FTC sues to block Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard
The Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday it has filed an antitrust case against Microsoft to challenge the software maker's attempt to acquire video game publisher Activision Blizzard . Microsoft announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in January, with the goal of closing it by June 2023. The deal has come under pressure from Microsoft's competitors in gaming, such as Sony . Smith argued Microsoft's purchase of Activision would let it compete effectively in the gaming industry, spurring innovation and helping customers. Politico reported last month that the FTC was likely to try to block the deal.cnbc.com
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.
Winless in 29 years of racing, Michigan driver still having fun – and setting milestones
After 396 career races in NASCAR’s ARCA Series, Brad Smith has never finished better than ninth. He finished 16th in Saturday’s ARCA race at Michigan International Speedway, 24 laps down. Smith is inching closer to 400 career ARCA starts, which he’ll hit later this month. And the ARCA Series is one of NASCAR’s lower levels, traditionally known for its grassroots drivers and teams. “We call it the race within the race,” Smith said.mlive.com
Abortion opponents celebrate end of Roe v. Wade in front of Ann Arbor Planned Parenthood
ANN ARBOR, MI - The day Roe vs. Wade died in America, an orange line divided two groups of people on a hot summer afternoon in Ann Arbor. On one side stood a handful of people donning rainbow vests in front of Ann Arbor’s Planned Parenthood building, 3100 Professional Dr. A message was left with an Ann Arbor Planned Parenthood spokesperson. “A just and civilized people do not tolerate slavery or abortion,” said Sandie Weathers, campaign director of 40 Days for Life Ann Arbor. “Why don’t we take that money that we’re using to kill children and giving to Planned Parenthood and use it to help these children live,” he said.mlive.com
Microsoft enters agreement to respect Activision Blizzard unionization
Microsoft said Monday it would respect the rights of Activision Blizzard workers to join a union, and would enter into a so-called labor neutrality agreement with major media union Communications Workers of America.washingtonpost.com
As the Tanks Rolled into Ukraine, So Did Malware. Then Microsoft Entered the War.
WASHINGTON — Last Wednesday, a few hours before Russian tanks began rolling into Ukraine, alarms went off inside Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Center, warning of a never-before-seen piece of “wiper” malware that appeared aimed at the country’s government ministries and financial institutions. Within three hours, Microsoft threw itself into the middle of a ground war in Europe — from 5,500 miles away. The threat center, north of Seattle, had been on high alert, and it quickly picked apart the mnews.yahoo.com
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 says the Russian group behind the SolarWinds hack is now targeting 150 government agencies, NGOs, and think tanks with a massive phishing email campaign
Nobelium broke into an email marketing account used by a US aid agency to stage the email phishing campaign, Microsoft said.news.yahoo.com
Microsoft pledges to let EU users keep data inside bloc
Microsoft is pledging to let business and public sector customers in the European Union keep cloud computing data inside the 27-nation bloc to avert concerns about U.S. government access to sensitive information. Microsoft “will go beyond our existing data storage commitments and enable you to process and store all your data in the EU," said Brad Smith, the U.S. technology giant’s president. “In other words, we will not need to move your data outside the EU," Smith wrote in a blog post Thursday.news.yahoo.com
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.
Microsoft and Google spar ahead of antitrust hearing on tech and the future of news
Microsoft and Google sparred Friday over their practices and treatment of news outlets in a battle between antitrust targets of past and present. Smith said Google relies on content from these outlets to keep its users engaged, citing his own experience with Microsoft's Bing search engine. Google swung back at Smith in a statement released ahead of the hearing, calling back to Microsoft's period of antitrust scrutiny two decades ago. The campaign was meant to point out to consumers allegedly unfair practices by Google and direct them to Microsoft's search competitor instead. Though Google never pulled its news service from Australia and ultimately struck deals with publishers, Microsoft had signaled it was ready to step in if Google removed its news service.cnbc.com
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.
