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Bosch opens German chip plant, its biggest-ever investment

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By Douglas Busvine

BERLIN (Reuters) -Robert Bosch opened a 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion) chip plant in Germany on Monday, a record investment by the leading automotive supplier as it stakes a claim to equipping the latest electric and self-driving cars.

The plant, located in a semiconductor hub near Dresden, opens as the automotive industry battles a global chip shortage, and will increase Bosch’s ability to serve carmakers directly, relying less on third-party manufacturers.

“Every chip that we make here in Dresden is one chip less that is lacking. That helps,” management board member Harald Kroeger told Reuters in an interview.

Addressing an online opening ceremony, Chancellor Angela Merkel said semiconductor shortages were hampering Germany’s economic recovery, and that it was important to strengthen resilience against external supply disruptions.

“We aren’t in pole position – we have to catch up,” Merkel said. “We must be ambitious. Our competitors around the world aren’t sleeping.”

The Bosch plant will make specialist power-management chips and Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) that are designed to carry out a single task, such as triggering a car’s automatic braking system.

It will not however address shortages of products like microcontrollers which have forced auto makers to halt production and are expected by industry leaders and analysts to extend into next year.

“The fab (chip fabrication plant) may help to insulate Bosch and its key customers somewhat,” said Asif Anwar at Strategy Analytics. “But it is unlikely to serve as a gap filler to the current shortages being experienced in the automotive market.”

The Bosch plant, which received 200 million euros ($243 million) in state aid under a European Union investment scheme, will start making chips for power tools in July, with output of automotive chips to follow from September.

“The state-of-the-art technology in Bosch’s new semiconductor factory in Dresden shows what outstanding results can be achieved when industry and government join forces,” said European Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager.

Kroeger said Bosch supported a broader strategic push by Brussels to revive Europe’s semiconductor industry. A recently unveiled plan targets doubling the region’s share of global chip production to 20% by 2030.

($1 = 0.8221 euros)

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Jane Merriman and Jan Harvey)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/bosch-opens-german-chip-plant-biggest-ever-investment/15239

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Musk says Starlink to go public once cash flow is more predictable

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(Reuters) – Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk will list SpaceX’s space internet venture, Starlink, when its cash flow is reasonably predictable, the billionaire entrepreneur said late on Wednesday.

“Going public sooner than that would be very painful,” Musk said in a tweet. “Will do my best to give long-term Tesla shareholders preference.”

He was responding to a question on Twitter, where a user asked: “Any thoughts on Starlink IPO we would love to invest in the future. Any thoughts on first dibs for Tesla retail investors?”

Last year, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell floated the idea of spinning off Starlink for an initial public offering.

Starlink, a planned network of tens of thousands of satellites in low-earth orbit, aims to offer fast internet speeds globally.

Musk had said earlier that Starlink, currently based in Redmond, Washington, will be a crucial source of funding for his broader plans like developing the Starship rocket to fly paying customers to the moon and eventually trying to colonize Mars.

(Reporting by Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/musk-says-starlink-go-public-cash-flow-predictable/15744

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ViacomCBS names MTV executive as streaming unit’s programming head

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By Helen Coster

(Reuters) -ViacomCBS Inc said on Wednesday it has appointed MTV Entertainment Group executive Tanya Giles as chief programming officer for its streaming division, part of a reorganization of senior management that formalizes the company’s direct-to-consumer business as core to everyone’s job.

As part of the new structure, ViacomCBS’ global content leaders for brands such as Paramount Pictures and Showtime Networks now oversee their respective genres within the Paramount+ streaming service.

Similar restructurings around streaming have occurred across other media companies including Walt Disney Co and Comcast Corp -owned NBCUniversal.

ViacomCBS announced a previous reorganization in October, ahead of the launch of Paramount+.

(Reporting by Helen Coster in New York and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and David Gregorio)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/viacomcbs-names-mtv-executive-streaming-units-programming-head/15741

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FBI Director Wray urges companies stop paying ransoms to hackers

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By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -FBI Director Chris Wray on Wednesday pleaded with public companies and other hacking victims to avoid paying ransom, saying he fears it will only embolden cyber criminals to ramp up future attacks.

“In general, we would discourage paying the ransom because it encourages more of these attacks, and frankly, there is no guarantee whatsoever that you are going to get your data back,” Wray testified before a U.S. Senate appropriations panel.

