Tag Archives: Cuts

Exclusive: Tesla's delivery team gutted in recent job cuts – sources
February 9, 2019 12:52 am|Comments (0)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – When Tesla Inc announced last month a second round of job cuts to rein in costs, one crucial department was particularly badly hit. The automaker more than halved the division that delivers its electric vehicles to North American customers, two of the laid-off workers said.

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is seen at a groundbreaking ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Some 150 employees out of a team of about 230 were let go in January at the Las Vegas facility that gets tens of thousands of Model 3s into the hands of U.S. and Canadian buyers, they said, in a sign the company expected the pace of deliveries to significantly slow in the near term.

The cuts, which have not been previously reported, could fuel investor worries that demand for the Model 3 in the United States has tailed off after a large tax break for consumers expired last year and the car remains too expensive for most consumers.

Tesla has said its focus this quarter is on supplying cars to customers waiting in China and Europe.

“There are not enough deliveries,” one of the former employees told Reuters. “You don’t need a team because there are not that many cars coming through.”

Delivery of the Model 3 was the company’s key priority in the latter half of 2018, as Tesla tried to supply all buyers wanting the full benefit of the $ 7,500 U.S. tax credit before it was cut in half at year’s end.

The Model 3 is crucial to Tesla’s plans for long-term profitability. The company aims to post a profit in each quarter this year, based on the expectation that it will sell more Model 3s and continue to cut costs.

Tesla declined to comment on the job reductions in the delivery team. The company still has an undisclosed number of delivery personnel attached to other locations.

‘EVERY BEING ON THE PLANET’

Even before the paring back of the delivery team, investors questioned the level of demand for the Model 3 remaining after Tesla’s all-out push to supply buyers ahead of the tax credit cut.

“Given the need for revenue to cover costs and generate cash, the financial community should be focused on the level of demand for Tesla vehicles – in particular the Model 3,” wrote Barclays analyst Brian Johnson in January.

The two former delivery workers said the 2018 sales push has left Tesla’s reservations list plucked clean of North American buyers willing to pay current prices of over $ 40,000 to get their hands on a Model 3.

Chief Executive Elon Musk initially said in 2016 the car would start at $ 35,000 – which sparked a rush of reservations – but Tesla has yet to actually sell any cars at that price, despite two price cuts already this year.

“We sold through just about every car we had on the ground and we called almost every being on the planet who had ever expressed desire to own a Tesla to let them know the tax credit was expiring,” said the other ex-employee.

Tesla workers around the company were reassigned to pitch in, that source said.

“They said, ‘Your job is off the table now, we have to get these cars delivered. Because if we don’t get these cars delivered, you don’t have a job tomorrow,’” the former employee said.

HALF A MILLION BUYERS

At the Model 3 launch in July 2017, Musk said over half a million buyers had put down deposits on the new car. That helped send Tesla shares up almost 15 percent over the following six weeks.

The company delivered 145,610 Model 3s in 2018, but all of them at prices far above $ 35,000. Musk said last week a $ 35,000 version that could be sold profitably was perhaps six months away. Even with two price cuts this year, the lowest price tag on a Model 3 is now $ 42,900.

Musk maintains that Model 3 demand is “insanely high,” but his company has not released any figures to demonstrate that.

Asked about the reservations list last week by analysts, outgoing Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja declined to disclose how many people remained, calling it “not relevant.”

Musk has said Tesla has multiple ways of stoking demand, if it chose to, such as offering leases or boosting marketing efforts.

The Model 3s now rolling out of Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory are going to Chinese and European buyers, Tesla says.

The two laid-off employees said delivery targets for North America – made up of mostly U.S. buyers – this quarter would be 55 percent to 60 percent of what they were in the last quarter of 2018.

If Tesla does not cut prices soon, it risks losing potential customers – and ones already on its reservation list – to a slew of German and Asian competitors whose electric vehicles will hit the U.S. market this year. Each of the new entrant’s first 200,000 buyers will be eligible for a full federal subsidy.

Having met that number already, the U.S. tax credit for Tesla buyers drops in half to $ 3,750 for the first six months of 2019, then falls by half again in the second six months.

Musk said last month his “rough guess” was that Tesla would begin building the $ 35,000 Model 3 in mid-2019.

One of the sources said that could recharge U.S. demand: “If there was a Model 3 for $ 35,000 that was still a really good car, that blows away the competition, I could see demand going through the roof.”

