You have until 10 January to make your feelings felt
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to take a closer look at Microsoft’s buy of talkative AI specialist Nuance.
Today’s announcement follows reports that the purchase, an all-cash transaction valued at $19.7bn when announced in April 2021, was set to get a nod from EU regulators.
To be clear, the CMA is only at the investigation stage and has invited comments from interested parties with a closing date of 10 January 2022. It is pondering if the results of the proposed acquisition will end up substantially hobbling competition and warrant a full blown enquiry.
- UK competition regulator to Meta’s Facebook: Sell Giphy, we will not approve the purchase
- Privacy Sandbox saga continues: UK watchdog extracts more commitments from Google over ad tech
- Regulators on three continents probing Nvidia’s $40bn purchase of Arm, CFO confirms
- UK watchdog launches full probe of Motorola Solutions’ cop-comms deals on Emergency Services Network
US regulators have already permitted the deal to go ahead, although a formal decision has yet to be made on this side of the Atlantic.
The acquisition is one of Microsoft’s largest, second to LinkedIn, which was snapped up for $26.2bn in 2016.
The plan is to plug the technology into the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. Nuance’s tech is focused on healthcare-optimised speech recognition to streamline the production of clinical documentation.
Microsoft and Nuance buddied up in 2019 and, as part of that, Nuance agreed to migrate much of its internal infrastructure and hosted products to Azure.
The acquisition announcement followed a few months later. It was expected to have closed by the end of this calendar year, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.
With the CMA leaving the comments box open into January 2022, closure of the deal will roll on for a little longer. ®
Other stories you might like
ZOE COVID Study app starts the week with a lockdown of its own
Symptom tracker suffers Monday morning borkage
The ZOE COVID study app is still reportedly wobbly for some users after being entirely down and out for several hours this morning.
It’s all impeccable timing considering the UK government upped the local COVID alert level over the weekend.
The app, available on Android and iOS, has proven an invaluable source of data during the pandemic, providing estimates of infection based on symptoms reported by users, thus avoiding the lag inherent in logging lateral flow and PCR tests via UK government websites.
Linux Foundation spends 20% more in 2021, highlights new LFX platform
New tool for security, insights, and fixing “gender and racially insensitive language rampant in code”
The Linux Foundation (LF) will spend over $180m in 2021, 20 per cent up on last year, and highlights the role of its new LFX platform in its just-published annual report.
A non-profit formed in 2000 to support the development of the Linux kernel as well as the wider Linux and open source ecosystem, the LF is the parent foundation of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), stewards of Kubernetes and other projects.
In its annual report, the LF states that it will spend over $180M in 2021, up from $148M in 2020. Just 3.4 per cent of that is spent on Linux Kernel support. 56.3 per cent goes towards supporting other projects. Income is forecast to be $177M. In the last five years, the report says, membership has grown by 280 per cent, geographically divided into 48 per cent Americas, 31 per cent EMEAR (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia), and 21 per cent APAC.
Return of the Mac (mechanical): Vissles keyboard for fans of keeping a low profile
A little bit more QWERTY never hurty
Review The mechanical keyboard space is teeming with competition. If you’re a gamer, a coder, or simply type a lot, there’s something for you. But asterisk, dear reader: that’s only true if you’re wedded to the PC.
Intel’s mystery Linux muckabout is a dangerous ploy at a dangerous time
Open source is no place for secrets
Opinion This is a critical time for the Good Chip Intel. After the vessel driftied through the Straits of Lateness towards the Rocks of Irrelevance, Captain Pat parachuted into the bridge to grab the helm and bark “Full steam ahead!”
Its first berth at Alder Lake is generally seen as a return to competitive form, but that design started well before Gelsinger’s return and there’s still zero room for navigational errors in the expeditions ahead.
At least one of the course corrections looks a bit rum. Intel has long realised the importance of supporting open source to keep its chips dancing with Linux. Unlike the halcyon days of Wintel dominance, though, this means being somewhat more open about the down-and-dirty details of exactly how its chips do their thing. You can’t sign an NDA with the Linux kernel.
Ooh, an update. Let’s install it. What could possibly go wro-
Patching the patch
Who, Me? Welcome to another Who, Me? confession from the Register readership, and a reminder of the unexpected side effects of software updates.
Today’s story, from “Ralph” (not his name), takes us back nearly two decades to when he was responsible for a selection of servers, this being in the days before virtual machines were ubiquitous.
He had a selection of kit on his books. A SQL Server, an AS/400 doing accounting duty, and a Hewlett Packard server running Novell Netware and responsible for file management and email.
Is it decadent that I use four different computers each day, at different times?
