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Intel plans $20 bln chip manufacturing site in Ohio – sources

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

Intel Corp on Friday is set to announce it will invest $20 billion in a massive new manufacturing site near Columbus, Ohio to develop and manufacture advanced semiconductor chips, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.

The planned investment includes 3,000 permanent jobs on the 1,000-acre site in New Albany, Ohio. Time magazine, which first reported the news, said Intel will build at least two semiconductor fabrication plants.

President Joe Biden is making remarks Friday on the U.S. government’s efforts “to increase the supply of semiconductors, make more in America, and rebuild our supply chains here at home,” the White House said earlier.

Intel Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger is set to appear with Biden on Friday at the White House, sources told Reuters. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

The initial $20 billion is the first step of what could be an eight-factory complex costing tens of billions of dollars.

Intel declined to comment on its plans but said in a statement that Gelsinger would disclose details Friday of “Intel’s latest plans for investment in manufacturing leadership” as it works “to meet the surging demand for advanced semiconductors.”

Chipmakers are scrambling to boost output after manufacturers around the world, from autos to consumer electronics, faced shortages of chips. Intel also is trying to win back its position as maker of the smallest and fastest chips from current leader TSMC , which is based in Taiwan.

Gelsinger last fall also said he planned to announce another U.S. campus site before the end of the year that would eventually hold eight chip factories.

He told the Washington Post the complex could cost $100 billion over a decade and eventually employ 10,000.

Gelsinger is driving Intel plans to expand, especially in Europe and the United States, as it seeks to heat up competition with global rivals and respond to a worldwide microchip shortage.

Intel and Italy are intensifying talks over investments expected to be worth around 8 billion euros ($9 billion) to build an advanced semiconductor packaging plant, Reuters reported late last year.

The Biden administration is making a big push to convince Congress to approve $52 billion in funding to dramatically increase chip production in the United States. The Senate in June voted 68-32 for the chips funding as part of a broader competitiveness bill, but it has been stalled in the House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she hopes to “go to conference” on the chips funding measure soon.

Still, Intel’s plans for new factories will not alleviate the current demand crunch, because such complexes take years to build. Gelsinger previously said he expected the chip shortages to last into 2023.

In September, Intel broke ground on two factories in Arizona as part of its turnaround plan to become a major manufacturer of chips for outside customers. The $20 billion plants will bring the total number of Intel factories at its campus in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler to six.

Intel told Time it considered 38 sites before picking New Albany, Ohio in December. Ohio has agreed to invest $1 billion in infrastructure improvements to facilitate the factory, Time said.

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Jupiter’s moon count jumps to 92, most in solar system

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(Last Updated On: February 4, 2023)

Astronomers have discovered 12 new moons around Jupiter, putting the total count at a record-breaking 92.

That’s more than any other planet in our solar system. Saturn, the one-time leader, comes in a close second with 83 confirmed moons, AP reported. 

The Jupiter moons were added recently to a list kept by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, said Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution, who was part of the team.

They were discovered using telescopes in Hawaii and Chile in 2021 and 2022, and their orbits were confirmed with follow-up observations.

These newest moons range in size from 0.6 miles to 2 miles (1 kilometer to 3 kilometers), according to Sheppard.

“I hope we can image one of these outer moons close-up in the near future to better determine their origins,” he said in an email Friday.

In April, the European Space Agency is sending a spacecraft to Jupiter to study the planet and some of its biggest, icy moons. And next year, NASA will launch the Europa Clipper to explore Jupiter’s moon of the same name, which could harbor an ocean beneath its frozen crust.

Sheppard — who discovered a slew of moons around Saturn a few years ago and has taken part in 70 moon discoveries so far around Jupiter — expects to keep adding to the lunar tally of both gas giants.

Jupiter and Saturn are loaded with small moons, believed to be fragments of once bigger moons that collided with one another or with comets or asteroids, Sheppard said. The same goes for Uranus and Neptune, but they’re so distant that it makes moon-spotting even harder.

For the record, Uranus has 27 confirmed moons, Neptune 14, Mars two and Earth one. Venus and Mercury come up empty.

Jupiter’s newly discovered moons have yet to be named. Sheppard said only half of them are big enough — at least 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) or so — to warrant a name.

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Apple forecasts another drop in revenue, proclaims iPhone production problems over

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(Last Updated On: February 3, 2023)

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) on Thursday forecast that revenue would fall for a second quarter in a row but that iPhone sales were likely to improve as production had returned to normal in China after COVID-related shutdowns.

While striking an optimistic tone on sales of services and iPhones, CEO Tim Cook said an uncertain economy is expected to hurt categories like gaming and digital advertising, Reuters reported on Friday.

Overall, Apple’s leaders tried to reassure investors that despite the firm being buffeted by up-and-down sales cycles for its flagship device and vulnerable to supply chain shocks, the world’s largest listed company remains on a steady – if somewhat slower – rise. And in the immediate aftermath of some of the company’s worst financial results in years, at least some investors seemed to give Cook the benefit of the doubt, imposing only modest share price declines.

For the just-ended quarter, Apple’s profits missed Wall Street expectations for the first time since 2016, dragged down by iPhone sales falling for the first time since 2020.

The stock was down about 2% after Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said that iPhone sales were likely to improve compared with the quarter ended Dec. 31. That did not quite erase a 3.7% gain during regular trade.

Amazon.com (AMZN.O) and Alphabet (GOOGL.O) also fell about 4% after reporting results. They also had gained during regular trade.

Apple sales fell 5% to $117.2 billion and were down in every part of the world in the quarter. Sales from each product category dropped, except for gains in services and iPads. Earnings per share were $1.88.

Analysts had expected sales of $121.1 billion and profits of $1.94 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. In an interview, Cook told Reuters that the production disruptions that plagued Apple’s key quarter were now over.

“Production is now back where we want it to be,” he said.

During its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31, Apple faced a wave of challenges that left Wall Street expecting lower sales. Chief among those were supply chain pressures when COVID lockdowns at a production facility in Zhengzhou, China, slowed production of iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max devices, both premium priced models that would traditionally help drive Apple’s margins higher.

Cook said the lockdowns in China created a dual challenge where both supply and demand were constrained, with greater China sales falling 7% to $23.9 billion.

But product snags are behind Apple now. “They still feel demand will be soft, but they’ve rectified production, which means that if demand does go up unexpectedly, they can ramp” to meet it, said Ben Bajarin of analyst firm Creative Strategies.

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Instagram co-founders launch news app called Artifact

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(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger this week launched their new venture, Artifact – an app touted as a tailored news feed powered by artificial intelligence.

The co-founders, who left Facebook in 2018 amid tensions with their parent company, shared the roll out on Instagram. Krieger wrote, “Excited to announce what @kevin and I have been working on with a talented team the past year+ — Artifact, a personalized news feed driven by the latest in artificial intelligence.”

He added that while they are gradually letting people onto the app as the company scales up, people can also join a waitlist.

Working in a similar way to TikTok, according to Platformer, Artifact provides users with an initial feed of popular articles chosen from a range of publications big and small. Tapping on articles of interest will prompt Artifact to deliver similar stories in the future, in the same way that watching TikTok videos fine tunes the algorithm with each user session.

Artifact beta users are currently testing two features: One is a feed with articles posted by people you follow, along with their comments on each post; the second is a direct-message inbox where you can privately discuss articles.

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