws. Where competition exists, no government intervention is necessary. Where competition doesn't exist due to monopoly power (however acquired), 'someone' needs to 'oversee' the operation to verify that the monopoly power isn't 'misused'. How that's administered tends to be cause for a lot of disagreement, but that's the basic premise.

Also worth pointing out that monopolies, in and of themselves, are not illegal; in fact an oligopoly is a government granted monopoly. But a monopoly can be operated in an illegal manner, since market forces simply don't exist that would otherwise correct price curve discrepancies or monopolistic behaviors.

OBTW, the only show I'd miss if NBC fell off the face of the Earth is "Parenthood", and maybe the occasional Sunday night NFL game (but not last night's).
 
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gcliv

macrumors member
Feb 19, 2008
38
12
Because Cable companies want to control what content is available online and would make you pay a whole lot more for it if they could. They want you to keep paying them hundreds of dollars a month simply to watch TV.

If NBC is forced to offer rentals on iTunes and netflix and/or HTML 5 online then I'm not bothered by the merger. It would be even better if they forced NBC to create an iPad application.

Then consumers would choose another content delivery provider (or they would simply do something more productive with their lives). Especially with the internet turning the industry upside down, this will be easier than ever soon.

Who defines what's fair? You like iTunes and Netflix. What if some FCC official has the hots for Zune, and made NBC make a deal with Zune instead of iTunes? Or what if the same FCC official decided that Adobe needed the boost and required them (or gave them incentive) to produce Flash content above HTML5. Who decides what's fair? Who polices the government's power in this area to prefer one corporation or industry over another?

I don't need some government official 3,000 miles away being my mommy and daddy and telling the bully Cable kid to go home and tell his mom what a bad, monopolizing kid he's been. I need more protection from an overreaching government than I do a damn cable company.
 
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John.B

macrumors 601
Jan 15, 2008
4,158
671
Holocene Epoch
What I don't understand is a government body dictating this. Wouldn't this be one of the main reasons for them to aquire NBC - to "own" the content?
Consumers benefit when competition exists that prevents one party from controlling a market. Traditionally, lots of outlets existed and one company didn't own the network, individual stations, and the cable/dish distribution networks. That's changing, and this is the first real example of how large that could become. Of how much control one company could wield. This is not made up stuff, ask the people who couldn't get the World Series last month on their cable system; then multiply that by about a dozen.

FWIW, governments rarely have to dictate specific remedies. That happens as a last resort, when a company has been found to have engaged in monopolistic practices and refuses to implement changes on their own. That's what this is about; what terms would be acceptable to a Comcast/NBCU merger that wouldn't harm consumers. Nobody is dictating these terms, they are putting them on the table to say this might be one 'solution' to allow a merger that otherwise would be denied.
 
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NebulaClash

macrumors 68000
Feb 4, 2010
1,810
0
Then consumers would choose another content delivery provider (or they would simply do something more productive with their lives). Especially with the internet turning the industry upside down, this will be easier than ever soon.

Who defines what's fair? You like iTunes and Netflix. What if some FCC official has the hots for Zune, and made NBC make a deal with Zune instead of iTunes? Or what if the same FCC official decided that Adobe needed the boost and required them (or gave them incentive) to produce Flash content above HTML5. Who decides what's fair? Who polices the government's power in this area to prefer one corporation or industry over another?

I don't need some government official 3,000 miles away being my mommy and daddy and telling the bully Cable kid to go home and tell his mom what a bad, monopolizing kid he's been. I need more protection from an overreaching government than I do a damn cable company.

Not everyone has a choice, as you noted by using the word "soon" in your message. Maybe one day we'll have that environment where people have choice, but for now there are many people for whom it's Comcast or nothing. In that case it is the legal authority of the government (since the dawn of broadcasting) to ensure monopoly positions are not being abused.

Too much government paranoia in this country nowadays. I realize propaganda is effective, but I really do wish people would exercise common sense. Then they would see there is no government overreaching going on.
 
