Silicon Valley Tech News Roundup – December 31st

BYD (Chinese EV maker) to overtake Tesla – 12/27

BYD, the Chinese electric vehicle maker, is set to surpass Tesla as the leading global manufacturer of EVs. According to the World Economic Forum, in 2022, the Chinese market accounted for 59% of the global sales of electric vehicles and 64% of the total production.

The experts predict once the company releases the results for the fourth quarter, BYD will overtake Tesla. In September, the company sold only 3,500 vehicles less.

BYD (Build Your Dreams) offers a wider range of electric vehicles at affordable prices. One of its latest models, The Seagull, launched this year at the Shanghai auto show, is just under $10,000. BYD vehicles are available in select markets in the EU, Mexico, and Costa Rica in North America, and Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Australia, and Brazil. The vehicles are unavailable in the United States, but the company sells buses and motor coaches in the American market.

Warren Buffet and his Berkshire Hathaway invested $230 million in the company in 2008 for a stake of about 10%. Their stake is valued at $8 billion.

Nvidia to produce slower gaming chip for the Chinese market – 12/29

Nvidia will launch a modified and slower gaming chip for the Chinese market, that enables the company to comply with the latest chip export restrictions posed by the United States government.

The company’s spokesperson confirmed to Reuters that the chip will be available in January and it is “designed to fully comply with U. S. government export controls.“ Likewise, the spokesperson confirmed the company engaged with the U. S. government in designing the chip.

The RTX 4090D chip has 11% fewer “CUDA” (Compute Unified Device Architecture) cores than the chip available in other markets. The original RTX 4090 is on the government’s list of banned chips. In 2023, the Nvidia shares tripled in value due to the interest and demand in artificial intelligence.

Apple watch sales ban lifted – 12/29

The sales of Apple watches Series 9 and Ultra 2 can resume in the United States after the company filed an emergency request to the U. S. Court of Appeals, which lifted the sales ban.

In October, the U. S. International Trade Commission (USITC) issued an order that prevented the sales and export of Apple watches that include the technology to read blood-oxygen levels. The trade body issued the order over a patent dispute.

Masimo Corporation, a medical device maker in California, accused Apple of stealing its technology and poaching its staff. In October, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) concluded that Apple infringed on two patents by Masimo Corporation. The order was subject to a 60-day review by the President, who could lift the ban. The deadline expired on Christmas day, and the White House decided not to reverse the decision.

Earlier in December, the company “pre-emptively” removed the disputed Apple watches from stores in the United States. Also, it asked for a stay on the ban until Customs and Border Protection could determine if the redesigned versions of the watches that do not contain the disputed technology infringed on Masimo patents.

On Tuesday, Apple released the following statement: “We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting exclusion order, and are taking all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the US as soon as possible.“

U. S. government will not pursue a second trial against Bankman-Fried – 12/29

On Friday, the prosecutors in the case against Sam Bankman-Fried (the Founder of FTX) filed a letter with the federal court in Manhattan stating they have decided against pursuing a second trial. Their reasoning is that most of the evidence has been submitted to the court and presented during the first trial.

The first trial against Bankman-Fried ended in November. The jury found him guilty of all seven criminal counts. Five charges against Bankman-Fried carry a maximum prison term of 20 years. The other two charges have a maximum prison time of five years. The second trial was to start in March next year. It was to address the set of additional criminal counts like securities fraud, commodities fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank fraud (among others).

The prosecutors’ letter states: “Given that practical reality, and the strong public interest in a prompt resolution of this matter, the Government intends to proceed to sentencing on the counts for which the defendant was convicted at trial.“

The court set the sentencing date for March 28th, 2024.


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