STLR Link Roundup – November 30, 2011

Online shopping sites celebrated their second annual Cyber Monday, with more than 75% of online retailers offering some sort of discount for making purchases on the Monday after Thanksgiving. This year’s Cyber Monday comes after shoppers set a record for online spending – racking up $816 million — on Black Friday.

The next status conference for AT&T’s embattled T-Mobile merger proposal has been postponed until December 9, due to a scheduling conflict. AT&T and Deutsche Telecom, parent company of T-Mobile, have withdrawn their FCC applications after FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, expressed strong doubts that the $39 billion deal would serve the public interest, citing instead the likelihood of job losses and stifled competition.

HTC’s purchase of S3 Graphics Co. may not be as fruitful as originally anticipated. HTC made the $300 acquisition in hopes that Apple would have to license graphics technology or risk patent litigation, but the U.S. International Trade Commission declared last week that Apple’s Macs and iPhones did not infringe on two S3 patents. S3 and HTC still have other outstanding patent disputes with Apple.

Onlookers are turning a critical eye on Zynga as the company gears up for its IPO. Reports have surfaced about the hard-nosed culture of the startup, which has grown to 2,200 employees since its inception in January 2007 and produced social gaming blockbusters such as FarmVille and Words with Friends. In the wake of Groupon’s falling share price, others are concerned about the strength of Zynga’s business model, which requires ongoing development and large marketing budgets to stave off the user boredom.

ShopCity, a website that helps local businesses sell products, has filed a complaint and added to Google’s antitrust worries. ShopCity alleges that the search giant favors its own competing service, Google Places, and pushes ShopCity listings onto later results pages that few web surfers ever check.

Opposition to the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act continues to grow, with more than one million emails and 87,000 phone calls flooding Congress to date. If passed, SOPA would enable the Department of Justice and private rights holders to block access to sites accused of hosting infringing content.

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