Meta Expands Advantage Program with AI-Powered Ad Tools

Meta Platforms is expanding its Meta Advantage advertising automation program, an effort to mitigate fallout from Apple’s consumer privacy measures, which have substantially constrained its ability to target and personalize ads. Launched in March, Meta Advantage bundles AI and ad automation tools to simplify the process for advertisers. This week the company added Advantage+ Shopping, assisting in campaign creation, simultaneously offering up to 150 automated creative combinations. The update offers more options to e-commerce brands and is geared toward optimizing the presence of Facebook or Instagram storefronts. Continue reading Meta Expands Advantage Program with AI-Powered Ad Tools

Pinterest Launches TV Studio App for Creator Live Streaming

Pinterest has launched a new app that makes it easier for creators to live-stream content. Pinterest TV Studio for iOS and Android lets select creators stream live on Pinterest from multiple devices, in order to achieve different camera angles. Initially available in limited release, creators must obtain a special code from Pinterest in order to unlock the Studio functionality. As part of its latest quarterly earnings, announced April 27, Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silverman said the company grew global revenue 18 percent year-over-year, “despite a challenging macroeconomic and geopolitical environment.” Continue reading Pinterest Launches TV Studio App for Creator Live Streaming

Apple Eyes the Modem Chip Market Dominated by Qualcomm

Apple is reportedly poised to compete in the modem market. The company is said to be laying the groundwork to create chips that control the Internet connectivity of its mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. In theory, the move paves the way for an always-on future where smart glasses and augmented reality achieve ubiquity, and iPhones and other Apple mobile devices have faster download and streaming speeds. Observers say Cupertino’s high bar to entry means creating a chip that outperforms those made by Qualcomm, current manufacturer of Apple’s connectivity chips. Continue reading Apple Eyes the Modem Chip Market Dominated by Qualcomm

Apple Reports Record $97 Billion Quarter but Somber Outlook

Apple’s fiscal Q2 was one of the best quarters in its 46 years of business. The company reported record revenue of $97.3 billion, up 9 percent year-over-year, far outperforming analyst expectations of $94 billion. More than $28 billion in operating cash flow and a return of nearly $27 billion to Apple shareholders resulted in the January through March period. But Apple warned that the outlook could dim in the current quarter, with China’s COVID-19 resurgence threatening to slow manufacturing, stymying sales by anywhere from $4 billion to $8 billion in fiscal Q3. Continue reading Apple Reports Record $97 Billion Quarter but Somber Outlook

Amazon’s $3.8 Billon Quarterly Loss Is Its First in Seven Years

Electric vehicle maker Rivian, which produced almost $12 billion in profit for Amazon last year, cratered in the January through March period, prompting the retail giant to record a $7.6 billion loss on the investment. Overall, Amazon posted a $3.8 billion quarterly loss, its first in seven years and a contrast to profit of $8.1 billion during the same period in 2021. A 7 percent increase in quarterly revenue marked the tech giant’s most anemic performance in 20 years, as consumers adopted post-pandemic habits and resumed in-store shopping. Continue reading Amazon’s $3.8 Billon Quarterly Loss Is Its First in Seven Years

TSMC Posts Record Q1 Profits Despite Continuing Shortages

TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is reporting first quarter 2022 revenue between $17.6 billion and $18.2 billion, a 35.5 percent increase year-over-year. Compared to Q4 2021, the first quarter results represent a 12.1 percent revenue uptick and 22 percent growth in net income. This, despite ongoing fallout from supply chain shortages that company CEO C.C. Wei says he expects will continue triggering production constraints. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, where the company has a plant, were cited as the most significant stressors to the company’s semiconductor output. Continue reading TSMC Posts Record Q1 Profits Despite Continuing Shortages

Intel Powers Up EU Chip Plans with $19 Billion German Plant

Intel unveiled plans to invest an initial $19 billion to construct new leading-edge semiconductor fab mega-sites in Magdeburg, Germany; an R&D and design hub in France; and R&D, manufacturing and foundry facilities in Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain. The plan could see as much as $88 billion invested “along the entire semiconductor value chain” in the EU over the decade, according to the Santa Clara-based chipmaker, which says it wants to introduce a next-generation chip ecosystem while offsetting reliance on Asia for a more “resilient supply chain.” Continue reading Intel Powers Up EU Chip Plans with $19 Billion German Plant

