Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal gets global scrutiny
Microsoft’s plan to buy video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion could have major effects on the gaming industry, transforming the Xbox maker into something like a Netflix for video games by giving it control of many more popular titles.
Foundations offer cities help convincing workers to relocate
A new effort in Northwest Arkansas offering $10,000 incentives to new residents is part of an increasing number of philanthropy-financed projects trying to spark economic development, promote civic and cultural life, attract skilled workers, and offset declining or sparse populations.
How Big Tech created a data 'treasure trove' for police
When U.S. law enforcement officials need to cast a wide net for information, they’re increasingly turning to the vast digital ponds of personal data created by Big Tech companies via the devices and online services that have hooked billions of people around the world.
Microsoft wins $22 billion deal making headsets for US Army
Microsoft says it has won a nearly $22 billion contract to supply U.S. Army combat troops with its virtual reality headsets. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)Microsoft won a nearly $22 billion contract to supply U.S. Army combat troops with its augmented reality headsets. Microsoft and the Army separately announced the deal Wednesday. The technology is based on Microsoft's HoloLens headsets, which were originally intended for the video game and entertainment industries. The new contract will enable Microsoft to mass produce units for more than 120,000 soldiers in the Army Close Combat Force.
Tech firms say there's little doubt Russia behind major hack
FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia, SolarWinds CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna and Microsoft President Brad Smith testify during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 in Washington. In the first congressional hearing on the breach, representatives of technology companies involved in the response described a hack of almost breathtaking precision, ambition and scope. “We haven’t seen this kind of sophistication matched with this kind of scale,” Microsoft President Brad Smith told the Senate Intelligence Committee. U.S. national security officials have also said Russia was likely responsible for the breach, and President Joe Biden's administration is weighing punitive measures against Russia for the hack as well as other activities. Officials have said the motive for the hack, which was discovered by private security company FireEye in December, appeared to be to gather intelligence.
AP Exclusive: Black Lives Matter opens up about its finances
This marks the first time in the movement’s nearly eight-year history that BLM leaders have revealed a detailed look at their finances. The foundation said it committed $21.7 million in grant funding to official and unofficial BLM chapters, as well as 30 Black-led local organizations. In its report, the BLM foundation said individual donations via its main fundraising platform averaged $30.76. “Because the BLM movement was larger than life — and it is larger than life — people made very huge assumptions about what our actual finances looked like,” Cullors said. Leaders at the BLM foundation admit that they have not been clear about the movement’s finances and governance over the years.
Australia report says make Google and Facebook pay for news
Australias Parliament will debate making Google and Facebook pay for news after a Senate committee on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 recommended no changes to the world-first draft laws. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)CANBERRA – Australia’s Parliament will debate making Google and Facebook pay for news after a Senate committee on Friday recommended no changes to drafts of the world’s first such laws. Australia's proposed code aims to make Google and Facebook pay Australian media companies fairly for using news content the tech giants source from news sites. AdBut Google is resisting the Australian plan because it would have less control over how much it would have to pay. Google announced last week that it had begun paying seven Australian news websites under its own model, Google News Showcase.
Australian leader has 'constructive' talk with Google boss
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also welcomed the support of Google rival Microsoft, which has touted Australia’s proposed laws that would make Google and Facebook pay as an example for the rest of the world. Google regional director Mel Silva told a Senate hearing last month that the company would likely make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the so-called News Media Bargaining Code forced Google and Facebook to pay for Australian news. While Google and Facebook have condemned the legislation as unworkable, Microsoft President Brad Smith said his business would be willing to pay for news if its search engine increased Australian market share. The law would initially only apply to Google and Facebook, but the government could add other platforms in the future if Google abandoned Australia. AdAlthough Bing is Australia’s second most popular search engine, it has only a 3.6% market share.
Microsoft backs Australian plan to make Google pay for news
Microsoft says it supports Australia's plans to make the biggest digital platforms pay for news and would help small businesses transfer their advertising to Bing if Google quits the country. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)CANBERRA – Microsoft said on Wednesday it supports Australia’s plans to make the biggest digital platforms pay for news and would help small businesses transfer their advertising to Bing if Google quits the country. Morrison this week confirmed he had spoken to Nadella about Bing replacing Google in Australia. There are no plans to make smaller search engines such as Bing pay for linking users to Australian news, but the government has not ruled that option out. AdBut Google is resisting the Australian plan because it would have less control over how much it would have to pay.
Sounders score twice late, stun Minnesota United 3-2
Seattle Sounders players celebrate with the championship trophy after the team beat Minnesota United in an MLS playoff Western Conference final soccer match, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)SEATTLE – As the confetti flew and the fireworks popped before an empty stadium, the Seattle Sounders were handed the Western Conference championship trophy for the fourth time in five years. Only a few minutes earlier, the Sounders appeared on the verge of relinquishing their claim of being defending MLS Cup champions. Seattle is just the second team in MLS history to reach the final four times in five seasons, joining DC United in the first seasons of the league. It was just the second time in team history two different substitutes scored for the Sounders.
