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Daily Archives: February 6, 2021
Posted: February 6, 2021 at 9:02 am
A new bill being proposed will give the US government greater power to prevent mergers, and potentially penalize companies like Apple for antitrust practices at up to 30% of the income generated from the actions.
Apple, Facebook, and Google have been the target of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee in recent antitrust investigations. They all make the claim that their businesses are lawful and not monopolies, but the government is fighting back.
Now that the Democratic party has majority control of the House and Senate new bills will be introduced to combat antitrust cases. One new bill introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar will give the government more power to penalize anti-competitive practices and prevent unlawful mergers.
According to Protocol the "Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Reform Act of 2021" offers sweeping reforms to antitrust laws, but are not as extreme as some have expected. Other legislators have called for a breakup of Facebook or other extreme action.
Klobuchar's bill would make it harder for powerful firms with substantial market power to acquire smaller companies and forbid mergers that present "appreciable risk of harming competition." It would place the burden of proof on the large companies, making them show that the acquisition won't disrupt the market.
The bill will also give legislators more power to penalize companies that do not follow antitrust law. Right now penalties range in the millions of dollars, pocket change for large companies like Facebook or Apple. The proposal suggests that US companies pay 15% of US revenue or 30% of their US revenue in an affected market upon proof of violation.
The legislation could also affect Apple's App Store. It calls for aggressive action against "monopsonies" which are markets dominated by a single buyer. This type of legislation could prevent platform holders from doing business on their own platform.
While the Democratic Party has the majority, it is only slight. The bill will need Republican support in order to make such sweeping changes, and Republicans do not want to break up large businesses in the same way.
Posted: at 9:02 am
Google, Facebook, TikTok and others are starting to talk more about how their algorithms work in a bid to win trust.
Yes, but: It's hard to know what isn't being revealed.
Be smart: While these efforts to be transparent are helpful, they don't usually provide the full picture about how the platforms' algorithms work, in part because they don't want their systems to be gamed by bad actors.
The big picture: Around the world, regulators are beginning to question whether the algorithms used to drive billions of dollars of internet commerce and content are biased towards certain demographics, philosophies or viewpoints.
Between the lines: Republicans and Democrats have both cited transparency into content moderation as a goal of changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
What to watch: Competition regulators around the world are starting to dive into whether and how Big Tech algorithms harm consumers or competitors.
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Google will wind down game development studios as tech giants struggle to break into gaming – GeekWire
Posted: at 9:02 am
Both Google and Amazon have more than enough tools and resources that theyd need to stake a claim in the market. The problem is that both seem to want to simply win by showing up, and thats not something you can do in video games.
Its been a rough few days for the gaming arms at the tech giants, which are suffering setbacks in their attempts to break into the industry.
Bloomberg last week delved into the internal culture at Amazon Game Studios. The goal was to explore why, in Amazons staffers own words, Amazons game development efforts have floundered. Eight years later, with several billion dollars spent, Amazon has little to show for its efforts, and the answer appears to come down to mismanagement at an executive level.
Just a few days later, on Monday morning, Google announced its sudden withdrawal from the games development business.
Despite a high-profile launch and hiring a wide swath of industry talent for its Stadia project, Googles Phil Harrison wrote today that the company will stop investing in first-party content, and will shutter its two internal dev studios. The reasons behind the decision, as per Harrison, include the high investment costs and time requirements of creating best-in-class games from the ground up.
Stadia was the first strictly cloud-based gaming service to reach the market. As a subscription service, offered alongside a custom-made gamepad, Stadia could be used with a web browser or a Chromecast device to let players run video games in high definition straight off of Googles cloud servers. On paper, any device with a strong internet connection and a screen could be used to play the latest games at their highest settings.
Whats held Stadia back, however, is that it initially shipped without all its promised features, such as YouTube integration, and a pricing plan where players bought their games individually at or near full retail price. Subscribers to the full service, Stadia Pro, would get free games each month as well as access to a variety of flash sales. This was controversial at the services launch nobodys really keen on the idea of paying to own a product that only lasts for as long as Google chooses to support it and competing services have capitalized on that, such as Amazons Luna and Microsofts Project xCloud.
