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Facebook’s Giphy acquisition sounds antitrust alarms in Congress – The Verge

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A bipartisan group of senators are sounding the antitrust enforcement alarm Friday over Facebook’s newly announced acquisition of Giphy, a GIF-making and sharing website.

On Friday, Facebook announced that it would acquire Giphy for the reported price of $400 million. Giphy is one of the largest GIF sites on the internet and social media and messaging services like Twitter, Tinder, Slack and iMessage already have Giphy integrated into their apps.

In a Friday blog post, Facebook said that half of Giphy’s traffic comes from Facebook apps and that the gif website would be rolled into Instagram, a Facebook-owned product. In that same post, Facebook suggested that Giphy’s core function as a GIF-sharing app across social media would not change and that developers would “continue to have the same access” to its services.

Still, that pledge hasn’t quieted the growing chorus of congresspeople concerned over potential anti-competitive behavior from Facebook. In statements Friday, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Democrats Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) were skeptical of the deal.

“Facebook keeps looking for even more ways to take our data,” Hawley said in a statement to The Verge. “Just like Google purchased DoubleClick because of its widespread presence on the internet and ability to collect data, Facebook wants Giphy so it can collect even more data on us. Facebook shouldn’t be acquiring any companies while it is under antitrust investigation for its past purchases.”

Over the last few weeks, Democrats like Warren, Klobuchar, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) have called for heightened scrutiny over large corporate mergers amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Warren and Ocasio-Cortez announced plans to introduce the “Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act” that would impose a moratorium on large mergers until the Federal Trade Commission “determines that small businesses, workers, and consumers” were “no longer under severe financial distress.”

In a statement Friday, a Warren spokesperson pushed for the passage of this bill in light of Facebook’s Giphy purchase. “Facebook’s acquisition is yet another example of a giant company using the pandemic to further consolidate power – this time it’s a company with a history of privacy violations gaining more control over online communications,” the Warren spokesperson said.

Earlier this week, Klobuchar signed onto a letter with Warren and Cicilline to the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department requesting that they halt all mergers between large companies that received “bailout” funding from Congress’ coronavirus relief packages. Klobuchar said in statement Friday that the “Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission must investigate this proposed deal.”

Klobuchar continued, “Many companies, including some of Facebook’s rivals, rely on Giphy’s library of shareable content and other services, so I am very concerned about this proposed acquisition.”

Republicans have largely pushed back on the Democrats’ calls for a merger moratorium. In a letter earlier this week, Republicans asked the Justice Department and FTC to refuse any changes to antitrust enforcement during the pandemic. “Unfortunately, these ideas are part and parcel of the latent socialism embraced by many modern Democrats, which represents an existential threat to America’s economic superiority,” the Republicans wrote.

Makan Delrahim, the Justice Department’s top antitrust enforcer, told CNBC Wednesday that it would be “misguided to just block all attempts for transactions.”

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China's Restrictions Delay iPhone 14 Development | by slashdotted | May, 2022 – DataDrivenInvestor

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According to a source, iPhone 14 development is behind schedule owing to Chinese lockdowns

At least one iPhone 14 model is three weeks late

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

According to a fresh rumor today, the development of at least one iPhone 14 model is three weeks behind schedule owing to Chinese lockdowns, which might damage initial production levels in the worst-case scenario.

According to reports, Apple has instructed suppliers to accelerate product development efforts in order to make up for a lost time before the delay impacts the regular manufacturing schedule, which might impair the initial production numbers of the iPhone 14 series.

By the end of June, all new iPhone models should have completed the EVT and moved on to the verification step.

As speculation grows regarding the characteristics of the next iPhone 14 models, such as an always-on display, a fresh source claims that the development of the line has been slowed by China’s coronavirus regulations.

All iPhone 14 versions are presently undergoing engineering verification testing (EVT), which involves Apple working with suppliers to optimize production processes and calculate manufacturing costs.

The unexpected lockdown shutdown of major Apple suppliers in Shanghai, as well as the effect on regional transportation, have caused the delay.

Apple is apparently working with its suppliers to expedite the process and get back on track.

