Activision sues Netflix over hiring of former finance chief

Video game publisher Activision Blizzard sued Netflix, claiming the video-streaming service engaged in a yearslong campaign of unlawfully poaching executives, including by hiring its former chief financial officer.

Activision claims Netflix interfered with the contact of the executive, Spencer Neumann, by offering to pay him in advance to cover his legal fees.

“Netflix unapologetically recruits talent without regard to its ethical and legal obligations,” Activision said in the complaint filed Friday in state court in Los Angeles.

Activision is suing for intentional interference, unfair competition, and aiding and abetting. It seeks a court order to permanently stop Netflix from soliciting Activision employees and unspecified compensatory and punitive damages to be determined by a jury at trial.

Netflix and Activision both declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Neumann hopped from Activision to Netflix at the beginning of 2019 after he was abruptly put on leave by the video-game maker in … Read the rest

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Congress should legalize cannabis now—for the economy and for social justice

Over the course of 2020, Congress has at times acted quickly to stop the hemorrhaging of American jobs lost to the pandemic fallout. And at other times, including now, Congress has fiddled over the contents of massive relief packages. One thing is certain: As cases continue to surge nationwide, American families facing grave uncertainty have found little relief. 

Meanwhile, for minorities, particularly hard-hit by the pandemic both in terms of health and economics, the long-simmering and systemic scourge of racial inequality has erupted into nationwide demonstrations. Millions of Americans have marched in the streets for social justice, despite our dual public health and economic crises, risking personal health as cases surge. 

The new Congress, and the incoming Biden-Harris administration, certainly have a lot to consider. But there’s one move they could make that could address America’s economic and social problems simultaneously: the legalization of cannabis

While federal legalization of cannabis may seem like an … Read the rest

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How the studio behind ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ made a blockbuster during a pandemic

It seems movie production, like life…uh…finds a way. Just 10 days into shooting the latest installment of the Jurassic franchise, Jurassic World: Dominion, Universal Pictures was forced to halt production as the world went into lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But in early November, filming wrapped on the blockbuster, slated for a June 2022 release, after an unprecedented amount of protocols and precautions were put in place.

Forty-thousand COVID tests were administered to the 1,000-plus crew members over 100 days of filming. A robust system of track and trace was implemented for the few cases that cropped up. And a 150-page playbook was compiled so there was no ambiguity as to which protocols should be followed.

“It was important from a business perspective. Obviously you know we were paying rent on those stages [at England’s Pinewood Studios]. It was costing us thousands of dollars a month to keep … Read the rest

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Quantum computing could reach the market by 2023, says IBM CEO

Quantum computing remains a science-fiction catchphrase for many. But according to IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, his company’s clients could be using the technology, and reaping huge benefits, as soon as 2023.

“The impact [of quantum computing] on our clients … is going to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars,” Krishna said at today’s Fortune Brainstorm Tech virtual conference. Those benefits will be particularly pronounced in medicine.

“If you want to understand penicillin or caffeine, you can’t do that on a conventional supercomputer, no matter how big you make it,” Krishna explained. The subatomic randomness that gives those precious substances their powerful effects are difficult to model with conventional computers, which consist of simple on-off switches known as bits.

By contrast, a quantum computer can mirror randomness. That’s useful not just for medicine, but materials science, weather forecasting, financial modeling, and other problems that involve huge amounts of data … Read the rest

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Why today’s GM news is devastating for Nikola

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From its name on down, it’s clear that zero-emission vehicle startup Nikola aims to emulate Tesla’s soaring trajectory. But over the past six months, Nikola’s efforts to follow that blueprint have faced a series of setbacks including fraud allegations, key resignations, and a reported fraud inquiry by federal regulators.

On Monday, the headwinds grew stronger when Nikola’s announced that General Motors will effectively withdraw from a planned partnership that was first announced in September. Investors had seen the deal as a huge win for Nikola, by giving it a massive jolt of credibility.

Under the proposed agreement, GM would have provided battery and fuel-cell technology to Nikola and manufactured Nikola’s planned Badger electric pickup.

In exchange, GM was to take an 11% stake in Nikola, … Read the rest

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