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Dark Ritual Interrupted; Unholy Merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast Killed

Someone high up in corporate must have run out of chicken bones or rat tails, because the bad customer service singularity that would have been the Time Warner Cable/Comcast merged entity (working name Jörmungandr, the World-Eater) has officially been killed.

After the FCC and the Justice Department increased scrutiny of the proposed deal that would have seen Comcast buy Time Warner Cable for an unfathomable $45 billion, Comcast has decided to back down, releasing a statement today saying they are no longer pursuing the merger (Time Warner Cable also released a statement). According to a New York Times report, the deal would have given the merged entity nearly 30 percent market share of paid television and, more significantly, 57 percent market share of broadband internet service.

The deal was roundly criticized for being anti-competitive, with fears that the Time Warner Cable and Comcast would use their combined muscle to squeeze entertainment companies for better deals while still increasing rates for customers. Well, that, and no one in the nation trusts Comcast or Time Warner Cable individually—don’t need to say much about what they’d think of the combination of the two.

The criticism of the deal being anti-competitive was doubted by some, which is actually fair, because it’s worth remembering that Comcast and Time Warner Cable don’t actually compete with each other—they’ve divvied up the nation between themselves and mostly don’t step foot on the other’s territory, so they couldn’t have become any more anti-competitive than they already are. Fortunately, their little collusion game didn’t fly as a reason for the merger and neither side is going to force the issue, I guess because they already have a pretty sweet racket going as it is.

This is fantastic news. This is like if Dr. Frankenstein stitched up his monster, got it on the table, and then was like “You know, this is probably a bad idea” and shut down the experiment. The only difference is that the pieces of the monster are still sentient—but with streaming media rapidly expanding and Google Fiber looming on the horizon, those pieces are looking smaller every day.

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