UK Gives Nod To Roomba Maker IRobot-Amazon Deal, Micron Plans To Invest In China Despite Restrictions, Baidu Secures Regulatory Nod for Self-Driving Taxi: Today's Top Stories


Intel Plans $4.6B Investment On Poland Soil, Builds First-Of-Its-Kind Facility

  • Intel Corp INTC announced an investment of $4.6 billion for building an assembly and test facility in Poland.
  • The facility is expected to aid the company in meeting assembly and test capacity demand by 2027.
  • The new investment in Poland, coupled with its existing wafer fabrication facility in Ireland and its planned facility in Germany, will help the creation of a distinctive and comprehensive semiconductor manufacturing value chain in Europe.

Roomba Maker IRobot Stock Shoots Higher Friday - What's Going On With Amazon Deal?

  • The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) cleared Amazon.Com Inc's AMZN purchase of Roomba maker IRobot Corp IRBT, triggering a rally in the stock price of the target company.
  • Amazon announced its proposed purchase of iRobot for $1.7 billion in August 2022.
  • It found that iRobot's market position in the supply of robot vacuum cleaners in the U.K. is modest and already faces several significant rivals.

AT&T Bids Farewell to San Francisco Flagship Store Amid Changing Consumer Habits

  • AT&T Inc T looks to shut down the company's Downtown San Francisco flagship store.
  • "Consumer shopping habits continue to change, and we're changing with them," the Standard cites AT&T spokesperson Chris Collins who confirmed the closure. He talked about serving customers where they are through the right mix of retail stores, digital channels, and our phone-based care team.
  • Collins said there are still two AT&T locations within one mile of 1 Powell St., the Financial District store at 425 Market St. and the Chinatown store at 851 Clay St. AT&T has over ten stores and licensed retailers across San Francisco.

Mondelez Restructures Russian Operations Following Declines from Ukraine War Impacts

  • Mondelez International Inc MDLZ plans to scale down its operations in Russia owing to the higher costs associated with the war with Ukraine.
  • The Chicago-based snack maker plans to discontinue new capital investments, product launches, and advertising media spending in Russia.
  • Mondelez plans to model the Russian business as a stand-alone entity with a "self-sufficient supply chain" before the end of the year. 

Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax Gear Up for XBB.1.5 Strain Targeted Vaccines as FDA AdCom Unanimously Support

  • Thursday, the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee all 21 members voted "Yes," recommending that updated monovalent COVID shots in the fall and winter targeting the XBB variants, which are now the dominant strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the world.
  • The agency dropped the original coronavirus strain (Wuhan strain) from the formulation.
  • In documents released this week, FDA staff reviewers said available evidence suggests this year's shots should target an XBB subvariant.

FDA Pushes Review Time For GSK's Blood Cancer Therapy Added Via Sierra Oncology Acquisition

  • The FDA has extended the review period for GSK plc's GSK new drug application for momelotinib for myelofibrosis by three months to provide time to review recently submitted data.
  • The extended action date is 16 September 2023 compared to the earlier date of 16 June.



Micron Plans To Inject $600M In Chinese Chip-Packaging Plant Amid Beijing Restrictions

  • U.S. memory chip giant Micron Technology Inc MU said it plans to invest an additional 4.3 billion yuan ($602 million) in its chip-packaging plant located in China, despite recent restrictions imposed by Beijing on the use of its semiconductors. 
  • The investment will involve acquiring equipment and expanding assembly lines at the existing facility in Xi'an, a city in central China. 
  • Through this expansion, Micron aims to create 500 new jobs, increasing its total workforce in the country to over 4,500 employees. The company said it would offer contracts to 1,200 Powertech employees.



Oracle's Health Unit Faces Major Downsizing Post-Cerner Acquisition Amid Industry Trends

  • On Thursday, Oracle Corp ORCL let go of hundreds of employees, retracted job offers, and cut back open positions within its health unit.
  • The health unit includes electronic medical records firm Cerner which it acquired for $28.3 billion in December 2022.
  • Cerner's challenged work with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hired Cerner to replace its homemade medical records with Cerner's technology, led to the downsizing.

Baidu Secures Regulatory Nod for Autonomous Ride-Hailing in Shenzhen, Threatens Competition in Chinese EV Market

  • Baidu Inc BIDU bagged a license from regulators to offer driverless ride-hailing services in Shenzhen.
  • Its fleet of robotaxis, under the brand Apollo Go, can operate across an area of 188 square kilometers in China's southern tech hub Shenzhen, making it the fourth city in which the company's driverless cars operate.
  • Baidu also shared plans to put an additional 200 fully driverless robotaxis into service in 2023.

Ford, General Motors Optimistic On Demand

  • Executives of Ford Motor Company F and General Motors Company GM have said that the demand from U.S. retail and commercial customers has surpassed expectations.
  • The comments come on the heels of a report from the U.S. Commerce Department saying U.S. retail sales surged in May due to an uptick in demand for motor vehicles.
  • "If the consumer remains at this strength, we could significantly outperform what we said" about full-year performance, the report cited General Motors CFO Paul Jacobson.

Toyota Gets $841M Support From Japan To Boost Domestic EV Battery Capacity

  • Toyota Motor Corp TM will reportedly receive up to $841 million in subsidies from the Japanese government to boost domestic production of batteries for electric vehicles.
  • The automaker had shown its intention to grab a larger share of the fast-growing market for battery EVs when it unveiled its plan for new technologies and the direction of future car manufacturing.
  • "As the international competition for storage batteries is intensifying, competition for capital investment is also becoming more intense," the report quoted Japan Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura.



Jack Ma 'Alive and Happy,' Alibaba Plans Major European Push with Tmall, Says President Michael Evans

  • Alibaba Group Holding Limited BABA President Michael Evans made revelations at the Viva Tech conference in Paris Thursday.
  • He said the e-commerce firm founder Jack Ma is "alive" and "happy," in response to Maurice Levy, the chairman of French advertising group Publicis.
  • Ma is teaching at a university in Tokyo, spending more time in China."
  • He also shared Alibaba's plans to expand one of its key China e-commerce sites into Europe. The company will bring one of its China e-commerce services, Tmall, into Europe in a significant strategy shift.


The Information

Meta Opens New AI Software for Commercial Use, a Bold Move Set to Rival Google and Microsoft

  • Meta Platforms Inc META CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his associates want other companies to leverage and profit from the new artificial intelligence software it is developing. 
  • It could have significant importance for broader adoption by other AI developers and businesses.
  • Meta is exploring the next version of its open-source large-language model that can power chatbots like ChatGPT available for commercial use. 

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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