Apple Inc. (AAPL) said on Wednesday it planned to lay off 190 employees in its self-driving car program, Project Titan, changes that provide a rare window into the automotive technologies the company has been pursuing.
The tech firm said in a filing with state regulators that it planned to lay off people from eight different Santa Clara County facilities near its Cupertino, California, headquarters, as of April 16. A company spokesman confirmed that the reduction was from the self-driving car program.
While the iPhone maker has acknowledged its interest in self-driving cars in broad terms, it has never detailed precisely which technologies it is working on and whether it seeks to build a whole vehicle or the sensors, computer system and software to control one.
The public documents filed with regulators provide some previously undisclosed clues.
Among those laid off were at least two dozen software engineers, including a machine learning engineer, and 40 hardware engineers, according to a letter sent by Apple to California employment regulators earlier this month.
Chatter’s rising around Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ:TTWO), which is up 3.3% on growing volume after it canceled this morning’s scheduled presentation at the Morgan Stanley TMT Conference.
The company was set to present about 45 minutes ago.
Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): US agencies investigate fatal Tesla Model 3 crash in Florida
American safety officials are looking into the circumstances surrounding another fatal Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) crash. Both the NTSB and the NHTSA have confirmed that they’re investigating a collision between a Model 3 and a semi truck in Delray Beach, Florida on March 1st. According to the police report, the truck was turning left to enter a main thoroughfare when the Model 3 crashed into the semi’s trailer, shearing off the car’s roof and killing the driver. It’s not certain if Autopilot was active, although the Model 3 kept traveling for more than 500 yards before coming to a stop.
Tesla said in a statement that it was “deeply saddened” about the collision and was “reaching out” to authorities to cooperate. The NTSB added that it typically takes one to two years to complete investigations like this.
This certainly isn’t the first time US safety agencies have investigated Tesla crashes to determine the possible role of Autopilot. However, there are unusually close parallels to a deadly incident from May 2016, when a Model S driver in Florida struck a trailer. His vehicle had Autopilot engaged and also kept going a significant distance after the crash, although investigators cleared Tesla and noted that the driver in that case ignored safety warnings. While the particular circumstances are different, it wouldn’t be out of the question for agents to compare the two cases.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Are In News On Monday
Evercore raises its Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) price target from $1,800 to $1,965 saying that gross profit has become a “more important indicator” than Y/Y revenue growth.
Key quote: “As such, we remain bullish on AMZN at least in part because the company’s gross profit is expected to grow ~400bps faster than revenue for AMZN over the next 3 years.”
Amazon shares are up 0.9% pre-market to $1,686.
Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) alleges in a San Diego federal court that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) violated three of its patents and asks for tens of millions of dollars in damages.
Qualcomm has filed a series of patent actions against Apple around the world that will conclude before the antitrust trial starting in April, which will hear Apple’s challenge to QCOM’s business model.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw will open an eight-day trial today deciding whether Apple violated Qualcomm’s patents with its iPhones that contain Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) chips.
Qualcomm shares are up 0.8% pre-market to $54.65.
Apple shares are up 0.5% to $175.88.
Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) Shares Slump After Elon Musk’s Comments
Chief Executive Elon Musk’s warning on profit during a conference call with members of the media, which did not include Reuters, contrasted with Tesla’s statements last month that it was expecting a “very small” net profit in the first quarter.
Shares of Tesla, Inc. (TSLA)fell 3.4 percent after hours. Investors have voiced concerns about whether Tesla would be able to maintain profit margins through cost cutting – such as recent layoffs – as it reduces prices of its newest vehicle.
Still, the price drop could quell concerns from some analysts that demand for the higher-priced versions of the Model 3 was beginning to dry up in the United States, especially after a federal tax credit was cut in half this year.
“Tesla wants to drum up demand,” said Elazar Advisors’ Chaim Siegel. “There was a slowdown in the U.S. as the tax credits dropped. (There are) more tax credit hits later in the year too so they are trying to be proactive.”
Musk has often shared that his strategy for Tesla was to build higher-priced cars – the Model S and X – whose success would ultimately usher in a $35,000 mass-market car, followed by an SUV, the Model Y, which is currently in development. But customers who reserved the Model 3 at that lower price have waited nearly three years since Musk first promised it.
An online-only sales strategy, along with other changes, would allow vehicle prices to fall by about 6 percent on average, Tesla said in a blog on its website https://bit.ly/2IHjLw4. Over the next few months, Tesla will wind down “many” of its stores, while investing in its service system, it said.
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