Hashtag Trending Sep. 28-Amazon hit with sweeping antitrust lawsuit; OpenAI eyeing hardware?; Hackers fight over who’s responsible for attacking Sony

Amazon hit with sweeping antitrust lawsuit, Open AI reportedly in talks with Apple’s former product designer for a hardware project and two hacker groups fight over who’s responsible for attacking Sony’s systems.

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These stories and a lot more as we bring you the top tech news on today’s Hashtag Trending.  

I’m your host James Roy.

The Federal Trade Commission and 17 states are accusing Amazon of being a monopolist that suffocates competitors and raises prices for both shoppers and sellers, in a new antitrust lawsuit.

The FTC argues that the retail giant punishes sellers for offering lower prices elsewhere on the internet and pressures them into paying for Amazon’s delivery network.

Amazon contends that the FTC’s lawsuit is irrelevant to the agency’s mission to protect consumers, adding that “if the FTC gets its way, the result would be fewer products to choose from, higher prices, slower deliveries for consumers, and reduced options for small businesses—the opposite of what antitrust law is designed to do.”

FTC’s chair Lina Khan has had her eyes on Amazon for a long time and, generally, made very strong rhetoric against Big Tech. She however, struck out on two lawsuits this year, one against Meta and the other against Microsoft. So there’s pressure to make this lawsuit stick.

Now it’s not easy to win a lawsuit against a trillion dollar corporation. And it takes absolute certainty before the government sanctions a U.S. corporation.

FTC’s 172-page lawsuit filing can appear persuasive, but Amazon’s lawyers will undoubtedly question every assumption, definition and number in those 172 pages. 

Stakes are high, but we will be bracing ourselves for a tediously long and undramatic, basically, like every other high profile antitrust lawsuit.

Source: Axios, BBC, NPR

OpenAI is reportedly planning to get into the hardware business and he’s seeking help from none other than Apple’s former iconic product designer, Jony Ive.

For nearly three decades, Ive has played a key role in the designs of the iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook and many other Apple products before he left the company in 2019.

As per the Information, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Ive have only begun discussing what a piece of hardware could do or look like, with no details about features, capabilities or target market yet.

But that hardware, whatever that would look like, will likely compete with Apple’s iPhone.

Interestingly, the rumour of the Altman-Ive collaboration comes right as the EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton told Apple to “open up the gates to competitors” in a tweet.

Under the pro-competition regulation- Digital Markets Act (DMA), Breton said it’s no longer possible that Apple guards a closed ecosystem for its hardware and software products.

Meanwhile Apple’s troubles in France do not seem to end, as regulators suspended the sales of iPhone 12, following tests that showed exceeding radiation levels. 

As we discussed in previous episodes, the newly launched iPhone 15 is also drawing criticism for overheating and for the company’s lack of innovation.

Source: Tech Crunch, Apple Insider, The Next Web

Two hacker groups are fighting over who attacked Sony’s systems.

First, a threat actor by the name of RansomedVC claimed it had hacked SONY.com and put its “data and access” up for sale.

The group claimed to BleepingComputer that it had breached Sony’s networks and stolen 260 GB of data during the attack that they are attempting to sell for $2.5 million.

It got weird when another threat actor ‘Major Nelson’ also claimed responsibility for the attack and refuted RansomedVC’s claims, saying “”RansomedVCs are scammers who are just trying to scam you and chase influence. Enjoy the leak.”

The group “leaked for free” a 2.4 GB compressed archive, which contains 3.14 GB of uncompressed data that it claims belongs to Sony.

While the data shared by the attackers does appear to belong to Sony, the veracity of either threat actor’s claims has not been verified.

Sony said it is investigating the alleged cyberattack.

Source: Bleeping Computer

It is confirmed. Microsoft’s former chief product officer, Panos Panay is heading to Amazon. He will lead Amazon’s Devices & Services (D&S) business, after 19 years at Microsoft. Panay will be replacing Dave Limp who will be taking over as CEO of Jeff Bezos’ other company, aerospace outfit Blue Origin.

In a blog post announcing the news, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy wrote: “As a strong product builder and inventor who has deep experience in both hardware and integrated services, Panos will be a great addition to our D&S organisation moving forward.”

TechCrunch noted that bringing on someone with PC experience could mark a shift in focus for Amazon’s Devices & Services division, which was impacted by last year’s Amazon layoffs.

Source: Tech Crunch

Be wary of your private conversations with Google’s AI chatbot Bard. Seems like they are being indexed and appearing in Google search results.

Users on X shared screenshots showing links to conversations with Bard that are showing up in Google Search results.

Google only intends to allow users to create a public link to share conversations with others.  And anyone with this link can see the conversation. So this appears to be unintentional.

Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan confirmed on X, “”Bard allows people to share chats, if they choose. We also don’t intend for these shared chats to be indexed by Google Search. We’re working on blocking them from being indexed now,”

There’s no word on when this issue will be resolved, but concerned users can go to Bard’s site, click on Settings and then select Your Public Links to manage all the public links they have created. Most importantly, avoid sharing any private information with Bard or any other AI chatbot.

Source: ZDNET

That’s the top tech news stories 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 where you can find links and more.

If you want to catch up on these and other news quickly, you can read these stories and more at TechNewsDay.com and ITWorldCanada.com on the home page.

I’m your host, James Roy. Have a Thrilling Thursday!

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