Daily Crunch: Google shutters internal game studios

Google rethinks its gaming strategy, Microsoft rolls out its quantum computing platform and UiPath is now valued at $35 billion. This is your Daily Crunch for February 1, 2021.

The big story: Google shutters internal game studios

When Google announced its Stadia cloud platform, it also said it was forming Stadia Games and Entertainment, an internal studio that would create titles for the platform. Now it seems the company is abandoning this approach.

It’s a surprising move, not just because Google has yet to release a single game from the studio, but also because the company opened studios in Montreal and Los Angeles, as well as acquiring Typhoon Studios — so it seems like a real investment.

“Given our focus on building on the proven technology of Stadia as well as deepening our business partnerships, we’ve decided that we will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team SG&E, beyond any near-term planned games,” Google exec Phil Harrison said in a blog post.

The tech giants

Microsoft’s Azure Quantum platform is now in public preview — Azure Quantum is Microsoft’s cloud-based platform for using quantum hardware and software tools from partners like Honeywell Quantum Solutions, IonQ, 1QBit and others.

Xiaomi sues the US government over blacklisting — The filing, which was submitted on Friday, calls the decision “unlawful and unconstitutional.”

Google now gives you more information about the sites in your search results — Clicking the new hamburger-style menu icon will pop up a new info panel with additional information about the site.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Robotic process automation platform UiPath raises $750M at $35B valuation — The company’s automation platform aims to “transform the way humans work” by giving companies a way to build out and run automations across departments.

Databricks raises $1B at $28B valuation as it reaches $425M ARR — Databricks is a data-and-AI focused company that interacts with corporate information stored in the public cloud.

Weights & Biases raises $45M for its machine learning tools — Weights & Biases says it now has more than 70,000 users across more than 200 enterprises.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Robinhood’s Q4 2020 revenue shows a return to growth — Robinhood has been the world’s most discussed startup over the last week.

Best practices as a service is a key investment theme to watch in 2021 — It’s one thing to give people and businesses tools, and something else to train them to use those tools effectively.

Lightspeed’s Gaurav Gupta and Grafana Labs’ Raj Dutt will tell us why they financially tied the knot (twice!) — The new and improved Extra Crunch Live pairs founders and the investors who led their earlier rounds.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Amazon says government demands for user data spiked by 800% in 2020 — Amazon said it processed 27,664 government demands for user data in the last six months of 2020.

What investors need to know about research and inspiration in the COVID-19 era — Remote research will remain the rule even as the worst of the pandemic mercifully ends.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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