TIME Military

Check Out This New Wish List for U.S. Special Ops

Enduring Freedom
A U.S. Special Forces soldier hunting for Taliban inside a compound in Wardak province, Afghanistan. Army Photo / Staff Sgt. William Newman

High on their list: a "Concealable/Take Down Urban Sniper Rifle"

The U.S. military’s commandos are among the best in the world. But they can always get better. That means faster, lighter, deadlier, cheaper. So that’s why U.S. Special Operations Command issued a formal request for “Advancement of Technologies in Equipment for Use by U.S. Special Operations Forces” on Monday.

“USSOCOM is interested in receiving white papers from all responsible sources from industry, academia, individuals, and Government laboratories capable of providing the design, construction, and testing of SOF related technologies,” Special Ops headquarters in Tampa, Fla., says.

Many of the wished-for technologies simply improve on existing gear. But others seem like blue-sky fantasies.

Since everyone else seems to be carrying concealed weapons lately, why not U.S. Special Forces:

Concealable/Take Down Urban Sniper Rifle (CUSR). The CUSR is a small and light sniper rifle that can be rapidly dissembled for concealed carry and rapidly reassembled by the operator to engage target. CUSR desired characteristics include accurate (1 Minute Of Angle at 300m), lightweight (12 lbs. Threshold, 8 lbs. Objective), fit in small case (12 in. x 20 in. Threshold, 12 in. x 16 in. Objective), and compatible with current suppressor or include suppressed barrel.

Not to mention their everyday weapon:

Personnel Defense Weapon (PDW). The PDW is significantly smaller and lighter than the M4A1 with capabilities beyond any pistol. There are two types of interest, those based on an operator/unit armor modification to a M4A1 carbine and those based on a unique weapon design, both of which must fire standard 5.56mm X 45mm NATO ammunition. PDW desired characteristics include lightweight (6 lbs. Threshold, 5 lbs. Objective), concealable (18 in. Threshold, 16 in. Objective), effectively fired in its collapsed configuration, semi/full automatic, and rapidly employed from concealed carry.

Some high-powered bullets would be nice:

.338 Lapua Magnum Anti-Materiel Ammunition. .338 Lapua magnum anti-materiel ammunition that would be fired from the Precision Sniper Rifle at ranges from 500m-1500m. Anti-materiel .338 Lapua desired characteristics include armor piercing capability to penetrate Level IV body armor (500m Threshold, 800m Objective), cinder block greater than 12 in., 10% Gel, and stop vehicle/small boat engines.

As would kinder, gentler rounds:

Stopping/Disabling Individuals. Technologies that can stop/disable individuals for an extended duration, remain less lethal, and be useable on combatant and noncombatant individuals. The effect must immediately prohibit the individual’s ability to perform a useful function at ranges greater than 6 ft.

Not to mention area-denial options:

Deny Area/Isolate Objective. Technologies that use less lethal payloads to prevent combatant and noncombatant individuals from entering a specific area for a specified period of time.

We’ve got guided missiles … why not guided bullets?

Precision Guided Small Arms Munitions. Small unit organic munitions capable of delivering highly accurate kinetic effects on stationary, moving, soft targets, or the interior of hardened targets at ranges beyond crew served weapons effective range. Potential material approaches may include guided 40mm tube launched grenades; self-propelled, precision-guided, handheld grenades; guided 84mm Carl Gustav munitions; and handheld guided kinetically armed unmanned aerial systems.

And boosted brainpower, via drugs or other means, would surely be an advantage:

Electroencephalography monitors for real-time measurement of brain activity and quantification of loading, applicable technologies to measure/quantify neurocognitive loading, technologies (i.e. nanotechnology/biotechnology) and neutraceutical and/or pharmacological enhancements to increase neuroperformance.

Time lag in video games is a drag. Inside battlefield electronics, it can be deadly:

Decrease in latency of ground systems to less than one millisecond from external activity to viewing by Operator. Decrease in latency of ground systems to less than one millisecond from Operator activity to external action.

Calling Google!

Heads up Display (HUD) technology for day or night operations that is low profile (e.g. form factor of eyeglasses/sunglasses), securely and wirelessly imports and exports FMV or data feeds, supports augmented reality, integrated sensors, is configurable with software applications (“apps”), offers or collects actionable battlefield information, and provides map displays with situational awareness data.