Going forward, Googles plans for Stadia are seemingly to treat it solely as a publishing platform. In 2021, were expanding our efforts to help game developers and publishers take advantage of our platform technology and deliver games directly to their players, Harrison wrote. We see an important opportunity to work with partners seeking a gaming solution all built on Stadias advanced technical infrastructure and platform tools.
Stadia Games & Entertainment (SG&E) had an unspecified number of projects in developmen. While a few of the ones that were closest to complete may yet debut on Stadia, the rumor is that anything that fell outside of a potential 2021 release window has been unceremoniously canceled.
SG&Es two studios were located in Los Angeles and Montreal. The Montreal studio was the result of Google acquiring a newly-founded indie developer, Typhoon, back in late 2019; Typhoons only game before the Google merger was the well-regarded indie Metroidvania Journey to the Savage Planet. In an unfortunate coincidence, Journey actually premieres on Stadia today.
Overall, SG&Es closure is reported to affect around 150 employees. As part of the announcement, Harrison has said that most of that team will be moving on to new internal roles within Google, and will be supported by the company in the process.
One of the higher-profile developers at Stadia, however, is leaving Google entirely. Jade Raymond, who became famous in the industry in the 2000s as the producer of the first couple of games in Ubisofts mega-popular Assassins Creed franchise, had joined Google in early 2019 as the head of the Stadia Games and Entertainment department. Harrison noted in his blog post that Raymond has left to pursue other opportunities in the wake of SG&Es imminent closure.
This doesnt necessarily mean the writings on the wall for Stadia itself, but its hard not to think about the infamous Google Graveyard. The company had made a lot of big moves during the run-up to Stadias official release, including hiring some major names such as Raymond. Harrison himself is a well-known face in the industry, as a former member of both Sonys PlayStation team and the Interactive Entertainment department at Microsoft.
With that kind of experience on tap, one wouldve expected Google to realize that if it was ever going to make best-in-class games for the Stadia, it was going to cost money and itd take more than two years before they started seeing results. Unless there were significant internal issues that Google hasnt divulged, shuttering its development efforts this quickly is like forfeiting a football game after the first quarter. In conjunction with the generally unfinished state of Stadias launch back in late 2019, it paints a picture of Google as not realizing, or choosing not to realize, what it would actually need to do in order to be competitive in the modern games industry.
This isnt necessarily the end of the road for Stadia, however. Harrison is still the head of the project at Google, and Stadia is planned to continue to exist for the time being, now specifically as a publisher for third-party games. For current Stadia and Stadia Pro consumers, its business as usual.
Were committed to the future of cloud gaming, and will continue to do our part to drive this industry forward, Harrison wrote. Our goal remains focused on creating the best possible platform for gamers and technology for our partners, bringing these experiences to life for people everywhere.
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Posted: at 9:02 am
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E&P Reports Video/Podcast
Editors Note: E&P was the first tobreak the newsabout the historic lawsuit on Friday, Jan. 29.
HD Media, the West Virginia-based publisher of the Pulitzer Prize-winningCharleston Gazette-Mailand theHerald-Dispatch, is making its own news with the recent announcement that they have filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Google and Facebook. Hopefully, the purpose is to help the entire industry receive some form of compensation from the 70% plus of local advertising revenue these tech giants make from the content they exploit.
In this segment of E&P Reports, Publisher Mike Blinder has an in-depth conversation with lawsuit co-council Paul T. Farrell Jr. and HD Medias VP of news and executive editor, Lee Wolverton, to uncover how the lawsuit started and what they want to happen as a result of their actions. Farrell and Wolverton also speak to how they feel about the need for local journalism and how this suit is not just about ad dollars but also the survival of the news industry.
E&P Exclusive Feature: HD Media Takes on the Tech Giants https://www.editorandpublisher.com/stories/hd-media-takes-on-the-tech-giants,185454
Download a copy of the class action lawsuithttps://www.scribd.com/document/492607988/Complaint-HD-Media-Co-LLC-v-Google#from_embed
Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets House Judiciary Committee October 2020 Report on antitrust and anticompetitive conduct by Google and Facebookhttps://judiciary.house.gov/uploadedfiles/competition_in_digital_markets.pdf?utm_campaign=4493-519
HD Media Wikipedia pagehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HD_Media
Paul T. Farrell Jr. Wikipedia pagehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_T._Farrell_Jr.