Reporting by Alexandria Sage in San Francisco; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Bill Rigby

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , ,
Tesla cuts Model 3 price for second time this year
February 6, 2019 6:12 am|Comments (0)

FILE PHOTO: Rows of new Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles are seen in Richmond, California. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

(Reuters) – Electric carmaker Tesla Inc is lowering the price of its Model 3 by $ 1,100, citing the end of a costly customer referral program, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The second price cut to the Model 3 this year now brings the cost of its least expensive variant to $ 42,900, according to the company’s website here.

Tesla’s customer referral incentive plan ended on Feb. 1 after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk had tweeted that the referral program was “adding too much cost to the cars, especially Model 3”.

Tesla delivered fewer-than-expected Model 3 sedans in the fourth quarter and cut prices for all its vehicles in the United States to offset a reduction in a green tax credit.

The company is rapidly increasing production of its Model 3 sedan and lower prices could help it reach a broader customer base than its pure luxury vehicles.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , ,
Apple supplier AMS cuts forecast, indicating poor iPhone demand
November 15, 2018 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s AMS (AMS.S), which makes facial recognition technology, became the latest Apple supplier to cut its revenue forecast, adding to growing evidence that the latest iPhones are not selling well.

The logo of the multinational semiconductor manufacturer AMS (Austria Mikro Systeme) is seen during a annual news conference, in Zurich, Switzerland February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Moritz Hager

The Swiss-listed group cut its fourth-quarter revenue outlook by 15 percent and pushed back its medium-term targets, blaming “recent demand changes from a major customer”.

AMS, which specializes in sensors, did not name Apple as the customer, but analysts estimate that the U.S. giant accounts for 40 percent of the Austrian group’s sales.

Apple (AAPL.O) shocked investors two weeks ago with a lower than expected sales forecast for the Christmas quarter, prompting suppliers including U.S. firm Lumentum (LITE.O), British chipmaker IQE (IQE.L) and screen maker Japan Display (6740.T) to issue warnings that pointed to weakness in new iPhone sales.

Like Lumentum, AMS supplies Apple with software components needed for its FaceID technology.

Anglo-German chip designer Dialog Semiconductor (DLGS.DE), which struck a $ 600 million deal with the U.S. tech giant last month bucked the negative trend when it said late on Wednesday it does not see a drop in demand from Apple.

Dialog justified this by pointing out that it supplies many more products than the latest iPhones.

For the past year, investors had largely been willing to overlook stagnating unit sales of the iPhone because average selling prices kept rising. But Apple now faces fierce competition from mid-priced phones from makers such as Xiaomi Corp (1810.HK).

The California-based firm started selling its latest phone generation, the iPhone XS and XS Max in September and the XR model last month.

The new AMS guidance suggested between 11 and 18 million fewer iPhones would be produced in the fourth quarter than an initially estimated 77-82 million, Credit Suisse analysts said in a note to customers.

“This is largely in-line to read from recent Lumentum warning,” they said, adding the Lumentum guidance would have implied an impact of 15-20 million iPhones.

VOLATILE SHARES

AMS shares gained as much as 6.4 percent to 29.65 Swiss francs after a steep drop in early trade.

They have lost nearly 30 percent since Apple’s latest earnings release and are down 70 percent since the beginning of the year and some investors see a buying opportunity, said traders.

AMS expects revenue to come in between $ 480 million and $ 520 million in the three months to Dec. 31, compared with the $ 570-$ 610 million it forecast last month.

The adjusted operating margin for the quarter is expected to reach the low to mid-teen percentage range after previous guidance for the margin to rise to 16-20 percent.

AMS also abandoned its 2019 revenue target of more than $ 2.7 billion, saying it now expects annual double-digit revenue growth for the coming years.

It still aims for a 30 percent adjusted operating margin but no longer gives a specific time frame. It had already postponed the target to 2020 from 2019 in July, at the time due to order delays from a major customer.

“These guys have no visibility any more,” said Mark Taylor, senior sales trader at Mirabaud Securities’ Global Thematic Group.

AMS, which has invested heavily in research and development and in production expansion, is now seeking to address underutilized facilities, increasing competition and its reliance on Apple.

