Twitter Fate Still Vague After Musk Reaffirms Intent to Acquire

Delaware Chancery Court judge Kathaleen McCormick says she expects the trial in Twitter’s lawsuit against Elon Musk to continue as scheduled, beginning October 17, despite a letter his attorneys sent Twitter management saying the mercurial Tesla chief intends to go through with his proposed $44 billion acquisition if the social media company drops its lawsuit against him. In a Wednesday filing, McCormick said the court expects Twitter’s delayed deposition of Musk, scheduled for today, to proceed as planned. However, as of last night it was reported that Musk and Twitter agreed to postpone the billionaire’s deposition. Continue reading Twitter Fate Still Vague After Musk Reaffirms Intent to Acquire

Gen Z Brand FaZe Clan Goes Public in $725M SPAC Merger

Entertainment and eSports brand FaZe Clan completed a $725 million merger with B. Riley Principal 150 Merger Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) and began publicly trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange Wednesday. FaZe Clan currently has around 93 creators with a combined 500 million followers across popular social platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and Twitch. In May, Forbes ranked FaZe Clan the fourth most valuable eSports company, estimating its worth at $400 million. Trading as FAZE, the stock fell nearly 25 percent in its first day of trading. Continue reading Gen Z Brand FaZe Clan Goes Public in $725M SPAC Merger

Chinese Technology Companies Are Experiencing Slowdowns

China’s tech sector is taking a hit. Revenue for e-commerce giant Alibaba posted what appears to be its most sluggish quarterly increase ever, at 9 percent, with competitor JD.com also paced among its worst performances, with revenue up 18 percent for Q1. The nation’s search engine leader, Baidu, reported 1 percent revenue growth, while Tencent remained flat. Supply chain problems due to the COVID-19 resurgence in conjunction with Beijing’s recent measures to battle back monopolies are cited as causes for the negative market turn. Since late 2020, China has been investigating alleged monopolistic practices among many top corporations. Continue reading Chinese Technology Companies Are Experiencing Slowdowns

Tech Sector Takes Hit as Startups and Stalwarts Feel the Pain

A 13-year bull run in technology startup investments has come to a halt, according to recent reports that describe a new climate of layoffs and skepticism that has resulted in valuations dropping and an exodus of funds. Rising interest rates, a palliative against 8 percent-plus inflation, have affected the investment outlook, making startups and private tech companies look overpriced. Even established public tech firms are affected, with Meta Platforms and Amazon dropping more than 30 percent this year, while Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet have logged 20 percent declines. Netflix has fallen by 69 percent. Continue reading Tech Sector Takes Hit as Startups and Stalwarts Feel the Pain

Russia’s Native Tech Star Yandex Collapsing Over Sanctions

Yandex — the giant Russian tech brand involved in everything from search to music streaming and ride-hailing — has been reeling from the effects of economic sanctions and the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Yandex stock, described as “soaring” on its Nasdaq debut in 2011, was in February said to be “in freefall,” having declined to about half of its value. The company has an estimated 67 million users worldwide, including in Michigan, Arizona, Ohio, London and Paris, where partnerships with Uber and Grubhub were followed by forays into robotic food delivery and self-driving cars. Continue reading Russia’s Native Tech Star Yandex Collapsing Over Sanctions

Intel to Acquire Israel’s Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 Billion

Intel announced it will purchase Israeli chipmaker Tower Semiconductor in a deal valued at $5.4 billion. Tower — which specializes in analog semiconductor solutions for high-growth markets including mobile, automotive, medical devices and power management — will make Intel instantly more competitive in sectors dominated by Taiwan’s TSMC. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger cited “Tower’s specialty technology portfolio, geographic reach [and] deep customer relationships” among the assets that will help scale Intel to “a globally diverse end-to-end foundry” to help meet growing chip demands across the nearly $100 billion addressable foundry market. Continue reading Intel to Acquire Israel’s Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 Billion

TSMC Earmarks Up to $44 Billion in Competitive Chip Sector

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) says it will increase production capacity by up to 47 percent for 2022 as demand continues to surge amid a global chip shortage. To support the increase and technology upgrades, the world’s largest contract chipmaker plans to set a company record for capital expenditure in 2022, with spending at $40-44 billion (compared to $30 billion in 2021). Speaking at an investor conference, company CFO Wendell Huang said about 70-80 percent of the 2022 capex will fund development of advanced 2nm, 3nm, 5nm and 7nm processors as TSMC fights to maintain its dominant market share while rivals step up. Continue reading TSMC Earmarks Up to $44 Billion in Competitive Chip Sector

