The Villa Taj-Kumal was re-listed on Airbnb this year under a different name and with a five-star rating. Image: Airbnb.com

By Olivia Carville

Airbnb Inc. and Expedia Group Inc.’s short-term-rental unit Vrbo announced in June that they were partnering to share information about repeat “party house” offenders. What they didn’t agree on was sharing details about properties they’ve banned after violent crimes have occurred there.

That became an issue this week after Expedia permanently barred a Mexican villa where a 35-year-old New York City high school teacher was found naked, bruised and near-death three years ago while on a summer vacation. The incident, first reported in a July 20 Bloomberg Businessweek story, led to an immediate lifetime ban of the…


Under former co-founder and CEO, Blizzard games had endless development timelines to get it right. But new Activision approach focuses on financials.

Screenshot: Blizzard

By Jason Schreier

Blizzard Entertainment’s disastrous remake of the classic video game Warcraft III last year was the result of mismanagement and financial pressures, according to newly revealed documents and people with knowledge of the failed launch. The release also reflected Blizzard’s significant cultural changes in recent years, as corporate owner Activision Blizzard Inc. has pushed the developer to cut costs and prioritize its biggest titles.

Warcraft III: Reforged was a long-awaited reimagining of one of Blizzard’s most popular games. Blizzard President J. Allen Brack called the original title “monumentally important” when Reforged was announced in 2018. The company promised…


A new study tries to quantify the cost in lost earnings — and lost opportunity

Photo: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

By Bryce Covert

While it’s long been clear that victims of sexual harassment often face retaliation that can damage their careers, the financial cost they shoulder has been difficult to quantify.

To put a number on it, a study published Wednesday by Time’s Up and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), “Paying Today and Tomorrow,” sought to nail down what people who had been harassed ended up paying. Victims interviewed faced expenses anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

For one woman working in the well-paid, male-dominated construction industry, the lifetime cost could reach $1.3…


Right now, there’s a golden opportunity to update the discourse around global warming

Photo: Matt Chesin

By Akshat Rathi

The U.K.’s national weather service declared its first-ever extreme heat warning on Monday. The alert now sits alongside age-old ones, such as thunderstorms, fog and lightning. In explaining why a new category was needed, the Met Office was unequivocal: “Research shows that, as a result of climate change, we are now much more likely to see prolonged spells of hot weather.”

You won’t, however, find any mention of climate change in the Sky News story describing how Northern Ireland, a part of the U.K., hit the hottest-ever temperature recorded. …


New Shepard NS-14 lifts off from Launch Site One in West Texas, January 14, 2021. Photo: Blue Origin

By Spencer Soper, Justin Bachman and Ed Ludlow

Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos and three others landed safely after Blue Origin’s first flight to space with passengers aboard, a key milestone in the company’s effort to make space tourism viable.

The company’s capsule touched down in West Texas at about 8:22 a.m. local time Tuesday, roughly 10 minutes after it launched on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. The crew experienced a few moments of weightlessness as the spaceship soared past the Karman line at an altitude of about 62 miles (100 km) above the Earth. The capsule then parachuted back.


When Blue Origin set up shop next to Van Horn, townsfolk dreamed of big changes to come. It hasn’t quite worked out that way.

Jeff Bezos, and his brother Mark, will be aboard the Blue Origin space flight that will take off 40 miles from Van Horn, Texas. Photo: Paul Ratje/Bloomberg

By Edward Ludlow

Jeff Bezos is headed to space. But first he has to pass through Van Horn, Texas.

A dot on the map along Interstate 10 between El Paso and San Antonio, Van Horn, population less than 2,000, considers Bezos a neighbor. From the town’s main drag, it’s just a 40-mile drive to Blue Origin’s launch pad, where he intends to rocket into space for a few minutes in his Blue Origin spacecraft on July 20. As distances go in this part of Texas, that’s next door.

A two-mile strip book-ended by 2 truck stops, Van Horn is about…


Employees prepare raw materials for mRNA, the first step of Covid-19 vaccine production, at the BioNTech laboratory in Germany, on March 27. Photo: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg

By Bruce Einhorn

The latest surge in Covid-19 cases is widening one of the biggest inequities of the pandemic era: The gap between nations that have messenger RNA vaccines and those that don’t.

The cutting-edge technology, which made its debut during the pandemic, has proven more effective than any other in staving off infections and serious illness from the coronavirus. Yet just a handful of facilities in the U.S. and Western Europe account for almost all of the world’s mRNA vaccine supply — leaving many countries in a desperate race to catch up.

From South Korea to Indonesia and South…


Photo: Chona Kasinger/Bloomberg

By Lucas Shaw and Mark Gurman

Netflix Inc., marking its first big move beyond TV shows and films, is planning an expansion into video games and has hired a former Electronic Arts Inc. and Facebook Inc. executive to lead the effort.

Mike Verdu will join Netflix as vice president of game development, reporting to Chief Operating Officer Greg Peters, the company said on Wednesday. Verdu was previously Facebook’s vice president in charge of working with developers to bring games and other content to Oculus virtual-reality headsets.

The idea is to offer video games on Netflix’s streaming platform within the next…


People give iOS apps permission to track their behavior just 25% of the time

Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

By Kurt Wagner

When users get asked on iPhone devices if they’d like to be tracked, the vast majority say no. That’s worrying Facebook Inc.’s advertisers, who are losing access to some of their most valuable targeting data and have already seen a decrease in effectiveness of their ads.

The new prompt from Apple Inc., which arrived in an iOS software update to iPhones in early June, explicitly asks users of each app whether they are willing to be tracked across their internet activity. Most are saying no, according to Branch, which analyzes mobile app growth. …


Photo: Kvalifik

By William Turton

The Russia-linked ransomware gang REvil has seemingly vanished from the dark web, where it maintains several pages documenting its activities including one called the “happy blog.”

It’s not yet known if the sites were down temporarily or if the group — or law enforcement — took its websites offline.

“It’s too early too tell, but I’ve never seen ALL of their infrastructure offline like this,” said Allan Liska, senior threat analyst at cybersecurity firm Recorded Future Inc., in a text message. “I can’t find any of their infrastructure online. Their extortion page is gone, all of their…

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