(This article is part of Today’s Cache, The Hindu’s newsletter on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, innovation and policy. To get it in your inbox, subscribe here.)
Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal approved
U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley has decided not to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, saying that federal regulators were unable to prove how it would damage the gaming sector. The ruling comes just days before the “break up” fee kicks in for not completing the takeover. Microsoft would have had to pay a $3 billion “break up” fee to videogame maker Activision Blizzard if the deal did not go through.
To allay regulatory fears, Microsoft said that Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty would be accessible on Nintendo’s Switch console and Nvidia’s cloud gaming service and other platforms for a minimum of ten years. The ruling was criticised by some who pointed out that Judge Corley’s son worked at Microsoft.
Elon Musk’s insults boost Mark Zuckerberg’s image
While Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has suffered a reputational crisis for several years due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Facebook’s poor user privacy track record, Twitter owner Elon Musk’s recent comments and actions have helped present Zuckerberg as a more competent tech company head. As Meta unrolled its text-based conversation app Threads, Musk’s lawyer threatened to sue Zuckerberg while the Tesla billionaire called him names and urged him to fight. Zuckerberg’s responses, for the most part, were more mature and less aggressive in tone.
With Threads seeing around 100 million sign-ups within a week of launching even as Twitter users struggle with daily tweet reading limits, Zuckerberg’s critics are also starting to rethink their assessment of him and Meta’s thorny relationship with regulators.
Amazon stresses on low-cost cloud computing
At the Reuters MOMENTUM conference in Sydney, Amazon’s vice president overseeing its applications group, Dilip Kumar, spoke about how Amazon Web Services (AWS) would make a place for itself in the market by lowering the costs for clients working on generative AI. While Amazon is the largest cloud provider by revenue, Microsoft and Google are its main competitors in the burgeoning generative AI space. Amazon has instead offered cheaper services and more focus on accuracy.
The VP did not go into the details of how Amazon’s AI models, Titan, compared to the Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s GPT series or Google’s PaLM. He suggested that Amazon’s existing clients using its cloud services could also use its services for generative AI projects.