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Nvidia logo in Taipei, Taiwan.


Hard Numbers: Nvidia soars, Salesforce’s UK investment, step up for your eye exam, More millionaires (more problems?), Apple’s rebound

3 trillion: Nvidia stock briefly surpassed $3 trillion in market capitalization this week ahead of a 10-for-1 stock split that’ll make their share price much cheaper. The chipmaker, which is the third most valuable company in the S&P 500 behind Microsoft and Apple, has become a major beneficiary of the AI boom because of its powerful GPU chips. Stock splits don’t affect the value of a company’s stock, but make the share price more palatable for retail investors.
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SOPA Images via Reuters

Apple wants its own chips

Apple is leveling up its chip ambitions. The Silicon Valley technology giant has spent years designing chips for its own hardware — for Macs, iPhones, iPads, and more. But, running AI models requires higher-grade chips like NVIDIA's graphics processors, which have become industry standard.

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FILE PHOTO: iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are displayed during the 'Wonderlust' event at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 12, 2023.

REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

US sues Apple over alleged smartphone monopoly

In an antitrust lawsuit filed Thursday, the Department of Justice alleged Apple’s dominance of the smartphone market amounts to a monopoly. The DOJ says Apple resorts to “delaying, degrading, or outright blocking technologies that would increase competition in the smartphone markets” to keep users reliant on its iPhone.

The iPhone’s success is the stuff of business school legend, capturing some 70% of the US smartphone market despite steep prices. In short, the DoJ’s contention is that unfair practices helped Apple get there.

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Fingerprint and loupe.

imago images/blickwinkel via Reuters Connect

Hard Numbers: Unique prints, Job impacts, China chip sales, Microsoft beats Apple, Baidu shares fall

60,000: Researchers at Columbia University trained an artificial intelligence tool on 60,000 human fingerprints and made a strange discovery: Contrary to popular belief, our fingerprints may not be entirely unique. If confirmed, this discovery could change a bedrock assumption of forensic science.

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Lightning and USB-C cables are seen with European Union flag reflected on Apple iPhone in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on September 25, 2021.

Annie Gugliotta/ GZERO Media

How the EU designed the new iPhone

Earlier this week, Apple unveiled the iPhone 15. The camera is better. The design is sleeker. The glass is less breakable. It comes in pink.

But the detail that caught our eye was down at the bottom: the charging port has changed from a lightning port to a USB-C port (that’s the one that looks, to us at least, like an M-dash).

The story of why Apple made that change takes us not to Cupertino, but to Brussels. Last October, the EU passed a law that required most kinds of portable electronics sold in Europe to have the same charging port – the USB-C.

The move will reduce the Babel of incompatible chargers to one single standard. Smartphones and tablets have to make the change by 2024, other devices by 2026.

Tech companies grumbled about it – they had refused to agree on a standard voluntarily – but ultimately they went along with it. Why?

Because they didn’t want to get shut out of a market of 450 million consumers (the largest among advanced economies) and it made little sense to make different phones for different regions.

The USB-C story is a nice example of how the EU, lacking tech juggernauts of its own, is nevertheless trying to shape the global technology industry as a “consumer first” regulator.

While the US and China duke it out for supremacy in both hardware and software, Europe has developed some of the strictest laws in the world governing online privacy, content moderation, and competition.

Just last week the EU unveiled another set of regulations targeting the six biggest tech companies with new competition rules.

This is the same approach that Europe is taking when it comes to AI — seeking to jump out in front with smart regulation rather than the most advanced AI modules as such.

For it to continue to work, Brussels has to bet that the allure of its market is greater than the bother of adapting to strict rules. So far it’s working.

Big Tech's big challenge to the global order
Ian Bremmer: Big Tech’s Big Challenge to the Global Order | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Big Tech's big challenge to the global order

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Read Ian Bremmer's wide-ranging essay in Foreign Affairs that puts in perspective both the challenge, and the opportunity, that comes from the unprecedented power of Big Tech.

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here on the road, something we haven't done very much recently, but will increasingly as we try to move through COVID. And I want to talk to you about a new article that I just put out in Foreign Affairs that I'm calling "The Technopolar Moment." Not unipolar, not bipolar, not multipolar, technopolar. What the hell does technopolar mean?

It means that increasingly big technology companies are themselves geopolitical actors. So to understand the future of the world, you can't just look at the United States, Europe and China. You need to look at the big tech companies, too.

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Apple vs Facebook, a clash of the tech titans; social media algorithms scrutiny
Apple vs Facebook: Clash of the Tech Titans | Social Media Algorithms | Cyber In :60 | GZERO Media

Apple vs Facebook, a clash of the tech titans; social media algorithms scrutiny

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

How big of a blow is Apple's new privacy feature to companies like Facebook, who depend on tracking users?

The long-awaited update, including enhanced privacy features, actually empowers those users to decide not to be tracked. So that's great news for people who are sick of how the data trail they leave behind on the web is used. But it has to be said, that simple feature settings changed by Apple cannot solve the problem of misuse of data and microtargeting alone. Still, Apple's move was met with predictable outrage and anti-trust accusations from ad giant Facebook. I would anticipate more standard setting by companies in the absence of a federal data protection law in the United States. That's just to mention one vacuum that big tech thrives on.

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How to change a social media business model that profits from division
How To Change a Social Media Business Model That Profits From Division | Kara Swisher | GZERO World

How to change a social media business model that profits from division

The United States has never been more divided, and it's safe to say that social media's role in our national discourse is a big part of the problem. But renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher doesn't see any easy fix. "I don't know how you fix the architecture of a building that is just purposely dangerous for everybody." Swisher joins Ian Bremmer to talk about how some of the richest companies on Earth, whose business models benefit from discord and division, can be compelled to see their better angels. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

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