Microsoft ends its week on a high – after a trying time with tax bills and Copilot costs

Bit of a Blizzard of news for Redmond

Kettle It has been a busy week for Microsoft, with a $29B bill for back taxes from the IRS, revelations about the costs of its Copilot AI service, and the news that the UK has dropped its objections to the Activision merger deal.

Just hours before we recorded this week's Kettle on Friday, British regulators grumpily dropped their objections to Microsoft's takeover of the gaming giant Activision Blizzard, with conditions. Redmond has to keep its platforms largely open for a few years, promise not be a monopolist, and - unusually for such deals - allow staff to form unions. Given the outrageous tales of "frat boy" behavior at Activision, they might need one.

The move will allow Microsoft to close its takeover of the publishing house.

Meanwhile, the IT giant is apparently losing money on its Copilot code-generating service. We dig into that and more in the 13-minute vid below.

From left to right in the thumbnail, we have Register journos Brandon Vigliarolo, Tobias Mann, and Iain Thomson, with editing by Nicole Hemsoth Prickett.

Microsoft's week began with a financial headache, after the IRS announced that Redmond owes Uncle Sam an estimated $29 billion in back taxes from 2004 to 2013. Microsoft said it has the money but will contest the charge. We let you know what those billions could have been spent on by the government. ®

PS: Speaking of Microsoft, anyone else notice that StatCounter says Windows' desktop market share in the USA is down to 57 percent, macOS up at 32 percent, and Linux (including Chrome OS) at 10 percent? In the UK, Windows is trending down to 71 percent.

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