Issue 1529 - Wednesday 19th January, 2022

In Today's Issue

The News

Microsoft to spend US$68.7b buying Activision Blizzard, if regulators allow it

Microsoft is splashing US$68.7b to purchase sex-pest infested video game company Activision Blizzard. Microsoft's press release says the purchase "accelerate the growth in Microsoft's gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse". If you've been living under a rock, Activision Blizzard is responsible for very popular game franchises like Overwatch, Diablo, Warcraft, Call of Duty, StarCraft and Candy Crush. The deal still depends on regulators agreeing to it, who have been burned on much smaller tech mergers in the past, but despite the size of this deal I reckon it'll sail through. There's still an insane amount of competition in the gaming space (Sony, Apple, Facebook, Steam) and plenty of AAA-studios (Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive and Epic) churning out games. Microsoft Game Pass is gonna be pretty irresistible.

First case involving use of Autopilot in fatal car accident going to court in California

California has charged a bloke with vehicular manslaughter whilst using Tesla's Autopilot driver assist. In 2019, "a Model S was moving at a high speed when it left a freeway and ran a red light in the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena and struck a Honda Civic at an intersection", killing both people in the Honda. NHTSA investigated the crash and confirmed that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the incident. Tesla has always said you're on your own if this kinda thing happens and they accept no responsibility, but you'd kinda hope they'd be in the background helping defend this guy. If Autopilot is to blame, be it technologically (why didn't it stop?) or indirectly (an over-reliance on Autopilot due to Tesla's incorrect marketing of it), maybe the Elon-fanboys will realise "full self driving" is more of a scam than a legit feature worth $10,000?

US airline regulator and telcos still can't agree on how to operate n77/n78 5G bands

The FAA and US telcos are still arguing over the rollout of relatively high frequency 5G services. Verizon and AT&T were due to kick off 5G on the n77 and n78 bands this week, but have put the launch on hold because but the FAA reckons that despite a chunky 220MHz of distance between those bands and the frequencies used by radar altimeters used on planes, there's still too much risk. Emirates, Air India, ANA, and Japan Airlines aren't taking any chances and have cancelled flights to the USA until this mess is cleared up. United said they'd be happy with n77/n78 5G country-wide, but not within 2 miles of runways at airports. What confuses me the most here is that many countries have n77 and n78 5G bands running - what's going on in the US that makes their rollout such a risk?

Something I Saw On The Internet

Intel's hegemony is over, now they're having a bet on both semiconductor business models

Ben Thompson has a solid take on Intel's business strategy now that they're no longer king shit in the semiconductor game. Most semiconductor related businesses these days focus on either design (ARM, AMD, Nvidia) or fabrication (TSMC, Samsung, Global Foundries). Intel does both and doesn't share with anyone - until now, as new CEO Pat Gelsinger is "de-integrating" Intel. It'll keep designing its own chips obviously, but Intel will pay TSMC (their main competitor!) to make them, while working other design companies that don't necessarily need the top shelf stuff to use Intel's factories. It also means Intel's factories will have to compete with TSMC to manufacture Intel's flagship designs and the fresh sexy stuff from others. Interesting times ahead.


The End

📻 Motel #27 - The Velveteers

😎 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon.

💬 Checked out the paid subscriber only forum? It's a tidy little place to discuss tech with like minded Aussies.

👋 Forums not your thing? The Sizzle has a Slack group you can procrastinate in and chat with other nerds bored at work.

💳 Paid subscriber looking to manage your billing info or change email address? Visit the customer portal.

📚 Browse The Sizzle Archive. A few issues are missing and it's not searchable, but it's better than nothing.

The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.