Although a number of analysts have cut their recommendations recently, many target price recommendations are still above 40 Swiss francs. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see (the stock) rally,” said Taylor.

additional reporting by Helen Reid in London; Editing by David Goodman and Keith Weir

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , ,
Twitter cuts suspect users from follower counts again, blames bug
November 10, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) made another attempt to make users’ tallies of followers more accurate on Friday, subtracting millions of suspicious followers which had reappeared on the social media service since a major purge in July.

Men are silhouetted against a video screen with a Twitter logo as he poses with a Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic (BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA – Tags: BUSINESS TELECOMS)

Twitter is under pressure to tackle its problem of fake users, which are a turn-off for investors and advertisers and have led to scrutiny from U.S. Congress.

The company made Friday’s move without an announcement. Pop star Katy Perry lost about 861,000 followers, according to social measurement firm Social Blade. Twitter’s own account lost 2.4 million followers.

In July, Twitter said it would stop counting accounts it “locked” as followers, in an effort to make its user data more accurate. At least seven celebrities lost as many as 2 million followers each.

By October, however, many of those accounts appeared to have been unlocked – which can happen after a password reset – and at least two dozen popular users had gained back a third or so of the lost followers, according to data from Russian ad fraud researcher Social Puncher.

Those followers disappeared once again on Friday, Social Puncher said.

Twitter said on Friday that it “discovered a bug where some of these accounts were briefly added back, which led to misleading follower counts” for “very few accounts.”

It said in July that follower counts might change “more regularly” as part of its efforts to “identify and challenge problematic accounts.” The ensuing volatility has caught the attention of prominent users, including U.S. President Donald Trump and Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk.

They and other users lost followers in recent days, but Friday’s cull was larger for most, according to several accounts Reuters reviewed on Social Blade.

Twitter’s own account fell by 7.8 million followers in July but gained back 2.36 million by mid-October. It lost 2.4 million on Friday, according to Social Blade.

Some users experienced a similar drop in early October, before the followers returned days later, Social Puncher said.

The firm told Reuters that it suspects the affected locked accounts are controlled by fraudsters who sell followers to artificially boost accounts’ popularity.

The accounts exhibit hallmarks of fakes, including few profile details, fans and posts, it said.

MarQuis Trill, a Los Angeles advertising producer, told Reuters that he bought 300,000 followers for $ 4,500 two years ago. He lost nearly 2.2 million followers in July, but had about 30 percent back until Friday’s purge.

“I didn’t buy that many to be losing like that,” he said.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Bill Rigby

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Haven't We Seen This Movie Before? Ignore Rumors Of iPhone Production Cuts
June 9, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

Apple’s shares were down almost $ 2, or 0.9% on Friday to $ 191.70 while the NASDAQ was up 10 or 0.14%. At the low point, the company’s shares were down almost $ 4 or 1.9%. The main driver for the stock’s weakness was a report from Nikkei Asian Review that the company would order 20% fewer new iPhones to be built vs. last years 100 million iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X orders.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during the 2018 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The report from Nikkei says “For the three new models specifically, the total planned capacity could be up to 20% fewer than last year’s orders” and “The U.S. company last year placed orders to prepare for production of up to 100 million units of the new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, but this year Apple currently expects total shipments of only 80 million units for new models, two people said.”

There are a few unknowns from the report, which could make for an apples to oranges comparison.

  • Does the order timeframe match the same months as last years?
  • Does the 80 million match what was initially ordered for the 8, 8 Plus and X (which was reported to be decreased) or the final tally?
  • The report also says “could be up to 20%”

There are a few reasons to be skeptical of this report .

  • Over the years many production cut rumors have turned out to be false
  • Earlier this year there were multiple reports, including from Nikkei, that the production for the iPhone X had been cut, which turned out to be incorrect or misleading to Apple’s results
  • Depending on what new models are introduced, demand for older models including the 8, 8 Plus and especially the X could still be strong enough to make up for what is being implied as lower total sales

I don’t believe Nikkei has the best track record scooping Apple’s iPhone production and eventual sales . It was just on January 30 this year, two days before the company announced its December quarter results, that it predicted that iPhone X production would be cut by half for the March quarter.

When Apple announced its December quarter results the iPhone inventory levels were at the low-end of its 5 to 7 weeks target, and the March quarter revenue guidance of $ 60 to $ 62 billion bracketed the $ 61 billion estimate. The stock initially fell but after a week rallied and climbed above the price when Nikkei came out with its article.

