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🎮 Microsoft’s Cloud Gaming Showdown

GM and Happy Saturday! ☀️

The stock market took a dip thanks to the latest inflation data, and it’s got everyone thinking the Fed might keep those interest rates on lockdown for a while.

In September, the Consumer Price Index remained at 3.7%, quite a bit above the Fed’s 2% target. We’re not out of the woods just yet, though. The Fed’s next meeting will take place Oct. 31 through Nov. 1, so hang tight.

Until then, enjoy the latest on Microsoft’s Activision deal, a new Starlink update, and some shocking Meta AI integrations.

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MONEY MASTERY BRIEF

  • UK Gives Thumbs Up to Microsoft’s $69 Billion Gaming Spree
  • Starlink’s 2024 Vision
  • Celebrities
  • Celebrities Cash in on AI

♟ Check or Checkmate? Activision Merger Turns into a Cloud Gaming Match

It’s a done deal, folks.

Microsoft‘s (NASDAQ:MSFT) dream of acquiring gaming giant Activision has become a reality, thanks to the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority. But, of course, it wouldn’t be trending news without a twist.

Activision’s cloud-streaming rights are not falling into Microsoft’s lap; instead, they’re embarking on a French escapade to Ubisoft for the next 15 years, excluding Europe. Within the European Economic Area, Ubisoft secures a “non-exclusive license” to handle the cloud-streaming versions of Activision’s games.

However, Microsoft will still control games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush. The CMA believes the revised deal will “preserve competitive prices” in the gaming industry and provide more choice and better services.

The CMA initially blocked the deal in April, worried about Microsoft’s Xbox domination in cloud gaming. But in a twist last month, they approved the revised deal, which included selling cloud gaming rights outside Europe to Ubisoft. CMA’s chief executive, Sarah Cardell, assured that Microsoft won’t stranglehold cloud gaming, ensuring competitive prices and better services.

The deal was set to expire on October 18, and now with all approvals in place, Activision Blizzard’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, is ready to finalize the transaction. Despite the initial opposition, the CMA stood alone in blocking the takeover, as EU counterparts and the US competition regulator didn’t intervene.

The Federal Trade Commission maintains its opposition but can’t stop the deal.

And it goes without saying, this acquisition solidifies Microsoft’s position in the gaming industry, potentially making it the third-biggest player behind Sony and Tencent.

🌐 Starlink’s Direct-to-Cell: Text, Talk, and Browse from Anywhere

Hold on to your smartphones.

Starlink is about to take its much-hyped satellite cellular service, Direct-to-Cell, for a test spin in 2024. But before you imagine unlimited Netflix binges in the desert, here’s the kicker: it’s SMS-only…at least for a while.

But Starlink won’t be doing this alone. The company has teamed up with T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS), and they’re like the dynamic duo of cellular coverage. T-Mobile’s letting Starlink’s second-gen satellites borrow a piece of their 5G spectrum, giving the cell service provider “near complete coverage” across the United States.

So, while you’re sending emojis in the wilderness, those satellites in the sky and their newfound friendship with T-Mobile are the real MVPs.

Last August, Elon Musk promised “Starlink V2” on phones and Teslas, claiming no more global dead zones. Excitement cooled in March when SpaceX hinted at testing — not full operation — starting in 2023.

So, why the delay? The current 4,265 satellites won’t do; Starlink plans to launch new microsats with eNodeB modems for expanded voice and data features over the next few years.

In a world where we expect instant gratification, this SMS-only service might seem like a throwback, but it’s a step towards a new era in connectivity. Cat videos in the woods? Not yet, but we’re getting there.

🤳 A Million-Dollar Selfie: How Celebrities are Cashing in on AI Clones

Meta (NASDAQ:META) recently introduced Billie, an AI chatbot that eerily resembles Kendall Jenner, even mimicking her blinking patterns. Yet, Billie is just the first of what’s planned ahead.

Here’s the scoop:

Billie is just the trailblazer in a squad of 27 AI assistants, each modeled after celebrities who reportedly pocketed between $1 million to $5 million for sharing their likeness with a robot.

The list includes:

  • Snoop Dogg
  • Paris Hilton
  • Tom Brady
  • Chloe Kim

Each AI will specialize in answering questions in specific categories.

Meta is selling the idea that these AI celebrities will be our go-to for inquiries, but c’mon guys—will they be there for us during an existential crisis? AI adopting celebrity faces, performing fictional roles, and infiltrating your Messenger, Instagram, or WhatsApp messages is as mind-bending as it gets.

