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Google & NVIDIA's Mega Partnership, Tesla faces scrutiny over "Elon Mode", and EU Forces Microsoft to Unbundle Teams.
Nvidia's stock continues its impressive rally, reaching a market cap of $1.2 trillion, buoyed by an enhanced partnership with Google that promises to solidify its position as the leading AI chipmaker.
Nvidia Expands Google Partnership.
Tesla Faces Scrutiny Over "Elon Mode".
US Job Growth Decelerates, Wages Remain Robust.
Shopify and Amazon’s 'Buy with Prime' Integration.
Microsoft Unbundles Teams from 365 Suite.
Nvidia's Market Cap Soars to $1.2 Trillion After Expanding Google Partnership
Nvidia's stock continues its impressive rally, reaching a market cap of $1.2 trillion and is now up 190% so far this year.
It was buoyed last week by a partnership with Google that promises to solidify its position as the leading AI chip designer.
Announced in a dialogue between Google Cloud's CEO, Thomas Kurian, and Nvidia's CEO, Jensen Huang, the partnership aims to simplify AI application operations on Google Cloud.
The partnership will allow for a more profound synergy between the hardware and software components of Nvidia and Google respectively.
The collaboration not only boosts Nvidia's prospects for increased revenue but also empowers Google in its bid to compete effectively in AI and data technologies against its main rivals - Microsoft and Amazon.
A key highlight of the partnership is Nvidia's DGX, a leading AI supercomputer.
The DGX will be pivotal in offering businesses AI capabilities via cloud providers like Google, essentially pioneering the AI-as-a-service for numerous global enterprises.
Huang commented on the strategic shift, emphasizing the convergence of accelerated computing and generative AI:
“Our enhanced ties with Google Cloud will enable developers to hasten their projects with infrastructure, software, and services optimizing energy efficiency and economizing costs.”
Following a stellar Q2 performance, Nvidia expects its Q3 revenues to be around $16 billion, surpassing Wall Street's expectations of $12.6 billion.
Tesla Faces Scrutiny Over "Elon Mode" Autopilot Configuration
Tesla is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding the "Elon mode" configuration that bypasses the company's driver engagement checks on its Autopilot system.
Typically, Tesla's driver assistance system periodically prompts the driver to engage with the steering wheel.
If ignored, the prompts escalate from visual symbols to beeping noises, eventually disabling advanced features. However, with "Elon mode," these safety nudges, colloquially known as "nags," can be bypassed.
On July 26, NHTSA sought details from Tesla about the special configuration, particularly its extent of use among drivers and vehicles.
Concerns arise from the potential extended use of Autopilot without the system ensuring drivers' active engagement.
NHTSA’s acting chief counsel, John Donaldson, expressed concerns that: "It may be possible for vehicle owners to change Autopilot’s driver monitoring configurations, allowing extended operation without driver engagement."
Though Tesla met NHTSA's August 25 deadline for data submission, specifics remain confidential. The company has not publicly commented on the matter.
This scrutiny comes on the heels of Tesla CEO Elon Musk's recent livestream, where he test drove a Tesla with the latest FSD software.
Analyst Greg Lindsay remarked Musk’s demo was akin to "waving a red flag in front of NHTSA," while machine learning expert Bruno Bowden added that while Tesla has made strides, its technology is still far from fully safe and autonomous.
US Job Growth Decelerates, but Wages Stay Robust
US job growth was slower than expected in July but there was continued strong wage growth and a notable drop in unemployment.
July saw an increase of 187,000 job opening, slightly below the predicted 200,000.
Previously reported figures for June were also adjusted downwards and therefore marked the slowest job growth since December 2020.
Over the past year, monthly job growth has averaged 218,000 – a decline from the 434,000 average from the year before that.
Unemployment now stands at 3.5%, down from the 3.5% in June and a level not seen for over half a century.
The health, finance, and construction sectors, witnessed significant job growth.
But the leisure and hospitality sector – severely impacted by the pandemic – has yet to regain all its lost positions, remaining 352,000 jobs short of its pre-COVID levels.
Despite the mixed data, experts remain optimistic about the US economy's trajectory.
Some now believe that the Federal Reserve will be successful in achieving a "soft landing" for the economy, although unpredictable inflation trends will significantly influence the outcome.
While the job market exhibits signs of deceleration, strong wage growth coupled with declining unemployment suggests continued resilience in the labor sector.
Shopify and Amazon Announce Buy with Prime Integration
Shopify has partnered with e-commerce behemoth Amazon to allow its merchants to integrate the “Buy with Prime” option on their storefronts.
The collaboration means Shopify users can now offer customers the ability to make purchases using Amazon's payment methods during checkout.
Purchases will also be eligible for fast, free shipping and convenient returns via Amazon’s extensive fulfillment network.
This integration is particularly surprising given Shopify's previous distasteful view towards Amazon. Traditionally, Shopify has empowered merchants with tools to set up their online stores, manage inventory, and process payments independently.
Only a year ago, Shopify cautioned its users against using the “Buy with Prime” feature, citing a violation of its terms of service.
They had instead promoted their in-house payment solution, Shop Pay. But it seems Shopify's perspective has changed.
Regarding the new partnership, Shopify said:
“Our goal is to enhance commerce for all. This means enabling our merchants to reach wider audiences. We are dedicated to offering our merchants and their consumers more choices.”
Amazon is set to unveil an app tailored for US Shopify merchants using Amazon’s fulfillment network. The app will allow for easy integration of the “Buy with Prime” option into Shopify's checkout process, and crucially, merchants will retain full control over their branding and customer data.
Shopify's President, Harley Finkelstein, emphasized the app’s value proposition saying: “This collaboration streamlines the process for our merchants partnering with Amazon, enabling them to seamlessly offer ‘Buy with Prime’ to their Shopify clientele.”
Amazon's Vice President of Buy with Prime, Peter Larsen, praised the integration, noting positive merchant feedback on “Buy with Prime” for driving customer conversion and acquisition.
Following the announcement, Shopify's stock surged by 13% and Amazon’s by 2%.
Microsoft Unbundles Teams from 365 in EU
Microsoft announced its decision to separate its videoconferencing platform, Teams, from the Microsoft 365 productivity suite to address antitrust concerns raised by European Union (EU) regulators.
Effective from October 1, the tech conglomerate will introduce 365 packages without Teams for customers in the EU and Switzerland. These packages come with a reduced price tag of €5 Euro a month.
Current Microsoft 365 users will have the option to retain their existing bundled package or switch to the new unbundled offering.
Originally packaged as part of the former Office 365 suite, Teams emerged as a critical component of Microsoft's enterprise toolkit, particularly in the wake of remote work trends during the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, Microsoft shared plans for a revamped, faster version of Teams.
The unbundling move follows an antitrust investigation launched by EU regulators last July.
The investigation, the first into Microsoft in over a decade, was triggered by concerns of Microsoft potentially using bundling to provide Teams a competitive advantage.
Salesforce-owned Teams competitor, Slack, lodged a complaint in 2020, alleging reduced competitiveness due to Microsoft's bundling strategy.
Responding to EU's apprehensions about the potential lack of choice and limited interoperability for customers, Microsoft has also committed to boosting interoperability resources for its 365 suite.
The company has said it also plans to develop features that allow Office web apps to function within rival applications and services.