Techmeme
January 19, 2022, 11:40 AM

Top News

Wall Street Journal:
Sources: in recent weeks, CEO Bobby Kotick suggested Activision Blizzard make an acquisition, including of trade publications like Kotaku and PC Gamer  —  After a lawsuit and a Journal report, the company's stock was falling, board members were getting anxious—and the tech giant was ready to take a gamble
Bloomberg:
Sony's shares fell 13% on Wednesday, its biggest drop since October 2008, wiping $20B off its valuation, after Microsoft announced its Activision deal  —  Sony Group Corp. shares fell 13% in Tokyo on Wednesday, their biggest drop since October 2008, after PlayStation rival Microsoft Corp. announced …
Microsoft:
Microsoft plans to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7B in cash, or $95/share, in FY 2023; Activision's stock, which closed last week at $65.39, jumps 25%+  —  Legendary games, immersive interactive entertainment and publishing expertise accelerate growth in Microsoft's Gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud.
Bloomberg:
Peter Kafka / Vox:
CNBC:
Apple and Google warn of harmful consequences to user privacy and security from two proposed Senate antitrust bills scheduled to be considered this week  —  - Apple warned in a letter on Tuesday that antitrust bills being considered in the Senate would increase the risk of security breaches to iPhone users.
Makena Kelly / The Verge:
Democratic lawmakers unveil the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act, which would ban targeted ads but allow broad location-based and contextual ads  —  It could reshape the entire tech industry  —  On Tuesday, Democrats introduced a new bill that would ban nearly all use …
Steve Dent / Engadget:
Opera unveils Crypto Browser Project, with a beta browser for Windows, Mac, and Android, with a crypto wallet, access to crypto/NFT exchanges, dApps, and more  —  Opera has launched its Web3 “Crypto Browser” into beta with features like a built-in crypto wallet, easy access to cryptocurrency/NFT exchanges …
NBC News:
Snapchat's friend recommendation feature will no longer suggest users under 18, unless they have a certain number of friends in common, to curb drug dealing  —  Exclusive: Snapchat executive on company's efforts to stop sale of counterfeit pills  —  Snapchat's parent company announced Tuesday …
Wall Street Journal:
AT&T and Verizon temporarily restrict 5G expansion near US airports, but a few airlines will still suspend some flights on Wednesday amid Boeing's guidance  —  Flight suspensions occur even as AT&T and Verizon agree to limit signals within 2 miles of runways to address air-safety concerns
Noah Kirsch / The Daily Beast:
Internal memo: Better.com CEO Vishal Garg resumes full-time duties over a month after taking time off following his controversial firing of ~900 staff on Zoom  —  The volatile founder had laid off hundreds of workers in an emotionless webinar, triggering widespread scorn online.
Andrew Asmakov / Decrypt:
Crypto.com halted withdrawals on Monday and required users to sign back in and reset 2FA; research shows it lost 4,600+ ETH, worth ~$15M, in a presumed hack  —  The crypto exchange has reportedly lost at least $15 million in Ethereum, and security experts believe the true losses could be much higher.
Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch:
Ambient.ai, which uses AI to process live video footage from security cameras and alert users about any breaches, raises $52M led by a16z  —  Security — as in “hey you, you can't go in there” — quickly becomes a complex, arguably impossible job once you get past a few buildings and cameras.
Kate Rooney / CNBC:
The US OCC and Federal Reserve approve SoFi's bid to become a bank holding company via its Golden Pacific Bancorp acquisition; SoFi stock jumps 16%+ after hours  —  - San Francisco-based SoFi got approval from its two key regulators to become a bank holding company.
Emma Betuel / TechCrunch:
Gale Healthcare, which matches nurses with available work shifts at hospitals or clinics, raises $60M from FTV Capital and says 40K nurses use its service  —  If there was ever a rubber-meets road moment for six-year-old app Gale Healthcare Solutions, it's probably right now.
Natasha Mascarenhas / TechCrunch:
Wheel, which provides tools enabling health providers or employers to offer telehealth services, raises a $150M Series C, bringing its total funding to $216M  —  When Michelle Davey was first building Wheel, a healthcare platform that helps staff clinical workforces, she had to convince investors …
Arjun Kharpal / CNBC:
Chinese government data shows domestic smartphone shipments grew 15.9% YoY to 342.8M units in 2021, below the 371.7M smartphones shipped in 2019  —  - China domestic smartphone shipments jumped 15.9% year-on-year in 2021 to 342.8 million units, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).
Dean Takahashi / VentureBeat:
South Africa-based mobile games publisher Carry1st raises a $20M Series A extension led by a16z, the firm's first investment in an Africa-headquartered company  —  Carry1st has raised $20 million in funding from marquee investors for its mobile game publishing platform targeted at unlocking demand in the African market.
Keith Romer / New York Times:
AI tools can generate an optimal poker strategy, balancing bluffing and playing it straight, which some professional players are using to augment their play  —  Good poker players have always known that they need to maintain a balance between bluffing and playing it straight.  Now they can do so perfectly.
Todd Spangler / Variety:
YouTube says it's winding down YouTube Originals after six years and will only fund programs that are part of its Black Voices and YouTube Kids Funds  —  YouTube is getting out of the business of originals: The Google-owned video giant said it is winding down its original productions team after more than six years.
Clive Cookson / Financial Times:
The Royal Society finds social media sites banning misleading content is ineffective and can drive misinformation to “harder-to-address corners of the internet”  —  Risks of removing information rejected by the mainstream outweigh benefits, according to the Royal Society

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