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barkomatic

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2008
4,225
2,196
Manhattan
Then consumers would choose another content delivery provider (or they would simply do something more productive with their lives). Especially with the internet turning the industry upside down, this will be easier than ever soon.

Who defines what's fair? You like iTunes and Netflix. What if some FCC official has the hots for Zune, and made NBC make a deal with Zune instead of iTunes? Or what if the same FCC official decided that Adobe needed the boost and required them (or gave them incentive) to produce Flash content above HTML5. Who decides what's fair? Who polices the government's power in this area to prefer one corporation or industry over another?

It's probable that content would need to be made available for other providers as well. Netflix and iTunes were mentioned specifically because they are popular services. NBC already offers their content in Flash, but not HTML 5--specifically because they don't want their content to be easily accessible on mobile devices.


I don't need some government official 3,000 miles away being my mommy and daddy and telling the bully Cable kid to go home and tell his mom what a bad, monopolizing kid he's been. I need more protection from an overreaching government than I do a damn cable company.

Libertarian/objectivist philosophies simply don't work when it comes to commerce. When left on their own, companies *always* seek to create monopolies--NOT choices for consumers to choose from. Companies maximize profits when there are no choices.
 
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John.B

macrumors 601
Jan 15, 2008
4,158
671
Holocene Epoch
Then consumers would choose another content delivery provider (or they would simply do something more productive with their lives). Especially with the internet turning the industry upside down, this will be easier than ever soon.
What you're missing is that other companies (NetFlix, Amazon, yes even Apple) would probably be locked out of that content in favor or having to have Comcast broadband. I realize I'm repeating myself, but there are already examples of this sort of thing. So much for Teh Interwebz turning the industry upside down...

Who defines what's fair? You like iTunes and Netflix. What if some FCC official has the hots for Zune, and made NBC make a deal with Zune instead of iTunes? Or what if the same FCC official decided that Adobe needed the boost and required them (or gave them incentive) to produce Flash content above HTML5. Who decides what's fair? Who polices the government's power in this area to prefer one corporation or industry over another?
The FCC consists of a bipartisan commission to (ostensibly) prevent that from happening. It's not about picking winning and losing content or technologies or corporations, it's about making sure that any one corporation doesn't wield too much power given their use of publicly owned airwaves (a partial oligopoly, as I mentioned earlier in this thread).

I don't need some government official 3,000 miles away being my mommy and daddy and telling the bully Cable kid to go home and tell his mom what a bad, monopolizing kid he's been. I need more protection from an overreaching government than I do a damn cable company.
All the FCC is saying in this case is that the merger probably won't be approved with no restrictions. If Comcast and NBCU want to move forward, they will ultimately have to decide if they can make that work with concessions or if they should continue as separate entities.

Seriously, dude, I think you're a bit wrapped up in your emotions on this one. Realize that this could impact other people than yourself, some of which don't even have Internet or a computer in their house, others who have no way to get content except through whoever their city cable provider happens to be.
 
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Glideslope

macrumors 604
Dec 7, 2007
7,037
4,318
The Adirondacks.
Libertarian/objectivist philosophies simply don't work when it comes to commerce. When left on their own, companies *always* seek to create monopolies--NOT choices for consumers to choose from. Companies maximize profits when there are no choices.

Well stated. For those who think they have limited choices now, just wait a few years. ;)
 
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NebulaClash

macrumors 68000
Feb 4, 2010
1,810
0
Libertarian/objectivist philosophies simply don't work when it comes to commerce. When left on their own, companies *always* seek to create monopolies--NOT choices for consumers to choose from. Companies maximize profits when there are no choices.

I think what these libertarian types would enjoy in the U.S. is a polycentric legal system where there is no monopolistic institution or agent that determines what the law should be or how it should be interpreted.

Oh wait, that would be the Xeer legal system of Somalia...
 
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shartypants

macrumors 6502a
Jul 27, 2010
922
60
NBC executives need to get a clue and join us in the 21st century. We want TV show rentals from them!
 
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