Netflix Expands Games Initiative with a New Studio in Finland

Netflix has made some budgetary cuts recently, but not in gaming. After three acquisitions, the company is building its first game studio from scratch. The new unit will be Netflix’s second gaming outfit in Finland, and the company has hired Zynga’s Marko Lastikka to run it. Earlier this year, the streamer acquired the Helsinki-based Next Games. The company’s mobile games portfolio also includes developers Boss Fight Entertainment in Allen, Texas and Glendale, California’s Night School Studio. Helsinki “is home to some of the best game talent in the world,” according to Netflix VP of game studios Amir Rahimi. Continue reading Netflix Expands Games Initiative with a New Studio in Finland

Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

Spotify is expanding beyond music and podcasts by adding audiobooks. The company is starting out with just over 300,000 titles, available for purchase in the U.S. “This is just the beginning,” says Spotify, promising a geographic expansion. In June, the audio streamer completed its purchase of global audiobooks distributor Findaway, announced last year. The acquisition was designed to make it a major player on entry, competing with Amazon’s Audible, the nation’s biggest audiobook service. Unlike Audible, Spotify is individually pricing audiobook titles and offering them à la carte, not by subscription. Continue reading Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

Adobe Will Purchase Digital Design Rival Figma for $20 Billion

Adobe announced it plans to purchase rival digital design suite Figma for $20 billion in cash and stock. The news was disclosed as part of its Q3 earnings report, which saw revenue of $4.43 billion, exceeding analysts’ expectations. Despite the healthy cashflow, Adobe says it may have to finance part of the deal, which will have to clear regulatory hurdles in a very pro-competition environment. Founded in 2011, Figma released its first product in 2015, leveraging the WebGL API to create real-time collaborative tools for web-based design teams “working together beyond company walls.” Figma lists Airbnb, Conde Nast and Github among its users. Continue reading Adobe Will Purchase Digital Design Rival Figma for $20 Billion

Nexstar Acquiring Majority Stake in The CW in Cashless Deal

After more than six months of negotiations, Nexstar Media Group has struck a deal with Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery to acquire a 75 percent stake in The CW Network. Paramount and WBD will each continue to hold a 12.5 percent stake in The CW and will continue to provide scripted programming for it through the 2022-23 season after the deal closes, which Nexstar expects to happen in Q3. Financial terms were not disclosed, though Variety reports Nexstar is not paying cash, but rather assuming “a large chunk” of The CW’s “more than $100 million” in debt. Continue reading Nexstar Acquiring Majority Stake in The CW in Cashless Deal

Ad Market and Musk Credited for Twitter’s Missed Earnings

Twitter’s second quarter revenue of $1.18 billion underperformed 2021 by only one percent but fell short of estimates by more than 10 percent, disappointing Wall Street, which projected revenue of $1.32 billion for the period. Advertising crept up two percent, to $1.08 billion, but overall Twitter had a quarterly net loss of $270 million, largely attributed to recessionary headwinds and uncertainty about Elon Musk’s proposed takeover. In its earnings report, Twitter said its lawsuit against Musk has been granted an expedited trial for October 2022. Continue reading Ad Market and Musk Credited for Twitter’s Missed Earnings

Elon Musk Notifies Twitter of Plan to Cancel Acquisition Deal

Elon Musk is attempting to terminate his $44 billion deal to acquire social giant Twitter. Musk’s attorneys claimed in a regulatory filing that Twitter was in “material breach of multiple provisions” of the purchase agreement and “appears to have made false and misleading representations.” According to Twitter board chairman Bret Taylor, “The Twitter board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement.” The deal includes a $1 billion “breakup fee” and the company can hold the billionaire to his original agreement by taking him to court. Continue reading Elon Musk Notifies Twitter of Plan to Cancel Acquisition Deal

Musk Shares Some of His Thoughts with Twitter Employees

Twitter’s 8,000 employees were treated to a question-and-answer session with Elon Musk on Thursday, the first staff meeting the tech entrepreneur has conducted since his bid to purchase the company for $44 billion. The hour-long meeting, which was live-streamed to the Twitter staff, touched on a wide range of topics, including aliens and “the nature of reality” as well as interests closer to home, such as layoffs, growth plans and, of course, TikTok. The move seemed to reinforce Musk’s intent to close the Twitter deal after suggesting in April that it was “on hold.” Continue reading Musk Shares Some of His Thoughts with Twitter Employees

