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The Morning After: Amazon is buying MGM for $8.45 billion

The retailer is trying to acquire franchises like Robocop, The Hobbit and James Bond.

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Mat Smith
May 27, 2021 7:15 AM
In this article: themorningafter, gear, newsletter
Joel Kinnaman stars in Columbia Pictures' "RoboCop."
Kerry Hayes

The good news about streaming platforms is that there’s always something to watch, but the flip side of supercharged release schedules is that there’s almost too much to choose from. It seems like I spend more time trying to find something to watch than actually watching anything, and obviously Netflix sees all that flipping back and forth between apps as a weakness its competitors can exploit.

Netflix Play Something

On TV platforms, it just rolled out a Play Something shortcut that puts the choice in the hands of an algorithm, and now it’s testing the button for mobile users. You may see it in testing if you’re using an Android device, where you punch the button and it picks something you might like based on your viewing habits. Is a one-press play button the perfect defense against Amazon (more about that below), HBO Max and Disney+? We’re about to find out.

— Richard Lawler

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Amazon is buying Hollywood studio MGM for $8.45 billion

The rumors were true.

James Bond

Amazon is acquiring storied Hollywood studio MGM in a deal worth $8.45 billion in a bid to bolster its streaming catalog. The takeover hands it the rights to an eye-watering pool of crowdpleasers, including James Bond, Rocky and Robocop.

The deal — the second largest in Amazon's history after its $13.7 billion Whole Foods acquisition — is part of a new wave of media consolidation ushered in by the so-called streaming wars. Already, we've seen Disney consume 21st Century Fox for $71 billion, while Discovery and WarnerMedia just announced a mega-merger of their own.

In response, US lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, like Ken Buck, Mike Lee, Amy Klobuchar and David Cicilline, have expressed concern about the deal. It will need to be approved by the Justice Department and FTC, not Congress, but things could get messy before it’s approved.
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LeBron James appears to be wearing a pair of unreleased Beats earbuds

The Beats Studio Buds must be getting close to going on sale.

Lebron James
Lebron James / Instagram

New versions of macOS and iOS provided an early preview of the first truly wireless Beats earbuds, and by the looks of things, LeBron James couldn't wait to try out a pair of the Beats Studio Buds. A series of photos posted to @KingJames on Instagram shows the Lakers star wearing a pair of buds that lineup closely to the leaked images and FCC pictures. Apple still hasn’t announced the first completely wireless earbuds in the Beats lineup, but if the Lakers go deep into the playoffs, James’ teammates will probably be gifted a set for their pregame arrivals very soon.
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Microsoft says Edge is now the 'best performing' Windows 10 browser

‘Sleeping tabs’ frees up resources that would otherwise go to ads that you can’t even see.

According to Microsoft, version 91 of its Edge browser contains new features, specifically "startup boost and sleeping tabs," that will push it ahead of Chrome and all other browsers.

Startup boost was introduced in March and works by "running a core set of Microsoft Edge processes in the background," according to the post. At the same time, it supposedly won't use any additional resources when Microsoft Edge browser windows are open. That feature has apparently boosted startup speeds by up to 41 percent.

In the upcoming build, Microsoft will introduce a "sleeping tabs" feature that immediately puts ads to sleep when you switch to another tab, allowing for "instance resource savings."
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Epic's next-gen Unreal Engine 5 is now available in early access

Another big leap for graphics and sound.

UE5 demo
Epic Games

Epic Games' Unreal Engine 5 is no longer just a pretty technical demo. The company has released an Early Access version of UE5 through the Epic Games Launcher and GitHub, giving developers an opportunity to start work with the next-gen toolkit ahead of the full release sometime in early 2022.

The key, as hinted last year, is the ability to produce near-photorealistic visuals, convincing animations and unique sounds with relatively little work. You can quickly produce movie-quality landscapes using the Nanite system, while Lumen provides real-time lighting that adjusts for the time of day and clouds overhead. The animation system adapts to nearby surfaces and fills in crucial gaps, and the MetaSounds system can quickly produce distinctive effects.

A tech demo shows promise of games that look as good as pre-rendered cutscenes, but it will probably be a while before we see the fruits of developers' labor.
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San Jose approves massive Google Downtown West project

Google agreed to pay a first-of-its-kind $200 million community benefit to secure the deal.

Downtown West

Per The San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose city council voted unanimously on Tuesday evening to approve Google’s Downtown West project. Once complete, the 80-acre site will be one of Google's largest office complexes to date.

The project calls for a mixed-use development that will be integrated into the city and partially open to the public. In addition to 7.3 million square feet of office space for approximately 20,000 employees, Google plans to build 4,000 housing units, 300 hotel rooms and at least 10 parks alongside other amenities like retail spaces and a performance area.
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But wait, there’s more...

Sony confirms 'Uncharted 4' is coming to PC

Polestar 2 is a great first EV for the performance automaker

Blizzard has canceled BlizzCon 2021

Now you can unlock 1Password's browser extension without your password

Xbox and Bethesda's big E3 show is on June 13th at 1 PM ET

NVIDIA could announce the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU on June 1st

NHTSA pulls driver assist designations for Tesla Vision cars

Gmail will let you save image attachments directly to Google Photos

'Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate' will bring a new battle system

Jeff Bezos will step down as Amazon CEO on July 5th

Lucid's luxury EV will play directional warning sounds with Dolby Atmos

Take a peek inside the new Apple TV 4K and Siri Remote

Facebook is going after misinformation superspreaders

Instagram gives everyone the ability to hide likes

'Star Wars: Squadrons' is one of June's PlayStation Plus games

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