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Code/red: No DirecTV Break-up Fee for AT&T

Plus, Eric Schmidt and the right to be forgotten.



AT&T Unveils New Early Termination Fee Policy for DirecTV Merger

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson says he’s confident the company’s proposed $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV will pass regulatory muster. But if it doesn’t, at least the pain will only be emotional, not financial. Unlike AT&T’s failed effort to acquire T-Mobile, which cost the company about $3 billion in breakup fees, the telecom won’t owe a breakup fee to DirecTV if the deal is shot down by regulators on antitrust grounds. But if DirecTV should agree to be sold to another company, it’s on the hook to AT&T for a breakup fee of $1.445 billion.

Cisco CEO to Customers: Does This Empty Letter to Obama Make You Feel Better?

Cisco CEO John Chambers on allegations of NSA interference with his company’s products: “We ship our products globally from inside as well as outside the United States, and if these allegations are true, these actions will undermine confidence in our industry and in the ability of technology companies to deliver products globally. We simply cannot operate this way; our customers trust us to be able to deliver to their doorsteps products that meet the highest standards of integrity and security.”

Selective Memory: Eric Schmidt and the Right to Be Forgotten

Commenting on the European Court of Justice’s “right to be forgotten” ruling last week, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said it struck the “wrong balance” between privacy and free speech. An interesting take, given Schmidt’s own efforts to have certain personal information forgotten online. In 2005, Google blackballed CNET’s for a year after the outlet published some publicly available material on him gathered with a few simple Google searches. Last year, Schmidt deleted his Instagram account after Valleywag made fun of it. And then there’s that disputed anecdote in Steven Levy’s book “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives.” According to Levy, Schmidt once asked Google’s search team to remove information about a political donation from its search results, but was prevented from following through on the idea by Sheryl Sandberg, a Google executive who now serves as Facebook’s COO. So if the E.U. has struck the “wrong” balance on the right to be forgotten, what’s the right one? Or is there some third variation that Schmidt — who famously said back in 2009, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place” — believes should apply only to him?

Playing First Mage and Battling Third, Aartox

Leo Mirani, Quartz: “Last year, some 15 million people watched Major League Baseball’s World Series. More than twice as many watched the Season 3 World Championship of League of Legends, a multiplayer online game set in a fantasy world, on”

Leadership Secrets of Jack Dorsey, Chapter 1

Seen that 2012 email to Square employees that CEO Jack Dorsey recently published on Medium? The one that condemns the “Jack really wants this to happen” thinking that was evidently prevalent at the company at that time? If you have, you’re probably wondering why Dorsey posted it now, amid all the drama and speculation about Square’s troubles. Well, you’re not alone. Square insiders say they find Dorsey’s publication of the dusty message a poor move strategically. The reason: It’s perceived as reinforcing the idea that Square is the same politicized place it was two years ago when Dorsey first penned the memo. The fear is, it’s calling more negative attention to the company at a time when it is struggling to convince the world that it can grow into a $5 billion valuation on its payments business alone.

And I’d Rename It Bloviator …

Marc Andreessen on Twitter: “My view is that 140 characters doesn’t make sense anymore. If it was me, I’d immediately raise the limit to 300 or 400 characters.”

Fasten Your Seatbelts, It’s Going to Be a Bumpy Night

Brace yourself, Hollywood, Nikki Finke is ramping up for her big return to scorched-earth entertainment industry coverage. Finke, who left Deadline Hollywood last year after a nasty feud with Jay Penske, the entrepreneur who bought it from her in 2009, says she’ll flip the switch on her new site in early June. “Tired of bland and boring Hollywood coverage?” she asked in a recent tweet. “I return June 2nd.”

Problem Was We Built the First One Out of Straw …

Former Apple UI engineering manager Joe Nuxoll: “There were so many architectural issues with the online store. It was built at a time when no one anticipated online commerce being as big as it would be. When Apple announced a new product, the store would just get crushed.”

Insert Bad “Panic on the Tweets of London” Joke Here

Morrissey on that Twitter-verified @itsmorrissey account: “I would like to stress that I do not have either a Twitter or a Facebook account. I gather that a Twitter account has been opened in my name — as ‘It’s Morrissey’ — but it is NOT Morrissey. I do not know who has opened this recent Twitter account, but please be aware that it is bogus. That’s, of course, if you should remotely care.”

And Top It Off With a Slice of Our Godawful Apple Pie

Joe and Missus Doe: “Come in and try the worst meatball sandwich that one guy on Yelp ever had in his life.”

Off Topic

Will Ferrell’s iPod Ad.

Thanks for reading. Got a tip or a comment? Reach me at, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

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