AT&T, T-Mobile, Decide: The 1-Minute Week in Seattle Tech Headlines

—The federal government’s surprise lawsuit to block the $39 billion merger of AT&T and T-Mobile dominated the region’s tech headlines last week, and the fallout will continue to turn heads for the rest of the year (and maybe beyond). I deconstructed the Justice Department’s arguments in this post, which is kind of a Cliff’s Notes to the lawsuit filing for those who don’t want to plow through the whole thing. Expect more to come—AT&T is reportedly ready to make some concessions, but it might be too late for all of that.

—As a follow-up, we featured this guest column from state House member and wireless industry veteran Reuven Carlyle, which was adapted from an earlier post on his own blog. It’s a long read, but worth the time as Carlyle—a Democrat—argues against the Obama administration’s deal-blocking lawsuit because, in his view, consolidation is inevitable and the only real way the U.S. can build massive, utility-grade wireless networks that will spark innovation.

—I profiled Decide, the interesting new gadget-shopping startup from the ubiquitous Oren Etzioni and friends. Decide uses the same breed of price-prediction technologies that built Farecast (acquired by Microsoft), but adds some new elements that help shoppers decide (get it?) when they should buy a new TV, laptop, or camera. But it’s about way more than saving money on tech gadgets: Decide’s methods of extracting searchable information from written text, used as a way to track new-model rumors, points to the future of all search.

—The pre-Labor Day Thursday was ripe with tidbits, so here’s a roundup-within-a-roundup—New HTC phones running the “Mango” version of Windows Phone; Microsoft sued over allegedly tracking locations through WP camera software; Expedia‘s CFO stepping down, but not until the TripAdvisor spinoff is complete; and Harebrained Schemes‘ “Crimson Steam Pirates” debuts for the iPad, via Bungie Aerospace and Moai.

—Finally, in a startup profile by way of an SEC filing, we chatted about Viableware, a company featuring some tech and restaurant industry veterans who are targeting the suddenly busy market for next-generation payment devices and systems for dining out. Viableware’s device is called the Rail, and mimics a traditional bill folio. The idea is to save money on transaction fees and labor, cut out the potential for fraud, and—probably most importantly—build a new platform for ads and loyalty programs

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