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Posted at 8:32 AM ET, 03/ 2/2011

The Circuit: Net neutrality vote delayed, Supreme Court rules in FOIA case, Apple to launch iPad 2

By Hayley Tsukayama

LEADING THE DAY: The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee has postponed its vote to reverse the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality plan. The vote, which was scheduled for today at 9:30 a.m., will be rescheduled for a time and date to be announced.

On Tuesday, Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, sent a letter to House Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton and subcommittee chairman Greg Walden asking for a legislative hearing before beginning markup of the bill. The two California Democrats expressed concern about proceeding with bill markup before holding a legislative hearing. "We think this departure from regular order is a serious mistake and urge you to reconsider," they wrote, adding that there was no time issue forcing the subcommittee to act.

Supreme Court rules against AT&T in FOIA case: The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that companies do not have a right to privacy under the Freedom of Information Act. In a unanimous 8-0 decision, the court found that although Congress includes corporations in the term "person" with regard to FOIA, it could not be assumed that the term "personal" could also be applied to businesses. "The protection in FOIA against disclosure of law enforcement information on the ground that it would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy does not extend to corporations," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court's opinion. "We trust that AT&T will not take it personally."

Justice Elena Kagan did not take part in the case, having worked on the dispute in her time at the Justice Department.

iPad 2 launch: All eyes are on San Francisco this morning as Apple prepares to launch the second generation of its iPad tablet. Apart from the plethora of technical rumors about the gadget, there are also rumors that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is considering making an appearance at the event. Jobs, who stepped down from daily duties in January for health reasons, handed over his operations to COO Tim Cook. Perceptions about Jobs's health are closely tied to the performance of Apple's stock, and an appearance today could offer some hints about how the Apple executive is feeling and when he might return to Apple.

Apple recently voted to keep its succession plans for the chief executive position to itself, over the objections of some shareholders.

European Commission inspects e-book companies: The European Commission confirmed that it raided e-book publishing companies in several member states on suspicions that the companies might have violated antitrust rules prohibiting cartels and other restrictive business practices. The commission did not list the companies inspected but was careful to point out that these inspections are a preliminary step and do not assume guilt. In the United States, Texas and Connecticut asked Amazon and Apple to explain their e-book pricing earlier this year.

Apple, Microsoft come to blows over "app store": Apple defended its trademark to the term "app store" in a filing, saying that Microsoft's trademark over the term "Windows" is just as vague. Microsoft filed an objection with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over Apple's right to trademark such a generic term. Apple also argued that its competitors have several alternatives to using the term "app store," pointing to the fact that competitors use terms such as "marketplace" to refer to central download locations for mobile applications.

Yahoo looking to leave Japan?: Reuters reported that Yahoo is in talks to unload its stake in Yahoo Japan. Citing unnamed sources with "knowledge of the situation," Reuters said that Yahoo and Softbank are in early discussions to transfer Yahoo's 35 percent stake in Yahoo Japan to the second company. Softbank said Wednesday in a statement that it isn't in talks to acquire Yahoo shares in Yahoo Japan. Upon news of the rumored talks, shares of Yahoo Japan rose 3.7 percent in Tokyo while Softbank shares fell 3.6 percent. Both companies also have stake in the Chinese Internet company Alibaba.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | March 2, 2011; 8:32 AM ET
Categories:  AT&T, Antitrust, Apple, FCC, International, Microsoft, Tablets, Yahoo  
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