Finally, a technology that would be hailed by civilians just as much as soldiers:

Through-wall imaging/sensing.

“The intent,” the Special Ops command says, “is to accelerate the delivery of innovative capabilities to the SOF warfighter.” Developers are invited to submit five-page proposals, complete with cost and schedule estimates, before June 12 for possible Pentagon funding.


Sponsors Cut Ties to Clippers Following Owner’s Alleged Racist Remarks

Donald Sterling Clippers Racism
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling at the NBA basketball game between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles on Dec. 27, 2012. Landov

A rapidly growing number of companies are suspending or ending their sponsorships of the Los Angeles Clippers amid widespread fallout over owner Donald Sterling's alleged racist remarks, which they labeled "completely unacceptable" and "offensive"

Updated 5:18 p.m. Eastern

The fallout from Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s alleged racist remarks started to hit the team’s bottom line on Monday, as at least a dozen sponsors said they were jumping ship.

Automaker Mercedes-Benz, used car retailer CarMax, airline Virgin America and the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif. all announced they were ending their sponsorships of the Clippers. “CarMax finds the statements attributed to the Clippers’ owner completely unacceptable,” the company said in a statement Monday. “These views directly conflict with CarMax’s culture of respect for all individuals. While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for 9 years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship.”

Other companies distanced themselves from the racial controversy now engulfing the Clippers without indicating they were making a permanent break. Automaker Kia is suspending its advertising and sponsorship related to the Clippers indefinitely. “The comments allegedly made by Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, are offensive and reprehensible, and they are inconsistent with our views and values,” the company said in a statement.

Red Bull said in a statement that it is suspending all team-related marketing activities for the time being. The company says it will continue to support the team’s power forward Blake Griffin, with whom it has a sponsorship deal. Sprint, Aquahydrate, LoanMart and Yokohama Tires are also suspending their Clippers marketing.

Insurance company State Farm, meanwhile, is “pausing” its Clippers sponsorship. “The remarks attributed to the Clippers’ owner are offensive,” State Farm said in an emailed statement. “While those involved sort out the facts, we will be taking a pause in our relationship with the organization. We are monitoring the situation and we’ll continually assess our options.”

State Farm’s decision will not affect the “Born to Assist” advertising campaign, which features Clippers point guard Chris Paul portraying a nerdier twin brother, Cliff Paul.

Amtrak said its sponsorship of the Clippers ended with the conclusion of the regular season, but the company will now remove any advertisements that remain in public. “Moving forward, we will continue to monitor the situation as we look to make decisions about 2014-15 sports marketing sponsorships,” Amtrak said in a statement.

Anheuser-Busch, a sponsor for the entire NBA, also condemned Sterling’s alleged remarks. “We are disappointed to hear the alleged recent comments attributed to L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling,” the company said in a statement. “We fully support the NBA’s efforts to investigate quickly and trust that they will take appropriate action.”

After initially saying it was reviewing its relationship with the Clippers, Corona also suspended its sponsorship of the team late Monday. “Like everyone else, Corona is appalled by the comments allegedly made by the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers,” a spokeswoman for the brand said an emailed statement. “These comments run counter to the type of brand Corona aspires to be. Because of this, we are suspending our sponsorship agreement with the Clippers until the NBA completes its investigation.

Sterling has been under fire since a recording published over the weekend by TMZ purportedly depicted him criticizing his girlfriend for associating with black people in public, including Magic Johnson. President Barack Obama, Miami Heat star LeBron James and Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan have all spoken out publicly against the comments, and Clippers players staged their own mild protest against Sterling before their playoff game versus the Golden State Warriors on Sunday by wearing their warmup shirts inside out.

Sterling’s representatives have neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the audio. The NBA quickly said it would investigate, and the league is set to hold a news conference on Tuesday to make an announcement about its investigation.

“Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings,” the team said in a statement. “It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them.”

