In today's ExchangeWire news digest: Google launches its own AI chatbot ‘Bard’ in the wake of ChatGPT's success; SoftBank's investment arm, Vision Fund, posts a loss for the fourth consecutive quarter; and the FTC decides not to appeal Meta's purchase of VR firm Within, which was greenlit on Friday (3rd February).
Google to release AI chatbot ‘Bard’
Tech giant Google will launch its own artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, Bard, following the widely successful release of Microsoft-backed ChatGPT. Bard will initially be released to product testers before becoming available to the wider public in the coming weeks.
Bard will operate on Google’s LaMDA system "to combine the breadth of the world's knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of our large language models," according to chief executive Sundar Pichai.
SoftBank’s Vision Fund down for fourth consecutive quarter
SoftBank’s Vision Fund has posted its fourth consecutive quarterly decline as the tech giant contends with a sector-wide slump. The Japanese tech giant attributed some of its major losses to an “overall decrease in the fair value of portfolio companies, mainly reflecting markdowns of weaker-performing companies and share price declines in market comparable companies.”
SoftBank reported that it made only USD$2.76bn (~£2.29bn) on investments from March to December 2022, a “significant reduction” from USD$39.24bn (~£32.5bn) in 2021.
FTC will not challenge Meta-Within acquisition
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided against appealing a recent federal court order greenlighting Meta’s acquisition of VR start-up Within. The regulator previously took legal action to prevent the deal, claiming it would tighten Meta’s stranglehold over the VR market.
The FTC’s legal challenge was unsuccessful, with the acquisition being approved by a federal court on Friday (3rd February). Following the decision, Meta’s public affairs & media relations lead Stephen Peters said the company is looking “forward to closing the transaction soon.” The FTC confirmed it would not appeal the decision on Monday (6th February).
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Fact of the Day
USD$400m (~£332.1m) - the amount Meta will pay to acquire Within.