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Posted: at 9:02 am
Top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday called on their Democratic colleagues to hold a hearing with the CEOs of Silicon Valley giants amid GOP criticism of companies' platform management.
The Republicans wrote to committeeChairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) urging bipartisanship in holding the tech giants accountable and reissuing a push for a hearing with the CEOs of Twitter, Google, Facebook and Apple.
Big Tech is increasingly becoming a destructive force. Our sincere hope was that Big Tech would take seriously the significant role they play in our society and do better to responsibly manage their platforms, Republicans wrote.
Last Congress, we requested you hold a hearing with several Big Tech CEOs to get answers and push them to improve their practices. Unfortunately, Big Techs behavior has increasingly worsened. It is clear this Committee must take leadership and act.
The letter is signed by ranking member Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersHouse Republicans urge Democrats to call hearing with tech CEOs Republicans rally to keep Cheney in power Hillicon Valley: Raimondo wades into 230 debate | Google cuts donations to election result deniers | House GOP unveils tech plan MORE (R-Wash.), as well as three subcommittee chairs: Reps.BobLatta (R-Ohio), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithHouse Republicans urge Democrats to call hearing with tech CEOs Democrats to levy fines on maskless lawmakers on House floor READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (R-Va.).
A Democratic spokesperson for the committee said they are looking to schedule a hearing with the CEOs of the companies.
Weve been in communication with the social media companies for weeks now working to schedule a date for the CEOs to testify before the Committee and hope to have something to announce soon, the spokesperson said in a statement.
In the letter, Republicans note their Big Tech Accountability Platform, which Rodgers released last week.
The plan indicates Republicans continuing to push forward with allegations that tech platforms are censoring conservative voices with an anti-conservative bias. For example, Rodgers singled out Twitters decision to permanently ban former President TrumpDonald TrumpChamber of Commerce CEO to leave: reports Fox News Media cancels Lou Dobbs's show GOP lawmakers call for Pelosi to be fined over new screenings MORE.
The allegations have not been substantiated. A report released earlier this week from New York University concluded there is no evidence to back up these claims and stated the claims themselves are a form of disinformation.
A spokesperson for committee Democrats was not immediately available for comment.
Although Democrats are likely to widely disagree with Republicans over their push to cast tech giants as anti-conservative, the members of the majority party have voiced their own concerns about content moderation policies.
In wake of the deadly riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Democrats have pushed for tech companies to further crack down on content moderation.
Updated 11:17 a.m.
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Posted: at 9:02 am
TALLAHASSEE Gov. Ron DeSantis has put a bulls-eye on tech giants that he contends censor conservatives speech, but the social media apps and platforms hes targeting are blockbusters for the states financial portfolio.
DeSantis, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, and Republican legislative leaders on Tuesday laid out a plan to punish Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google and Twitter for blacklisting users or putting gags on social-media posts.
But the five tech behemoths are huge earners for Floridas investment portfolio, according to the State Board of Administration. The board manages Floridas pension plan as well as investments for more than two dozen other accounts.
Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google, which is publicly traded as Alphabet, and Twitter reaped $3.1 billion for the state last year. The states investment in the big five known colloquially as FAAAT was just shy of $8 billion, according to information provided by State Board of Administration manager of external affairs John Kuczwanski.
DeSantis, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson held a news conference to condemn the tech companies, which have also been under scrutiny by Congress.
DeSantis repudiated Twitter for blocking Trump from its site and scolded Amazon for dropping Parler, a social media app used by many conservatives. Both actions occurred after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a violent attempt to prevent the certification of President Joe Bidens victory in the November election.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, DeSantis expressed concern that the tech firms could disable or suspend a political candidates account in the run-up to an election.
They could potentially de-platform a candidate, suppress a message, and that is something that is okay? I dont think so, he said.
DeSantis, however, isnt proposing that the state shed its investments in the corporate giants.
Im open to it, he said when asked about such a move. But I dont think that would markedly change the behavior of big tech. These are really big companies.