TIME marketing

Burger King’s Subservient Chicken Is Back

Burger King Subservient Chicken ad
This Burger King advertisement appeared in the New York Times Apr. 27, 2014 Burger King

This time, the chicken's room is empty

Burger King’s subservient chicken is back, but he’s on the loose. The fast-food chain is reviving its clever digital ad campaign, now 10 years old. In its original incarnation, the subservient chicken was a man-sized beast trapped in a nondescript living room that users could control online by typing hundreds of commands. If you told the chicken to moonwalk or pee on the couch, he would dutifully obey. The campaign was crafted to promote Burger King’s new TenderCrisp chicken sandwich at the time, and it aligned nicely with the company’s “Have it Your Way” slogan. It was viral marketing in the days before YouTube.

Now, the chicken’s room is empty, and Burger King is “desprately trying to find him,” according to an error message on the campaign’s promotional website. A series of stills from security cameras show the chicken prowling in parking decks and dark city streets. The fast-food chain has also taken out ads in several newspapers that look like missing person notices. Burger King is encouraging people to use the hashtag “#FindTheChicken” to promote the campaign, which is for the company’s new Chicken Big King sandwich.

Later this week Burger King will debut a short online film about the fleeting fame of Internet celebrities, featuring “Saved by the Bell” star Dustin Diamond. And it’s likely that the chicken will eventually be found and resume his subservient antics sometime soon. The original campaign racked up one billion online views, according to Ad Age.

TIME robotics

Watch: Google’s Self-Driving Cars Head to the City

The tech giant's futuristic project is looking to overcome the obstacles of urban driving in Mountain View, Calif. after logging nearly 700,000 miles mostly on freeways

The Google self-driving car project is training its sights on city streets.

The project’s cars have already logged nearly 700,000 miles, primarily on the freeway around Google’s hometown of Mountain View, Calif. Now, Google is teaching its cars to expertly navigate the streets of Mountain View, overcoming new obstacles like bikers swerving into the lane and crossing guards holding up stop signs, the company said in its first blog update on the project since Aug. 2012.

“A mile of city driving is much more complex than a mile of freeway driving, with hundreds of different objects moving according to different rules of the road in a small area,” Chris Urmson, director of the project, writes in the post.

The Google cars may drive themselves, but a driver still stays in the car to take over if necessary, and Urmson writes that the project is still teaching its cars to perfect the streets of Mountain View before they tackle other towns. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in 2012 you could “count on one hand the number of years until people, ordinary people, can experience this,” according to the Associated Press.


TIME deals

Comcast To Give Up Millions of Users To Grease Time Warner Cable Deal

The Comcast Center, home to Comcast's corporate headquarters, in Philadelphia
The Comcast Center, home to Comcast's corporate headquarters, in Philadelphia. William Thomas Cain—Getty Images

The nation's largest broadband company will sell a large number of users to Charter and swap others with its smaller rival as it looks to secure regulatory approval of its $45 million bid to buy Time Warner Cable

Comcast is promising to sell more than one million video customers to smaller cable rival Charter in order to win U.S. approval of its $45 billion bid to buy Time Warner Cable, the companies said Monday.

The divesture plan, which was expected, is part of a complex three-way deal to swap millions of other customers with Charter and create a new spinoff company in the Midwest. The deal is designed to ensure that Comcast stays below a total national cable market share of 30%.

If the merger and divestiture plan is approved by federal regulators, it would make Charter the second largest cable company in the country. Comcast, the nation’s largest broadband company, has pledged to abide by the 30% cable market share cap, as it tries to win regulatory approval of the Time Warner Cable deal.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has twice thrown out an FCC cap limiting cable ownership to 30% of the pay-TV market; the most recent decision was in 2009. Although Comcast isn’t bound by the cap, it voluntarily pledged to jettison more than three million subscribers to help ease approval of the deal when it was announced.

The terms of the three-way deal are complex. Charter will acquire 1.4 million Time Warner Cable subscribers, making it the second-largest cable operator in the United States. Comcast and Charter will swap 1.6 million subscribers. The post-merger Comcast will transfer 2.5 million subscribers to a new publicly traded company spun off from Comcast. Comcast shareholders will own two-thirds of the new company, with Charter owning the remaining third.

Comcast and Charter will transfer assets serving approximately 1.6 million existing Time Warner Cable customers and 1.6 million Charter customers in a tax-efficient like kind exchange, improving the geographic presence of both companies,” the companies said in a statement.

As part of the deal, the combined Comcast-Time Warner Cable will gain new subscribers in Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, and New York. The new, still unnamed cable company will gain subscribers in Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Minneapolis.

