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  • 🚫 Adobe, Figma Ditch $20B Merger Amid Regulatory Hurdles

🚫 Adobe, Figma Ditch $20B Merger Amid Regulatory Hurdles

+ Insomniac Games Leak | Gates on AI Evolution | iPhone Battery Tips Revealed

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Hello Tech Enthusiasts,

It’s December 20, 2023 and here's a sneak peek at today's top stories:

  • Merger Scrapped - Adobe and Figma cancel $20B deal.

  • Game Leak Exposed - Insomniac Games' X-Men trilogy plans revealed.

  • Google's Big Payout - $700M settlement impacts app industry.

  • Retail Tech Alliance - Affirm and Walmart announce BNPL collaboration.

  • Apple's Strategic Shift - Adjustments for new Apple Card partnership.

  • Bird's Downfall - Bird Global's bankruptcy amid stock plunge.

  • AI Insights from Gates - Bill Gates reflects on AI's progress.

  • Mozilla Innovates - Launching Llamafile, a cloud-independent AI.

  • SEO Security Breach - Google facing new challenges.

  • iPhone Battery Secrets - Former Apple employee shares tips.

  • and more…

Let’s dive in!


eBook: How to minimize third-party risk with vendor management

A robust vendor management program isn’t just required by compliance frameworks like SOC 2 and ISO 27001. It’s also a critical part of a holistic trust management strategy.

Implementing a vendor management program, however, has become more complex and challenging with the proliferation of SaaS tools and shadow IT. And many overstretched security teams are being asked to do more with less.

To stay compliant and secure — and deepen trust with customers and partners — security teams need a way to proactively manage vendor risk.

This guide from Vanta, the leading trust management platform, brings together perspectives from the frontlines of vendor security management. Get insights and best practices from security and compliance leaders. 


Tech Companies

Adobe, Figma Ditch $20B Merger Amid Regulatory Hurdles (5-minute read)

Adobe and Figma have decided to end their proposed $20 billion merger due to regulatory issues. They needed help in gaining crucial regulatory approvals from the European Commission and the UK Competition and Markets Authority. Despite the mutual disagreement with the regulatory findings, both companies plan to continue operating independently. As a result of the cancellation, Adobe will be paying Figma a $1 billion breakup fee.

💡 Why this matters: The termination of Adobe's acquisition of Figma under regulatory scrutiny signals a toughening regulatory environment for tech mergers. The concern over anti-competitive effects could impact future deals, causing shifts in tech industry dynamics and potential strategic re-evaluations.

Insomniac Games Stung by Unprecedented Leak, Revealing X-Men Trilogy Plans (7-minute read)

Hackers have released 1.67 terabytes of data from Insomniac Games, including from the upcoming Wolverine game, plus several unannounced Sony games and details of development and marketing budgets. The Ryhsida ransomware group, responsible for the leak, demanded $2m for the data. Sony has said no other divisions have been impacted. Insomniac was also targeted in the MOVEit cyberattacks earlier this year and previously in 2014 by North Korea. Other video game studios including CD Projekt, Bandai Namco, and Riot Games have also been victim of similar attacks.

Google's $700M Settlement: Impacts on App Makers and Consumers Unveiled (8-minute read)

Google has agreed to a $700 million settlement in a lawsuit over its Play Store commissions of 15-30%, including payment of at least $2 to eligible consumers, and $70 million in penalties and costs to various US states. The tech giant also promises changes to make alternative Android app download easier and to offer Android app makers more payment choice flexibility. Google still awaits court approval of this settlement, and potentially more penalties following an antitrust case verdict.

Affirm Amplifies Power: BNPL Coming to 4,500 US Walmart Stores (6-minute read)

Buy now, pay later provider Affirm has extended its partnership with Walmart, rolling out payment installment options at self-checkout kiosks across over 4,500 Walmart stores in the U.S. The move responds to consumer demand for more BNPL options - research from Affirm reveals over 50% of Americans want retailers to offer such a service. The agreement additionally covers Walmart's vision and auto centres, website, and app.

