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Bloomberg: Sprint and T-Mobile are talking about a merger again

Sprint and T-Mobile are reportedly trying to pick up where they left off a few years ago. According to Bloomberg, the mobile carriers and their parent companies, Softbank (Sprint) and Deutsche Telekom AG (T-Mobile), have been unofficially talking about the possibility of a merger again. Back in 2014, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son aggressively pursued T-Mobile’s purchase in a bid to deploy speedy mobile broadband. However, after a series of meetings with government officials who were concerned that the merger would seriously affect competition in the industry, the two companies decided to terminate their negotiation.

The FCC banned telecom and cable companies from discussing mergers for almost year while it was auctioning off wireless spectrum. T-Mobile even spent $8 million on the auction to be able to offer services across the US and Puerto Rico. After the ban was lifted in late April, reporters asked Deutsche Telekom chief Tim Hoettges whether he would consider a merger, and he said T-Mobile is willing to look at deals and partnership offers from interested companies.

The carriers might have a better chance of joining forces under the new administration, seeing as FCC head Ajit Pai is largely seen as pro-business. Their situations are much different this time around, though. T-Mobile flourished under the leadership of John Legere (pictured above), overtaking Sprint as the third largest mobile carrier in the country. Since it’s now worth $23 billion more than The Now Network, Sprint says it’s willing to let T-Mobile steer the ship in case they reach an agreement.

It’s unclear how interested T-Mobile is in pursuing the merger — and they’re not officially talking yet anyway — considering it’s in a much better place now. Hoettges is no longer trying to get rid of it, and some of its execs believe that buying a cable company is a better investment.

Source: Bloomberg

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Windows 10 included password manager with huge security hole

There's a good reason why security analysts get nervous about bundled third-party software: it can introduce vulnerabilities that the companies can't control. And Microsoft, unfortunately, has learned that the hard way. Google researcher Tavis Ormandy discovered that a Windows 10 image came bundled with a third-party password manager, Keeper, which came with a glaring browser plugin flaw -- a malicious website could steal passwords. Ormandy's copy was an MSDN image meant for developers, but Reddit users noted that they received the vulnerable copy of Keeper after clean reinstalls of regular copies and even a brand new laptop.

A Microsoft spokesperson told Ars Technica that the Keeper team had patched the exploit (in response to Ormandy's private disclosure), so it shouldn't be an issue if your software is up to date. Also, you were only exposed if you enabled the plugin.

However, the very existence of the hole has still raised a concern: are Microsoft's security tests as thorough for third-party apps as its own software? The company has declined to comment, but that kind of screening may prove crucial if Microsoft is going to maintain the trust of Windows users. It doesn't matter how secure Microsoft's code is if a bundled app undermines everything.

Source: Monorail, Tavis Ormandy (Twitter)

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