Hashtag Trending Nov.22-Microsoft looks to fish OpenAI employees; Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware to close; Musk launches what he calls a “thermonuclear” lawsuit

Microsoft offers OpenAI employees to move over at their same compensation.  Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware crosses the final hurdle. And more on the X files as Elon Musk lashes out at his critics with what he calls a “thermonuclear” lawsuit.

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I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

Microsoft’s CTO Kevin Scott offered to match the compensation of any OpenAI employees that want to move to Microsoft. Here’s what he said:

“To my partners at OpenAI: We have seen your petition and appreciate your desire potentially to join Sam Altman at Microsoft’s new AI Research Lab,” Scott said Tuesday in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Know that if needed, you have a role at Microsoft that matches your compensation and advances our collective mission.”

There’s no indication of whether this is dependent on Sam Altman moving to Microsoft – a decision that has not yet been made.

Despite uncertainties about Sam Altman’s position—whether he will return to OpenAI or fully transition to Microsoft— Satya Nadella has been unwavering in his support of Altman and his team, irrespective of their eventual location. 

But according to a story in the India Times it might be more strategic for Microsoft to incorporate Altman and his team directly, especially considering the unresolved status of OpenAI’s leadership and its recent appointment of Emmett Shear as CEO.

According to that article, OpenAI has clarified that while Microsoft currently holds exclusive rights to use models like GPT-4, it will not have exclusive rights to post-AGI models developed by OpenAI.

With the level of funding that Microsoft has provided, it undoubtedly will be pursuing rights to future development. But those would be shared with an increasingly unstable or at least unpredictable OpenAI.

But if Sam Altman and his entire team were to move to Microsoft?  AGI’s first words could be “start me up.”

Sources include:  Analytics India 

The long-anticipated merger between Broadcom and virtualization giant VMware has passed the final approval – by Chinese regulatory authorities, marking the end of a significant phase of uncertainty. This approval paves the way for the merger, valued at $69 billion, to be finalized as early as November 22, 2023. 

Broadcom, a global leader in semiconductor and infrastructure software solutions, has successfully obtained legal merger clearances in multiple countries, including the European Union and the UK. The company has also secured foreign investment control clearances in all necessary jurisdictions, indicating broad international acceptance of the deal.

In the United States, there are no legal impediments to the merger under U.S. regulations. The Hart-Scott-Rodino Act’s pre-merger waiting periods have expired without any objections from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), clearing the path for the transaction under US law.

The approval from China, a critical market for Broadcom’s revenue generation, comes shortly after a successful meeting between China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Biden at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. This meeting seemingly contributed to a positive outcome for the deal.

Despite the corporate alignment on this acquisition, there are concerns among VMware customers and employees. Analysts, including those from Forrester, have speculated that the merger could lead to price hikes for VMware’s services. This concern has led to predictions that up to 20 per cent of VMware’s enterprise customers might leave the platform next year.

The merger between Broadcom and VMware represents a significant development in the tech industry, potentially reshaping the landscape of virtualization and cloud computing services. As the companies proceed with the final stages of the deal, the tech community and customers will closely watch the impacts of this major corporate integration.

Sources Include: The Register

For anyone who still doubts that irony is dead, 

Proponent of unlimited free speech Elon Musk’s X has initiated legal action against the progressive watchdog group Media Matters, for their, uh…. Never mind, let’s just say in response to an analysis that linked antisemitic and pro-Nazi content on X with advertisements from some of the world’s largest media companies. 

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, argues that Media Matters falsely represented the likelihood of advertisements appearing next to extremist content on X. 

According to the complaint, the group allegedly manipulated images to show advertisers’ posts adjacent to neo-Nazi and white-nationalist content, which was then portrayed as a typical user experience on X.  

The legal action targets not only Media Matters but also Eric Hananoki, its senior investigative reporter. The lawsuit seeks a court order for the removal of the analysis from the Media Matters website and alleges that the group interfered with X’s contractual relationships with advertisers and unlawfully disparaged the platform.

Media Matters President Angelo Carusone has dismissed the lawsuit as frivolous and a tactic to silence critics, expressing confidence in the group’s reporting and its chances in court.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey have announced investigations into Media Matters, labeling it a “radical left-wing organization” and scrutinizing its study of content on X for potential fraudulent activity under Texas law.

The lawsuit follows Musk’s earlier threats of a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against Media Matters and others who he claimed colluded in a “fraudulent attack” on his company.  Reportedly, Musk isn’t saying that what Media Matters reported didn’t happen, he apparently is saying it didn’t happen as often as was implied. 

The litigation seems to be part of Musk’s broader strategy of responding aggressively to criticism, particularly regarding the portrayal of X as a platform hosting extremist content.

Legal experts have expressed skepticism about the lawsuit’s merits, characterizing it as symbolic and opportunistic. First Amendment attorney Ted Boutrous warned that the lawsuit could inadvertently expose X to a detailed examination of its operations through the litigation discovery process. Ken White, a First Amendment lawyer, suggested that filing the lawsuit in Texas may be an attempt to avoid anti-SLAPP statutes, which are designed to prevent lawsuits that aim to suppress public criticism.

The case, assigned to District Judge Mark Pittman, a Donald Trump appointee, adds to the ongoing legal and political controversies surrounding X and its management under Musk.  

Sources include: CNN

And following up on a story we did yesterday, we referred to an app called Nothing which  claimed to provide Android users access to Apple’s iMessage. 

However, the app, which was launched last Friday, was removed from the Play Store by Saturday morning due to serious security vulnerabilities.

Nothing has stated that the app will return after fixing several bugs, but given the scale of the security issues, it remains uncertain how the app can be made secure in a short period. The credibility of Nothing Chats, should it return to the Play Store, is seriously in question after this debacle.

Is nothing secure anymore?  Apparently not.

Sources include: ArsTechnica

And that’s the top tech news for today.

Hashtag Trending goes to air 5 days a week with a special weekend interview show we call “the Weekend Edition.”

You can get us anywhere you get audio podcasts and there is a copy of the show notes at itworldcanada.com/podcasts 

For those interested in cybersecurity you can also check out our hit cybersecurity podcast featuring Howard Solomon and called CybersecurityToday.  It’s often rated as one of North America’s top 10 tech podcasts. 

I’m your host Jim Love.  Have a Wonderful Wednesday.

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