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2024-07-19 14:00:31| Engadget

Microsoft has made changes to its Xbox Game Pass service that are "exactly the sort of consumer harm" from its Activision acquisition that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was worried about, the agency wrote in a letter addressed to the US Appeals Court. The FTC's letter focused on a recent price hike for the Xbox Game Pass and pointed out that the Game Pass Ultimate now costs $20 a month, which is $3 more per month than before and represents a 17 percent year-over-year increase.   In addition, the agency called attention to Microsoft's decision to discontinue the $11 Console Game Pass plan. The agency added a new Game Pass Standard tier, but it costs more at $15 a month. While it's a step up from the barebones Core plan, it doesn't include access to day-one releases, leading the FTC to call it a "degraded product." Microsoft will fully discontinue the Console tier just before the launch of the next Call of Duty game, the FTC said. Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 will be playable via Game Pass from its release date on October 25, which means subscribers who want to access it on day one will have to pay for the $20-a-month tier.  The company promised that the "acquisition would benefit consumers by making [CoD] available on Microsofts Game Pass on the day it is released on console (with no price increase for the service based on the acquisition)," the FTC wrote. But Microsoft's actions show a firm that's "exercising market power post-merger," it noted. The FTC repeatedly challenged Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard, but a judge rejected its request for an injunction. At the time, the judge ruled that the FTC failed to demonstrate how the merger would lessen competition and even said that there was "record evidence" pointing to "more consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content."  Microsoft, which officially closed the $69 billion deal in October 2023 after that ruling and after the blessing of regulators in the EU and the UK, now officially owns Activision Blizzard. But the FTC still isn't done opposing the merger and filed an appeal in an attempt to the block the already-closed deal, telling the court that it can prove its case by showing that Microsoft has the ability and incentive to withhold Activision's games. Back in February, the agency also accused Microsoft of going against its pledge to allow Activision Blizzard to operate independently post-acquisition after the company laid off nearly 2,000 employees in its gaming division. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-ftc-is-as-mad-about-the-xbox-game-pass-price-increase-as-you-are-120031248.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-07-19 13:16:06| Engadget

The mining of technology nostalgia is unrelenting. Earlier this week, we had an unofficial return of the iPod, not to mention Tamagotchis and now Discman. Well, not an actual Discman, which is a Sony brand, but the portable CD player is back. Audiophile brand FiiO has launched the DM13, a portable CD player with modern touches, like high-fidelity wireless and a built-in battery. No more AAs! The CD Player will go on sale in September for $179 (179 in the UK). It begins shipping only in a silver finish, but FiiO says red, blue, titanium and black variants will arrive later in the year enough time to find my folder of NOW compilation CDs. Mat Smith The biggest stories you might have missed Bangladesh is experiencing a near-total internet shutdown amid student protests Netflix will drop a new multiplayer game when Squid Game season 2 premieres this year How to install the iOS 18 public beta You can get these reports delivered daily direct to your inbox. Subscribe right here! Microsoft suffers Azure outage and faulty cybersecurity update takes out companies worldwide Its a massive Microsoft Windows BSOD (blue screen of death) outage. Unable to get into Outlook this morning? Youre not the only one. Microsoft has also suffered an outage with its Azure services and Microsoft 365 app suite. Then, a faulty update from security giant CrowdStrike forced PCs and servers into an unrecoverable boot loop. The issue forced Delta, Frontier and other airlines to ground flights and impacted the UKs London Stock Exchange and Sky broadcaster. We have widespread reports of BSODs on Windows hosts, occurring on multiple sensor versions, CrowdStrike wrote in a pinned Reddit post. [We have] identified a content deployment related to this issue and reverted those changes. Its a great Friday morning for all involved. Continue reading. Previewing iOS 18 Waiting on Apple Intelligence for the true upgrade. Apple launched public betas across all its platforms, and while youll have to wait for the official release in fall, lots of features are stable enough for most folks to play with. While I got to grips with everything out there on iOS 18, there was a big missing piece: Apple Intelligence. Arguably the most interesting things Apple showed off at WWDC hinged on AI, but none of those features are available for testing yet. Read on for what we like so far. Continue reading. That huge camera bump on the Pixel 9 Pro is very real Google just confirmed it. Google Its not a Pixel leak without Google following up with fewer images and less information. Following a couple of leaks on four Pixel 9 phones apparently coming up, Google revealed the camera unit on the Pixel 9 Pro, and it is chonky. Continue reading. Halo, the TV show, has been canceled Not everything is Fallout. Back in 2013, Microsoft decided to create a live-action Halo television series back when Halo was one of the biggest gaming properties in the world. It took about ten years to happen, but only two years and series for Paramount+ to cancel it. According to an unnamed Variety source, the show creators plan to shop the project around and search for a new home for Master Chief. Continue reading.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-the-age-of-the-retro-cd-player-is-here-111606809.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-07-19 10:51:43| Engadget