The five companies make up about 7.8 percent of the states global equity portfolio, which totaled around $103 billion at the end of December.
The companies blew past the states 16.35 percent benchmark for global equity investments, Kuczwanski told The News Service of Florida in a phone interview Wednesday.
For example, the annual return on Facebook was more than 81 percent. At 31 percent, the return on Alphabet Inc. was the lowest of the five tech companies.
The states investment gurus dont recommend dropping the tech stock superstars.
We believe divestiture is the least effective way to change corporate business practices and in most cases is counterproductive; and divesting from companies shuts off an important access point to proxy voting and corporate management teams, Kuczwanski said in an email.
As of mid-day Wednesday, Apples market capitalization, or market cap, was $2.3 trillion, Amazons was $1.7 trillion, Alphabets was $1.3 trillion, Facebooks was $760.8 billion and Twitters was $43.7 billion. Market cap refers to the total dollar market value of a companys outstanding shares of stock.
DeSantis said legislation targeting the companies could include such sanctions as a $100,000-a-day fine for each day a candidate is removed from a platform.
The plan also could require technology companies promotion of candidates to be recorded as campaign contributions with the state elections office, he said. Tech companies could also be prohibited from blocking or partially blocking posts by or about political candidates, a practice known as shadow banning.
But critics of the proposal maintain that such policing of tech companies could be problematic.
Berin Szka, a technology law attorney who is president of TechFreedom, called DeSantis plan a reboot of a 1913 Florida law that required newspapers to give political candidates the right to reply to editorials. In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law as unconstitutional.
Since 1998, the Court has repeatedly held that websites enjoy the same, complete protection of the First Amendment which makes everything he proposes unconstitutional. Gov. DeSantis poses as a constitutional conservative, but hes made quite clear that he doesnt take the Bill of Rights seriously, Berin said in a prepared statement.
While DeSantis and legislative leaders arent calling for the state to dump its investments in the U.S.-based tech companies, Florida lawmakers in the past have ordered steps to limit investments in certain corporations.
Under state law, the State Board of Administration has a list of scrutinized companies with prohibited business operations in Sudan and Iran. The prohibited operations involve the petroleum or energy sector, oil or mineral extraction, power production or military support activities, according to the agencys website.
The SBA also has a list of scrutinized companies that participate in a boycott of Israel, including actions that limit commercial relations with Israel or Israeli-controlled territories.
Dara Kam, News Service of Florida
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Posted: at 9:02 am
Tech companies are showing their support for Black History Month in a variety of ways, including new shopping-related features.
On Monday, Google revealed that its extending the Black-owned attribute in its Shopping tab to make it easier for consumers to find and patronize local businesses. Business owners can immediately add the attribute through the Google Merchant Help Center, and the feature will become available to all U.S. Google Merchants in the coming months.
Google sees the move as a natural extension of a similar feature rolled out last summer across search and maps. Now, with the retail angle, the company figures it could help bolster direct commerce for relevant establishments.
According to Attica Jaques, director of brand marketing for consumer apps at Google, search interest in Black-owned businesses soared 600 percent over the past 12 months, based on Google Trends data.
Across the country, people have been looking for Black-owned restaurants, Black-owned bookstores, Black-owned beauty supply and more, which speaks to the diversity within the Black business community, Jaques wrote in a Google blog post. We want to make it easier for people to support and spend dollars with the Black businesses they love.
The change fits into Googles stated goal with shopping. Its mission of democratizing online retail for merchants of all sizes, as a spokeswoman told WWD, spurred major updates to Google Shopping over the past year. Merchants were allowed to offer products for free and with no commission fees for online check-out via Buy on Google. The company also released changes designed to help consumers find new stores and compare prices.
Googles Black-owned business attribute in the Shopping tab.Courtesy image
The massive uptick in interest for supporting Black-owned businesses wasnt limited to Google. Yelp saw an even greater surge amounting to unprecedented numbers, it said. Searches for Black-owned businesses on the site shot up 2,400 percent in 2020, compared to 2019, and review mentions were up 232 percent over the same period.