Nasdaq, Goldman Sachs Announce Migration to AWS Cloud

Nasdaq says it will in 2022 begin migrating its North American markets to Amazon Web Services in a phased approach starting with the Nasdaq MRX U.S. options market. Nasdaq AWS will use a new edge computing solution the companies designed for market infrastructure that will be made available to other entities as well as leveraged across Nasdaq’s anti-financial crime, data and analytics, and market infrastructure software programs. The announcement was issued the same day Goldman Sachs said it was teaming with AWS on a suite of cloud-based solutions for financial institutions. Continue reading Nasdaq, Goldman Sachs Announce Migration to AWS Cloud

Judge Loosens Apple Stranglehold on App Developer Profits

Apple’s notoriously strict terms of doing business in its App Store appear to be loosening. A federal judge has ordered the company to allow developers to offer customers alternative payment methods after ruling that all payments go through Apple violate California’s unfair competition laws. Apple is ordered to within 90 days begin allowing developers to include in their apps payment links to processors other than the App Store. Developers now see a path to avoid handing Apple commissions of up to 30 percent for handling sales through the $100 billion online market.  Continue reading Judge Loosens Apple Stranglehold on App Developer Profits

Developers to Build Widgets and Skill Cards for Alexa Devices

Amazon stated that it would allow third-party developers to create widgets for its Alexa devices, or what it said will be “rich, customizable, glanceable, self-updating views of skill content.” It won’t be an advertising service, according to Amazon Alexa Skills vice president Aaron Rubenson, but users will see personalized results based on the signals they send Alexa. Comedy Central will be one of the first featured skill cards. Amazon also announced that most Echo smart speakers will support the Matter open standard for smart home devices. Continue reading Developers to Build Widgets and Skill Cards for Alexa Devices

Nasdaq, Intel Team on Homomorphic Encryption in the Cloud

Nasdaq and Intel have partnered to advance homomorphic encryption (HE), which allows AI and machine learning computations on data without having to decrypt it. Nasdaq will adopt HE to be used with Intel’s latest processors. Intel is also exploring the encryption technology with the Defense Department’s DARPA. Nasdaq’s exploration of HE in a business setting is aimed to lead to tools that can focus on preventing fraud and money laundering. Healthcare is another field that is expected to benefit from HE. Continue reading Nasdaq, Intel Team on Homomorphic Encryption in the Cloud

Zuckerberg Anticipates Broader Competition with Rival Apple

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has identified Apple as one of the company’s biggest rivals, even as it posted record-breaking revenue and profit in Q4. The two companies have clashed over data collection, app-store fees and, most recently, Apple’s plan to enable users to opt-out of data collection by third-party apps. That disadvantages Facebook, which has become an online advertising giant. Zuckerberg noted that Apple’s move will interfere with Facebook’s ability to target ads to its 1.85 billion daily users. Continue reading Zuckerberg Anticipates Broader Competition with Rival Apple

Amazon: Rising Revenue and Technical Operation Challenges

With the coronavirus pandemic spurring online buying, Amazon saw its revenue for the quarter ending March rise 26 percent from a year earlier to $75.5 billion — the highest ever reached for what is ordinarily Amazon’s slowest quarter. According to FactSet, profit fell 29 percent from a year earlier to $2.5 billion, disappointing analysts’ average estimate of $3.26 billion. Amazon hired 175,000 new warehouse and delivery employees, and chief executive Jeff Bezos told investors this is “the hardest time” the company has faced. Continue reading Amazon: Rising Revenue and Technical Operation Challenges

Microsoft Commercial Cloud Business Drives Record Sales

Microsoft’s gross margins for its commercial cloud business (including Azure and Office 365) grew to 67 percent, driving the company’s robust fiscal Q2 earnings on record sales. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella revealed that revenue from this sector grew 39 percent to $12.5 billion. Company executives told analysts that the gross margins percentage will increase this year while margins rose for the fourth consecutive quarter, noting that this reflects the “huge opportunity” selling cloud products and infrastructure. Continue reading Microsoft Commercial Cloud Business Drives Record Sales

Media Companies Look to Expand Podcasting Outside U.S.

Acquired by iHeartMedia, the podcast “Stuff You Should Know” is now on track for global expansion. The podcast, which has been downloaded more than a billion times in the last 11 years, tackles topics as diverse as artificial sweeteners, time zones and deepfakes. As part of the expansion, iHeartMedia will make “Stuff You Should Know” and five other podcasts available next year in French, German, Hindi, Portuguese and Spanish. Last year, the radio broadcaster bought StuffMedia, the studio that produces the podcast, for $55 million. A number of other media companies are also taking a global approach to podcasting. Continue reading Media Companies Look to Expand Podcasting Outside U.S.