Tech industry comes out swinging against potential Trump tariffs

Over the weekend, the Information Technology Industry Council and 44 other trade associations banded together and published a letter demanding that the Trump administration take “measured” steps to stop China’s unfair trade practices and voiced its opposition to unilateral tariffs that could damage industries as diverse as electronics and agriculture. As we have been covering on TechCrunch, the Trump administration is readying a comprehensive “all of the above” series of policies to fight China, including tariffs that might reach above $100 billion, visa restrictions on Chinese nationals, and prohibitions on Chinese capital from buying or investing in American companies. The Trump administration is expected to develop a policy here shortly as part of the conclusion of its section 301 trade investigation into China. The letter warns that tariffs in particular could lead to “a chain reaction of negative consequences for the U.S. economy, provoking retaliation; stifling U.S.
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Secret microLED labs, Apple R&D, and the future of product margins

Over the weekend, Mark Gurman at Bloomberg reported that Apple has apparently built out a microLED display laboratory in California for testing and manufacturing small batches of the next-generation screen technology, presumably for its iPhone and other devices. Apple had previously acquired microLED startup LuxVue in 2014. The news of a secret research lab fits into a larger narrative about Apple’s deeper and more expensive focus on research and development. Neil Cybart of Above Avalon, a subscription blog focused on Apple, noted that Apple “is on track to spend $14 billion on R&D in FY2018, nearly double the amount spent on R&D just four years ago” and also pointed out that “The $14 billion of R&D expense that Apple will spend in FY2018 will be more than the amount Apple spent on R&D from 1998 to 2011.” Those are incredible numbers for any company, but the scale of the
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Qualcomm’s war may be over, but the casualties are just starting to be calculated

The epic battle between Qualcomm and Broadcom seems to have reached its armistice, with President Trump using the power of CFIUS to block the transaction this past week, ending what would have been the largest tech M&A transaction of all time. It may be all quiet on the semiconductor front, but Qualcomm and Broadcom will now need to find a path forward to win the peace and secure access to the coming 5G wireless market. Qualcomm faces a daunting number of challenges, including a potential takeover battle waged by the spurned son of its founder. Broadcom will have to find a new path to use acquisitions to continue its growth. As with any war though, the damage from this conflict isn’t exclusive to the two enemy combatants. The future of corporate governance and shareholder autonomy is now being reevaluated in light of the actions used by Qualcomm in its
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Washington waking up to threats of AI with new task force

Elon Musk has been one of the few Silicon Valley luminaries to place intense attention on the potential dangers of AI, raising a billion dollars with Y Combinator’s Sam Altman to found OpenAI . Musk has continued the drumbeat on AI’s dangers, telling a crowd at SXSW this week that “A.I. is far more dangerous than nukes” and asking “So why do we have no regulatory oversight? This is insane.” Well, the wheels of Washington are turning, and DCers are starting to investigate the opportunities and challenges that AI poses to the nation. Today, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), one of America’s top defense and foreign policy think tanks, announced the creation of a Task Force on Artificial Intelligence and National Security, as part of the organization’s Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Initiative. The task force will be co-led by Andrew Moore,
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Trump readying ‘all of the above’ fusillade on Chinese tech

President Trump’s decision to block a mega-merger deal between Broadcom and Qualcomm appears to be just the opening gambit for a significantly bolder strike on Chinese technology and investment firms as well as Chinese nationals learning and working in the United States. For an administration that is as defined by its day-to-day chaos as its […]

Trump administration’s block in Qualcomm vs. Broadcom merger should shake tech to its core

 This weekend, I published a comprehensive overview of the epic hundred-billion-dollar Qualcomm vs. Broadcom merger battle that has taken place over the past few weeks. In that post, I concluded that “… the Trump administration is going to attempt to maintain jurisdiction over the merger regardless of Broadcom’s redomicile process [back to the US], and will likely end up negative… Read More

We need to improve the accuracy of AI accuracy discussions

 Reading the tech press, you would be forgiven for believing that AI is going to eat pretty much every industry and job. Not a day goes by without another reporter breathlessly reporting some new machine learning product that is going to trounce human intelligence. That surfeit of enthusiasm doesn’t originate just with journalists though — they are merely channeling the wild optimism… Read More