It’s been a rush of a week. From Intel’s reconstruction drive to the fresh funds raised by Elon Musk for his Twitter takeover, the global tech scene was in hyper mode.
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In this edition of the Global Tech Roundup:
Intel is reconstructing
Facing investor scepticism about his turnaround bid, Intel CEO, Pat Gelsinger, says the company expects to reach a key technological milestone in late 2024; one year ahead of the initial plan.
With the new plan, one based on reconstructing the leading chipmaker’s business model, Gelsinger is keen on making Intel regain its edge and return to technological leadership.
Under Gelsinger, Intel has been working to restore its leadership in semiconductor process technology – an effort that requires the company to retool factories. The CEO has previously promised investors that Intel could reach that point by 2025.
“Now we think late 2024,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
The remarks follow a weaker-than-expected forecast from Intel that sent its shares on their worst slide in months last Friday. A slowdown in personal-computer sales is weighing on its outlook, but some on Wall Street also see Gelsinger’s comeback plan as an uphill fight.
He’s spending tens of billions of dollars to get Intel back on track and expand into new markets, a push that includes new factories in the U.S. and Europe.
Intel, the largest producer of computer processors, dominated the chip industry for decades and was synonymous with Silicon Valley innovation. That was based on a foundation of having the most advanced production. The effort to manufacture chips is crucial to improving their ability to store and hold information, how efficient they are and how costly they are.
Amazon takes legal action against fake review firms
Amazon is taking legal action against four companies it has accused of deliberately flooding its platform with fake reviews. Three of the firms had nearly 350,000 reviewers on their books.
As a part of its effort to ensure a safe and trustworthy shopping experience, the e-commerce giant has turned its eyes to Extreme Rebate, known for pushing misleading reviews onto Amazon stores in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Canada.
The companies act as unofficial brokers between Amazon sellers and individuals who write reviews, the tech giant says.
The brokers approach customers through their own websites and solicit them to write misleading or inflated reviews in exchange for money, free products, or other incentives.
For example, Extreme Rebate runs fraudulent schemes that provide free products and pays members up to $4 per review for five-star reviews that are at least 15 words long and include pictures or videos.
The firm charges the seller a fee for boosting its ratings on Amazon. But, the sellers are not necessarily aware that this is being done by using fake reviews, Amazon said.
Tougher rules for Meta in Germany
Germany’s Cartel Office (GCO) said that Meta Platforms Inc FB.O, the owner of Facebook, has “paramount significance for competition across markets”, a classification which gives the regulator more leeway to curb digital companies’ market power.
Under legislation introduced by German lawmakers in early 2021, the cartel office can ban what it deems to be anti-competitive activities.
Meta, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, operates a strong, ad-supported social media ecosystem that continues to expand and is used by a large portion of the population in Germany, the cartel office said in a statement on Wednesday.
GCO said the new classification would form the basis for a more rapid conclusion of ongoing antitrust proceedings against Meta.
In 2019, the cartel office ordered the company to curb its data collection, saying the world’s largest social network had abused its market dominance to harvest the information of its users without their consent. Meta, then called Facebook, appealed the decision, and the matter is still pending in court.
The cartel office also initiated abuse proceedings against Meta in 2020 related to the links between its Oculus virtual reality products and the social media network.
Reacting to the development, a spokesperson for Meta said that the U.S.-based company would comply with the cartel office’s decision on the classification.
“Even if we do not share the reasoning that has led to the Federal Cartel Office’s decision, we will continue to concentrate on providing our users in Germany with the best possible experience in keeping with all the laws and regulations,” a spokesperson for Meta told Reuters.
Cisco unveils technology to predict network issues
Cisco Systems Inc on Wednesday unveiled a technology that it says can predict issues on enterprise networks before they happen, to help prevent problems and increase reliability.
Per Reuters, the predictive software engine will gather data from various sources within a company’s network, learn the patterns and help engineers find hardware issues, bandwidth spikes and app configuration changes before they cause difficulties.
“A dedicated team of about 30 people have been working on this over the last two years,” Cisco Chief Executive Officer, Chuck Robbins told Reuters.
“We will apply this technology to a broad range of products and services over the next few years.”
Cisco, which sells a range of networking equipment and software to connect devices to the internet, has tested the technology with about 15 customers, including Phillips 66 and Schneider Electric.
Traditional technologies can detect issues and react only when they happen, but if networks can predict issues and make changes proactively, the user will have a vastly better experience, Robbins said.
The company plans to announce initial integrations and offers of the product at its annual networking conference, Cisco Live, in June.
Musk secures $7 billion for Twitter takeover
Elon Musk has secured $7.14 billion in funding from a group of investors that includes Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Sequoia Capital to fund his $44 billion takeover of Twitter, according to a filing on Thursday.
Last week, it was reported that Musk was in talks with large investment firms and high net-worth individuals about taking on more financing for his Twitter acquisition and tying up less of his wealth in the deal.
The talks are manifesting. Saudi Arabian investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who had initially opposed the buyout, also agreed to roll his $1.89 billion stake into the deal rather than cashing out, the filing showed.
The move comes as Musk’s margin loan was reduced to $6.25 billion from $12.5 billion announced earlier, according to the filing.
Musk’s $21 billion financing commitment was also revised to $27.25 billion.
Musk will continue to hold talks with existing shareholders of Twitter, including the company’s former chief Jack Dorsey, to contribute shares to the proposed acquisition, the filing showed.
Qatar Holding and Dubai-based Vy Capital, also an investor in Musk’s other venture The Boring Company, are also part of the investor group.
Larry Ellison, a board member at Tesla and a self-described close friend of Elon Musk has also committed $1 billion for the funding.
Twitter’s shares were up about 2.9% at $50.5 before the bell, still below Musk’s offer of $54.20.
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