It’s not been long since the US Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, but more legal battles are on the horizon for Big Tech. A Wall Street Journal report yesterday suggested that both federal and state antitrust authorities will be filing new lawsuits against not only Google but Facebook, too. If it happens, this would be the first time the government has sued Facebook on antitrust grounds.
For Google, the case against it is its dominance in search and search advertising to box out potential competitors. For Facebook, it’d likely delve into whether the company abuses its position to stifle competition or puts user data at risk — not to mention the consequences of the company’s acquisitions, including Instagram and WhatsApp.
Tech companies are going to have a busy 2021. In the UK, the government plans to create a new agency to regulate these large tech companies. Starting in April 2021, the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) will enforce a code that will set new limits on tech’s biggest platforms.
— Mat Smith, Bureau Chief
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is resigning on January 20th
With a new administration taking over at the White House, Pai is on his way out.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced he’s leaving the commission on January 20th, 2021, the same day President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in. It’s not a major surprise — such appointees often resign as a new administration takes over. Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler left his position when the Trump administration took over back in 2017.
Of course, Pai will always be remembered for his infamous decision to strip net neutrality protections put in place under the Obama presidency. It’s not clear yet who will take over at the FCC, but it’s entirely possible a new chairperson under the Biden administration will work to bring back net neutrality protections.
HP’s latest privacy tool for laptops is meant to thwart prying eyes
It can sense your presence.
It’s getting pretty difficult to make a laptop that stands out. There are countless thin and light notebooks with comfortable keyboards, beautiful screens and enough power for most professional workflows. Companies have to figure out unique features to help devices rise above what’s already out there. For HP, its latest attempt is something called Presence Aware on the EliteBook 1040, which lets the machine know when you’re in front of it so it can dim the screen when you leave and wake up when you return. There’s also a new AI noise reduction tool to make your voice sound clearer on calls. It’s unusual for Engadget to test a commercial laptop like the EliteBook 1040, but it’s unique enough to warrant it. Read on for the full review.
Two classic RPGs are being ported to a rare 1980s PC
On floppy discs.
The company behind Ys and Ys II, two very old JRPG titles, is porting the games to a new platform. I say ‘new’, but they’re being ported to the Sharp X68000, a Japan-only PC first released in 1987. They’ll come on 3.5-inch floppy disks and have had some improvements in the intervening… decades. Japanese outlet ITMedia notes you’ll see smoother in-game scrolling and won’t need to swap in blank floppies to save your progress. The ports will be available in Japan on March 9th, 2021, in a bundle for ¥8,800 ($84) — all for a game almost as old as me.
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Xiaomi overtook Apple in smartphone sales last quarter
The industry as a whole is bouncing back from the pandemic.
Gartner estimates that Xiaomi overtook Apple in phone sales during the third quarter of 2020, climbing from 32.9 million handsets a year earlier (8.5 percent of the market) to 44.4 million (12.1 percent) this summer. Apple gained share, too, but its 40.6 million iPhone sales were a slight dip from 2019. Samsung remains at the top, with a 22 percent market share, while Huawei saw sales shrink, predictably, but still held on to second place.
But wait, there’s more…
DeepMind’s latest AI breakthrough can accurately predict the way proteins fold
The Cardinals–49ers NFL game will only be available to stream
GM has ditched plans to build Nikola’s hybrid fuel-cell pickup
Scotland is testing green hydrogen for cooking and heating in 300 homes