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The Department of Justice isn’t done fighting the AT&T-Time Warner merger

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed to appeal a federal judge’s decision to approve AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner . Back when he was campaigning for the presidency, Donald Trump said his administration would block the deal , and indeed, the DOJ sued to stop the merger , arguing it would hurt competition. Last month, however, U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon ruled that the deal could move forward without conditions. He  said from the bench,  “The court has now spoken. … The defendants have won” — and  the deal closed later that week . In fact, we’re already starting to see some of the fallout, with AT&T’s reported plans for Time Warner-owned HBO  leading to a flurry of  worried headlines  in just the past couple days. The deal also seemed to set the stage for even more consolidation between telecom and media companies, leading Comcast to challenge Disney for ownership of Fox’s film and TV assets . (TechCrunch was already a very small part of this trend, since we’re owned by Verizon.) “The Court’s decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based, and well-reasoned,” said AT&T General Counsel David McAtee in a statement. “While the losing party in litigation always has the right to appeal if it wishes, we are surprised that the DOJ has chosen to do so under these circumstances. We are ready to defend the Court’s decision at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.”

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AT&T takes stake in AR company Magic Leap at a $6.3B valuation and exclusive distribution deal

After spending the last couple of weeks closing the deal to buy TimeWarner for $85 billion and buying ad firm AppNexus for up to $2 billion, today AT&T announced a key distribution move in its new bid to be a media powerhouse: it’s taking a strategic investment into Magic Leap , the high profile augmented reality startup, which will include becoming the exclusive “wireless distributor” of Magic Leap products in the U.S. starting this summer. “ When available for consumers, AT&T customers will be among the first to experience it in select AT&T stores in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, with more markets to follow,” AT&T said today. The two companies have not revealed the financial terms of the stake. But Magic Leap last raised  in a round in March of led by Sinapore’s Temasek that valued the startup at $6.3 billion, and the companies have confirmed that this completes the Series D round. The value of that round was ultimately $963 million, says PitchBook . The two have also laid out some of the strategic terms. In addition to exclusive distribution when the first device, the Magic Leap One, Creator Edition, the investment gives AT&T exclusive rights to work with Magic Leap across a range of areas covering network access, content distribution and devices. “AT&T is excited to pair our pioneering technologies, unmatched network, content platform, and vast customer ecosystem with Magic Leap’s efforts to build the next generation of computing,” said AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan, in a statement. “We’re designing and offering the future of entertainment and connectivity, and this exclusive arrangement – in combination with our 5G leadership position – will open up new opportunities and experiences.” Donovan becomes a board observer with this investment. Magic Leap has raised more than $2 billion to develop its hardware and software, but it has yet to launch a product. However, that could be about to change.  Magic Leap today streamed  a demo and specs of the   Magic Leap One, Creator Edition , the first commercial fruit of its labor, today at 11am Eastern time

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AT&T wants to overhaul HBO, says it isn’t profitable enough

Enlarge / Dolores can't abide a drop in HBO's quality. (credit: HBO) AT&T has been the proud owner of HBO for less than a month, and it is already considering an overhaul that would see HBO produce more video that can compete for the attention of smartphone users. AT&T wants to boost revenue both in advertising and subscriptions, even if that means upending HBO's longtime strategy of producing a relatively small number of high-quality shows. John Stankey, an AT&T executive who is now CEO of the company's WarnerMedia division, formed after last month's acquisition of Time Warner Inc., described his vision in an hourlong "town hall meeting" with 150 employees. Audio of the meeting was obtained by The New York Times. "It's going to be a tough year," Stankey said, according to the Times article. "It's going to be a lot of work to alter and change direction a little bit." Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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AT&T promised lower prices after Time Warner merger—it’s raising them instead

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson ) AT&T is raising the base price of its DirecTV Now streaming service by $5 per month, despite promising in court that its acquisition of Time Warner Inc. would lower TV prices. AT&T confirmed the price increase to Ars and said it began informing customers of the increase this past weekend. "The $5 increase will go into effect July 26 for new customers and varies for existing customers based on their billing date," an AT&T spokesperson said. The $5 increase will affect all DirecTV Now tiers except for a Spanish-language TV package, AT&T told Ars. That means the DirecTV Now packages that currently cost $35, $50, $60, and $70 a month will go up to $40, $55, $65, and $75. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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$15 AT&T WatchTV Streaming Service Goes Live – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo $15 AT&T WatchTV Streaming Service Goes Live Ubergizmo AT&T recently announced a new standalone online TV streaming service called WatchTV. The service is cheaper than almost all of its competitors at just $15 per month and it's certainly cheaper than AT&T's existing DirecTV streaming service. WatchTV was ... and more »

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How to sell your used and unwanted gadgets

In just a handful of months we'll be looking at new iterations of the iPhone and the Pixel, along with a plethora of other phones that have already hit the market. Which means you'll be faced with a hard choice: upgrade or stick it out another year w...

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AT&T removed HBO from an unlimited data plan after buying Time Warner

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | ljhimages ) AT&T has been offering free HBO to its unlimited data customers since last year , and you might have expected that deal to continue unaltered now that AT&T owns HBO thanks to its acquisition of Time Warner Inc. But AT&T revamped its two unlimited mobile plans this week, and in the process it raised the price for the entry-level plan by $5 a month while removing the free HBO perk. The entry-level unlimited plan now starts at $70 instead of $65. Existing customers can keep their old plan and the free HBO, but new customers or those who switch plans will have to buy the more expensive unlimited plan to get HBO at no added cost. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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