Microsoft cleared to buy Activision Blizzard, Kia plans £25,000 EV

Activision Blizzard is the maker of the hugely popular Call of Duty games

Microsoft’s revised offer to buy Call of Duty-maker Activision Blizzard has been approved by UK regulators. The Competition and Markets Authority said the deal addressed its concerns, after the watchdog blocked the original $69bn (£59bn) bid in April. The green light marks the culmination of a near two-year fight to secure the gaming industry’s biggest-ever takeover. But despite approving the takeover, the CMA criticised Microsoft’s conduct. After the competition watchdog blocked the takeover earlier this year, Microsoft’s president Brad Smith hit out at the CMA’s decision, which it said was “bad for Britain”. BBC 

Google has announced that its apps and services will now be “passwordless by default” in an effort to make all users switch to passkey. The move is part of a broader consensus among the tech industry to ditch passwords, which have been around since the 1960s, and switch to a safer and more efficient format to verify a person’s identity. Passkeys combine a code with biometric information like a fingerprint or facial recognition, making them easier to remember and harder to be stolen. Independent 

Targeted at Europe, the EV2 will be built in Slovakia and rival the Vauxhall Corsa Electric

Kia will launch a European-focused EV2
with a target price of around £25,000 in 2026 as part of a major expansion of its bespoke electric vehicle line-up. The new machine, which was confirmed at the company’s first EV Day event in Seoul, South Korea, will follow the EV3 small SUV, EV4 saloon and EV5 family SUV, which will all go on sale within the next three years. The four models will join the existing EV6 and flagship EV9 in Kia’s range of bespoke electric cars using the Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP platform. They will be key to the firm’s ambition to reach 1.6 million EV sales annually by 2030. Tech Radar 

The Society of Authors (SoA) has said it is “deeply concerned” about Spotify’s new audiobook provision. The industry body cited “the devastating effect that music streaming has had on artists’ incomes”, and expressed its fear that authors may suffer in a similar way. “The streaming of audiobooks competes directly with sales and is even more damaging than music streaming because books are typically only read once, while music is often streamed many times,” a statement from the SoA read. Guardian 

Image: Google

Google is taking on Microsoft at its own game as the tech giant has begun testing its own image generation tool on the AI-powered Search Generative Experience (SGE). It functions almost exactly like Bing Chat: you enter a prompt directly into Google Search, and after a few seconds, four images pop out. What’s unique about it is you can choose one of the pictures and develop it even further by editing its description to add more detail. Google gives the example of asking SGE to generate “a photorealistic image of a capybara” cooking breakfast. 

Dyson has paid out a record £1.2bn in dividends to its parent company as Sir James Dyson funds investments in farming and insurance. Accounts filed in Singapore showed Dyson had increased its payout to Weybourne Holdings, owned by the Dyson family, from £1bn in 2021 to £1.2bn last year. Sir James, Britain’s fifth-wealthiest man with a net worth of £23bn according to the Sunday Times Rich List, has steadily increased the cash payments from Dyson to Weybourne in recent years. Dyson has paid out £4.3bn in the last five years, according to Bloomberg. Telegraph 

Chris Price