Add to that Tim Cook saying the X had been the best selling iPhone “each and every week in the March quarter, just as they did following its launch in the December quarter.” These didn’t match well with an iPhone X cut.

All new iPhone models could be available in September

The Nikkei report included “Apple’s supply chain was told to prepare earlier for the two OLED models, in hopes of avoiding a delay similar to last year’s, two industry sources said.”

This actually makes sense. I’m not surprised that the iPhone X’s availability was later than the 8’s due to incorporating an OLED screen. Just because the iPhone’s cadence has essentially been every 12 months doesn’t mean that production systems can meet that timeframe when new technology is introduced. Now that Apple’s production partners have experience with manufacturing tens of millions of OLED iPhones, moving to the next version shouldn’t be as challenging.

Tim Cook’s warning

Even back in 2013, Tim Cook warned investors about putting too much credence into supply chain checks. On the January 2013 financial results conference call, he said, “I suggest its good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans. Even if a particular data point were factual, it would be impossible to interpret that data point as to what it meant to our business. The supply chain is very complex and we have multiple sources for things. Yields can vary, supplier performance can vary. There is an inordinate long list of things that can make any single data point not a great proxy for what is going on.”

StockCharts.com

3 year Apple stock chart

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Fingerprint Cards announces new cost cuts amid weak market, price pressure
June 4, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Swedish biometrics firm Fingerprint Cards on Monday announced a new round of big cost cuts on the back of weak market conditions for capacitive sensors for smartphones and heavy price pressure.

The company said it expected the new cost cuts to yield savings of 350 million crowns ($ 39.8 million) on an annual basis, with full effect at the end of the fourth quarter.

Fingerprint Cards said it will cut around 179 staff, and the restructuring costs are seen at 65 million crowns, which will mainly be taken in the third quarter.

“We are continuing to adapt our operations to the fundamental and rapid change in business conditions, with the objective of returning to profitable growth,” Fingerprint Cards Chief Executive Christian Fredrikson said in a statement.

“The cost reduction measures we are communicating today are important in order to strengthen our competitiveness,” he added.

The company also said it would make an inventory write-down of around 336 million Swedish crowns and a 143 million crown write-off of capitalized research and development (R&D) projects.

During the first quarter of 2018, Fingerprint Cards implemented another cost reduction program, seen generating cost savings of 360 million crowns this year.

Fingerprint Cards’ shares are down 60 percent so far in 2018 year on the back of rapidly falling sales and earnings.

Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Apple cuts smartphone power chip orders from Dialog Semiconductor
May 31, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Dialog Semiconductor said Apple now planned to source the main power management chips (PMICs) for one of its three new iPhone models from two suppliers instead of just from the German chipmaker.

FILE PHOTO: Dialog semiconductor logo is pictured at a company building in Germering near Munich, Germany August 15, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

That means that Apple will order 30 percent fewer of the chips from Dialog this year than it had initially expected, Dialog said in a statement on Thursday.

The news sent its shares 3.9 percent lower in late Frankfurt trade. Dialog’s stock has lost more than half of its value over the past year on investor concerns that Apple is working on its own battery-saving chips for iPhones.

Analysts reckon Dialog derives more than half its revenue from supplying Apple with PMICs.

The reduced order volume for the PMICs will shave 5 percent off the chipmaker’s 2018 revenues, but Dialog said it still expected its 2018 revenues to grow year-on-year.

The impact on 2019 revenues is likely to be similar, Chief Executive Jalal Bagherli told analysts on a conference call.

He said Apple had not provided a reason for the change in its sourcing of chips.

“If you think about the fact that we are qualified for all three phones, that means there is no performance-related issue. It might be a statement of intent to reduce risk on having one supplier and have an alternative source,” he said.

He also said Apple had not told him who the second, new supplier of the main PMICs was but said he saw it as very likely that it was an in-house source at Apple.

Apple did not change the projected order volume for the other power management chip that Dialog is supplying for the new iPhone models – the sub-PMIC – nor for all other PMICs, including those for tablets, wearables and notebooks.

Dialog said it would continue to explore new mixed-signal opportunities outside of power management for future Apple products.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Adrian Croft and Alexandra Hudson

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , ,
This is How Small Business Owners Can Take Full Advantage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
April 13, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

Tax time is no one’s favorite time of year. But for small business owners, this year’s filing deadline at least comes with the promise of better rates ahead: Many of the changes included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed by Congress in December, are going into effect.

