October 24, 2016 Last Updated 7:33 am

A day without Twitter; the $140M newspaper endorsement; AT&T wants Time-Warner

Morning Brief: Massive DDoS attack against Internet management company proves the web can be taken down with an attack, but what did it accomplish accept help identify the criminals?

So, the Internet can be taken down, turned black, at least for a little while. Hardly seems like much of an accomplishment. But it is a reminder for many companies that depending on the public Internet, the cloud, may not be a very wise idea.

As for the criminals that attacked Dyn Inc., congratulations. Did it feel good? I hope so, because all you did was jump out of your foxhole and yell “here I am.”

InfoWorld:

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Dyn DDoS attack exposes soft underbelly of the cloud

The DDoS attack against Dyn affected numerous websites, but the biggest victims are the enterprises that rely on SaaS for critical business operations…

…Sure, it’s a bad day for Dyn, trying to beat back the large volume of junk traffic pummeling its datacenter — as of Friday afternoon, the company was seeing a third wave of attacks — and it’s frustrating that users couldn’t get to the New York Times, Twitter, Pandora, Reddit, Pinterest, and so on.

But consider the plight of the IT administrator who has to explain to the rest of the organization certain corporate applications are unavailable because Okta, the service that handles authentication for those applications, is affected by the outage. Or the marketing teams that couldn’t do anything about the empty Twitter widgets on their sites.

Imagine the consternation at an e-commerce company when the Shopify apps aren’t working. Perhaps service representatives had to field complaints from customers who were unable to complete their purchases because the Shopify-powered shopping carts weren’t available or the entire storefront was loading slowly. The manager was unable to pull weekly sales reports from the dashboard, which would affect business decisions.


Just over ten months ago, New Media Investment Group announced that it has sold the Las Vegas Review-Journal for $140 million, The sale was stunning because it has just bought the paper earlier in the year for $102.5 million. Who would want to over pay for a print newspaper at a time when newspapers are losing their print advertising? Immediately speculation was that the real, new owner was Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who had had his share of run-ins with the paper.

Sure enough, Adelson was eventually exposed as the owner. “I find it hard to believe that he would have so dramatically overpaid for that paper without having some agenda in mind,” Nevada political commentator Jon Ralston told the NYT at the time of the sale.

Now, the paper has become the first fairly large metro daily to endorse Donald Trump for president, in what has to be the most money ever spent by someone to help a candidate. Will it be worth it?

Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Donald Trump for president

lvrj-trumpHistory tells us that agents for reform often generate fear and alarm among those intent on preserving their cushy sinecures. It’s hardly a shock, then, that the 2016 campaign has produced a barrage of unceasing vitriol directed toward Mr. Trump. But let us not be distracted by the social media sideshows and carnival clatter. Substantive issues are in play this November.

Our allies on the world stage watch nervously as America retreats from its position of strong leadership leaving strife and conflict rushing to fill the void. The past eight years have pushed us $20 trillion into debt, obligations that will burden our children and grandchildren. The nation’s economy sputters under the growing weight of federal edicts and regulations that smother growth and innovation. Obamacare threatens to crash and burn. The middle class struggles. An administration promising hope and unity instead brought division.

Yet Hillary Clinton promises to lead us down the same path. She’ll cuddle up to the ways and perks of Washington like she would to a cozy old blanket.


Is it too late for a corporate merger to become an issue in the presidential election? We’ll see, but the issue seems like an honest test of both candidates, especially Hillary Clinton. Is she the corporate surrogate that Trump says she is, or the progressive champion that the campaign likes to portray her as? is she willing to do the bidding of Wall Street, or is Elizabeth Warren right about her former colleague in the Senate?

But AT&T’s proposed merger with Time-Warner really should put to bed the concept that companies should be managed for the shareholders. Here we have Time-Warner a company that in the recent past spun-off Time Inc., burdening it with debt. The deal was approved because the shareholders they would be rewarded (as would management) with a dividend and shares in both companies. Now Time-Warner is being sold off, again with management and the shareholders benefiting. If this is the proper way to run a company we won’t have many companies left. As for customers, can one really argue that the spin-off created a better magazine company for readers, or that the merger of Time-Warner with AT&T will benefit viewers?

logo-att-color-trans-200x200The New York Times:

Swift Opposition to Resurrection of AT&T Giant

Reaction to AT&T’s $85.4 billion purchase was swift — and, outside of Wall Street, full of skepticism. Much of the concern was rooted in how consumers have fared since Comcast bought NBCUniversal, a deal that provided a template for the consolidation of media and telecommunications.

Acquisitions in general raise warning signs for regulators because of a reduction in competition. But combining a telecommunications company with a media company, in particular, raises questions about whether consumers would have less choice because the conglomerate both creates its own content and provides the pipes that deliver both its own offerings and its competitors’.

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