Broadcom Targets Software with $61 Billion VMware Purchase

Broadcom announced it will acquire VMware in a cash-and-stock transaction that values VMware at $61 billion. The deal, which expands semiconductor supplier Broadcom into enterprise software, is among the top technology transactions of all time, right behind Microsoft’s pending $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard and Dell’s 2016 acquisition of EMC for $67 billion. Broadcom will also assume $8 billion of VMware debt. The news sent shares of Broadcom up 2 percent and VMware more than 1 percent early Thursday. VMware enterprise products optimize client-side servers as well as cloud servers. Continue reading Broadcom Targets Software with $61 Billion VMware Purchase

Nikon Offsets Shrinking Camera Sales with Tech Components

Nikon Corp. is restyling itself from a company that primarily manufactures cameras to one that supplies components to other businesses. Its consumer market share eroded by smartphone image systems, the Japanese company’s revenue also plunged, dropping by about 50 percent since its 2013 peak of $8 billion. In February, Nikon upped its revenue forecast for the year ended March 31 to $4.35 billion, more than $370 million of it projected as operating profit, thanks in large part to components, which is expected to earn more profit than any other division, nosing past imaging. Continue reading Nikon Offsets Shrinking Camera Sales with Tech Components

Biden Executive Order Promotes Net Neutrality, Competition

President Joe Biden signed an executive order with 72 proposals and actions for a “whole-of-government effort to promote competition in the American economy.” Among them, President Biden encourages the FCC to restore net neutrality rules undone by former President Donald Trump, to “consider limiting early termination fees and prevent Internet service providers from making deals with landlords that limit tenant choices,” and to revive the President Barack Obama era Broadband Nutrition Label and its better price transparency. Continue reading Biden Executive Order Promotes Net Neutrality, Competition

Warrant Deals Can Result in Amazon Buying Stock in Vendors

According to corporate filings and information from sources, Amazon has inked “at least a dozen deals” in which publicly traded companies win Amazon as a client for their goods in exchange for so-called warrants, which allows the Big Tech company to buy stock at potentially below-market prices. Over the last 10 years, Amazon has struck 75+ such deals with privately held companies, said one source. Amazon’s stakes in these deals equal “billions of dollars,” in businesses that range from call centers to natural gas providers. Continue reading Warrant Deals Can Result in Amazon Buying Stock in Vendors

Court Dismisses FTC, States Antitrust Suit Against Facebook

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia judge James Boasberg dismissed antitrust lawsuits against social media giant Facebook brought by the Federal Trade Commission and 48 states. The judge said the states waited too long to bring up a case on deals made in 2012 and 2014 and that prosecutors failed to prove that Facebook holds a monopoly over social networking. The FTC can bring the case back in 30 days but the judge said it would require a lot more detail. Facebook’s stock rose 4.2 percent in the wake of the news. Continue reading Court Dismisses FTC, States Antitrust Suit Against Facebook

Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Address Dominance of Big Tech

The House unveiled five bills aimed at curbing Big Tech companies, including the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, that requires “structural separation of Amazon” and makes it illegal for an online platform to own a business that uses said platform for “the sale or provision of products or services,” that “sells services as a condition for access to the platform” or that “owns businesses that create conflicts of interest.” Another bill would ban platforms from giving advantage its own products and services over those of a rival. Continue reading Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Address Dominance of Big Tech

Senator Klobuchar Calls for Tough New Antitrust Legislation

As incoming head of the Senate antitrust subcommittee, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) renewed her call to legislate major changes to U.S. trust laws. Specifically, the legislation would prevent companies that dominate in a sector from purchasing other companies unless they can prove the deals don’t “create an appreciable risk of materially lessening competition.” Klobuchar suggested such changes in Congress’ previous session and Republicans largely rebuffed them. Democrat control of the Senate could improve the odds of passage. Continue reading Senator Klobuchar Calls for Tough New Antitrust Legislation

Bipartisan Efforts Underway to Regulate Big Tech Companies

Senator Amy Klobuchar, once an avid supporter of Big Tech companies and now Senate antitrust panel leader, is expected to play a role in bipartisan efforts to impose regulations on those companies’ market power and data privacy policies. Facebook and Google face federal and state allegations of anticompetitive behavior and Amazon and Apple are under investigation for antitrust violations. President Biden and others in his administration have vowed to hold Big Tech accountable for users’ speech on their sites. Continue reading Bipartisan Efforts Underway to Regulate Big Tech Companies