Microsoft News Roundup: Activision Blizzard, Surface Hub 2, Windows 11 on Surface Duo, and more

Microsoft Logo at Ignite
(Image credit: Future)

Even as we approach the end of 2022, the Microsoft news circuit continues to cycle rapidly. This week we saw several stories about Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard, including Microsoft President Brad Smith and a major tech union weighing in. We also reported on an upcoming update to the Surface Hub 2 and a breakthrough in the Windows 11 on Surface Duo project.

Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard

In a saga that could warrant its own roundup over just the last week, we saw several major developments surrounding Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The $69 billion purchase has come under fire from regulatory authorities, such as the FTC, and rival Sony.

We've gathered together a list of all related stories below, but we'll also run through an abridged timeline.

To kick things off, Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard got the backing of the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The president of that union, which represents hundreds of thousands of workers across several industries, wrote a piece arguing that the FTC should approve the purchase. CWA President Chris Shelton's argument centered largely on how the acquisition would benefit workers. He also highlighted Microsoft's labor neutrality deal.

Shortly after, Microsoft President Brad Smith shared his own op-ed, in which he said the FTC suing Microsoft over Activision Blizzard would be a "huge mistake." Smith emphasized the fact that Microsoft offered a 10-year licensing deal for Call of Duty to Sony, which is unprecedented in the gaming industry.

While the story centered around Bethesda and ZeniMax, 300 Bethesda employees began the process of unionizing. The move is important to the Activision Blizzard saga as it involves another large Microsoft gaming acquisition and union efforts.

Showing that its offer to guarantee Call of Duty on PlayStation for a decade wasn't lip service, Microsoft entered a 10-year agreement to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo Switch and Steam.

Toward the end of the week, the FTC announced that it is suing to block the purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. The governing body pointed to Microsoft making Starfield and Redfall exclusive games to show that Microsoft cannot be trusted to keep Call of Duty available across platforms. Microsoft and Activision have said that they will fight the lawsuit.

The CWA, the same union that backed the acquisition earlier this week, condemned the FTC for suing to block Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard. The union said that the FTC "missed an opportunity" to support labor movements.

Surface Hub 2: "Upward"

Surface Hub 2 Cartridge

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft currently plans to release a new compute cartridge for the Surface Hub 2 at some point in 2023, according to a report by our senior editor Zac Bowden. The module is codenamed "Upward," and it features an 11th Gen Intel processor and Iris Xe graphics. The Surface Hub 2S originally shipped with a now out-of-date Intel 8th Gen CPU.

Other details about the Upward compute unit are scarce at this time. Its name suggests that it may allow the Surface Hub 2 to rotate, which was a feature shown off in initial trailers, but that's not a guarantee.

The compute cartridge of the Surface Hub 2 can be swapped out by removing a single screw, so when the new cartridge comes out, it will be easy to slot in.

Surface Duo: Windows 11 takes a leap

Windows 11 on the Surface Duo 2

(Image credit: Gustave Monce)

While the Surface Duo runs Android, independent developers have managed to get Windows 11 onto the device. As you'd expect from a project centered around forcing an operating system onto unsupported hardware, there are several roadblocks along the way. Developer Gustave Monce managed to overcome significant barriers over the last week.

The Surface Duo can now charge while plugged in, even if it's running Windows 11. The setup also supports the handheld's pedometer, light fusion sensor, and other tools that were previously unavailable.

Chipmakers want more money

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

This week the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) argued that the United States government should invest up to an additional $30 billion in the domestic chipmaking industry. That investment would be on top of the $52 billion already allocated by the CHIPS Act that passed earlier this year.

The SIA has several notable members from the industry, including AMD, Broadcom, IBM, Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Arm, Samsung, and TSMC.

While the CHIPS Act covers $52 billion to go toward semiconductor manufacturing, the funding discussed by the SIA would be used for design and R&D.

Review Roundup

HP Elite Dragonfly G3

(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

Our experts cover the latest laptops, games, accessories, and more each week. Over the last seven days, we reviewed Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i, and the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 5G. The last of those earned glowing praise from our editor-in-chief, who said the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 5G was the "best 13-inch laptop [he's] ever used."

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).