T-Mobile, Sprint Resume Talks to Merge to Take On Verizon, AT&T

Today’s topics include a report that the T-Mobile and Sprint merger talks are back on; a Google Docs glitch blocking users from accessing documents; Microsoft using AI to revamp its Word translation tool; and Synopsys acquiring Black Duck to boost software integrity.

The on-again, off-again merger talks between mobile carriers T-Mobile and Sprint have reportedly resumed after T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom submitted a revised proposal last week, according to a Nov. 2 Wall Street Journal report.

The new proposal comes six days after Masayoshi Son, CEO of Sprint parent SoftBank, rejected an earlier proposal reportedly because SoftBank didn't want to give up management control of Sprint. Deutsche Telekom wants a controlling interest in Sprint mainly because T-Mobile has dramatically outperformed Sprint in recent years. The merger would put the combined company more on par with dominating competitors Verizon and AT&T, in terms of subscribers and revenue.

According to the Journal, T-Mobile CEO John Legere spoke with Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure on Nov. 1 "after a T-Mobile board meeting in New York where directors agreed to renew their overtures to Sprint to keep the deal alive.”

Angry Google Docs users slammed the company last week over being abruptly denied access to what they claimed were critical files. Several users on Oct. 31 reported on Twitter and the Google Docs Help Forum that their apparently innocuous content had been flagged as inappropriate and could not be shared. Others said they were informed their content was in violation of Google's terms of service.

In a formal explanation, Google on Nov. 2 said the problem had resulted from a "short-lived bug" in the automated systems used to scan Google Drive content for malware, phishing and spam.

The entire episode appears to have stirred some concern over Google's process for scanning, flagging and blocking documents in Google Docs. "It is suspect enough that Google is apparently scanning private internal documents," a user on the Help Forum noted. "But by using some arbitrary algorithm to flag content they deem to be in violation of their [Terms Of Service] pretty much calls into question the validity of Google Docs as a serious repository for documents."

Thanks to Microsoft accelerating the pace of its software updates, Word now features a vastly improved built-in translation tool for users who routinely need to decipher documents authored in other languages.

"You can now translate sections of text, or your entire document, and review or save the result as a regular document file," said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president at Microsoft Office. "Translator supports 60 languages, including 11 that use neural machine translation, providing superior quality and fluency to help you work more confidently."

Like Google, Microsoft employs artificial intelligence, using neural network systems to improve the quality of translated text. The new language features in Word can be found under the Review menu item.

Software integrity vendor Synopsys announced on Nov. 1 that it is acquiring privately held Black Duck Software for $565 million.

Founded in 2002, Black Duck Software develops a software composition analysis platform that helps organizations understand and secure their open-source software development efforts and deployments. Black Duck will become part of Synopsys’ Software Integrity Group, whose goal is to help organizations verify and secure the integrity of software applications.

"We believe the acquisition will extend the depth of the Software Integrity portfolio, strengthen the Synopsys brand and enhance our effectiveness in the IT security market,” said Jim Ivers, vice president of marketing for the Synopsys Software Integrity Group.