Techmeme
January 19, 2022, 2:00 PM

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 stock fell 13% on Wednesday, its biggest drop since October 2008, wiping $20B off its valuation, after Microsoft announced its Activision Blizzard deal  —  Sony Group Corp. shares fell 13% in Tokyo on Wednesday, their biggest drop since October 2008, after PlayStation rival Microsoft Corp. announced …
Bloomberg:
Sources: Activision Blizzard tried to find other buyers, including Meta, while weighing a potential Microsoft takeover after the WSJ's exposé in November  —  Late last year, as Activision Blizzard Inc. and Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick were reeling from accusations that Kotick knew …
Microsoft:
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.
Carly Page / TechCrunch:
Password management service 1Password raises a $620M Series C led by Iconiq Growth at a $6.8B valuation and says it now has 100K+ paying customers  —  Password management platform 1Password has closed a massive $620 million Series C funding round that raises the company's valuation to $6.8 billion.
Steve Dent / Engadget:
Opera unveils Crypto Browser Project, 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 …
Dustin Volz / Wall Street Journal:
Biden signs a memorandum expanding the NSA's role in protecting sensitive government networks, and mandating cybersecurity practices at DoD and spy agencies  —  White House order mandates cybersecurity practices at Defense Department, spy agencies, contractors
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 …
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
Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch:
Ambient.ai, which uses AI to process live video footage from security cameras and alert users of 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.
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Instagram Subscriptions launches as an alpha in the US, initially letting 10 creators offer paid access to exclusive Instagram Live videos and Stories  —  Instagram is giving creators more ways to make money with today's launch of Instagram Subscriptions.  The feature, which was spotted hitting …
Katie Roof / Bloomberg:
Handshake, a diversity-focused recruitment network aimed at college students, raises a $200M Series F at a $3.5B valuation, up from $1.5B in May 2021  —  Handshake, a job network for recent college graduates, reached a valuation of $3.5 billion after a new round of financing.
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.
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 startup  —  Carry1st has raised $20 million in funding from marquee investors for its mobile game publishing platform targeted at unlocking demand in the African market.
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Filmhub, which lets filmmakers distribute their work to over 100 streaming channels, including Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV, raises a $6.8M seed led by a16z  —  As the streaming market grows, so has the demand for content.  But even though it's now easier than ever for filmmakers to create …
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
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.
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).
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.

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