Apple's Inevitable Tweaks to Attract New Apple Card Partner (8-minute read)

Apple and Goldman Sachs plan to end their Apple Card partnership next year, with Goldman likely to face challenges reducing its stake's value to attract buyers. Future Apple Card partners may request access to Apple’s proprietary credit card data, and potential successors include Synchrony Financial, Citigroup, and Capital One. Apple began its partnership with Goldman Sachs four years ago, recently expanding it to include the Apple Card Savings Account.

Startup Scene

Bird Global Files for Bankruptcy Amid Plummeting Shares (3-minute read)

Bird Global Inc., a pioneering electric scooter company founded by an ex-Uber executive and valued at $1 billion at its peak, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Florida. The filing came after the New York Stock Exchange began delisting proceedings when Bird's average global market capitalization fell below $15 million over 30 trading days.

AI Corner

Bill Gates: AI's Rapid Evolution: Reflecting on 2023 and Envisioning Hurdles Ahead (8-minute read)

From Bill Gates: 2023 witnessed the first time artificial intelligence (AI) was utilized for serious work, offering glimpses into its future prospects. The rise of AI opened up a clearer understanding of job roles it could fulfill, and its potential to improve accessibility to education, mental health, and other verticals. Despite a tumultuous 2023 marked by geopolitical conflicts, climate change, inflation, and economic slumps, technological advances in AI and healthcare offer a positive outlook.

Mozilla Unleashes Llamafile: Your Personal AI Without The Cloud (7-minute read)

Mozilla announces an open source initiative, Llamafile, to simplify the implementation of large language models (LLMs) on existing hardware. Llamafile minimizes the complexity of AI chatbots into a single file that operates across multiple platforms without heavy installation or configuration. The move mirrors Google and OpenAI's efforts in developing local AI-driven features, emphasizing the growing interest in on-device AI applications.

Revolutionizing Math: Google's AI Solves Decades-Old Puzzle with New Tech (7-minute read)

Google's DeepMind AI has solved the long-unsolved 'cap set problem' using a new tool, FunSearch. This large-language model combines coding and a version of Google’s health care model, PaLM 2, to sift through suggestions and produce the correct and novel solution. The tool's success signals a promising future for the application of large language models in mathematical problem-solving.

Markets & Money

Record 5-Day High for Dow Jones Amid Lower Interest Rates (12-minute read)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high for the fifth consecutive day as optimism from investors continues to rise due to lower interest rates. The Federal Reserve's shift towards possibly cutting rates in 2024 continues to fuel this holiday season's market rally. Despite the high, senior investment strategist at Schwab, Kevin Gordon, warns that the market may be due for a short-term pullback.

Insights & Analysis

AI Driven SEO Heist Reveals Google's Future Challenges (15-minute read)

The website Exceljet was recently targeted by an AI-driven "SEO heist", where a competitor used AI to clone Exceljet's articles and generate traffic for themselves. The incident significantly affected Exceljet's web traffic, demonstrating the potential transformative and disruptive impact of generative AI technologies on the web and SEO strategies. This opens up modalities of synthetic content creation but also poses a serious challenge for search engine protocols.

💡 Why this matters: The use of AI in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies is highlighting a fundamental challenge for internet governance. As AI evolves, it is enabling the creation of synthetic web content that can outrank human-produced, high-quality content, raising questions about information reliability, copyright and web ethics. This may force radical changes in search engine algorithms and regulatory frameworks to address AI's disruptive impact on the internet ecosystem.

Apps & Gadgets

Former Apple Employee Reveals iPhone Battery Lifesaving Tips (6-minute read)

A former Apple employee, Tyler Morgan, has shared useful iPhone battery-life tips online, garnering 11.1 million views. The advice includes not charging beyond 80%, deactivating background app activity, turning off location services for unused apps, and disabling automatic updates. Morgan also suggested reducing motion and light levels, turning off 'Hey, Siri,' and disabling Bluetooth —although the latter three may worsen the user experience. Other tips include optimizing camera and keyboard usage for efficiency.

Apple's Game-Changing Technique Enhances Air Typing Experience on Vision Pro (4-minute read)

Apple's Vision Pro mixed reality headset is working towards a more tactile experience with virtual objects, particularly in "typing on air". The new system invokes an illusion of physical interaction with a hovering virtual keyboard, through glowing keys upon touch and sound effects. The interface can also recognise traditional hand gestures which won't entirely replace physical inputs but nevertheless increase immersion.

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