The Justice Department has disclosed it managed to help the Colonial Pipeline Co recover some $2.3 million in cryptocurrency ransom it paid to hackers – an attack that led to widespread shortages at gas stations on the East Coast.

The FBI was able to recover those funds because it had a private key that it was able to use to unlock a bitcoin wallet holding most of the money. It was unclear how the FBI managed to access the key.

Bitcoin seizures by the federal government are relatively uncommon, but authorities have been stepping up their expertise in tracking the flow of digital money.

Wray said on Wednesday that the FBI is seeing increasingly sophisticated types of ransomware attacks and that cyber thieves have been demanding larger sums of money.

“We’ve seen the total volume of the money paid I think triple over the last year or so,” Wray said.

He said companies and municipal governments who become victims of ransomware attacks should consider going to the FBI as soon as possible, and not wait.

“When they do, there’s all kinds of things that we can do,” Wray said.

“Sometimes through other work we’ve done, we might have the decryption key and be able to help the company unlock their data without having to pay the ransom,” he added.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Howard Goller)

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/fbi-director-wray-urges-companies-stop-paying-ransoms-hackers/15740

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Larger-than-life software mogul John McAfee dies in Spain by suicide, lawyer says

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BARCELONA (Reuters) -British-born U.S. technology entrepreneur John McAfee died on Wednesday by suicide in a Barcelona prison after the Spanish high court authorised his extradition to the United States on tax evasion charges, his lawyer told Reuters.

McAfee’s lawyer, Javier Villalba, said the anti-virus software pioneer died by hanging as his nine months in prison brought him to despair.

During a court hearing last month, McAfee, 75, said that given his age, he would spend the rest of his life in jail if convicted in the United States. “I am hoping that the Spanish court will see the injustice of this,” he said, adding “the United States wants to use me as an example.”

McAfee had lived for years on the run from U.S. authorities, some of that time aboard a megayacht. He was indicted in Tennessee on tax evasion charges and was charged in a cryptocurrency fraud case in New York.

The colourful tech founder was detained on Oct. 3 at the Barcelona airport as he was about to board a flight to Istanbul with a British passport, a Spanish police source said at the time.

McAfee worked for NASA, Xerox and Lockheed Martin before launching the world’s first commercial anti-virus in 1987. He sold his software company to Intel in 2011 and no longer had any involvement in the business. The program still carries his name and has 500 million users worldwide.

Spain’s high court said on Wednesday it agreed to extradite McAfee to the United States. The regional justice department confirmed that a U.S. man aged 75 awaiting extradition was found dead in his cell on Wednesday. Prison authorities were investigating the cause of death.

McAfee still had opportunities to appeal his conviction but could not stand more time in jail, Villalba said.

“This is the result of a cruel system that had no reason to keep this man in jail for so long,” Villalba said. U.S. prosecutors will likely ask the judge overseeing the tax evasion case to dismiss charges because of McAfee’s death.

McAfee said in 2019 that he had not paid U.S. income taxes for eight years for ideological reasons. That year, he left the United States to avoid trial, largely living on a megayacht with his wife, four large dogs, two security guards and seven staff.

He offered to help Cuba avoid a U.S. trade embargo using cryptocurrency and sought to run for U.S. president for the Libertarian Party.

McAfee, who said in 2018 that he had fathered at least 47 children, lived in Belize for several years. He fled after police sought him for questioning in the 2012 murder of a neighbour. They ultimately said he was not a suspect.

He met his wife, Janice McAfee, when she solicited him as a prostitute while he was on the run, he said.

Janice McAfee said in a post on Twitter on Sunday, “Now the U.S. authorities are determined to have John die in prison to make an example of him for speaking out against the corruption within their government agencies… There is no hope of him ever having a fair trial in America.”

McAfee was a prolific user of Twitter, where he had 1 million followers, and other social media.

He posted a profanity-laced video on YouTube in 2013 that mocked the difficulty of removing the software that bore his name from computers.

A number of cryptocurrency backers around the world on Wednesday posted tweets of condolence. In his last public tweet on June 18, McAfee wrote: “All power corrupts. Take care which powers you allow a democracy to wield.”

(Reporting by Inti Landauro and Joan Faus, Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Howard Goller)

Image Credit: Reuters

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/larger-than-life-software-mogul-john-mcafee-dies-spain-suicide-lawyer-says/15739

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