Washington Stories May 4, 2016

In case you’re unaware, Google publishes a sometimes interesting but usually mundane report on its self-driving car project every month. Last month the company detailed its mapping system and a minor accident in Austin, and this month the April report describes the experience of one of its test drivers as well as two more accidents — neither of which were Google’s fault.

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Washington Stories February 3, 2016

Last week we told you that four more mysterious cities are set to get Alphabet’s self-driving cars in the relatively near future, and now the California company has said (via Reuters) that the next city on the list—following Mountain View, CA and Austin, TX— is Kirkland, Washington…

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

Washington Stories May 22, 2014

Following announcements earlier this month from both AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile announced today it’s introducing Voice over LTE support starting with Seattle. The first three devices to support the new tech include the LG G Flex, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Light.

So I’m thrilled to congratulate my team on the launch of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in the Seattle area for our existing LG G Flex and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Light customers. Our friends at MetroPCS were the first to launch VoLTE in the U.S. back in 2012, and we’ve been working hard on a LTE Advanced version of VoLTE, which we plan to roll out to more T-Mobile customers throughout the coming year.

T-Mobile’s CTO Neville Ray noted that the new technology, which brings voice calls onto the same LTE radio layer previously reserved for data, will allow “faster call setup times (almost twice as fast as a non-VoLTE call setup) and the ability to enjoy lightening fast LTE data speeds while on a call.” It will also support the HD Voice or wide-band audio feature supported lots of newer hardware. Ray explained how the technology works: expand full story

Washington Stories April 23, 2012

Google spent $5M lobbying last quarter for open Web

Google spent $5.03 million lobbying in Washington last quarter.

According to the company’s lobbying report (PDF), the search engine’s lobbying efforts focused on the regulation of Web-based privacy, advertising, and competition, including International tax reform.

CNET’s Lance Whitney explained that Google only spent $3.76 million lobbying in Q4 2011 and $1.48 million Q1 2011, but attributed the recent surge in expenses mainly to one Congressional bill:

The search giant devoted lobby dollars to H.R. 1389 – Global Online Freedom Act of 2011, a Congressional bill designed to prevent U.S. companies from cooperating with repressive foreign governments in using the Internet for censorship and surveillance. Google has of course squared off in the past with China over the censorship of its search results.

The company lobbied for H.Con.Res. 114, a bill ‘expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should preserve, enhance, and increase access to an open, global Internet.’

It is worth noting that Apple only spent $500,000 lobbying last quarter.

Washington Stories August 15, 2011

After a shocking announcement this morning from Google regarding a $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, most are already discussing what this means for the future of Android. However, a report from WSJ claims their sources are reporting Motorola has an “unusually large” 20% reverse termination fee in place that would see Google paying $2.5 billion if the deal falls through.

The report claims this might be proof Motorola is worried the acquisition could be the subject of antitrust regulators who are already investigating Google for its ability to abuse its market lead. However, Google execs noted in a conference call with financial analysts this morning that they aren’t worried about the deal being seen as anti-competitive in nature.

Why would the deal fall through? The report points to potential legal hurdles in Washington, similar to those that allegedly stopped a Groupon acquisition from happening. Google is already the subject of an antitrust probe related to their purchase of ITA software, and continues to be in the middle of intense legal battles with rival smartphone makers. expand full story

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