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Daily Crunch: LinkedIn now supports real-world events

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. LinkedIn gets physical, debuts Events hub for people to plan in-person networking events

LinkedIn is bringing its professional networking features into the physical world: The company is launching Events, a (currently free) tool for people to plan, announce and invite people to meetups and other get-togethers.

“I think there is a massive whitespace for events today,” argued LinkedIn’s Ajay Datta. “People don’t have a single place to organize [work-related] offline meetups specific to an industry or a neighborhood. People want to find other people.”

2. Up close with Google’s new Pixel 4

Imaging has been improved across the board, including the already solid Night Sight, Portrait Mode and zoom, which uses a hybrid of digital and the physical telephoto lens. And then there’s Recorder, which virtually every journalist seems to be excited about.

3. Twitter says it will restrict users from retweeting world leaders who break its rules

This is Twitter’s current compromise as it faces criticism for inaction against world leaders who break its rules: It still won’t take down the tweets, but it will limit how users can interact with them.

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4. Healx raises $56M Series B to use AI to find treatments for rare diseases

Healx says the new financing will be used to develop the company’s “therapeutic pipeline” and to launch its global Rare Treatment Accelerator program, partnering with patient groups in an attempt to make rare disease drug discovery much more efficient.

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5. NASA extends contract with Boeing for SLS rocket, paving the way for up to 10 Artemis missions

NASA has a new contract extension in place with Boeing, which will cover rocket stages for its Space Launch System beyond Artemis I and Artemis II — including production of the core stage of the rocket for Artemis III, with which NASA plans to bring the first American woman and next American man to the surface of the Moon.

6. Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global is buying a startup that uses neuroscience to boost app usage

Thrive Global is adding a tech tool to its arsenal of cognitive behavioral therapies with the acquisition of Boundless Mind. Originally called Dopamine Labs, the company was founded in 2015 to bring some of the same technologies that social media companies like Facebook used to boost engagement to a broader range of applications.

7. Will unreliable research bury your healthcare startup?

Healthtech founders stand on the shoulders of the scientists who preceded them to obtain reliable evidence. When they promote their own innovations, credibility is a critical prerequisite. But where does credibility come from? (Extra Crunch membership required.)

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Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard Inc. for $68.7 billion

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Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard Inc. for $68.7 billion

Today, Microsoft announced plans to acquire video game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. for $68.7 billion. When the deal is completed, Microsoft will become the world’s third-large gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony, according to a company statement.

Game franchises from Activision, Blizzard and King studios that are part of the deal include “Warcraft,” “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush.” Bobby Kotick will continue as CEO of Activision Blizzard. When the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

Why we care. This is a giant acquisition for audiences and content production. Gamers will have new options as the industry shifts and continues to evolve. Subscribers to Microsoft’s Game Pass portfolio, for instance, will benefit from the launch of Activision Blizzard games into that service. But that’s just 25 million subscribers in Game Pass. Activision Blizzard boasts nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries.

Looking ahead maybe two years or more, the metaverse promises to be an all but limitless virtual reality layer built on top of the internet. Gaming companies already have deep experience with in-game advertising, and the metaverse could take that space to a whole new level. Whether Microsoft has this in mind, we don’t know, but this acquisition boosts Microsoft Gaming’s position as one of the biggest gaming companies in the world.

Kim Davis contributed to this article.


Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. 

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