As entrepreneurs, we should expect to benefit–at least, temporarily–from the new tax plan. My company, Manta, conducted a poll in January and found that 83 percent of business owners anticipate their companies will be positively impacted by the changes. Nearly as many, 80 percent, said they support the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Some are already feeling the benefits of having more money in their pockets, according to another poll we conducted last month. 34 percent of small business owners said their business income had increased as a result of the tax reform, just three months into the year. 42 percent have already changed their budgeting or financial planning because of the new tax law.

It’s time to start preparing for the changes–if you haven’t already.

For the most part, the provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that benefit small businesses go into effect this tax year — meaning they won’t impact the returns that are due this month. 

The 58 percent of small business owners who have not yet adjusted their budgets should get started, however. While that big refund check may be a year away, it’s not too early to plan accordingly and make sure you take full advantage of the potential savings. 

The first step is to review your company’s legal structure and determine how it will affect your taxes. One of the most important changes in the new tax law allows pass-through entities (such as S corporations and LLCs) to deduct up to 20 percent of their business income.

However, this doesn’t apply to certain professional services firms. Review your situation with a tax professional or attorney–you might be able to adjust your business structure to take advantage of this deduction. 

Make the most of your company’s tax savings.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts allows businesses to immediately write off the full cost of new equipment and other property, instead of depreciating the expense over five or more years. The new law also protects these write-offs from being rescinded in the future. 

This is great news for business owners who want to invest in their growth. According to our polls, 28 percent of small business owners plan to use their tax savings to invest in new technology and 21 percent plan to open a new location or expand. The immediate write-off should make these investments (and your cash flow) much more manageable in the short term.

Just check with your tax advisor before making a major purchase–you could run into unforeseen obstacles. For example, the depreciation rules for “heavy” SUVs–those with a gross vehicle weight above 6,000 pounds–are different than for light trucks and vans. You want to be prepared for the potential impact on your taxes.

Streamline your expense tracking and tax prep.

Make sure you accurately track and document all business expenses. Our polls found that 21 percent of small business owners still use paper receipts to track expenses.

Think about that for a second. It’s messy and inefficient, and you risk losing receipts or miscategorizing expenses.

Hiring a pro is probably the best way to ensure that you take full advantage of the new deductions and stay on the right side of the law. The U.S. tax code is confounding to even the most experienced business owners–20 percent of poll respondents told us they didn’t understand all the deductions available to them. Whatever else Congress accomplished with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, they definitely didn’t simplify things.

Use a mobile application or accounting software to scan and save digital copies of your receipts and categorize the expenses. Then, when tax time rolls around, you can output a well-organized report or import the data directly into your tax prep software. And if you use an outside accountant or tax preparer, they’ll greatly appreciate you providing a digitized expense report instead of handing over shoeboxes full of paper receipts.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Microsoft cuts deals in China with government organizations and companies
January 31, 2016 9:35 am|Comments (0)

Microsoft announced three new tie-ups in China on the same day that the country’s President Xi Jinping and a delegation visited its campus at Redmond, Washington.

The seven deals with Chinese companies and government institutions will likely give Microsoft greater access to the country’s large market. Other companies like Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard have also announced ties with Chinese companies, a market that has been proving complex for U.S. companies because of the strong backing of the government for local players.

Microsoft, for example, announced an agreement with its cloud partner in Beijing, 21Vianet, and IT company Unisplendour to provide custom hybrid cloud solutions and services to Chinese customers, particularly state-owned enterprises.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


RSS-1

Posted in: Web Hosting News|Tags: , , , , , ,
Microsoft cuts deals in China with government organizations and companies
January 28, 2016 3:25 pm|Comments (0)

Microsoft announced three new tie-ups in China on the same day that the country’s President Xi Jinping and a delegation visited its campus at Redmond, Washington.

The seven deals with Chinese companies and government institutions will likely give Microsoft greater access to the country’s large market. Other companies like Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard have also announced ties with Chinese companies, a market that has been proving complex for U.S. companies because of the strong backing of the government for local players.

Microsoft, for example, announced an agreement with its cloud partner in Beijing, 21Vianet, and IT company Unisplendour to provide custom hybrid cloud solutions and services to Chinese customers, particularly state-owned enterprises.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


RSS-1

Posted in: Web Hosting News|Tags: , , , , , ,