For cable-industry pioneer John C. Malone, who is Charter’s largest shareholder, acquiring more than a million new subscribers from Comcast is something of consolation prize. Malone, whose Liberty Media group owns a 27% stake in Charter, is a legendary figure in U.S. telecom and media markets. More than a decade ago, Malone made a fortune by leading efforts to consolidate the cable industry. Liberty Media made a run at Time Warner Cable late last year, but was outbid by Comcast.

Charter will pay $7.3 billion for the new subscribers as part of the deal, according to Reuters, which values the overall divestment at about $20 billion.

“As a result of these transactions, following the completion of the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, Comcast’s managed residential subscribers will be below 30 percent of the total MVPD subscribers in the United States,” Comcast said in a statement. Charter’s subscriber base will increase by 1.4 million to a total of 5.7 million, the company said.

The sale and swap has been approved by the boards of directors of both Comcast and Charter, and Time Warner Cable’s board has agreed as well, the companies announced Monday morning in a statement. Comcast says it plans to spin off a new company provisionally titled “SpinCo” after the merger. The new company will have more than two million subscribers.

Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, wants to buy Time Warner Cable in a blockbuster merger worth about $45 billion. The proposed deal is being intensely scrutinized by the U.S. government, including the Justice Department, which will address antitrust concerns, and the Federal Communications Commission, which will address public interest issues. More than two dozen state attorneys general have joined the feds in looking at the deal.

TIME Media

Inside Microsoft’s Bold Plan to Bring Interactive TV to Xbox

Xbox One
An Xbox One and its controller on display at the Microsoft Xbox booth during the Electronics Expo 2013 Kevork Djansezian--Getty Images

At the 2001 Consumer Electronics Show, Bill Gates debuted a hulking black box that he thought would one day take over the living room. “Music, television, reading and gaming, none of them will be the same,” he predicted during the keynote speech where he unveiled the original Xbox. “We will soon see an era of extreme entertainment.”

Gates was right. Thirteen years later, the media landscape has fractured into a thousand pieces, and consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to what they read, listen to and watch. Tech companies like Netflix and Amazon are now beating out traditional cable networks for the rights to premium, long-form video content. A show originally distributed via the Internet has won an Emmy Award. And now Microsoft, the company that once seemed hopelessly out of depth trying to make video games, believes it can also conquer the world of television.

This week the company is orchestrating a coming-out party of sorts for Xbox Entertainment Studios, the new video unit that aims to make TV shows tailored directly toward the 85 million gamers that own the Xbox 360 or the Xbox One. The division, helmed by former CBS and Warner Bros. executive Nancy Tellem, has ambitious plans to make TV a more social and interactive experience.

“It’s effectively a startup,” says Tellem, who joined Microsoft just a year and half ago.. “We face all the same challenges.”

The first programming will be pegged to big summer events. Every Street United will follow soccer greats Thierry Henry and Edgar Davids as they attempt to assemble street soccer teams in the leadup to the World Cup in Brazil in June. The music festival Bonnaroo will also be streamed exclusively on the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One in June. Later in the year, Microsoft will debut Signal to Noise, a series of documentary films relating to technology that will touch on topics like the video game industry crash of 1983, the birth of Napster and the black market website Silk Road.

Shows earlier in development include Humans, an adaptation of a Swedish thriller about robotic servants run amok, and Fearless, a reality show about an Australian shark attack survivor who helps people perform daring stunts. There’s also a variety show by Sarah Silverman and Michael Cera in the works, as well as a comedy from the creators of Robot Chicken that places stop-motion animated characters in a live-action world. The announced titles are all squarely in the wheelhouse of the Xbox’s young, male demographic, but without the patronizing tone of the failed G4 gaming channel or Spike’s annual televised video game awards.

Many of these shows will feature interactive elements that aren’t possible on traditional television. During the Bonnaroo webcast, fans will be able to flick between stages and potentially Skype with artists after their sets. On Fearless, viewers can select from multiple camera angles as they watch the show. Other ideas are more abstract. The company is testing what it calls “time-shifted comments,” where users’ tweets and other messages are appended to the moment of a show they reference (similar to comments on Soundcloud audio tracks). The Xbox One’s Kinect camera may also play a role—Tellum offered a scenario where a horror show might raise the volume if the Kinect detected that a viewer had buried his face in his hands in fear.