The story seems to imply that, unlike the iPhone 12, the iPhone 14 will not be delayed and would instead come in the same September launch window as its current best iPhone, the iPhone 13.

Is the iPhone 14 going to be delayed?

According to this claim, it is doubtful that the iPhone 14 would be delayed.

The story does, however, raise the likelihood that one of the iPhone 14 versions may be substantially more difficult to get when it is introduced later this year.

The delay is claimed to be due to the internal development of the iPhone 14 series production process

. According to Nikkei, suppliers must adopt new manufacturing processes and adjust current production lines as part of a process known as New Product Introduction (NPI).

Last month, supposed real-world iPhone 14 display panels leaked online, revealing the suspected pill-shape and circular display cuts that would replace the conventional notch on this year’s new iPhone models to house the front-facing camera and Face ID technology.

In March, claimed iPhone 14 Pro 3D CAD renderings leaked, revealing the device’s reported redesigned pill-shape and circular display cutouts, which are likely to contain the iPhone’s Face ID components and front-facing camera module, eliminating the rectangular notch from the device’s display.

China’s restrictions stymie iPhone 14 development — Mobile World Live

According to the news agency, Apple’s iPhone 14 is being created by contract manufacturers Foxconn and Pegatron, with full production expected to begin in late August.

Nikkei Asia reported that engineering verification tests must be finished by the end of June in order to fulfill the manufacturing timetable and that one of the four iPhone 14 variants is three weeks behind schedule.

Due to the limitations, Pegatron paused manufacturing in its Shanghai and Kunshan plants earlier this year, while Foxconn halted operations at its Shenzhen factory.

Apple officials warned last month that supply concerns in China might affect sales by much to $8 billion in the current fiscal quarter.

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Luxury carmaker Maserati introduces convertible sportscar MC20 Cielo – Economic Times

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MODENA: Maserati‘s turnaround plan aims to liberate the Stellantis luxury brand from being a “slave to volumes” which has weighed on quality, its CEO Davide Grasso said on Wednesday, unveiling a convertible version of its MC20 sportscar.

Maserati, which returned to operating profit last year, delivered 24,200 cars in 2021 – 7,300 units more than in 2020. That still leaves it far from 2017’s peak, when it sold 51,500 cars.

“That was a success in terms of numbers, not necessarily for customers,” Grasso said, adding defect rates at Maserati were at that time higher than the average in luxury and premium markets.

“You enter a vicious circle of unsold cars and bigger and bigger discounts,” he said. “We were not good enough with quality, new powertrains, infotainment”.

Grasso said Maserati’s performance would keep improving this year and in 2023 in terms of market share, products, revenues and margins.

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The brand has recently unveiled its new Grecale SUV, which will be available in a full-electric (BEV) version in 2023. Next year Maserati will also introduce new versions of its Gran Turismo and Gran Cabrio models, and plans to make all its range electrified by 2025.

Agencies

Chief Commercial Officer Bernard Loire said sales could potentially top 30,000 units this year though it was not a target.

“It’s a projection based on our current performance,” he said.

Loire said China, Maserati’s second largest market after the United States, was being hit by an ongoing lockdown, but feedback from initial orders for Grecale were very positive.

“We see a much better second half,” he added.

He said Grecale would allow Maserati to compete in a segment, worth around 40% of the luxury market, where the brand has not been present so far.

Image - 2022-05-26T141424.363Agencies

With deliveries expected to start in the first quarter of 2023, the new retractable hardtop MC20 Cielo – ‘Sky’ in Italian – will contribute to Maserati’s sales only in 2023.

Fitted with a six-cylinder, three litre, 630 horsepower engine, for a top speed of over 320 km per hour, it will cost 260,000 euros ($277,000), 30,000 euros more than its coupe sister MC20. That’s higher than entry level models of Ferrari and Aston Martin.

Combined capacity for MC20 and MC20 Cielo, both produced in Modena, northern Italy, amount to about 1,400 units a year, with flexibility to adapt output between the two models.

Their BEV versions are expected by 2025.

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iPhone 14 production is "weeks" behind schedule thanks to the resumption of lockdowns in China – Notebookcheck.net

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