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On The Web

AT&T is probably/maybe going to introduce higher speed broadband tiers, according to leaked information via a website glitch reported by DSL Reports. The website glitch (since fixed) indicated that AT&T will introduce 4 U-Verse tiers: 75 Mbps ($91), 100 Mbps ($111), 150 Mbps ($155) and 300 Mbps ($199 a month). Of course, the timing and availability is anyone’s guess. Elsewhere, CenturyLink (incorporating former phone company, Qwest) is planning to introduce a gigabit service in Las Vegas for $145 a month, though when bundled with television it is much cheaper – $80 a month. I pay $40 a month for my 200 Mbps connection, thanks to my local independent ISP.

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In Brief

Boost Mobile, a discount wireless carrier and a division of Sprint, has become the latest carrier to offer Apple’s iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. The phones will go on sale on November 8. Like its other phones, Boost will offer the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c with a contract-free “unlimited” plans that include 2.5GB of full-speed data per month, with throttled speeds thereafter. While there have been rumors of slower iPhone 5c sales, Apple is still rolling out its phones to new carriers, especially in the overseas markets.

In Brief

AT&T, in what seems to be an effort to shore up its finances for future acquisitions, says it has struck a $4.85 billion deal with Crown Castle, a company that operates wireless towers across the world. As part of the deal, AT&T will lease 9,100 cell towers for an average lease of 28 years and will sell 600 towers outright to Crown Castle. The leased towers can be acquired by Crown Castle for $4.2 billion. It is rumored in telecom circles that AT&T is looking to expand its network footprint internationally.

Weekend Plans

Google cars, new attitudes towards mass transit, crazy future we live in, David Byrne, Zulily IPO, Malcom Gladwell, TED Talks and why bags made from crocodile skins so expensive — these are some of the stories on menu this weekend. Read more »

In Brief

Nimble Storage of San Jose wants to go public on the New York Stock Exchange and indicated as much in a registration filing with Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). The 5-year-old company, which makes flash-based storage systems and competes with the likes of EMC and NetApp, wants for raise up to $150 million and will likely trade under the symbol, NMBL. No further details on how many shares it hopes to see become available. It has raised about $40 million from Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

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Weekend Plans

Saving Nokia, the page view apocalypse, Jonathan Franzen is old and cranky, corn is king, Senegal and the American South, the story of The Climate Company, and the modern genome gold rush — these are some of the stories for your weekend reading pleasure. Read more »

On The Web

The birth of Twitter has long been a complicated and confusing story. This excerpt in The New York Times from columnist Nick Bilton’s book, “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal,” gives a first hand look at how Twitter came about, the power struggles at the company and how we go here. Find time to read it. 

In Brief

Time Warner Cable of New York is spending $600 million in cash to buy DukeNet, a fiber optic network that is part-owned by Duke Energy, the company announced today. The Charlotte, NC-based DukeNet will help Time Warner improve its network and business services in the Carolinas. Time Warner Cable had announced its intention to build a gigabit network in the Carolina earlier this year. In related news, Zayo, a large fiber network operator based in Boulder, Colorado announced that it was buying Fiberlink, a  small Midwestern fiber operator that owns 1,200 miles of dark fiber that runs between Denver and Chicago (and runs via Omaha and Des Moines.) The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Weekend Plans

On the menu this week: A profile of The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, Lewis Lapham on selling death, where is Hemingway and the Return of warlords. Plus some fun lessons about reputation, saying NO and why making money is easy for bankers. Read more »

On The Web

Fab, a New York-based commerce company backed by the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Menlo Ventures, is going to cut about a fifth of its work force (roughly 100 people) from its various offices. Jason Goldberg, the CEO of the company, in a memo to employees wrote: “The impetus behind the decision is our plan to accelerate Fab’s path to profitability.” This is the second major set of layoffs at a company that has raised nearly $300 million from investors and is valued at $1 billion by private investors.

In Brief

Dave McClure’s 500Startups has officially invested in over 500 companies in more than 40 countries. And the pace and scope of its investment continues: it now has about 600 companies in its portfolio. And in order to keep finding and funding companies, McClure’s group has closed a $44 million fund, a big step up from its $29.4 million first fund that closed at the end of Dec 2011.) There are no plans to change the fund name to 1000Startups! PS: Check out our profile of McLure from last year.

In Brief

Ryan Sarver, who spent about four years running Twitter’s platform is joining Menlo Park, Calif-based venture capital firm, RedPoint Ventures. He left Twitter in May 2013. As a partner with the fund, he is going to focus on investments in social applications, social platforms and software-as-a-service startups. Prior to joining Twitter, Sarver worked for Boston-based Skyhook Wireless and had founded a startup called BlueTrim. He is part of a growing posse of Internet executives who are gravitating towards venture capital investing at a time when the industry itself is going through sea change, due to evolution of technology business and changing regulations.

Weekend Plans

On the menu this week: Mariano Rivera, Myst, Oyster crisis, Flexians, CrossFit’s dirty secret and the history of online travel journalism. Plus Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich on reality of hunger in America. Read more »

In Brief

Rani Molla

Graphic by Rani Molla

In 2007, when the iPhone launched, some of us believed that it was going to change the phone business forever. Nokia and RIM Blackberry obviously dismissed it as a joke. They focused too much on the “phone” and not on the “i,” which was a metaphor for easy internet access in our pockets. Nokia’s market cap on the day of the iPhone launch was $114.5 billion and markets valued Blackberry at $40.09 billion. This year Nokia’s devices business was sold to Microsoft for $7.2 billion. Blackberry is going private for mere $4.7 billion. That is $134 billion in market cap that went poof.

On The Web

eBay is buying Braintree, a Chicago-based payment platform for approximately $800 million in cash, the company announced this morning. “Braintree is a perfect fit with PayPal,” said eBay CEO John Donahoe. Braintree, started in 2007 is used by companies such as Airbnb and Uber for accepting payments and is said to be processing a total of $12 billion in payments annually. Founded in 2007, it has raised $69 million in outside funding from Accel Partners, NEA, RRE Ventures and Greycroft Partners. Techcrunch had originally reported on the talks between Paypal and Braintree.

On The Web

The Guardian reached out to all top U.S. phone companies including Verizon, CenturyLink and AT&T and asked them the question: “whether they accept that the bulk collection of their customers’ phone records by the National Security Agency is lawful.” The Guardian report was prompted by the publishing of a declassified opinion in the FISA court that reveals “that no telecom has challenged the court order for bulk collection of phone records.”

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