Oracle to FCC: Don't Hand Google Keys to Kingdom

Computer giant Oracle is warning the FCC against its current iteration of a set-top box revamp, though it is not exactly clear what that latest version is.

Whatever it is, Oracle says it appears to hand Google "the keys to the MVPD castle."

Broadly, the FCC proposal is to require MVPDs to make an app available so that third party devices can incorporate MVPD content into their competitive devices. Chairman Tom Wheeler has not been able to get three votes for his proposal, which was pulled off a public meeting and remains on circulation where it can still be voted. But Republicans have warned the FCC not to vote it and would almost certainly try to block such a vote if it happened.

In a filing with the FCC, Oracle supports a pivot away from a set-top unlocking proposal toward an app-centric approach to more competition for the leased-from-MVPD boxes that now dominate the marketplace. But it says the FCC is "correctly recognizing that the future of video distribution is in applications, only to abandon consumers to companies that would enjoy largely unfettered access to multichannel video programming distributor ('MVPD') information and preferences without the consumers’ privacy protections afforded by cable and satellite providers."

Edge providers like Google are not subject to the same privacy regime as MVPDs or ISPs.

Wheeler has justified various new regs on the premise that the set-top proposal would eliminate MVPDs as gatekeepers, but Oracle says that is a false premise. 

"The proposal would merely replace a regional distributor, constrained by significant regulation, with a global, data-hungry, market-dominant Google, largely outside the FCC’s authority," it said.

Oracle warns the FCC from designating Google's Android as a widely deployed platform. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.