Naturally, the online directory and review site for local businessesis celebrating Black History Month as well. To mark the occasion, Yelp is curating a list of Black-Owned Businesses to Watch in 2021 a roster that comprises highly rated and popular Black-owned businesses across the beauty, home, and food and restaurants categories.
Facebook and Instagram will double down on the parent companys #BuyBlack Friday campaign, which pulled in more than 15 million views last fall. This time, they aim to boost visibility for Black entrepreneurs with a #BuyBlack initiative across Facebook and Instagram Shops. Instagram will also promote Black-owned brands through its @Shop account.
Apple is marking the month with retail, too, though in a different way. On Monday, the tech giant said its releasing a Black Unity Collection for its Apple Watch that was designed to celebrate and acknowledge Black history and Black culture, a spokesperson said.
Apples Black Unity Collection offers a limited-edition Apple Watch Series 6, watch face and strap in honor of Black History Month.Courtesy image
The line includes a limited-edition Apple Watch Series 6 with a Black Unity Sport Band and a new Unity watch face. Apple Watch Series 6 Black Unity starts at $399, and the Black Unity Sport Band retails for $49.
According to the company, the effort will support six groups: Black Lives Matter Support Fund via the Tides Foundation; European Network Against Racism, International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights; Leadership Conference Education Fund; NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc., and Souls Grown Deep. How much of the proceeds will be directed to these organizations was unclear.
These projects are just a sliver of broader equity efforts and Black History Month initiatives. But the spotlight on shopping and social awareness could offer concrete, measurable support that can make a difference for Black-owned businesses, especially during the critical COVID-19 retail recovery period. And that means, hopefully, the support will continue on beyond just this month.
Posted: at 9:02 am
Back in 2020, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) tried to reach an international deal on taxing Silicon Valley tech firms. After failing to do so, it has again started putting things together to implement a global tax on tech giants. According to Unilad, this agreement between the EU and US parties coming this summer has a great chance of coming into fruition after Joe Biden takes office.
(Photo : Screenshot Youtube Video by Tech Insider)
One great avenue of disagreement between the European Union and the US is the subject of digital taxes. Even during the time of Donald Trump, this has often been a point of contention. However, as President Joe Biden takes office, his new administration has promised that it will actively engaged with negotiations in the OECD to strengthen the bonds between EU and the US. This includes finally pushing the deal to tax tech giants, including companies owned by two of the biggest tech giants in the world, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
The current administration's openness to agreements with the OECD is appearing to establish a new fruitful relationship with the EU, even as it has been halted in the previous years. For many union members, taxing the digital economy is essential in increasing control and management over huge digital firms. Furthermore, as the digital consumption has grown tremendously in the recent months, imposing more challenges. This has caused the call to purse digital tax more urgently.
This action is also confirmed as newly appointed Janet Uellen has been backing calls for a global tax on tech giants. This has sparked a great hope of cooperation between US and EU officials.
Read more:Richest Men in the World, Musk and Bezos Fight Over Satellite Real Estate
As such, European officials are ecstatic of the new cooperation with the global agreement that will be sealed very soon. In an interview with with German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz via CNBC, he said that the tax deal with global tech giants is now "highly likely" oand will most likely come before summer comes to an end for the OECD.
He said, "It is highly likely that we will get the success we are working for so hard."
"And the new administration gave me the impression that they understand the need for an agreement in this field and that they will work on solutions together with all of us, which I think is a big, big success. And anyone knows that the timetable is very strict, we have to agree in summer." he added.
Not only does he think that the agreement is very important, but that it should be done in a timely manner as the issue is very urgent. For many European officials a pragmatic approach is essential in maintaining a good US-European relationship.
Related Article:GameStop and 'King Maker' Elon Musk Push Robinhood and Reddit Up the App Store charts
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Posted: at 9:02 am
Chinese tech giants ByteDance and Tencent have been locking horns on the app stores for some time, but now they may be heading to court.
ByteDance has sued Tencentalleging monopolistic behaviour in the latters WeChat and QQ social platforms. Specifically, it claimed that they are blocking content from ByteDances Douyin the Chinese version of TikTok from those apps.
