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  • OpenAI's New Era: Exclusive Insights on AGI Goals & Microsoft's Pivotal Role

OpenAI's New Era: Exclusive Insights on AGI Goals & Microsoft's Pivotal Role

+ Apple's Google Revenue Cut | New Slack CEO | WhatsApp Voice Chat

Greetings tech enthusiasts,

Welcome to our tech briefing for November 14, 2023. Here's a glimpse of what's trending today:

  • Apple's Revenue Play - Scrutiny over Google's Safari search revenue share.

  • OpenAI's Board Shift - Exploring AGI goals and Microsoft's influence.

  • Amazon Refocuses - Strategy shift with 180 gaming roles cut.

  • Slack's New Leader - Salesforce appoints Denise Dresser as CEO.

  • Apple's Tax Hurdle - Facing a potential $600M bill in India.

  • EU vs Adobe-Figma - Antitrust concerns over a $20bn deal.

  • Nvidia's AI Launch - Debut of a highly anticipated AI chip.

  • AI Adoption Lags - Generative AI struggles in enterprise settings.

  • AI's Data Challenge - Potential stagnation due to data scarcity by 2026.

  • OpenAI's Talent Hunt - Attracting Google researchers with lucrative offers.

  • WhatsApp's Chat Update - Introducing large group voice chat.

  • Meta's Control Boost - Enhanced user account control on Threads.

  • and more

Stay with us for in-depth insights on these stories and more.

Spotlight

*Sponsored

Tech Companies

Google pays Apple 36% of the revenue from searches made on the Safari browser, contributing to Apple's annual operational profits. The U.S. Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming search monopoly, might potentially dissolve the deal between Google and Apple and inspire Apple to develop its own search engine. A decision is expected at the end of November.

Why does this matter?

The revealing of Google's Apple-related search revenue could accentuate antitrust scrutiny on Google, altering market dynamics. A shift could be brewing where a legal mandate may force Apple to develop its own search alternative, deposing Google as the default on Apple devices and subsequently impacting Google's dominance and profitability.

OpenAI has asserted that its six-member nonprofit board will determine the achievement of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). Once AGI is declared, it won't be part of the intellectual property licenses and other commercial agreements with Microsoft as they apply only to pre-AGI technologies. The AGI scrutiny from OpenAI's board, which includes Chairman Greg Brockman and CEO Sam Altman, is unusual but legally permissible. Differences over AGI's ambiguous definition sparks concerns regarding OpenAI's nonprofit mission and its alignment with investor Microsoft's interests.

Amazon Games announces ending its Crown Channel and Game Growth initiatives, laying off over 180 roles in the process. The firm aims to concentrate resources on its burgeoning operations and focus more on Prime Gaming, aligning with its objective of delivering high-quality content for gamers.

Salesforce Inc. appoints Denise Dresser as the new CEO of Slack, succeeding Jones. Dresser, a highly lauded business leader and a veteran internal executive at Salesforce, is now the third individual in a year to head Slack, a Salesforce subsidiary.

India's tax authorities are investigating Apple's local subsidiary's accounting practices and rejected its claim of trading not being taxable, which may trigger a $600 million tax demand. This occurs as Apple plans a five-fold manufacture growth in the country.

Apple's 'parts pairing' code on iPhones has been reported to prevent the use of non-Apple components for repair, driving customers to AppleCare+, and ensuring profits from its components sales.

Startup Scene

Divergent Technologies secured a $230 million Series D funding led by Hexagon AB, backing its Divergent Adaptive Production System, an integrated suite leveraging AI, novel materials, 3D printing and automated assembly to foster high-performance product development.

AI Corner

Nvidia is set to launch the HGX H200, an AI chip with improved memory capacity and bandwidth over its in-demand predecessor, the H100. In terms of memory specifications, the new GPU will use HBM3e, facilitating an increased memory bandwidth and total memory capacity. The chip, releasing in Q2 2024, will enhance performance across generative AI models and high-performance computing applications. Despite ongoing supply constraints, Nvidia is collaborating with global system manufacturers and cloud service providers to ensure availability. The chip will be introduced initially through major cloud providers, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle.

Despite the hype surrounding generative AI (gen AI), a report from Menlo Ventures reveals that enterprise investment in gen AI is currently less than 1% of cloud spending. In contrast, traditional AI accounts for 18% of the $400 billion cloud market. The report suggests implementation of gen AI takes time, particularly in the enterprise sector, and ongoing barriers include unproven ROI and data privacy concerns. Meanwhile, spending in traditional AI is increasing, with the number of enterprises using AI growing by 7%.

Alarm bells are ringing in AI amid fears of a potential training data shortage. Experts warn that high-quality textual training data could be depleted by as early as 2026, affecting the functionality of AI systems. Synthetic data isn't a viable alternative due to the risk of creating inbred AI models with garbled outputs. One possible solution is data partnerships, where companies exchange high-quality data for monetary value.

OpenAI is reportedly enticing Google's top AI researchers with potential $10 million pay packages. Drawing from its already diversified talent pool from Google and Meta, OpenAI aims for an $86 billion valuation in its upcoming employee share sale.

Markets & Money

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an eight-week high, boosted by new order reports for Boeing. Moody's cut its U.S. credit rating outlook to ""negative"", stirring worries over high interest rates and national debt. With market anticipation building for October's inflation figures, treasury yields initially saw a surge before pulling back. Investors are debating potential Federal Reserve rate cuts in 2024 and await this week's Consumer and Producer Price Index reports, which are expected to indicate moderate price pressures.

Adobe's $20bn acquisition of Figma is facing regulatory challenges in Brussels, with the European Union purportedly set to file anti-competitive charges. The deal, initially announced in September 2022, is under scrutiny due to concerns it may stifle competition in the digital design market, limit innovation, and increase prices.

Didi Global, China's chief ride-hailing service, reported its first profit since 2021, overcoming previous regulatory issues. It also unveiled share buyback and marketing expansion plans.

Apps & Gadgets

WhatsApp is introducing a new voice chat feature similar to Discord that targets large groups. The feature, which enables quiet connection between group members without disrupting others, will be rolled out to groups with 33 or more members in the coming weeks. WhatsApp plans to expand its array of features, including end-to-end encryption for voice chats, and recently launched dual account usage and 'Flows' functionality promoting in-app transactions.

Meta is introducing a feature allowing users to delete their Threads profile independently of their Instagram account, addressing initial user complaints. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri also announced the addition of an opt-out feature for featuring Threads posts on Facebook and Instagram, responding to user feedback for more control.

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