* The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Facebook Inc. acquired companies that could have become competition, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources. The investigation is said to be part of the FTC's antitrust probe into Facebook.
* Apple Inc. suspended a global program that allowed the tech giant to analyze recordings of Siri queries for quality control, Reuters reports. The move came after a report by The Guardian of London raised privacy concerns over how Apple contractors hear confidential information as part of their job to grade the Siri voice assistant.
* The Pentagon has ordered a review of its multibillion-dollar cloud computing contract after President Donald Trump suggested the Defense Department might have rigged the contest in favor of Amazon.com Inc., Politico reports. Newly appointed Defense Secretary Mark Esper will now review the $10 billion contract for the Defense Department's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project, which the Pentagon had hoped to award in August.
* The White House will apply 10% duties on all Chinese products not already covered by tariffs from Sept. 1. President Donald Trump cited Beijing's lack of delivery on agricultural purchases, and talks more generally, for making the late July decision. The implementation has been delayed as the U.S. Trade Representative is consulting on whether so-called "list 4" tariffs should include all, or a subset, of products.
Wireless & broadband
* Verizon Communications Inc. ramped up its fiber deployment in the second quarter as it looks to offer the infrastructure to all of its enterprise and wholesale customers by next year. During an Aug. 1 earnings conference call Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said its rate of fiber deployment averaged 1,400 route miles per month in the second quarter, higher than the 1,000 route miles per month discussed at the start of the year.
* The U.S. Federal Communications Commission wants to put more money and better data behind its efforts to expand rural broadband. At its Aug. 1 open meeting, the commission advanced a proposal that would establish a Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which would set aside $20.4 billion over 10 years to bring high-speed broadband service to unserved communities. The proposal would require a minimum broadband speed of 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads.
* An order to recommend the approval of T-Mobile US Inc.'s pending merger with Sprint Corp. will be circulated soon, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said during the press conference at the agency's open meeting. "We will be evaluating, I believe, that DISH is a credible and serious buyer, that they have an incentive and ability to compete," Pai said at the meeting.
* Facebook shut down multiple pages, groups and accounts engaged in "coordinated inauthentic behavior" from its platform and Instagram Inc.'s photo and video-sharing social networking service. In a blog post, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, said the company found two separate operations: One originating in United Arab Emirates and Egypt; and another in Saudi Arabia.
* Starting next year, Google LLC will allow Android device users to choose between Google and three other search engines as their default search provider, according to an official blog post. Google invited search providers to bid as part of an auction on the new search engine choice screen, which will appear when a user in Europe sets up a new Android smartphone or tablet for the first time.
* U.S. broadcasters are crying foul over streaming service Locast, claiming it provides unauthorized access to their content while benefiting operators DISH Network Corp. and AT&T Inc., which are embroiled in contentious carriage disputes with the station owners. For its part, Locast maintains it complies with the 1976 Copyright Act, which allows nonprofits to operate so-called booster and translator services that strengthen a TV station's signal to reach antennas that otherwise would not receive the channel.
* Netflix Inc. has renewed drama series "13 Reasons Why" for a fourth and final season, Variety reports. Season 3 of the show is set to debut Aug. 23 and will feature 13 episodes.
* Warner Media LLC's HBO Max acquired exclusive streaming rights to all 11 seasons of BBC's "Doctor Who." The long-running sci-fi drama will be available on HBO Max at launch in spring 2020, while future seasons of the show will also land on the streaming service after they air on BBC America (US). HBO Max also licensed 700 episodes of other BBC series, including "The Office," "Top Gear," "Luther" and "The Honorable Woman."
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng dipped 2.35% to 26,918.58, and the Nikkei 225 declined 2.11% to 21,087.16.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 1.69% to 7,456.63, and the Euronext 100 was down 2.42% to 1,060.63.
On the macro front
The motor vehicle sales consensus, the employment situation report, the international trade report, the consumer sentiment report, the factory orders report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report are due out today.
Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.
The Daily Dose Europe: Ofcom on BBC iPlayer; CK Hutchison holding company; Google's transcription in EU: Ofcom approved British Broadcasting Corp.'s proposed changes to iPlayer, CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. formed a new holding company, while Google halted transcription on voice recordings in the European Union.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: US on Huawei licenses; ByteDance's search engine; Sprint/T-Mobile merger update: The U.S. government will take a call on whether to grant licenses to sell to Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. during the week of Aug. 5, Beijing Byte Dance Telecommunications Co. Ltd. will develop its own search engine and the Sprint/T-Mobile merger approval order is expected soon.
The Program Guide: 'Younger' renewed for 7th season; 'Silicon Valley' season 6 coming in October: TV Land (US) renewed comedy series "Younger" for a seventh season, and HBO (US)'s "Silicon Valley" will return for its seven-episode, sixth and final season in October.
Hires and Fires Europe: Cellnex names new chairman; Türk Telekom CEO steps down: Spanish towers operator Cellnex Telecom SA appointed Franco Bernabè as its nonexecutive chairman, while Boulos Doany stepped down as CEO and general manager of Turkish telecom company Türk Telekomünikasyon Anonim Şirketi.
Economics of Advertising: Advertising revenue falls 11.1% at AMC's national networks: The second-quarter earnings at AMC Networks Inc. highlight a sharp decline in ad revenue due to the timing of "The Walking Dead."
Economics of TV & Film: KBOX Week 30: 'The Lion King' leading a summer rebound: "The Lion King" is doing its best to pull the summer season out of the hole it has been in and will get some help from Universal's "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" in week 31 to push the season back into the black.
Consumer Insights: Do you download SVOD content to view later? Why?: Nearly half (46%) of the SVOD users we surveyed have downloaded a video from an SVOD streaming service for offline viewing, with about 22% doing so weekly.
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