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It may not come as much of a surprise, but the major US telecom companies have significantly outspent supporters of net neutrality when it comes to lobbying on Capitol Hill. And they seem far more intent on getting their way. Between 2005 and 2013, Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast all mentioned the issue of net neutrality in more lobbying reports than any pro-neutrality companies. The trend is particularly unsettling as debate around net neutrality and the "open internet" rages on during the FCC's comment period on Chairman Tom Wheeler's latest proposal. But the biggest surprise may be the top spender on the list in support of net neutrality. Despite Google having the biggest tech lobby in Washington aside from the big internet service providers, AOL â€” the company best known for giving the world dial-up internet in the '90s and being one of the country's largest ISPs â€” has outspent Google on net neutrality issues. That's one of the main takeaways from data collected by Sunlight Foundation and reported on by The Daily Dot. View the full article
Last week, AOL announced the impending death of Winamp, saying that the 16-year-old media player would be shut down within a month. "Winamp.com and associated Web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date," AOL announced. But fans of the venerable software have launched a "Save Winamp" website and petition asking AOL either to keep Winamp alive or to open source its code. View the full article
Here's a deal that would have made many minds explode back in the 1990s: Microsoft is buying Netscape. Or at least, most of the important parts of the company that used to be synonymous with "Internet". That's a side component of the $1 billion patent sale that AOL and Microsoft announced this morning. As part of the transaction, AOL announced that it was selling off "stock of an AOL subsidiary" at a loss, in a move that's supposed to reduce its overall tax bill. AOL didn't disclose the name of that subsidiary in its press release, but a person familiar with the transaction has clued me in: It's Netscape. Microsoft will buy the underlying patents for the old browser, but AOL will hang onto the brand, and the related Netscape businesses, which make up a grab-bag of stuff these days: An ISP, a URL, a brand name, etc. All of which probably makes sense on someone's ledger books. But the transaction may still make a few heads spin, at least for people who remember Internet history and/or have access to Wikipedia. View the full article