Amazon’s latest Kindle Paperwhite sees Reg hack’s fondleslab get a rest
Review Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite e-book reader has solved several problems for me and overcome a shortcoming of the iPad. If only it didn’t also make me guilty about adding another device to my already computer-infested life.
As I slide into middle age, I’m wearing reading glasses more often. I’ve come to them quite late in life and own an iPad that lets me read e-books with enlarged text, so have been slow to acclimate to habitual use of my specs. But using a tablet creates the modern problem of being distracted: at night I can doomscroll myself close to sleep before I read much of a book. Another problem is that the strong light from a tablet isn’t appreciated by the other person in the bed.
My fix for both problems is Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition.
Chinese paper runs interview with Alibaba staffer who claims she was fired after exec rape claim
E-commerce giant’s #metoo moment takes sinister turn
Chinese state-owned media has run an interview with a woman – identified only by her last name Zhou – who alleged she was fired after claiming one of the firm’s execs raped her while on a business trip, according to an interview between Zhou and Dahe Daily.
Zhou was allegedly sexually assaulted on a business trip by a superior back in August, after being pressured to drink excessively with clients. When she reported the incident, Zhou said Alibaba executives demanded she produce video evidence before they would take action. Desperate to be heard, Zhou took to the company intranet, where she posted an 8000-word account of her accusations. She also distributed pamphlets in the corporate canteen.
Dahe Daily published an interview from December 9 with Zhou, where she states that the e-commerce giant terminated her contract without severance pay at the end of November, on the grounds that she spread false information – specifically “being raped by executives and not handling the company’s knowledge” and violated corporate policies that forbid “publishing or disseminating inappropriate remarks to the outside world, or deliberately fabricating or disseminating fictitious facts, or disseminating unverified information, causing a bad impact.”
Clearview’s dodgy selfie-scraping AI facial recognition technology set to be patented
Plus: DeepMind’s latest language model research and more
Clearview’s controversial facial recognition technology is getting closer to being patented by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The USPTO has given Clearview a “notice of allowance”, a sign that the startup’s patent application will be approved once it pays administrative costs, Politico reported. Clearview said it has scraped ten billion photos from public social media accounts. Although companies like Instagram and Twitter disapprove, Clearview has continued to download these images without permission.
Now, its methods and software are may be officially patented. Clearview’s application describes a “downloading by a web crawler facial images of individuals and personal information associated therewith; and storing the downloaded facial images and associated personal information in the database.”
T-Mobile US figuring out international roaming on 5G
‘We will eventually learn’
PCs with 5G connectivity could face issues that include international roaming support, but T-Mobile is working through those issues, in addition to figuring out what data plans may look like.
T-Mobile sells some connected PCs like Samsung’s Galaxy Book Go 5G with its data plans. The company anticipates a much different user behavior on 5G than it has with smartphones, and will adapt plans accordingly.
“I think early days, there were a lot of starts and fits in the space. I think there was a lot of friction points from ease of activation to eSIM adoption not being quite there yet,” Ryan Sullivan, vice president of device engineering, told The Register.
CentOS Stream 9: Understanding the new Red Hat OS release for non-Red-Hat-type people
El Reg maps the tributaries
Red Hat has released CentOS Stream 9, the first major version since the company badly shook its community by announcing it was ending traditional CentOS a year ago.
This is the second release of the new CentOS Stream distro, and presumably the IBM subsidiary hopes it will offer a more appealing migration path for CentOS users than for them to jump ship.
Notably, in CentOS Stream 8, RH’s Application Streams – analogous to Fedora’s “Modularity” – were mandatory, but they’re optional in 9.
Nvidia CEO Huang jointly files patent for software tech in the metaverse
The boss isn’t too busy to be named
Nvidia’s CEO Jensen Huang continues inventing, as if his role in the rise of GPUs wasn’t enough.
A patent application published on December 2 credits Huang as one of the inventors of a system to open and share a file in the cloud without the need for a corresponding application on local devices.
Instead, the opened file is encoded and presented through a video stream, with everything happening in the cloud. To be clear, the application is a continuation of filings and patents granted dating back to 2012 related to graphics processing in the cloud and network-attached GPUs. The new patent hasn’t been granted yet.
Learn More: technology clipart,technology student association,technology management,technology readiness level,technology acceptance model,technology gif,technology transfer,technology consultant,technology package,technology addiction awareness scholarship,is technology good or bad,technology networks,technology movies,technology gap,technology jokes,is technology limiting creativity,technology leadership,technology drive,technology zero,technology help,technology 100 years ago,technology project manager,technology house,technology unlimited,technology background images,technology readiness level dod,g technology ssd,technology economics definition,technology obsolescence,is technology science,technology life cycle