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ExtraBITS for 24 October 2016

In ExtraBITS this week, AT&T seeks to purchase Time Warner, T-Mobile pays a heavy price for data throttling, we say goodbye to Macworld founder David Bunnell, Apple reveals plans to build home automation into newly built homes, and we review Apple’s $49 iPhone 7 Plus case in 49 words.

AT&T Aims to Buy Time Warner for $84.5 Billion -- Ma Bell is back and bigger than ever! Telecom giant AT&T has made a bid to acquire Time Warner Inc. for $85.4 billion in cash and stock. Note that while this deal would give AT&T ownership of HBO, Turner Broadcasting, and Warner Brothers, it doesn’t include Time Warner Cable, which is now owned by Charter Communications and is being rebranded as Spectrum. AT&T is likely trying to place itself on an even content footing with Comcast, which purchased NBCUniversal in 2011. However, with U.S. politicians from both sides of the aisle speaking out against the merger, it’s unclear if federal regulators will approve the deal.

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T-Mobile Fined $48 Million for Data Throttling -- In an agreement with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, T-Mobile will pay a total of $48 million in customer benefits, educational donations, and fines because of throttling connection speeds for its largest data users without advance notice. Impacted customers will receive a 20 percent discount on accessories and will be eligible for an additional 4 GB of data per month. T-Mobile CEO John Legere responded in his typically bombastic fashion, tweeting that T-Mobile believes more information is good for customers. Though, apparently, it takes an FCC settlement to make that happen.

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Remembering David Bunnell -- David Bunnell, the founder of PC Magazine, PC World, and Macworld, as well as Macworld Expo, has passed away. Fast Company’s Harry McCracken profiles Bunnell’s life and career, including his background as a social activist.

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Apple Reveals Home Automation Plans for New Construction -- Today you purchase and install HomeKit home automation devices in existing homes, but Apple wants to go beyond retrofits by building the technology into new homes. “We want to bring home automation to the mainstream,” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of product marketing, told Bloomberg. “The best place to start is at the beginning, when a house is just being created.” According to a survey by real-estate firm Trulia, twice as many people prefer a newly built house to a pre-owned property, so perhaps the boost that home automation needs is to become standard in new construction.

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49-Word Review of the $49 iPhone 7 Plus Case -- Apple’s tight-fitting iPhone 7 case features a luxurious leather exterior, a soft microfiber lining, and built-in volume and Sleep/Wake buttons. It provides decent protection without adding extraneous bulk, is easily removed, and doesn’t cover the iPhone’s stereo speakers. Best of all, it eliminates the camera bump.

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