Top tech stories today: December 19, 2023

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Here are the top technology stories around the world for December 19, 2023.

1. Adobe and Figma Terminate $20 billion merger deal amid regulatory concerns

Regulators raise antitrust concerns over Adobe’s near-monopoly, prompting the termination of the $20 billion merger with Figma. Adobe rejects proposed remedies, leading to a $1 billion reverse termination fee. The European Commission drops its antitrust investigation following the announcement.(The Verge)

2. Apple pauses sales of series 9 and ultra 2 smartwatches

Apple announces a sales pause for Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches in the U.S. due to a patent dispute with Masimo. The U.S. International Trade Commission’s October order found Apple in violation of Masimo’s patent rights related to blood oxygen technology.(Reuters)

3. AI-generated Imran Khan voice raises election integrity concerns

Pakistan’s PTI employs an AI-generated voice clone of imprisoned former PM Imran Khan for a virtual rally, garnering 4.5 million views amidst government suppression. This highlights broader global concerns about AI’s impact on election integrity, emphasizing the need for urgent regulatory measures to address authenticity and potential manipulations.(Maginative)

4. Meta unveils Ego-Exo4D dataset for AI video learning

Meta, in collaboration with university partners, introduces Ego-Exo4D, the largest public dataset capturing simultaneous first-person and third-person views for AI research. The dataset includes over 1,400 hours of diverse skilled activities, featuring audio, IMU, and expert commentary, aiming to advance AI understanding in applications like augmented reality, robot learning, and social networks.(Meta)

5. Nikola founder Trevor Milton sentenced to four years for investor fraud

Trevor Milton, founder of Nikola, receives a four-year prison sentence for deceiving investors about the company’s technology. Milton was found guilty of falsely claiming Nikola built a pickup and developed its own batteries, misleading investors about the functionality of the “Nikola One” semi-truck.(Reuters)

6. Expedia aims to lead travel search with AI recommendations

Expedia plans to use AI to recommend travel destinations, hoping users will start their trip planning on Expedia instead of search engines. The goal is to streamline the process, offering personalized recommendations based on user preferences and Expedia’s vast travel data. The move aims to increase direct traffic to Expedia, reducing reliance on external search engines like Google.(ordonews)

7. Amazon explores investment in Diamond Sports for sports content push

Amazon is reportedly in discussions to invest in Diamond Sports Group, a regional sports programmer with over 40 major sports teams. The move signals Amazon’s further foray into sports content, with ongoing talks about a strategic investment and a multi-year streaming partnership amidst Diamond Sports’ bankruptcy filing earlier this year.(WSJ)

8. Qorvo to sell China facilities to Luxshare

Qorvo, the wireless chip maker, has agreed to sell its assembly and test facilities in Beijing and Dezhou, China, to Luxshare Precision Industry. The deal includes Luxshare acquiring operations and assets while Qorvo maintains key personnel in China. Luxshare will continue assembly and testing for Qorvo under a long-term supply agreement.(XM)

9. Tencent closes U.S. game studio

Chinese tech giant Tencent has closed its U.S. game studio, Team Kaiju, considered vital for its global expansion. The Shenzhen-based company shut down the studio in June, redirecting staff to other Tencent projects. Team Kaiju, led by experienced designer Scott Warner, had been working on a high-budget multiplayer game before the closure.(Economictimes)

10. IBM to acquire software AG’s platforms for $2.33 billion

IBM plans to buy Software AG’s StreamSets and webMethods platforms for $2.3 billion to enhance its AI and hybrid cloud offerings. The acquisition is part of Software AG’s “Super Ipaas” business. Silver Lake, Software AG’s majority owner, simultaneously proposes a delisting offer at $34.96 per share. Completion expected in Q2 2024, pending regulatory approvals.(The star)


Coco Yao

Coco Yao was an intern reporter at BTW media covering artificial intelligence and media. She is studying broadcasting and hosting at the Communication School of Zhejiang.

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