- eBay, Inc. has announced plans to acquire Zong, a mobile payments company, for $240 million in cash in a transaction that is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Zong has been a pioneer in the mobile payments space, allowing consumers to pay for goods online via direct billing through a mobile phone bill. The company has partnered with over 250 carriers worldwide to offer the technology to mobile phone users. eBay has stated that Zong will add 'complementary technology and talent' to its PayPal division, giving consumers more ways to pay for virtual goods and products online. Zong was founded in 2008 by entrepreneur David Marcus.
- An associate professor of law at Stanford University has called on the FCC to reclassify a restricted proceeding involving the practice of Verizon Wireless to require Google, Inc. to deactivate "tethering" applications on their Droid smartphones. Tethering applications allows users to use laptops or other devices over their mobile Internet connection by attaching them to their smartphones. The complaint, which was filed in June by the public advocacy group Free Press, alleges that Verizon violated Open Internet conditions that are imposed on 700 megahertz band C-block licenses. By making the proceeding a permit-but-disclose proceeding, rather than its current "restricted" status, the FCC would be able to hear from other interested parties, rather than just Free Press and Verizon Wireless. "Verizon Wireless's practice and Free Press's complaint raise fundamental issues of Internet openness policy," said Professor Barbara van Schewick said. "While only two parties are named in the complaint proceeding, the outcome of the proceeding will have a far-reaching impact on many businesses, innovators, and users in the Internet ecosystem."
To read Professor van Schewick's full letter to the FCC, click here.