Look, we get it. AI has its uses – in healthcare, finance, even the beauty industry. But when it starts making celebrities out of thin air, we’re getting into “Black Mirror” territory. As we navigate this brave new world, the line between reality and AI is blurring fast, and it’s raising some serious questions.

With these AI doppelgangers on the scene, the risk of misinformation and confusion may be a concern for some. So, while AI chatbots might be the big thing, for some, they might be a little too real for comfort.

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“The OSIRIS-REx sample is the biggest carbon-rich asteroid sample ever delivered to Earth and will help scientists investigate the origins of life on our own planet for generations to come.”

– NASA administrator Bill Nelson

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission found water and carbon in Bennu asteroid samples, suggesting asteroids like Bennu could have played a role in Earth’s life development through ancient impacts.

38 million. It’s all about clean and renewable these days, and Biden is at the forefront. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is giving more than $38 million to 66 hydro facilities as a reward for making and selling electricity.

They’re also sharing a new plan called the “Hydropower Vision Roadmap.” This money, from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, assists areas with inadequate electricity and supports dams and other water setups that create hydroelectric power.

It’s a pretty big deal since this is the DOE’s biggest investment in hydroelectric power ever, and it’s part of President Biden’s plan to boost clean energy.

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Ford (NYSE:F) and SK On will raise wages at EV battery factories in Kentucky and Tennessee to address striking autoworkers’ concerns. The joint venture, BlueOval SK, plans to increase wages for maintenance technicians and associate maintenance technicians, with rates ranging from $24 to $37.50 per hour based on experience. Full story

EV: Chinese battery companies, vital for electric vehicles, are making deals with U.S. free-trade allies like South Korea and Morocco to meet the increasing demand in the American market and circumvent trade restrictions. In 2023, Chinese firms have already invested over $4.5 billion in South Korea, forming nine joint ventures to secure the necessary raw materials for EV batteries. Full story

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL): Two years after its launch, Google’s Project Green Light, aimed at tackling street-level pollution caused by idling vehicles at stoplights, was discussed at the Sustainability ‘23 event. The initiative utilizes machine learning and Maps data to assess traffic congestion and average wait times at traffic lights. By training AI models, the program optimizes traffic timing, decreasing idle times and minimizing braking and acceleration at intersections. Full story

OpenAI: Startup Anysphere secured $8 million in seed funding for its “AI-native” software development environment, Cursor. The funding round was led by OpenAI’s Startup Fund and included participation from angel investors such as former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman and Dropbox co-founder Arash Ferdowsi. Full story

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA): A bunker-style building has surfaced at Tesla’s Giga Texas, reportedly intended for the Dojo supercomputer, as revealed in a Tuesday report from The Information. This development follows Tesla’s recent entry into Dojo production, although the veracity of these claims remains uncertain, aligning with past discussions about Tesla’s Dojo data center plans. Full story

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) faces an IRS demand for an extra $28.9 billion in taxes due to a dispute over profit allocation between 2004 and 2013. They claim that $10 billion in already-paid taxes is not considered. Microsoft plans to challenge this through IRS appeals and, if necessary, legal proceedings. Full story

AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) announced its intent to acquire the AI startup Nod.ai on Tuesday, aiming to enhance its software capabilities. In a bid to compete with Nvidia, AMD plans substantial investments in critical software for its advanced AI chips, acknowledging Nvidia’s decade-long advantage in the AI chip market. AMD is committed to building a unified software collection to support its diverse range of chips. Full story

The conflict had an immediate economic impact on oil markets. Israel’s currency sank to a 7-year low, and escalating conflict led to soaring oil prices, increasing costs worldwide and adding to inflationary pressures.

Additionally, the uncertainty from conflicts can erode consumer and investor confidence, potentially harming an already fragile global economy in post-pandemic recovery.

As for you, fellow investors, this news is crucial because it highlights the immediate impact of geopolitical conflicts on financial markets. The oil market’s vulnerability, currency fluctuations, and increased costs can affect investment portfolios.

Amidst the various global challenges, it’s comforting to witness the resilience of the tech industry. From an investor’s perspective, it’s important to take note of which of these projects are worth your time. The future seems promising for AI and renewable energy sources, sure, but when do we cross the line?

So, we’re curious whether you’ve been preparing well for the future.

Do you currently have any AI stocks in your portfolio?

Reply to this email with YES or NO.

Thanks for reading, and may your investments thrive. 🙂

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