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Quibi streaming service shutting down after less than 1 year

Enlarge / It's not a great tombstone, but… well, we'll just leave it at that. RIP Quibi.Getty Images / Sam Machkovech Quibi, the video-streaming service designed to revolve around smartphone screens, is no more, according to The Wall Street Journal. After launching only in April this year, with a $1.75 billion infusion of cash and the leadership of former NBC bigwig Jeffrey Katzenberg, the service is ending as part of the closure of its holding company, Quibi Holdings LLC, according to "people familiar with the matter," the WSJ says. The news was delivered directly by Katzenberg to the LLC's investors on Wednesday, according to the report. The writing appeared to be on the wall as soon as Quibi's primary sales pitch—quick-burst videos designed to attract the average on-the-go smartphone user—fell apart all over the United States in the wake of coronavirus-related shutdowns. (People just weren't watching videos on their phones as much this year while, say, com..

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Why breaking up (Google) is so hard to do

The Justice Department’s suit against Google marks the first time in more than 20 years that the government is looking at splitting up a company for quashing competition. And if the judge decides that Google is an illegal monopoly, the case could be the first time in more than 100 years that a court actually orders a company breakup. But there’s a reason why the government hasn’t forced a company to break up since 1911: Antitrust cases require judges to make complicated predictions about the future and they’re often afraid of making things worse. “Historically courts have seen [breakups] as intimidating,” said William Kovacic, who served as Federal Trade Commission chairman under President George W. Bush. “They are being asked to perform surgery and they want confidence the surgery is not going to kill the patient. They want assurances that a break-up will make things better and not worse.” DOJ’s complaint does not say exactly what fixes the administration will pursue, but it mentio..

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Amazon Luna is live, and it’s already out-streaming Google Stadia

EnlargeAmazon Roughly one month ago, Amazon ended over a year of speculation by announcing the upcoming launch of Amazon Luna, its own dedicated gaming-in-the-cloud service. At the time, Amazon suggested that Luna would launch "next month" in the form of a limited public beta, meant to reach a tiny subset of interested users before a wider launch at an unspecified date. "Next month" is right about now, and sure enough, Amazon began sending random invites on Monday to users who'd previously signed up. Somehow, I received an invite to my personal Amazon account faster than any formal "press" demo opportunity. I immediately signed up and logged in to see what Luna's $5.99/mo tier will look and feel like when it launches to a wider audience in the near future. So far, I must say: It's pretty darned good, but not perfect. One more big-tech fish in the cloud-gaming stream Amazon Luna's starting menu. Everything you need to know to dive in. Full game selection in..

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Review: The Haunting of Bly Manor is a perfectly splendid ghost story

Victoria Pedretti stars as Dani Clayton, who takes a job as a governess to two orphaned children at Bly Manor. Netflix A warm welcome. Netflix Dani bonds easily with young Flora Wingrave (Amelie Smith). Netflix Miles Wingrave (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) is more of a problem child. Netflix What did Miles do to get kicked out of boarding school? Netflix Rahul Kohli plays the cook, Owen. Netflix Rounding out the staff: housekeeper Hannah Grose (T'Nia Miller) and groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve). Netflix Henry Thomas plays the children's guilt-ridden uncle, Henry Wingrave. Netflix Flora's dollhouse is a replica of Bly Manor. Netflix Dani senses something amiss in the basement. Netflix Flora with her former governess, Rebecca Jessel (Tahirah Sharif), who drowned herself. Netflix Oliver Jackson-Cohen plays Peter Quint, a former employee of Henry who mysteriously disappeared. Netflix A young American woman fleeing her tragic past finds herself c..

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Peter Mandelson calls on Brussels to block Nvidia-ARM chip merger

Brussels should intervene and block the acquisition of Britain’s tech jewel ARM by U.S. chip giant Nvidia, according to Peter Mandelson, a former EU trade commissioner and former U.K. business minister. Mandelson argued that Brexit should play no role in the EU’s calculus and sent a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in which he mapped out what he saw as the broader strategic importance of keeping ARM within a European commercial eco-system. “ARM is a major European asset, the question of its future ownership is of utmost importance to … Europe’s industrial policy,” Mandelson told POLITICO in an interview. “The only people who have the ability and the political will to stand up against this acquisition on competition grounds are in Europe,” he said. “Brexit is completely irrelevant, it transcends Brexit. It’s a question of Europe’s technological sovereignty, not just Britain.” Mandelson, who was one of the big hitters in the British Labour Party, is now ch..

