Welcome to this edition of “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
Today we highlight Obama’s push for net neutrality, the launch of YouTube’s Music Key, Yahoo’s purchase of Brightroll, and Amazon and Hachette burying the hatchet.
Obama calls for net neutrality
The White House doesn’t have control over the Federal Communications Commission, but President Obama made clear what his thoughts about net neutrality are – he wants a free and open internet, one where internet service providers can’t restrict access to nor the speed of the websites and apps that you use online. Watch his address here:
Tom Wheeler, the FCC commissioner and an Obama ally, understands the requirements for an open internet, but believes that the right solution is “more nuanced” than the recommendations made by the White House. He’s certainly been placed in an unenviable position of balancing consumers’ rights to net neutrality and the telecom firms who provide access to the internet.
After Obama’s announcement, Ted Cruz, in grand Republican Obama-bashing fashion, tweeted:
“Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) November 10, 2014
The Oatmeal promptly responded, and pretty hilariously.
This debate is really heating up and we’ll be sure to keep you updated.
YouTube launches streaming music service Music Key
YouTube is jumping into the streaming music game to compete against Spotify and Rdio with its new product, Music Key. The video social network is rolling out a pilot version of its much-anticipated music service to its “biggest music fans.”
The service will have an ad-supported version for free and will cost $10 per month with no ads. Music Key will be available online and on Android and iOS.
How will Music Key be different than the many other streaming options?
- Music Key will combine YouTube videos and music seamlessly.
- Music Key will work together with Google Play Music. If you have a subscription to one service, you’ll have access to the other. With Music Key, you’ll be able to access all the songs available in the Play Music library, and recommendations will be driven by your listening behavior on both platforms.
- YouTube is frickin huge, so if they can convert a small fraction of users, Music Key should dominate the music streaming world.
- You can still listen to Taylor Swift, which you can’t do on Spotify.
Yahoo buys video advertising company BrightRoll
Yahoo makes another acquisition and it’s a big one. The company scooped up video ad-tech company Brightroll for a cool $640 million.
Yahoo’s display advertising business has been declining over the last two years and they’ve had problems getting marketers to pay for its higher-priced premium ads. The Brightroll acquisition will help Yahoo reverse that slide and should attract brands to pay for higher-cost video ads via Brightroll’s programmatic advertising platform.
While not as high-profile nor expensive as its purchase of Tumblr, the acquisition of Brightroll may be more important to the company’s bottom line.
Amazon and Hachette squash their beef over book pricing
The ugly feud between Amazon and Hachette over the pricing of the publisher’s books has been going on for months, but now it has finally come to an end.
During the battle, Amazon claimed that Hachette was gouging its customers by pricing its ebooks too high (up to $19.99) and limited sales of the publisher’s books by minimizing inventory, delaying shipping times and not allowing pre-ordering.
Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed but it looks like Hachette will have control over its ebook pricing but will have financial incentives to keep pricing low.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.