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Mark Cuban tells Washington to let AT&T buy Time Warner, so it can compete with Google and Facebook

And Snapchat, and Apple, and Amazon, and Microsoft ...

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Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

AT&T needs to buy Time Warner, says Mark Cuban.

The investor and reality TV star thinks Washington should sign off on AT&T’s proposed $86 billion Time Warner deal, so the combined company can compete with the likes of Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

He is making the argument today at a Senate antitrust hearing, where other witnesses include AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.

Cuban’s argument isn’t a surprise, since he made the same case to Recode’s Kara Swisher last month. But now you can read an expanded version of it, via the prepared remarks he submitted to the Senate judiciary committee this morning; it’s embedded at the bottom of this post.

The tl;dr: “We need more companies ... with the ability to compete with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. Delivering content to consumers in this app-driven world is not easy, it is very expensive and difficult. ... Alone, it will be very difficult, if not impossible for either AT&T or Time Warner to compete with any of the companies I've mentioned. Together it will still be difficult, but a combined entity at least gives them a chance to battle the dominant players in the marketplace and increase consumer choice and competition for consumer attention.”

And here’s a new wrinkle we haven’t heard from Cuban before: Letting AT&T buy Time Warner is good for beer drinkers who want to pick which show they want to watch.

“I would also like to point out one other important element of consumer choice that an AT&T and Time Warner merger would improve.

Each of the largest content companies I have mentioned so far, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple present much if not all of their content algorithmically. As a Facebook user I don’t get to pick what content I get to see in my newsfeed. I can try to influence it, but Facebook algorithms control what I see.

In the future, it won’t be algorithms that choose what we see, our choices will be driven by some form of Artificial Intelligence learning from trillions of disparate inputs.

Meanwhile, for those of us who still enjoy our TV the old-fashioned way, on our couch, cold beverage in one hand and remote in the other, there is a lot to be said for having a company that can afford to continue to offer us that choice. As much of a geek as I am, I like having the choice of searching through a programming guide to see what’s on rather than an algorithm telling me what I should watch. I think a lot of consumers would like to see that choice continue as well.”

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