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What happened when humans stopped managing social media content

This article is part of a special report, The Essential Tech Worker. Nobody appreciated the content moderators until they were gone. As the coronavirus pandemic swept the world, social media giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter did what other companies did. They sent workers home — including the tens of thousands of people tasked with sifting through mountains of online material and weeding out hateful, illegal and sexually explicit content. In their place, the companies turned to algorithms to do the job. It did not go well. The COVID-driven experiment represented a real-world baptism of fire for something social media companies have long dreamed of: using machine-learning tools and artificial intelligence — not humans — to police posts on their platforms. When the social media giants announced the changes, they acknowledged the algorithms might struggle to discriminate between legitimate and illegitimate content. And indeed, the effects were almost immediate. While far more..

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Top scientists push ‘final opportunity’ for EU-UK research deal

LONDON — Top researchers in the U.K. and Europe have called on leaders to use the final stages of Brexit talks to reach a deal on science collaboration, warning of the “fundamental and long-term consequences” if relations break down. The plea to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen comes amid growing concerns the U.K. is planning to walk away from taking part in Horizon Europe, the EU’s roughly €12-billion-a-year R&D scheme. U.K. officials and science policy experts have warned that the financial contribution due from London has become a big stumbling block in the negotiations. “This is the final opportunity to use these negotiations to ensure that future generations everywhere can continue to benefit from the results of U.K.-EU scientific collaboration,” reads the letter, signed by Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust; Paul Nurse, Nobel-prize winner and director of the Francis Crick Institute; and Pascal Lamy, former E..

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Trickbot—the for-hire botnet Microsoft attacked—is scrambling to stay alive

EnlargeAurich Lawson / Ars Technica Operators of Trickbot—a for-hire botnet that has infected more than 1 million devices since 2016—are looking for new ways to stay afloat after Microsoft and a host of industry partners took coordinated action to disrupt it last week. In an update published on Tuesday, Microsoft Corporate VP for Security & Trust Tom Burt said the operation initially managed to take down 62 of the 69 servers Trickbot was known to be using to control its vast network of infected devices. Trickbot operators responded by quickly spinning up 59 new servers, and Microsoft was able to eliminate all of them except for one. In all, the industrywide operation has taken down 120 of 128 servers identified as belonging to Trickbot. Now, Trickbot is responding by using a competing criminal group to distribute the Trickbot malware. Fighting to stay alive “This is one of many signs that suggests to us that, faced with its critical infrastructure under repeated attack, Trickbot ope..

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What we know about the DOJ’s antitrust case against Google so far

Enlarge / If the company got broken up, maybe each business would take a different color with them when they go.JHVEPhoto | Getty Images The Justice Department today filed a landmark antitrust case against Google. The hotly anticipated, long-awaited lawsuit accuses Google of using its market dominance to force unfair contract terms on suppliers and competitors to the detriment of competition and the marketplace. The suit might just be the biggest thing in antitrust since the DOJ sued Microsoft in the 1990s… or it might not. Even though the investigation that led here has been going on for 16 months, a suit like this is the beginning, not the end, of the process. So here's everything we know—and more importantly, everything we still don't—about what this blockbuster case really means. What does the suit allege? The complaint (PDF) lays out the case that Google used "exclusionary agreements and anticompetitive conduct" to become dominant in the search marketplace, and then ke..

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You can currently take $10 off Cyberpunk 2077 a month before it comes out

EnlargeArs Technica Today's Dealmaster is headlined by a $10 pre-order discount on Cyberpunk 2077, the latest open-world RPG from The Witcher developers CD Projekt Red. The deal applies to the PS4, Xbox One, and PC (via a GOG code) copies of the game, bringing them all down to $50. This deal has actually been live at Amazon and Walmart for much of the past several months—continuing a trend we've seen for various high-profile games recently—but given that we're now less than a month from the game's November 19 launch (when the price should jump back to the usual $60), we figured it's worth highlighting for anyone who already plans on taking the plunge. Now, to be perfectly clear: we have no clue if Cyberpunk 2077 will be any good. CD Projekt Red has revealed a good chunk about the game's systems and futuristic sci-fi setting, we know it looks to be mammoth in scope, we know it stars Keanu Reeves, and we know the studio's last major game was the tremen..

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