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Jeff Bezos steps down as CEO of Amazon

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(Last Updated On: February 3, 2021)

Jeff Bezos has announced he will step down as CEO of Amazon, the largest online retailer in the world.

Bezos is ending his role as CEO on a high note: the business he began as an internet bookseller 27 years ago is now one of the world’s most valuable companies and posted three consecutive record profits after losses in decades prior.

Fox News reported that Bezos will transition to a role as Amazon’s executive chairman of the board during the company’s third fiscal quarter. The company did not provide an exact date for the change.

Andy Jassy, currently the CEO of Amazon’s highly profitable cloud computing wing, will replace Bezos as CEO. He started in Amazon’s marketing department in 1997.

On Tuesday, Amazon reported quarterly sales above $100 billion for the first time, Reuters reported.

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With flagship electric car, Mercedes takes fight to Tesla

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(Last Updated On: April 16, 2021)

Daimler AG, a German multinational automotive corporation, Thursday unveiled the electric “sibling” of its flagship Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedan, taking the fight to market-leader Tesla Inc in the battle for market share as electric car sales take off.

The EQS is the first in a family of Mercedes-Benz cars built on a dedicated electric vehicle platform built from the ground up. It will go on sale in Europe and the United States in August, then in China in January.

Sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars in the European Union almost trebled to over 1 million vehicles last year, accounting for more than 10% of overall sales.

“We set the bar very high,” with this car, Daimler Chief Executive Ola Källenius told reporters. “Customers in this segment expect a blend of hi-tech innovation and modern luxury… and that’s what we’re trying to achieve with the EQS.”

Daimler has not revealed pricing yet for the EQS, saying that will come in the summer closer to the launch date.

In interviews and conference calls on Thursday Källenius

avoided making any comparisons with Tesla, whose market cap of more than $700 billion dwarfs all other carmakers.

But with a range of up to 770 kilometers (478 miles) and a new display screen that will cover almost the entire dashboard – an optional feature – analysts see an effort to seize the initiative from Tesla, which had a head start over other carmakers and boasted a longer battery range and hallmark touchscreen infotainment system.

In a client note earlier this week, Deutsche Bank referred to the EQS as “Mercedes’ Tesla fighter” and said the car “will likely set the benchmark in terms of technical features, as well as design and quality,” for both traditional carmakers and newer entrants like Tesla.

Källenius said he expects more than 50% of customers will pay extra to get the display screen, which Mercedes-Benz unveiled in January.

At 56 inches (142 cm) the new “Hyperscreen” – which in width dwarfs Tesla’s vaunted 17-inch screen – will also feature in Mercedes-Benz’s other new electric models.

Källenius said the company would not provide forecasts for how many EQS models it aims to sell, or what sort of profit margins he expected the vehicle to generate.

But he said he had high expectations for the Chinese market, where there is “tremendous demand” for the traditional combustion engine S-Class model.

Daimler now joins rival Volkswagen AG with a dedicated electric platform. BMW will launch a dedicated platform in 2025.

Mercedes sales chief Britta Seeger said the launch of the EQS coincides with demand for electric vehicles that is growing faster than company executives once forecast.

“We thought by 2030 that half of our sales will be electric vehicles” and plug-in hybrid vehicles, Seeger said during a conference call. “What we currently see… is a stronger request of customers for EVs. We are even more positive that this jump can be a little bit faster.”

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China vows “necessary measures” after US blacklists Chinese supercomputing companies

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(Last Updated On: April 9, 2021)

China’s foreign ministry said Friday it would take necessary measures to protect the legal rights of Chinese companies after the United States added Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist, Reuters reported.

This comes as the U.S. Commerce Department said Thursday that it was adding seven Chinese supercomputing entities to a U.S. economic blacklist for assisting Chinese military efforts.

The Commerce Department said the seven were “involved with building supercomputers used by China’s military actors, its destabilizing military modernization efforts, and/or weapons of mass destruction programs.”

The department is adding Tianjin Phytium Information Technology, Shanghai High-Performance Integrated Circuit Design Center, Sunway Microelectronics, the National Supercomputing Center Jinan, the National Supercomputing Center Shenzhen, the National Supercomputing Center Wuxi, and the National Supercomputing Center Zhengzhou to its blacklist.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Beijing will take “necessary measures” to protect its companies’ rights and interests.

“U.S. containment and suppression cannot hold back the march of China’s scientific and technological development,” he said at a daily news conference in Beijing on Friday.

Companies or others listed on the U.S. Entity List are required to apply for licenses from the Commerce Department that face tough scrutiny when they seek permission to receive items from U.S. suppliers.

“Supercomputing capabilities are vital for the development of many – perhaps almost all – modern weapons and national security systems, such as nuclear weapons and hypersonic weapons, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

The new rules take effect immediately but do not apply to goods from U.S. suppliers already en route.

During the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, the U.S. added dozens of Chinese companies to its economic blacklist, including the country’s top smartphone maker Huawei Technologies, top chipmaker SMIC and the largest drone manufacturer, SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd.

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Data of 500 million Facebook users may be leaked

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(Last Updated On: April 5, 2021)

The private information of more than 500 million Facebook users may have been compromised, and an unidentified leaker says they are offering the data for sale for virtually nothing, Reuters reported.

Alon Gal, the co-founder of an Israeli cybersecurity firm called Hudson Rock, says that the information appears to be the same set of Facebook-linked telephone numbers that has been circulating in hacker circles since January.

It’s being sold for a few dollars’ worth of digital credit on a well-known site for low-level hackers.

Reuters hasn’t been able to verify the information, but Gal and some journalists who have seen the data dump say they have been able to match phone numbers of people they know. He warns that Facebook users should be on the lookout for possible “social engineering attacks” in the coming months.

In a statement, Facebook said that the data was “very old” and related to an issue that it had fixed in August 2019.

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