Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Good morning. It’s January 25 and we’ve got five things to catch you up on in the world of tech, before tomorrow’s public holiday. Let’s get started.


1. Microsoft cuts VR staff and leaves questions about metaverse ambitions

It’s become apparent Microsoft isn’t merely taking a different tact on its virtual reality and mixed reality designs, it’s curtailing several of the major teams supposed to plant their virtual flag in the fledgling metaverse. On Friday, AltspaceVR, a longtime social VR platform known for hosting virtual events, announced it was sunsetting the platform in March. Altspace first launched in 2015, though Microsoft acquired the team in 2017 after the company was struggling financially. Alongside other early VR chat systems, Altspace was used for all sorts of VR meetups including Dungeons & Dragons campaigns long before Wizards of the Coast thought of doing the same thing. In the company’s announcement, the team that’s left will be moving to work on Microsoft Mesh, which is working to integrate VR avatars into Teams, something the company previously called “a gateway to the metaverse”.

2. Recyclable phones move a step clover

Researchers at RMIT University have developed an invention that could push mobile phone batteries to live three times as long. The team is working on a nanomaterial called MXene, which could prove to be an alternative to lithium in future batteries. The greatest challenge with the material is that it rusts easy, although the team discovered that sound waves could remove rust from the nanomaterial.

3. Google accused of digital advertising monopoly in new lawsuit

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Google, accusing the tech giant of using its market power to create a monopoly in the digital advertising business over the course of 15 years. Google “corrupted legitimate competition in the ad tech industry by engaging in a systematic campaign to seize control of the wide swath of high-tech tools used by publishers, advertisers and brokers, to facilitate digital advertising,” according to the lawsuit. Eight state attorneys general joined in the suit, filed in Virginia federal court. Google has faced five antitrust suits since 2020.

4. Twitter isn’t paying rent in San Francisco or London HQs

The United Kingdom’s Crown Estate is suing Twitter over unpaid rent at the company’s London Headquarters, according to reports from multiple news outlets including the BBCthe Guardian and Bloomberg. The Crown Estate manages property owned by the British monarch (i.e. King Charles III), which apparently includes Twitter’s office space in central London near Piccadilly Circus. The royal real estate corporation reportedly contacted Twitter about its rental debts, to no avail, before taking legal action last week.

5. Small modular nuclear reactor design approved in the U.S.

The U.S. has just given the green light to its first-ever small modular nuclear design, a promising step forward for a power source that remains controversial among some climate advocates but is experiencing a popular renaissance.The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the design, which was published on Thursday in the Federal Register, from NuScale, an Oregon-based reactor company. The publication of the design in the Register allows utilities to select this type of reactor when applying for a licence to build a new nuclear facility. The design would be able to produce a reactor about one-third the size of a usual reactor, with each module able to produce around 50 megawatts of power.


Have a nice day.

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