Today in Tech: Why AT&T's flip-flop on FaceTime cellular should worry you

November 9, 2012: 5:30 AM ET

Also: Priceline buying Kayak for $1.8 billion; how Gangham Style went viral.

Priceline to buy Kayak for $1.8 billion [SKIFT]

I think this a great deal, and Priceline is probably among the best acquirers in Internet history, I would even say as good as Cisco of yore. Booking.com turned out to be among the best acquisitions ever, so did its buyout of Agoda.com, and now Kayak, which they will keep separate, could be in a similar vein.

Kayak has gone through many deathwatches before: first was when Google bought ITA software and everyone thought that'd be the end of Kayak's metasearch life as Google would throttle it. Nothing like that happened, as Google's own travel metasearch efforts have been minuscule and ITA Software is stil being licensed to competitors including Kayak, Bing and others. Then it was with its IPO, which almost never took off, but then did and since its IPO debut on July 20th, the stock has actually done well, all macro issues considered.

AT&T will now allow iPhone users to use FaceTime over cellular. But is that really a good thing?

AT&T flip-flop on FaceTime over cellular should scare you [THE VERGE]

More importantly, AT&T's sudden reversal exposes an enormous hole in the way that the FCC stewards the nation's airwaves. I mentioned in my January editorial — Unlimited data is dead, so let's fight a smarter fight — that spectrum belongs to the citizens; it's merely licensed to companies like AT&T, Verizon, and hundreds of others for the purpose of creating networks and services that are beneficial to the people living in it. That means that when a company purchases a license and doesn't use it to the fullest extent possible — when it arbitrarily restricts services, for instance — it's a violation of the spirit by which the spectrum was licensed in the first place. But in the course of normal business, the FCC doesn't regularly audit the utilization of this spectrum. We need to take private industry's word for it that it's using spectrum as efficiently as it can, that it's running out of spectrum, and that it's disabling access to services for a good reason.

Gilt Groupe starts search for new CEO [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]

The search comes as Mr. Ryan's aggressive plan to expand the five-year-old Internet darling into new business lines has stumbled. The members-only site grew quickly in the wake of the recession by selling women's luxury gear at a discount, and that strong buzz helped it land a valuation of $1 billion when it raised money last year. But Gilt had less success branching into full-priced menswear, local services and food.

How did Gangham Style go viral? [SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY]

Having an audience is a good start but you need them all to share it and watch it, again and again. YG Entertainment did their research when it came to casting the video and by featuring popular celebrities from South Korea they knew this would get the media's attention. They had a famous entertainer who is the chap thrusting in the lift, the guy in the yellow suit is a renowned comedian and the kid is popular from Korea's Got Talent. All helping it debut at number one in the Korean Pop Chart and gain 500k views on its launch day of 15th July.

Nvidia CEO: Consumers realize a great tablet is better than a cheap PC [VENTUREBEAT]

Graphics chip giant Nvidia chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang said in a conference call with analysts today that consumers realize "a great tablet is better than a cheap PC." ... Huang said that orders for Tegra chips for Google Android and Microsoft Surface tablets are helping offset a slump in demand for PCs, which use Nvidia's graphics chips. Tegra is also used in new Lenovo and Asus tablets, among others.

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About This Author
JP Mangalindan
JP Mangalindan
Writer, Fortune

JP Mangalindan is a San Francisco-based writer at Fortune, covering Silicon Valley. Since joining in 2010, he has written on a wide array of topics, from the turnaround of eBay to the evolution of net neutrality. A graduate of Fordham University, Mangalindan has also written for GQ, Popular Science, and Entertainment Weekly.

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