A massive Microsoft Windows BSOD (blue screen of death) outage has impacted multiple companies worldwide including airlines, broadcasters and others. The problem was a caused by a faulty update from security giant CrowdStrike that forced PCs and servers into an unrecoverable boot loop. The change has since been rolled back, but many machines are still affected. "We have widespread reports of BSODs on windows hosts, occurring on multiple sensor versions," CrowdStrike wrote in a pinned Reddit post. "[We have] identified a content deployment related to this issue and reverted those changes." The company went on to describe a workaround, which involves booting Windows into Safe Mode and deleting a specific driver.  The issue forced Delta, Frontier and other airlines to ground flights, and impacted UK broadcaster Sky and the London Stock Exchange. On a Reddit thread, dozens of commenters stated that their companies were effectively offline due to the problem.  "Even if [CrowdStrike] fixed the issue causing the BSOD, I'm thinking how are we going to restore the thousands of devices that are not booting up," one user noted. "Let me explain to someone who is not tech savvy and is working from home how to boot their machine into safe mode," another wrote.  Reddit users including many IT managers from Australia, Malaysia, Japan, India, the Czech Republic and elsewhere have said they're fighting through the issue. "Here in the Philippines, specifically in my employer, it is like Thanos snapped his fingers. Half of the entire organization [is] down due to BSOD loop. Started at 2pm and is still ongoing. What a Friday," said one. CrowdStrike is a US-based security firm that provides real-time protection against security threats to corporations. One of its key products is Falcon, described by the company as "providing real-time indicators of attack, hyper-accurate detection and automated protection" from threats. A CrowdStrike spokesperson said it was likely an issue with Falcon that caused the incident.  To add to the pain, Microsoft appears to have also suffered a separate outage with its Azure services and Microsoft 365 app suite. "Users may be unable to access various Microsoft 365 apps and services," it wrote. It's not clear which, if any, of the outages are related to this instead of the CrowdStrike problem. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/faulty-cybersecurity-update-takes-out-banks-airlines-and-other-major-companies-worldwide-085142264.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-07-19 05:04:40| Engadget

Google has confirmed in a teaser video that its upcoming line of smartphones includes a new foldable model. The company called the Pixel 9 Pro Fold a "foldable phone built for the Gemini era" in its promo tweet, and it even focused on its gen AI chatbot in the video. Similar to the non-foldable Pixel 9 Pro, this model also has a prominent camera bump. Its lenses are arranged vertically near one side of the phone, so the camera bump is mostly there and doesn't take up the whole width of the folded device. A foldable phone built for the Gemini era. Out with the old. In with the Fold. Learn more and sign up for #MadeByGoogle updates: https://t.co/7zTWktAvWk pic.twitter.com/UZDudLiUWB Made by Google (@madebygoogle) July 18, 2024 While Google has yet to formally unveil the model, a previous leak, courtesy of Android Authority, has already revealed a lot of details about the upcoming Pixel 9 models. Taiwan's National Communications Commission (NCC) uploaded galleries of each phone Pixel 9, 9 Pro, 9 Pro XL and 9 Pro Fold to its archives. Some of those photos feature an unfolded 9 Pro Fold, showing how Google moved its selfie camera to the inside screen for a wider field of view. They also show that the model has a reduced fold crease on the display, which measures 250mm or just under 10 inches. The NCC's leak revealed that the upcoming devices need bigger chargers, as well. Their charging rates are generally faster than previous models based on the agency's tests, though the Pixel 9 Pro Fold was the slowest of them all. We'll be able to confirm those details when Google launches its new smartphones at the next Made by Google event that's happening on August 13. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-confirms-the-pixel-9-pro-fold-with-a-teaser-video-030440420.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-07-19 01:59:07| Engadget

Bangladesh is experiencing a complete internet shutdown as its government attempts to clamp down on widespread student protests that have resulted in the deaths of at least 32 people, according to AFP. The unrest is centered around the countrys quota system that requires a third of government jobs to be reserved for relatives of veterans who had fought for Bangladeshs independence from Pakistan in 1971. On Thursday, several thousand protestors in Dhaka, Bangladeshs capital, had reportedly stormed state broadcaster BTV, smashed windows and furniture and set offices on fire, trapping many people inside, according to a post on BTVs official Facebook page. 17 people died on Thursday amid clashes with police, reported Al Jazeera. To control the situation, Bangladeshi authorities shut down internet and phone access throughout the country, a common practice in South Asia to prevent the spread of rumors and misinformation and exercise state control. NetBlocks, a global internet monitor that works on digital rights analyzed live network data that showed that Bangladesh was in the middle of a near-total national internet shutdown. Confirmed: Live network data show #Bangladesh is now in the midst of a near-total national internet shutdown; the new measure follows earlier efforts to throttle social media and restrict mobile data services, and comes amid reports of rising deaths at student protests pic.twitter.com/nMwwS0MDnC NetBlocks (@netblocks) July 18, 2024 Internet shutdowns are a popular way to crack down on conflict in countries around the world. According to internet watchdog Access Now, the number of shutdowns around the world continues to rise each year. In 2023, 39 countries collectively shutdown internet access more than 160 times for a variety of reasons including protests, exams and elections. Bangladesh has frequently blacked out the internet to crack down on political opposition and activists. At the end of 2023, research tool CIVICUS Monitor, which provides data on the state of civil society and freedoms in nearly 200 countries, downgraded Bangladeshs civic space to closed, its lowest possible rating, after the country imposed six internet shutdowns the previous year. That made Bangladesh the fifth-largest perpetrator of internet shutdowns in 2022, Access Now said. The countrys telecom regulator had pledged to keep internet access on through Bangladeshs general elections at the beginning of 2024, but that electoral period is now over. Despite the pledge, Bangladesh blocked access to news websites during its elections.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/bangladesh-is-experiencing-a-near-total-internet-shutdown-amid-student-protests-235907085.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


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