Morning Coffee Mar 23 2011

AT&T, T-Mobile Merger Obstacles

By joe walker and kelly eggers

Opposition to the AT&T and T-Mobile merger is ramping up. Yesterday, Sprint Nextel Corp. CEO Dan Hesse said that the deal would "stifle innovation" and competition. Meanwhile, in Washington, members of the House and Senate announced plans to hold hearings on the acquisition. A lobbying group for Silicon Valley giants like Google and Facebook called the deal "aggressive and anti-consumer."

Ultimately the FCC and the Department of Justice have the final say on whether the merger will go through. But Congress, the business community and consumer groups can create an environment that makes it difficult for the regulatory agency and trust-buster, respectively, to approve the merger, at least without major concessions and divestitures on the part of AT&T.

The question is whether the wireless industry -- a big growth sector -- can continue to evolve, innovate and create new jobs in a world where AT&T and Verizon control 80% of the market (with Sprint holding a meager 12%). A competitive wireless market encourages entrepreneurs to start businesses and hire more skilled workers.

Opponents of the merger argue that approval will discourage job creation and new players from pushing the industry forward. AT&T counters that consolidation will allow it to invest more in expanding broadband access and job creation. (WSJ)

Changing of the Guard at Apple (FINS)

The long-time lead software developer at Apple, Bertrand Serlet, will be stepping down, the company announced this morning. He will be replaced by Craid Federighi, a protégé of Serlet's who had led the development of Mac OS X.

Size Matters (FINS Sales & Marketing)

Groupon's president and COO Rob Solomon announced his decision to resign from his post with the group-coupon company last night. According to Solomon, the move was spurred in part by the fact that the company "got really big."

Waiting for the Axe to Drop (Reuters)

The thousands of workers potentially affected by Nokia's decision to abandon its Symbian software platform for Microsoft's last month were told on Tuesday that talks with employees regarding job cuts would begin at the end of April.

Is It a Dream Job If It Only Lasts a Year? (FINS Finance)

When weighing the pros and cons of a potential dream job, be sure to consider the turnover rate within the group you're joining. If employees tend to leave their posts quickly, it should raise a red flag.

Protecting Innovation (Wired)

Microsoft, which has targeted some of Google's key Android-platform partners in a series of recent legal filings, has just added Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader technology to its list of offenders.

Attention-Getters (Digits)

It's a dog-eat-dog world out there -- at least among app developers. So how can you make sure your product gets some time in the spotlight? Timing your launch, using incentive advertising, and partnering with bigger brands, for starters.

On a Mission (All Things D)

Media giant Condé Nast is considering spinning off its highly successful social news property Reddit so it can better compete with growing startups for capital, managers, and employees. The site is planning to hire after a parade of recent staff departures left the company with only a handful of employees.

That's a Big Job Posting (CrunchGear)

If you're a tech pro looking to jump on the Groupon train, here's your chance. The company has launched a recruiting-by-billboard ad campaign in an effort to recruit more than 100 developers and technologists that specialize in data, analytics, networking, mathematics and Ruby on Rails for its Palo Alto, Calif. office.

Becoming a Hoosier? (Indianapolis Business Journal)

Windsor, Conn.-based software services firm SS&C is opening a new office in Evansville, Ind., and is looking for 500 staff to fill the space. The company makes software for clients in hedge funds, insurance, and asset management, to assist with trading, accounting, reporting, risk management and fund administration.

Future Stars (TechCrunch)

Startup seed-funding firm Y Combinator's bi-annual Demo Day is underway, and this year, 43 promising startups are pitching themselves to investors in hopes that they'll walk away with money to stay afloat.

For all the news you need throughout the day, follow techFINSider on Twitter and Facebook.

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