Tellem says it’s these types of features that will make the Xbox stand out from the ever-increasing glut of video options. “Everyone’s coming in with original content as a differentiator,” Tellem says. “Our real differentiator is offering true interactivity.”

Beyond the new IPs, Microsoft will also leverage its catalog of hit video games. Halo, by far the company’s biggest gaming property, will be developed into both a movie produced by Ridley Scott and a TV show produced by Steven Spielberg. Other games like Gears of War, Fable and Forza are also being considered for potential shows. “We’re effectively their in-house [production] arm,” Tellem says of her team’s relationship with the gaming studios. “We’re very conscious about the brands, about the fans.”

Tellem is mum on the pricing plans for all this new content, but it’s likely at least some if it will be used to drive subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold, Microsoft’s paid online service that provides access to a bevy of gaming and multimedia features for $60 per year. Advertising will likely also play some role. Microsoft is presenting its lineup of shows at this week’s digital “NewFronts” in New York, when advertisers will get a preview of lineups offered by digital-native platforms such as YouTube, AOL and Xbox.

Primarily, though, TV shows offer a new way to differentiate the Xbox One from its chief competitor, the PlayStation 4. In a world where video game exclusives are increasingly rare—even the sequel to the high-profile Xbox-only shooter Titanfall is expected to appear on the PS4—original shows may be the best way to stand out. “We don’t think there will be a lot of exclusive game content going forward because the math doesn’t really work out,” says Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. “They realized they needed to augment that service by offering other stuff. It’s exactly the same model as Amazon with Prime, offering video.” Shoring up must-have content is especially critical at the moment, with the Xbox One trailing the PS4 in sales.

Of course, Microsoft is as well-known for its failed experiments. The company pitched interactive TV more than a decade ago when it bought WebTV for $425 million—that initiative never gained traction and was quietly shuttered last year. And making a TV hit requires a mixture of talent, money and dumb luck that none of the online players besides Netflix has yet achieved.

Can Microsoft invade a sector of the entertainment industry where they have little experience to become a power player? Well, they’ve done it before. “The Xbox is the one hardware device that Microsoft makes that’s been willfully successful,” Pachter says. “They’re prudently trying to exploit the really successful brand to drive another strategy.”

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles – Full

TIME Economy

Report: Low-Pay Jobs Replace High-Pay Jobs Since Recession

A diner sits next to a help wanted sign at a McDonalds restaurant in the Brooklyn borough of New York, on March 7, 2014.
A diner sits next to a help wanted sign at a McDonalds restaurant in the Brooklyn borough of New York, on March 7, 2014. Keith Bedford—Reuters

A new report by the National Employment Law Project finds that unsteady economic recovery has been powered by the replacement of high-earning jobs lost in the recession with low-paying positions in the service industry

Even as the economy has slowly emerged from the worst downturn since the Great Depression, job growth since 2008 has come predominantly in the form of low-wage service industry jobs replacing high-earning jobs lost in the recession, according to a new report.

Although employment rates have roughly reached pre-recession levels, most of the jobs gained since 2008 have been in lower-wage industries, according to a report from the National Employment Law Project. Lower-wage industries accounted for 22% of recession job losses, but are responsible for 44% of the hiring in the recovery. There are now almost two million more low-wage workers than there were at the start of the recession, according to the report.

High-wage jobs accounted for 41% of job losses but have only grown 30% since the recession, and mid-wage jobs made up 37% of job losses but only 26% of recent employment growth. That means there are almost two million fewer high- and mid-wage jobs than there were before the 2008 collapse, according to the report.

After 49 consecutive months of jobs growth, employment levels are roughly back to where they were before the collapse. The growth in low-wage jobs has been powered in part by retail and by the food and beverage industry.

The report focused on the private sector, but local government employment has declined by 627,000 jobs since the recession, with 44% of those losses taken from local education.

