Elon Musk expected to testify in court case over 2018 tweet

Godfrey Elimian
We are bringing details of this story and more to you in this instalment of the Global tech roundup. So just in case you missed any of these stories, enjoy your read.
Elon Musk, CEO, Twitter

Hello there! Welcome to another roundup of the major global tech news this week.

This week, Elon Musk is expected to take the stand in his trial over a 2018 tweet that investors claim made them lose money. Interestingly, reports emerged that his Space X Starlink internet service provider is expected to be launched in a second African country, Kenya, pending regulatory approval.

Apple released the latest and faster versions of its high-end MacBook Pro laptops and the Mac mini desktop, expected to bolster a product line that brought in $40.2 billion last year.

We bring these and more to you in our weekly Global tech roundup. So just in case you missed any of these stories during the week, enjoy your read.

Summary of the bulletin

  • Apple has unveiled a new MacBook Pro and Mac Mini
  • Starlink said it would launch in Kenya soon
  • Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings steps down
  • Microsoft to lay off 10,000 employees, Alphabet follows suit
  • Musk expected to take stand as trial resumes over Tesla tweet

Read also: Flutterwave set to make first major acquisition of 2023

Apple is on a launch spree

Just last week, we told you that Apple was set to introduce VR headsets for its customers this year while also looking forward to bringing touchscreens to MacBooks in later years. These are part of Apple’s many things in store for its customers in the coming years.

Apple launches new Mac with M2 chips, Starlink lands in Kenya
Apple’s latest products

This week, the company unveiled faster versions of its high-end MacBook Pro laptops and the Mac mini desktop as its latest products. The newly launched 14-inch and 16-inch Macs are similar to the prior models launched in 2021. However, they come with different and more powerful M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, which replace the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors. 

The chips in the latest models provide comparatively significant performance improvements, maintaining Apple’s shift away from using Intel Corp. processors inside its Mac computers. Up from a maximum of 10 primary processing cores, the M2 Pro will now feature as many as 12.

This is the first time Apple has brought Pro-tier chips to the Mini. Previously, the Mini could only be purchased with the same M1 chip as the MacBook Air. This time, it comes with a more potent chip series from Apple.

Regarding its prices, the updated 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1999 (N1,479,2660) at the current exchange rate of N740, while the 16-inch version continues to be priced at $2499 (N1,849,260).

After launching in Nigeria, Elon Musk-owned SpaceX has announced plans to launch Starlink, its satellite Internet service, in Kenya, pending regulatory approval.

Apple launches new Mac with M2 chips, Starlink lands in Kenya
Starlink arrives in Kenya

According to SpaceX, the service will be available in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, and Nakuru, among other cities, from June 2023. However, Kenyans can pre-order the service and deposit a fully refundable deposit of Sh12,260 ($99) to reserve it if approved.

“Order now to reserve your Starlink. Starlink is targeting service in your area starting in Q2 2023. Availability is subject to regulatory approval. Within each coverage area, orders are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis,” the company stated.

The Starlink kit, including a Starlink dish, a mounting tripod, a WiFi router, a power supply, and cables, will reportedly cost $499 (Sh73,677).

Read also: Starlink to launch in Kenya, what it means for competitors

Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings steps down

This week, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, the entrepreneur who transformed the media landscape and spearheaded the move into streaming, announced his resignation as the company’s co-chief executive.

Apple launches new Mac with M2 chips, Starlink lands in Kenya
Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings steps down

Hastings, who launched Netflix in 1997 as a DVD-by-mail service, wrote in a blog post that he had been increasingly delegating management in recent years. Now is “the right time to complete my succession”, he added.

“Our board has been discussing succession planning for many years (even founders need to evolve!). I’m so proud of our first 25 years, and so excited about our next quarter of a century.”

Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder

Greg Peters, the company’s chief product and chief operating officer, will join Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, as a co-chief executive. Sarandos was elevated to co-CEO in July 2020. According to Hastings, in delegating management to Sarandos and Peters, they both dealt with the challenges of the pandemic and upheavals in the streaming industry.

“It was a baptism by fire, given Covid and recent challenges within our business,” Hastings wrote.

“But they’ve both managed incredibly well, ensuring Netflix continues to improve and developing a clear path to reaccelerate our revenue and earnings growth. So the board and I believe it’s the right time to complete my succession,” he added.

The change comes as Netflix has lost more than a third of its market value in the past year after revealing that its decade-long growth spurt had ended.

Microsoft to lay off 10,000 employees, Alphabet 12,000

The layoff trend seems to have become a phenomenon that has come to stay in the tech ecosystem despite hopes that its sting would not bite into the new year.

Apple launches new Mac with M2 chips, Starlink lands in Kenya
Microsoft lays off 10,000

This week, two tech giants, Microsoft and Alphabet -Google’s parent company- announced separate layoffs of 10,000 and 12,000 employees, respectively.

Microsoft said on Wednesday that it’s letting go of 10,000 employees through March 31 as the software maker braces for slower revenue growth. On the other hand, Alphabet is reportedly planning to lay off about 12,000 of its workers, or about 6% of its workforce, the company said Friday.

“I’m confident that Microsoft will emerge from this stronger and more competitive,”

CEO Satya Nadella told employees in a memo that was posted on Microsoft’s website.

The move will reduce Microsoft’s headcount by less than 5%, and some employees will find out this week if they’re losing their jobs, he wrote.

Alphabet, Amazon and Salesforce are among the technology companies that have lowered headcounts in recent weeks. The contraction comes after demand for cloud computing and collaboration services picked up as enterprises, government agencies, and schools encouraged remote work to reduce Covid exposure.

Alphabet lays off 12,000

On their part, Alphabet’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, said he takes full responsibility for everything. He says:

“I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here,” he said.

Both job cuts are coming at a time when there is presumably an improvement in economic conditions in the U.S. which is signaled by the fall in the inflation rate for a sixth straight month to 6.5% in December of 2022, the lowest since October of 2021.

Read also: Alphabet, Google’s parent company to lay off 12,000 employees

Elon Musk to resume trial for Tesla tweet

Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, is likely to be called to testify on Friday in a jury trial over his 2018 tweet that he had “funding secured” to take the electric carmaker private, which shareholders allege cost them millions in trading losses.

Elon Musk's style has made Twitter more dangerous, former top official explains

The billionaire entrepreneur was named as the third possible witness in the class action trial in San Francisco federal court on Friday, following a securities expert and a Tesla investor.

Musk, renowned for his confrontational testimony, is likely to explain why he stressed on having a Saudi investor backing for the purchase—which never happened—and whether his tweet contained any materially misleading information.

The case is a rare securities class action trial, and the plaintiffs have already cleared high legal hurdles, with U.S. Judge Edward Chen ruling that Musk’s tweet was untruthful and reckless last year.

A jury of nine will decide whether the tweet artificially inflated Tesla’s share price by playing up the status of funding for the deal and, if so, by how much. The trial resumes after a day off on Thursday.

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