Displaying items by tag: Practices
“FTC has failed to prove our business practices harmed competitors” – Qualcomm
US chipmaker Qualcomm has robustly defended its business practices as the antitrust lawsuit against them draws to a close.
In their closing testimony Qualcomm declared that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had ultimately failed to prove that the chipmaker’s business practices had harmed its competitors during the course of the trial.
FTC have alleged that Qualcomm used its market dominance in its smartphone chip development to force phone suppliers to pay higher patent licensing fees, in other words it claims the company which is headquartered in San Diego had an unfair monopoly.
Both parties now must wait for the ruling from the judiciary, although reports have suggested that the decision is not likely to be delivered any time soon.
In a statement which summarized Qualcomm’s closing argument in court, the company’s EVP and general counsel Don Rosenberg said the FTC hasn’t come close to meeting its burden of proof in this case.
Rosenberg said, “All real-world evidence presented at trial showed how Qualcomm’s years of R&D and innovation fostered competition, and growth for the entire mobile economy to the benefit of consumers around the world.”
In addition to this, Rosenberg highlighted that Qualcomm’s licensing rates were established long before it had set up its lucrative chip business and accurately reflected the value of its comprehensive patent portfolio.
The FTC closed their arguments by stressing to the judiciary that the powerful chipmaker had used its muscle and dominance in the 3G and 4G chip market to force smartphone manufacturers like Apple to sing licensing agreements with excessively high royalties.
Prosecutors on behalf of FTC argued this approach would continue in the 5G era if Qualcomm isn’t stopped.
During the trial, the FTC called witnesses from a number of handset companies including Apple, Samsung, Intel and Huawei to testify that Qualcomm had used unfair practices, harming competition in the industry.
SAP to cut 3,000 jobs as part of €1bn restructuring plan
German software behemoth SAP has stunned staff by announcing that it will cut 3,000 jobs as part of a €1bn restructuring plan after profits stagnated in 2018.
However, the upbeat company insists it is still on track to grow revenues and earnings for this year, but that a restructuring of its overall operations and practices are necessary.
SAP’s CFO, Luka Mucic said the company expects a higher number of employees to leave that during its last job cull which occurred in 2015. He said, “We are talking about a completely voluntary program, we expect a number slightly higher than in 2015 of employees to leave.”
In 2015, SAP cut around 2,200 positions in a move that was described at that time as the company’s transition away from traditional software towards cloud computing. SAP plan to spend between 800m and 1bn on restructuring the company in an effort to simplify its structures and processes.
CEO Bill McDermott acknowledged that the job cuts are painful but reiterated that they were necessary in order to pave the way for SAP to make new investments in emerging growth areas within the software ecosystem.
The SAP CEO said, “We are going to move our people and our focus to the areas SAP needs the most, AI (artificial intelligence), blockchain, internet of things, quantum computing. We currently have 95,000 people in the company, if we talk in a few years it will be more.”
Despite the messaging from SAP that the job cuts are necessary in order to create capital to invest in new areas, it’s clear the stagnation of profits and stunting of growth have heightened the pressure on the German software leader.
SAP announced that its net profits had grown by just 1% last year reaching 4.1bn euros. In 2018, SAP continued its transformation away from the perception that it’s a traditional one-off sales’ of business software licenses to cloud computing, under which it charges customers a subscription fee to process data on the firm's computers.
Revenue from cloud subscriptions and support grew 32 percent over the year, to almost 3.8 billion euros. Meanwhile software licenses and support revenue shrank one percent, although it remains a far bigger source of income for now at almost 15.8 billion euros.
Mexico’s leading telecommunications operator expresses anger at sector overhaul
Mexico’s leading telecommunications operator has expressed its anger at rules introduced by the country’s telecommunication regulatory authority. America Movil, which is the world’s fourth largest mobile operators in terms of mobile equity subscribers, and is spearheaded by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.
However, Slim has vehemently voiced his opposition to the changes in regulatory policy which he believes are unfair towards his organization, and that it has subsequently led to a loss of its business rights. It’s the last chapter in what has been a complicated process in terms of reshaping the telecommunications industry in Mexico.
Reports are suggesting that the Supreme Court are considering whether to undo parts of an overhaul that blatantly tilted the playing field against the dominant force in Mexican telecommunications which is America Movil. The regulatory changes has led to a steep drop in prices in what Mexican citizens pay for cell phone services and internet access, which has rather inevitably been welcomed by Mexicans.
Legal representation for Slim have described the rule changes as ‘asymmetrical’ and ‘unfair’ which prohibit American Movil from charging other carriers for connecting their calls made to customers on their network, but let those same companies charge America Movil for connecting its calls to their customers.
In a statement released to the press, American Movil described this practice which has been applied to America Movil as the ‘zero-tariff’ - and has undermined the power of the sector’s regulator IFT as well as the rights of America Movil units Telmex and Telcel under past concessions awarded to them by the government.
In addition to this, the Mexican operator claims that it has been harmed by the loss of its rights to cost recovery, economic stability, and financial balance granted by the concessions. "Asymmetrical (rules) does not mean free," the company said in the statement.
Figures released from the telco sector in Mexico indicate that America Movil holds over two-thirds of the country’s mobile subscriptions. However, political commentators have described the landmark telecommunications reform as a huge political victory for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. The Supreme Court has not disclosed when it might rule on the case.
Apple joins tech industry alliance aimed at establishing best practices for AI
Apple has joined a technology industry alliance which aims to establish the best practices for the opportunities and challenges faced within the field of AI. Apple joins Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, IBM and Google-owned British AI firm DeepMind who last year established the non-profit organization which they called ‘Partnership on AI’.
In a statement issued by the Partnership on AI group, they formally announced Apple’s participation within the research organization as they became the sixth founding member. It further disclosed in the statement that Apple had been involved in a consultancy capacity with the partnership prior to its formal launch in September last year. It was also revealed that the partnership will host its inaugural board meeting in San Francisco in February.
The collaboration between the major tech companies involved in this partnership have stated that in addition to establishing the best practices for the opportunities and challenges of AI- they have also expressed their desire to address issues including privacy, interoperability and collaboration between people and AI systems.
The statement read, “Apple has been involved and has been collaborating with the partnership since before it was first announced and we’re thrilled to formalize its membership. Major technology firms have joined forces in this group and have stated aims including cooperation on "best practices" for AI and using the technology to benefit people and society.”
The partnership was established following concerns raised that new AI efforts could potentially spin out of control and ultimately end up being severely detrimental to society. The collaboration between the tech firms will see them embark on research, the recommendation of best practices, and will publish research under an open license in areas such as ethics, fairness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy and interoperability.
According to the statement, It will seek to examine the collaboration between people and AI systems which will test the trustworthiness, reliability and robustness of the technology.
Tech companies have already invested heavily in creating software in order to help machines think more like people – ideally acting as virtual assistants who get to know how users and attempt to try and anticipate their needs and requirements.
In 2015, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk and SpaceX founder participated in the establishment of a nonprofit research company named Open AI which was devoted to developing AI that would help people and not hurt them. However, he became embroiled in controversy within the technology world by stating that AI could turn on humanity and be its ruin instead of a salvation.
A concern expressed by Musk was that highly advanced artificial intelligence would be left to its own devices, or in the hands of a few people, to the detriment of civilization as a whole.
People joining tech company executives on the Partnership board included Dario Amodei of Open AI along with members of the American Civil Liberties Union; the MacArthur Foundation, and the University of California, Berkeley.