TIME Companies

Pfizer’s $100 Billion Bid for AstraZeneca ‘Imminent’

Cholesterol drugs, Crestor, left, manufactured by AstraZeneca Plc, and Lipitor, manufactured by Pfizer Inc., are arranged for a photrograph at New London Pharmacy in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, April 6, 2010. JB Reed—Bloomberg / Getty Images

An expected deal worth $100 billion would add to an already feverish year for health care industry deals, racking up a worldwide total of $1 trillion. The union would also combine two promising strands of cancer drugs

Pfizer is reportedly readying a bid for pharmaceutical rival AstraZeneca in a deal that would create a $300 billion behemoth offering drugs for most major health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

The last year has seen a flurry of action in the health care industry, with a total deal volume of $1 trillion worldwide. The Financial Times has previously reported on Pfizer’s interest in U.K. firm AstraZeneca, and now the Wall Street Journal quotes people familiar with the matter as saying an offer of around $100 billion is “imminent.”

One of the most tempting prospects of the tie-up would be to combine Pfizer’s targeted cancer therapies with AstraZeneca’s immunotherapies, which are broadly viewed as the next wave of lucrative cancer treatments.

The deal would follow Valeant Pharmaceuticals International’s offer last week to buy Allergan Inc. for almost $46 billion, and Novartis AG’s deals to sell and exchange businesses with GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Eli Lilly & Co. in deals worth more than $20 billion.


TIME Technology & Media

RadiumOne CEO Fired After Pleading Guilty to Domestic Violence Charges

Fox Searchlight 2009 Oscar Party - Inside
RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal Todd Williamson—WireImage/Getty Images

The advertising platform fired its CEO, founder and chairman Gurbaksh Chahal Saturday night, two weeks after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and domestic violence charges for assaulting his girlfriend. Bill Lonergan, the company’s COO, will replace Chahal

Advertising platform RadiumOne fired its CEO, founder and chairman Gurbaksh Chahal Saturday night, two weeks after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and domestic violence charges for assaulting his girlfriend.

RadiumOne’s board voted to replace Chahal with Bill Lonergan, the company’s COO, according to a statement released Sunday.

Chahal faced 45 felony charges for allegedly hitting and kicking his girlfriend 117 times over a 30-minute period. However, the felony charges were dropped after a video that allegedly showed the incident was deemed inadmissible as evidence by the judge because it was illegally taken from his apartment.

Chahal paid a $500 fine and received three years of probation after pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charges.

The now-former CEO defended himself in a blog post Sunday, saying that he merely had a “normal argument” with his girlfriend after he discovered she was having “unprotected sex for money with other people.” Chahal denied injuring his girlfriend in the argument.

TIME Technology & Media

Barry Diller: Supreme Court’s Aereo Decision Could Have ‘Profound Effects’

IAC/InterActive Corp. Chairman Barry Diller Interview
Barry Diller, chairman and chief executive officer of IAC/InterActiveCorp., speaks during an interview in New York, April 1, 2014. Scott Eells—Bloomberg/Getty Images

As the Supreme Court considers a suit against Aereo, investor and media mogul Barry Diller said that a decision to shut down the Internet streaming service could have "profound effects" on the development of an important technology

Aereo investor and media mogul Barry Diller said Sunday that a Supreme Court decision to shut down the Internet streaming service would have “profound effects on the development of technology.”

A Supreme Court ruling against Aereo could shut down an incipient technology before it has the chance to fully develop, Diller said in a Sunday interview with CNN, comparing the service to earlier revolutionary advancements.

“It’s almost like saying, ‘what if there was no telephone?,” said Diller. “If [the Supreme Court justices] stop it—which they very well may—I don’t think it’s the end of any world because we’ll not really know, but I think … if it stops, it will have profound effects on the developments of technology.”

Diller’s comments were his first since the Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case pitting the upstart Aereo against major broadcasters, including CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox. The U.S. Department of Justice has also filed a brief in support of the broadcasters, who argue Aereo is infringing on their copyright by streaming free, over-the-air television and sending it to subscribers over the Internet.

Aereo, which does not pay retransmission fees to broadcasters, maintains that it doesn’t run afoul of copyright law, as it provides each subscriber with access to an individual tiny antenna which captures broadcasters’ streams. That, Aereo says, means it’s providing “private performances,” not “public performances,” the latter of which are subject to copyright law.

Two federal courts sided with Aereo in decisions made last year, but broadcasters won a third court battle. The Supreme Court’s decision regarding Aereo’s legality will have direct implications for the company, but also set an important precedent for television and Internet technology moving forward.


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