APEC leaders, including Trump, agree on free trade
Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, arrives for the opening of the first virtual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit, hosted by Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)KUALA LUMPUR – Leaders from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, including U.S. President Donald Trump, pledged Friday to work toward free, open and non-discriminatory trade and investment to revive their coronavirus-battered economies. The APEC leaders’ meeting was the first since 2018 after last year’s host, Chile, canceled the annual summit due to violent domestic protests. Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his remarks, urged countries to “defend multilateralism” and called for the establishment of an “Asia-Pacific free trade zone at an early date." APEC leaders adopted the Putrajaya Vision 2040, a new 20-year growth vision to replace the Bogor Goals named after the Indonesian town where leaders agreed in 1994 to free and open trade and investment.
Microsoft-led housing effort cuts rents in Seattle suburbs
But a $750 million commitment by a partnership backed in part by Microsoft's affordable housing initiative helped do the trick. Urban Housing Ventures is cutting rents at 40% of the units in three buildings as part of an effort to make sure teachers, nurses and other middle-income professionals can live in the communities where they work. In August, Baker moved into her new apartment in one of three complexes recently purchased by Urban Housing Ventures, a partnership backed in part by Microsoft's affordable housing initiative. But building new affordable housing takes time. Urban Housing Ventures is immediately cutting rents for residents who earn 60% to 80% of the area's median income.
Miami skydiver dies when parachute fails to open while practicing for benefit
Nick Perdomo with Team Eagle identified his teammate as Yuset Hernandez, 51, according to WPLG sister station News4Jax. 51-year-old Yuset Hernandez died after parachute malfunctioned. The Krawl’n for the Fallen event runs throughout the weekend. A statement on the Krawl’n for the Fallen Facebook page reads:"Today at Krawl’n for the Fallen we suffered a horrible tragedy. Off Road United Foundation was expecting up to 2,500 people for the weekend event, which features off-road trails and obstacles.
Microsoft: Russian, North Korean hackers target vaccine work
(AP Photo/Hans Pennink)BOSTON – Microsoft said it has detected attempts by state-backed Russian and North Korean hackers to steal valuable data from leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers. Chinese state-backed hackers have also been targeting vaccine-makers, the U.S. government said in July while announcing criminal charges. Two others were North Korea’s Lazarus Group and a group Microsoft calls Cerium. The Lazarus Group posed as job recruiters while Cerium targeted spear-phishing emails that masqueraded as missives from World Health Organization representatives, Microsoft said. Optimism about a COVID-19 vaccine has grown since pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced earlier this week that preliminary data showed its vaccine to be 90% effective.
Microsoft plans $1 billion data center venture in Greece
Microsoft has announced plans to build three data centers in greater Athens, providing a badly needed investment of up to $1 billion to the Greek economy which has been hammered by the pandemic. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)ATHENS – Microsoft has announced plans to build three data center sites in greater Athens, providing a badly needed investment of up to $1 billion to the Greek economy which has been hammered by the pandemic. "The creation of a data center upgrades a country as an investment destination ... Greece has the sun and now it’s getting a cloud.”Microsoft currently has data centers in 26 countries, including seven in the European Union. Microsoft officials said the timetable for the development of the data center in Greece was still being worked out, but added added that the process in other countries typically took about two years. Greece, the officials said, would comply with Microsoft's pledge to run all its data centers worldwide on renewable energy sources by 2025.
Microsoft joins Amazon, IBM in pausing face scans for police
Microsoft has become the third big tech company this week to say it wont sell its facial recognition software to police, following similar moves by Amazon and IBM. Weve decided we will not sell facial recognition technology to police departments in the United States until we have a national law in place, grounded in human rights, that will govern this technology, Smith said. Smith said Thursday that Microsoft currently doesn't sell its face recognition software to any U.S. police departments. Microsoft, Amazon and IBM are calling on Congress to set national rules over how police use facial recognition something that's now being considered as part of a police reform package sparked by the protests following Floyd's death. "We need Congress to act, not just tech companies alone.
Licenses for US companies to sell to Huawei expected 'shortly'
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg on Sunday that licenses allowing US companies to sell to Huawei "will be forthcoming very shortly." The US Commerce Department in May added Huawei to its Entity List, citing national security concerns. The action barred American companies from selling to Huawei without a license, though some have found limited ways around the restriction. US officials have long accused Huawei of working to undermine US national security and foreign policy interests. Ross has previously said that licenses will only be granted for sales of products that do not pose a national security risk.