Microsoft president: The only reason we know about SolarWinds hack is because FireEye told us
Smith plans to tell lawmakers that private sector companies should be required to be transparent about significant breaches of their systems. A White House cybersecurity advisor estimated last week that nine government agencies and roughly 100 private companies were affected by the attack. Smith planned to tell Congress that Microsoft identified further government and private sector victims outside the U.S. that were impacted. Smith will propose that in addition to requiring more disclosures from private companies, government should provide "faster and more comprehensive sharing" with the security community. "A private sector disclosure obligation will foster greater visibility, which can in turn strengthen a national coordination strategy with the private sector which can increase responsiveness and agility," Smith says in his written remarks.cnbc.com
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.
SolarWinds: How Russian spies hacked the Justice, State, Treasury, Energy and Commerce Departments
Russian spies went rummaging through the digital files of the U.S. departments of Justice, State, Treasury, Energy, and Commerce and for nine months had unfettered access to top-level communications, court documents, even nuclear secrets. More alarming: how the hackers got in… piggy-backing on a piece of third party software used to connect, manage and monitor computer networks. FireEye's core mission is to hunt, find, and expel cyber intruders from the computer networks of their clients - mostly governments and major companies. But FireEye used SolarWinds software, which turned the cyber hunter into the prey. Because it's only a stone's throw from a computer network attack.cbsnews.com
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.
Microsoft President Brad Smith explains how political contributions really work
Microsoft president Brad Smith takes part in a roundtable discussion with US President Donald Trump and industry executives on reopening the country, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC on May 29, 2020. Microsoft President and legal chief Brad Smith said Microsoft is evaluating options for the Microsoft Political Action Committee (MSPAC), which employees criticized because it helped finance the campaigns of Congress members who supported Donald Trump's unfounded claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Microsoft employees in the U.S. can give some of their income to the MSPAC, but have no direct say in which candidates it donates to. Several other companies, including Amazon, Facebook and Google, also temporarily stopped political contributions after the events. Should the PAC suspend donations to the members who voted against the Electoral College?cnbc.com
Microsoft employees question donations to senators who support Trump's attempt to overturn election
The tussle concerns the Microsoft Political Action Committee, known as MSPAC, through which employees can contribute money that goes to state and federal candidates and to other committees. MSPAC's first contributions on file with the U.S. Federal Election Commission date to 1988, two years after Microsoft's initial public offering. Since the election, Trump has launched multiple unsuccessful attempts to challenge election results in several states where he lost. Microsoft employee Mike O'Neill thanked Friedman for the tweet on Tuesday and said he had requested a cancellation of future donations for MSPAC. Brandon Paddock, another employee at Microsoft, suggesting discontinuing MSPAC or blocking MSPAC contributions to people who get in the way of democratic principles, which Smith had mentioned in his tweet.cnbc.com
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.
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.
How to watch ‘The Big Bake: Holiday’
'Tis the season for baking, and master cake makers are mixing festive spirits with skills in The Big Bake: Holiday, airing tonight, Nov. 9, at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network. The Big Bake: Holiday challenges teams of professional bakers to craft elaborate edible masterpieces that celebrate the December holidays with themes such as Santa’s workshop and giant gingerbread houses in the hopes of winning $10,000. What channel is Food Network on? You can find which channel is Food Network on by using the channel finders here: Verizon Fios, AT&T U-verse, Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, Optimum/Altice, DIRECTV and Dish. Where can I watch The Big Bake: Holiday if I don’t have cable?mlive.com
Richard Branson, John Chambers bringing Hyperloop, and millions, into Appalachia's poverty-stricken region
The Virgin Hyperloop project is aiming for safety certification by 2025, with commercial operations beginning in 2030. "The Hyperloop Certification Center is the start of the hyperloop journey for West Virginia, for the United States, and for the world. John Chambers Katie Kramer | CNBCThe state got another lift this week from another Silicon Valley tech icon, former Intuit CEO Brad Smith. A state in transitionBesides Chambers and Smith, another Silicon Valley tech icon is helping to jumpstart West Virginia. West Virginia lost more than 32,700 jobs from 1994 to 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.cnbc.com
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.
