Bill just emailed us with a link to this tweet from the El Pollo Loco rep on Twitter. Might be worth a shot if you were turned away by your local KFC yesterday and you think a free chicken meal is the perfect way to say “I love you” in motherese.
Either this Burger King in Miami takes the competition really, really seriously, or the owner is into some pretty freaky s#@t. The store gets bonus absurdity points for framing it so handsomely.
The city of Wilson, NC was tired of high internet, cable, and telephone prices, so they decided to do something about it. They started their own, city-owned, ISP. Now Time Warner Cable and Embarq have teamed up to convince North Carolina‘s legislature to propose bills outlawing community owned ISPs because the big guys cannot possibly compete.
Update: It turns out the special chips used in the headphone controls of the third generation Shuffle don’t contain any DRM after all, so any attempts at reverse-engineering won’t bring on the wrath of the DMCA.
“There is no indication of any change in the near future regarding the current state of competition. Market forces have not yet met the challenge of controlling price increases.”
Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of Sirius-XM. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new anti-consumer practices. To seek out new revenue streams and crowd out new competitors. To boldly safeguard the dangerous monopoly granted last night by the FCC.
The price of everything in the telecom world has fallen over the past decade, except for cable. Cable is now 77% more expensive than it was ten years ago, an increase that dwarfs the rate of inflation and makes telecom executives salivate. The Times looks with pity on all of us who splay our wallets wide for the industry, and asks if there’s any salvation other than à la carte pricing.
Peter writes to let us know that taco trucks in Los Angeles county now have to move to a new position every hour: “The county of Los Angeles has enacted some new legislation to prevent taco truck owners from staying in one spot, with penalties of a fine of up to $1000 or jail for failures to comply.” Why such a weird law? Because area restaurants say they’re stealing away customers. If you like your carne asada from the side of a truck, be prepared to start chasing them down as they circle through L.A. county in a weird Mexican-food carousel.
What does the XM-Sirius satellite radio merger mean for XM customers? Well, according to one customer service rep, it means mean prices are going to roughly double in May. Here’s what she said to one of our tipsters:
This is strictly confidential, but all the paperwork is signed and ready to go, and XM has fully acquired Sirius Radio. Come May, there will be a substantial price increase for XM Radio, as it will, in June or so, host all the Sirius channels. It would be best to simply extend your XM plan as we will honor your current contract price per month before we begin hosting the Sirius stations.
The tipster said he believed she said the price was going to double. Perhaps the customer service rep just wanted to score a renewal, but if true, it would certainly at least be ironic considering when the DOJ approved the deal was they said, “the evidence did not show that the merger would enable the parties to profitably increase prices to satellite radio customers.” However, reader comments on this post and this post over at Orbitcast say this customer service rep is full of pure baloney.
The DOJ has approved a merger between Sirius and XM satellite radio, ruling that there wasn’t enough evidence to show that it would result in higher prices for consumers. We’ll see. [OrbitCast]
Great news, America: Intel’s ultra-cheap Classmate PC isn’t just for impoverished third-world schoolchildren anymore! The chipmaker today announced plans to sell the notebook domestically in the coming months. Intel insists its sub-notebook isn’t designed to compete with the non-profit One Laptop Per Child project, which is powered by chips from Intel’s rival, AMD, but they have aggressively moved to undercut OLPC wherever possible. The laptop will likely cost Americans less than $500.
Yahoo rejects Microsoft’s takeover bid for reals for reals. We are safe from the threat of the creation of the world’s largest, crappiest, search engine…for now. [AP]
Jay writes: “I caught these two photos on my way in to work today in San Diego. At first I just thought is was amusing that the Dreyers truck was on its side, it really is the little things in life that make it worth living. Then I saw the Haagen-Dazs ice cream truck nearby, standing in victory. Apparently Haagen-Dazs is no longer satisfied with being the superior ice cream, they must now ram their competition off the road.” [More]
The funny thing about Starbucks is it’s helped to create a coffee culture filled with a significant number of people who don’t actually like Starbucks—which means that, despite conventional wisdom, it’s actually a good thing to be a mom & pop coffee shop with a Starbucks nearby, writes Slate.
Low-cost U.S. carrier JetBlue Airways Corp. is applying to launch charter and scheduled service between Canada and the United States, a move that is expected to shake up Canadian rivals and reduce transborder fares.
Congress has added its voice to the growing number of critics who have noted that the FCC is misreporting broadband penetration in the U.S. According to eWeek, last Wednesday a House subcommittee “approved legislation to change the Federal Communications Commission’s methodology for determining deployment.” The FCC currently counts a single home in a zip code as representative of the full zip code—so one home having broadband access is considered the same as every home in that area having broadband access. By doing this, they inflate the number of homes with broadband access and present a picture of increased “natural” competition in the market, which is then used by telecoms and lobbyists to argue against policy decisions that don’t favor existing corporations.
Rick Seaney has a great post about the “tweak,” a move used by airlines to piss off competitors by offering discount airfares from their rival’s hubs. The spurned airline will often retaliate by tweaking the offender back in return. Rick Seany explains: