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Whitepages wants to end robocalls and spam texts once and for all. The online phone directory is spinning off Hiya Inc., formerly known as Whitepages Caller ID, to do just that.

Hiya pulls from a database of 1.5 billion numbers to identify a person or a business for incoming and outgoing calls to help with address book management. The app also signals to a user if the call is from a spam number and lets users block those callers. Hiya also shares news about the latest phone scams.

The company has been built for the last few years out of Whitepages, but founder Alex Algard said he'd identified more opportunity for the company to grow if it split from the core business. Hiya Inc. will now operate separately, based in Seattle, to further build on its software and lock down more deals with wireless carriers and phone manufacturers. It will operate with 40 of the 160 employees at Whitepages, the majority of whom are engineers. 

Source: International Business Times

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Imagine if you had to pay extra to not have anchovies on your pizza. Or to not have flames painted on the sides of your car. Crazy, right?

Yet the telecom industry for years has charged landline customers a monthly fee to not have their names listed in phone directories — a recurring fee for a service that isn't being provided and will continue to not be provided at the customer's request.

It's hard to imagine a more brazen consumer rip-off, especially at a time when most people struggle to reduce the volume of telemarketers and robocalls reaching their home.

That's why state lawmakers need to get behind AB 2795, a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Patty Lopez (D-San Fernando). It would prohibit phone service providers in California from charging a fee for unlisted numbers.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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Google is facing a huge fine and major disruption to the way it does business after European officials filed new antitrust charges against the company.

The European Commission said Google was abusing its market position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators. 

Source: CNN

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One of the country’s largest phone book publishers is planning to file for bankruptcy protection next month for the third time in seven years after efforts to reposition the company to thrive in the digital age fell short.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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The bidding process for Yahoo's Web assets has shaken out some interested parties, leaving Verizon as one of the frontrunners and making the value of its patent portfolio a wildcard in the complicated, multi-player process of breaking up Yahoo.

As ever with Yahoo's next steps, there could still be surprises in store. On Monday YP Holdings, the digital successor to the Yellow Pages, emerged as a bidder, according to Bloomberg. The company, which has 70 million users monthly, is submitting a merger proposal as part of Yahoo's first-round bid process, which ends Monday.  YP declined comment on the report.

Meanwhile, many of the expected dozens of companies thought to be potential bidders have fallen by the wayside with AT&T, Comcast, Alphabet, the parent company of Google, and IAC/Interactive, the Web media company chaired by Barry Diller, excusing themselves from the process, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited persons familiar with the situation.

Source: USA Today

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