COVID Surge Triggers Factory Closures in China’s Tech Hubs

A recent COVID-19 surge in China has resulted in the temporary closure of electronics and automobile factories in the manufacturing hubs of Shenzhen and Changchun. In Shenzhen, iPhone supplier Foxconn announced it is halting operations in compliance with local government policy. The city has been placed on lockdown for at least a week, with all inhabitants to undergo three rounds of testing following the discovery of 86 new COVID-19 cases. Recent outbreaks in 28 of China’s 31 provinces have infected more than 15,000 people, primarily with the highly transmissible Omicron variant, according to China’s National Health Commission. Continue reading COVID Surge Triggers Factory Closures in China’s Tech Hubs

Pandemic Prepared Chipmakers for New Scarcity Due to War

Two years of global chip shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have left the semiconductor industry better prepared for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war has created turmoil in two countries that supply neon gas and palladium, essential ingredients to create processors. One estimate puts the countries’ combined output of semiconductor-grade neon at anywhere from one-quarter to half, while positing Russia has in the past originated as much as a third of the metal palladium. Potential shortages of both materials has raised concern in an industry already struggling to meet demand. Continue reading Pandemic Prepared Chipmakers for New Scarcity Due to War

European Chips Act Aims to Boost Production, EU Tech Role

The European Commission is ramping up to boost microchip production, unveiling the European Chips Act, which proposes to unleash roughly $49 billion in public and private funds for chipmaking. The plan, announced this week, is part of the EU’s effort to regain a degree of commercial independence, and underscores the importance of computer chips to national security, something the Biden administration has also emphasized. The EC proposal reserves for the Commission the right to prioritize specific products under certain circumstances, something the chip foundries of various nations have also been doing. Continue reading European Chips Act Aims to Boost Production, EU Tech Role

Apple Has a Record $123.9 Billion Quarter Despite Chip Crisis

Apple, the world’s most highly valued public company, hit an all-time quarterly revenue record of $123.9 billion for Q4, an 11 percent increase year-over-year. The company also saw profits up 20 percent to $34.6 billion for the quarter despite the supply chain issues that plagued the industry. “We are gratified to see the response from customers around the world at a time when staying connected has never been more important,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the company’s earnings release, attributing the robust performance to “our most innovative lineup of products and services ever.” Continue reading Apple Has a Record $123.9 Billion Quarter Despite Chip Crisis

Intel Has Record Quarter and Year Despite Supply Shortages

California-based Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, reports Q4 2021 set a record and capped the company’s best year ever despite the dire worldwide shortage of processing chips. Q4 revenue was up 3 percent, to $20.5 billion, while the year totaled $79 billion, a 1 percent gain. However, Q4 net income declined 21 percent year-over-year, to $4.6 billion, and fell 5 percent (to $19.9 billion) for the 12-month period. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger called it “a great finish to a great year,” besting top-line quarterly guidance by over $1 billion to deliver “the best quarterly and full-year revenue in the company’s history.” Continue reading Intel Has Record Quarter and Year Despite Supply Shortages

Commerce Secretary Sounds Alarm on Global Chip Shortage

U.S. demand for semiconductors was as much as 17 percent higher in 2021 than it was in 2019, yet there hasn’t been a commensurate increase in the available supply, with median inventory falling to less than five days in 2021, from 40 days in 2019, according to a Commerce Department report. “If a COVID outbreak, a natural disaster, or political instability disrupts a foreign semiconductor facility for even just a few weeks, it has the potential to shut down a manufacturing facility in the U.S.” that makes anything from medical devices to automobiles to computers, the report concludes. Continue reading Commerce Secretary Sounds Alarm on Global Chip Shortage

Foxconn Has Plans for Expansion, Buys Chipmaker Macronix

Foxconn Technology Group, best known for assembling Apple iPhones, will acquire Taiwan chipmaker Macronix International for approximately $90.8 million (T$2.52 billion) to boost its entry into the electric vehicle (EV) market. Foxconn earlier announced plans to assemble cars for EV startup Fisker and team up with Stellantis, manufacturer of Jeep and Chrysler, to develop in-car software. Macronix’s six-inch wafers are made of silicon carbide, regarded as preferable for tasks such as fast charging. Continue reading Foxconn Has Plans for Expansion, Buys Chipmaker Macronix

Amazon Is Busy Fighting Counterfeit Goods and Fake Reviews

In its first Brand Protection Report, Amazon revealed that it “seized and destroyed” 2+ million counterfeit products sent to Amazon warehouses in 2020 and “blocked more than 10 billion suspected bad listings before they were published in our store.” The products were destroyed so they would not be “resold elsewhere in the supply chain.” This number, however, only represents products from sellers that used Amazon fulfillment services. Amazon also removed tech accessory brands linked to fake review schemes. Continue reading Amazon Is Busy Fighting Counterfeit Goods and Fake Reviews