Its not the first time ByteDance has sued over these issues, but according to Bloomberg its the first time it has done so on anti-monopoly grounds. We believe that competition is better for consumers and promotes innovation, said ByteDances spokesperson in a statement, with Tencent telling Bloomberg that the accusations were false and malicious.
If it gets to court, its going to be quite the case, but we suspect a settlement would be more in the interests of both companies.
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Posted: at 9:01 am
Blackjack, also known as 21, is the theme of the 2008 hit movie 21. Its loosely based on the novel, Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich, a true story about the activities of The MIT Blackjack Team during the 1980s. But how much of the movie is true to life?
The main difference between the true story and the movie is the historical accuracies, like the use of mobile phones which didnt exist in the early 80s. Another obvious discrepancy shows Blackjack being played at the Red Rock and Planet Hollywood Casinos in Las Vegas but they didnt open until the mid-2000s. If mobile phones did exist at the time, the MIT team would likely be gambling at online sites like those found at sister casinos.
In both real life and the movie, the players successfully manage to pull off a mass scale card-counting scam, despite none of them being experienced gamblers or from a criminal background. In the movie, they are all highly talented students with exceptional maths brains from one of the top universities in the USA and are tutored by a card-counting mastermind.
In real life, the team was formed by three individuals, with the brains behind the initiative being Bill Kaplan, a Harvard Business School Graduate. Having already recruited and trained a similar team in Vegas, he formed the MIT Blackjack Team employing the same business principles and practices as before. Unlike the movie, students were recruited from sources other than the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Kaplan himself was from Harvard as well as Jane Willis the real-life Jill Taylor in the movie.
One of the first to join Kaplan was JP Massar, whose interest in gambling led him to attend a university short course entitled How to Gamble If You Must. His chance meeting with Kaplan was timeous and together they managed the team throughout the 1980s. The third person, John Chang, an MIT Electrical Engineering graduate joined them in late 1982. Chang remains involved in counting cards but has since been blacklisted in most casinos.
In the movie, exceptionally bright and talented students, especially in the field of Mathematics are observed by Micky Rosa, a professor of the university, who recruits and teaches them the art of card counting and other winning strategies. He puts them through a rigorous round of training before introducing them to the Blackjack tables but doesnt play himself, rather observing and training his protegees whilst making a tidy profit from their winnings.
In the movie, the main character, Ben Campbell is a Maths genius with phenomenal numbers skills. His ambition to study at Harvard is scuppered due to lack of funds, which makes him an easy recruit, and very soon he is raking in the money. His initial intention to make just enough to fund his studies is overtaken by his success, the excitement of the game, and his disagreement with Micky Rosa.
His real-life counterpart, Jeff Ma, was one of the youngest MIT Blackjack Team recruits and very soon swapped his intentions to attend Harvard for the Blackjack table, which he found more rewarding and exciting. The movie has been criticized for its casting of Ben as Jeff Ma since Ma is of Chinese heritage and bears no resemblance to Ben.
In the movie, Bens father passed away, but in fact, Jeffs father is very much alive and was a guest at the 2008 movie premiere. The money Bens mother offered him towards his studies in the movie didnt happen in real life as Jeff came from a wealthy family and could have afforded to study.
Jill Taylor, another of Professor Micky Rosas recruits, persuades a reluctant Ben to join the team and an on-screen romance develops. However, Jill Taylors real-life counterpart had no romantic connection to Jeff Ma. She and was simply brought into the team at the same time as her boyfriend and nothing ever occurred between the two.
Bens constant weekend absences in Vegas jeopardizes his relationship with his two best friends resulting in them kicking him out of their project group. Highly upset and frustrated, he haphazardly loses $200,000 at the casino. In truth, John Chang declared that this would never happen as any member of the MIT Team would be too disciplined and controlled to do anything like this.
In the movie, Cole Williams is the Casino Security Chief who is tasked with watching the players, and, in particular Ben, after it becomes obvious that he isnt playing a straight game. Ben gets beaten up by Williams and ordered to stay away from the Casino. In reality, this would never happen as major casinos typically use professional security companies such as the real-life Griffin Investigations. Their employee, Andy Andersen, was instrumental in bringing down the MIT Team after following and observing them over several years.