Skip to navigationSkip to content

Quartz India

Two employees walk out of the entrance to Activision Blizzard's headquarters.
Image copyright: Reuters/Mike Blake
Nearing a takeover.

Here’s what you need to know

Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard for $70 billion. Meanwhile, the gaming company fired or disciplined dozens of employees over allegations of sexual harassment and other workplace issues. is teaming up with Shopify. The partnership will give small US sellers access to Chinese consumers.

The US is probing Alibaba’s cloud business. Reuters reports the Chinese e-commerce giant is facing scrutiny over possible national security risks.

High prices toppled another UK energy supplier. Together Energy Retail, which was part-owned by a local government council, had 176,000 customers.

US wireless carriers bowed to airlines’ 5G pressure. But AT&T and Verizon’s decision to delay rolling out the upgraded service around airports didn’t stop some international flights from being canceled.

The European Parliament chose a new president. Malta’s Roberta Metsola, the youngest ever leader of the body at age 43, succeeds Italy’s David Sassoli, who died last week.

Poland’s president won’t be skipping the Beijing Olympics. Andrzej Duda also plans to meet his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, while he’s there.

Quartz will be at the Winter Games, in spirit. Follow along by signing up for our Need to Know: Beijing Olympics newsletter.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.

What to watch for

The US government is officially launching its website for free covid-19 tests on Wednesday. But many American households already ordered their four at-home tests after the website rolled out in beta phase yesterday.

The White House said the early release would help it “address troubleshooting,” a nice way of saying it didn’t want to repeat the 2013 disaster. In case you forgot: The health insurance enrollment site was largely inaccessible for weeks after going live.

Here’s a reading list on lessons from, and what’s still missing in the US’s latest testing strategy:

  1. Why did go wrong? Hint: A lack of agile.
  2. The latest US measure to step up covid testing excludes millions of people. For one, Medicare doesn’t cover at-home tests.
  3. Manufacturers are ramping up test production. But it’s likely too late to stem the omicron wave.

Microsoft’s big bet

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision is its largest-ever takeover, and will make it the world’s third largest gaming company by revenue after Sony and Tencent. The deal is a huge bet on the metaverse. It’s also complicated by Activision’s history of workplace misconduct.

$77.2 billion: US revenue for the mobile gaming industry in 2020

6th: Rank of Activision’s Candy Crush among the highest-grossing mobile games ever

10,000: People that work at Activision

$18 million: Amount Activision paid in September to settle harassment claims

36+: Number of Activision employees fired or pushed out so far to address the allegations

Surprising discoveries

One of Heidi Klum’s legs is worth more than the other. It cost $2 million to insure the pair, but a past injury made one more expensive.

There’s a 555.55-carat black diamond that came from outer space. Is there really any more to say?

Hong Kong is going to cull more than 2,000 hamsters. Officials announced the move after 11 animals and two humans tested positive for covid-19.

Snoop Dogg is starting a hotdog company. Obviously, it is called “Snoop Doggs.”

An “intriguing carbon signature” on Mars could be a sign of ancient life. However, NASA scientists also suggested two other explanations that don’t involve aliens.

Wonder what’s been Snoop Dogg’s most important business decision? We looked into this.