Tech Last Week Issue #004: Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard and more

It is already week four of 2022. We have one week left in January.

Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion

Last week Microsoft, in one of the largest video acquisitions in history, bought Activision Blizzard for an astounding 68.7 billion. The deal is expected to complete in 2023. It also will go through the proper regulatory process before it is a sure thing. Given how large Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are, there definitely will be questions regarding anti-trust.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this deal. For one, does Microsoft plan on addressing the ongoing sexual harassment problem plaguing Activision Blizzard? Given that the previous CEO is staying on, all signs point to no. Secondly, does this mean future games from Activision Blizzard are Xbox exclusives? Microsoft has said that some existing games will continue to be supported on other platforms, but there is little detail on how long.

Personally, I am anti-exclusive. I find the need to buy a specific console for a specific game archaic. Console’s should compete on user experience and technical chops alone.

What are your thoughts on this? Leave a comment below.

Samsung Unpacked 2022

Samsung Unpacked Event scheduled for February

In a blog post last week, the President and Head of MX Business, Dr. TM Roh announced that the upcoming S22 series will be the “most noteworthy S series device they have ever created”. Rumors currently point to the S22 Ultra to be a combination of the Note series and the S21 Ultra from last year. I fully expect the s-pen to be housed in the device.

Along with the S22 Ultra, I expect the regular S22 and S22+ to have a similar design to the S21 series. Camera upgrades are expected this year on the regular S22 and S22+ as well.

Currently, pre-reservation is open. You can get an additional $50 off if you register today at Samsung’s website. Once the phone is announced on Feb 9th, additional perks will be available to those who reserved the device.

A rendering shows early plans for two new leading-edge Intel processor factories in Licking County, Ohio (Credit: Intel Corporation).

Intel is spending 20 billion to build a world class chip factory in Ohio

Last week, Intel announced that they will be spending 20 billion dollars to build a semiconductor chip factory in New Albany, Ohio. The factory is scheduled to open in 2025 and spans nearly 1,000 acres. Construction will be in early 2022 and is the largest single private-sector investment in Ohio history.

Two of Intel’s main competitors have also announced factories in the US. Samsung is planning to build a similar factory in Taylor, Texas. TSMC is planning to build one in Phoenix, Arizona.

Competition is getting fierce in the semiconductor space. The focus on building new factories will increase supply and decreases prices. These factories are time-consuming to build and require specialized labor. Don’t expect this to alleviate the ongoing shortage any time soon.

Netflix logo

Netflix is raises its monthly subscription again (US and Canada)

Netflix announced that they will be raising their prices by $1 to $2 dollars. The standard plan in the US now costs $15.49 per month (the previous price was $13.99). In Canada, the price has gone up to $16.49 (the previous price was $14.99). The pricing change is effective immediately for new customers and will be rolled out in the coming weeks for existing customers.

CountryBasic Plan (changes)Standard Plan (changes) Premium Plan (changes)
Canada$9.99 (➡️$0)$16.49 (⬆️$1.50)$20.99 (⬆️$2)
United States$9.99 (⬆️$1)$15.49 (⬆️$1.50)$19.99 (⬆️$2)
Price changes in Canada and the US
the united states capitol building in washington
Photo by Paula Nardini on Pexels.com

Congress proposes banning target advertising

Last week, House Democrats proposed a bill (The Banning Surveillance Advertising Act) to ban targeted advertising on the web. The bill exempts board location-based advertising and contextual advertising but would prevent companies like Google and Meta to track individuals and create advertising profiles for them. The bill would allow the FTC and state attorneys general the ability to enforce these rules. Individuals would be able to sue companies for up to $5000 per violation.

In the US, legislation to limit the amount of tracking on individuals is long overdue. Browsers like Brave already limit their advertising to broad location-based advertising (e.g. if you live in New York, you will be served ads for stores in New York). Contextual advertising (e.g. you get ads about electronics if you are on a website that has info about electronics) is also a more private form of targeted advertising. Both these seem like better alternatives than the individual-level targeted advertising we have today.

What are your thoughts on this?

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