Michigan driver posts first ARCA top-10 finish in 363rd career start
Smith finished ninth, and when the checkered flag dropped on winner Ty Gibbs, the 51-year old Smith was 25 laps down. It was Smith’s first top-10 ARCA finish in a career that began in 1988. “It feels good to finally get that top-10 monkey off my back,” Smith said during an interview on his Twitter account. Brad Smith's first ARCA start was on June 12, 1988, 11,787 days ago. Con Nicolopoulos, 58, of Columbus, finished 10th in his 87th career start.mlive.com
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.
Microsoft president Brad Smith says relationship with Bill Gates still 'very deep,' and they talked about coronavirus this week
Microsoft President Brad Smith said Friday that the company's relationship with Bill Gates still is strong. "The relationship will Bill is very deep," Smith told CNBC's "Squawk Box." Gates said in late March that he's leaving the company's board to focus on philanthropic efforts, such as global health, education and climate change. Smith said he heard from Gates this week, who wanted to discuss remote interactivity and the pandemic. Smith said he and Gates talked about "tech issues, remote interactivity, Covid-19, what he's seeing around the world, what we're seeing around the world, what businesses should be doing, what governments need to do."cnbc.com
White House plans 5G summit with global tech leaders as battle with Huawei continues
President Donald Trump speaks at the South Lawn of the White House on June 10, 2019. The Trump administration is planning a 5G summit at the White House in early April as part of its global effort to ensure that Chinese telecom giant Huawei does not become dominant in next generation communications technologies, officials told CNBC. The president's top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, told reporters Friday that such a meeting would happen. "We're going to have a lot of them in the White House to have a discussion. That would include Samsung, that would include all of our guys," Kudlow said.cnbc.com
Here are the most important execs at Microsoft under Satya Nadella
Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith, CEO Satya Nadella, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood and Chairman John Thompson pictured at the Microsoft annual meeting of shareholders in Bellevue, Washington, on November 30, 2016. Judson Althoff: The salesmanJudson Althoff, Microsoft's executive vice president for worldwide commercial business, at Microsoft's 2017 Inspire conference in Washington. Giorgio Perottino | Getty Images | OGRCourtois, known by his initials JPC, is an executive vice president and president of Microsoft global sales, marketing and operations. Then he became executive vice president and president for global sales, marketing and operations. In 2012 his wife, Suzan DelBene, a former Microsoft executive herself, became a U.S. representative for Washington's 1st Congressional district.cnbc.com
Microsoft president says big tech has 'fundamental responsibility' to protect US voting process
MUNICH As America prepares for the 2020 presidential election, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said tech companies have a 'fundamental responsibility' to safeguard America's democratic process. "We have a fundamental responsibility as companies and as a technology sector to help protect our candidates from attacks and hacking. To help protect the integrity of voting, from voting polls to voting results and certainly the voting process itself," Smith explained at the annual Munich Security Conference. "We have a fundamental responsibility not just to address but to fight disinformation and I think we have a fundamental responsibility to ensure that our business models do not sap the strength of democracy itself by creating polarized communities that eat away at the core of what makes every democracy successful," he added. Smith's comments Saturday at the security forum followed those of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who said that social media companies need more guidance and regulation from governments in order to tackle the growing problem of harmful online content.cnbc.com
Microsoft President Brad Smith says work on JEDI continues despite Amazon protest
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. Amazon's decision to protest the Pentagon's cloud computing contract hasn't delayed Microsoft from working on the colossal Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, deal. The JEDI contract, which could be worth up to $10 billion for services rendered over as many as 10 years, was awarded to Microsoft on October 25. Last month, Amazon filed a notice in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims indicating a plan to protest the Pentagon's decision to award Microsoft the multibillion-dollar cloud contract. "Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias and it's important that these matters be examined and rectified," Amazon told CNBC in an email. Trump said in July that companies conveyed that the specifications of the JEDI cloud contract favored Amazon.cnbc.com
Top Microsoft exec says online privacy has reached 'a crisis point'
But Smith says tech companies can learn from such probes and he knows from experience. Smith said he thinks California's consumer privacy law will push most companies to change the way they handle user privacy even before any federal legislation passes. Facial recognitionAnother area in urgent need of regulation is facial recognition, Smith said. For one thing, facial recognition technology can be biased since it more accurately detects men and white people's faces than others'. This kind of cooperation between tech companies and regulators could be key to the industry's future.