Just a few short days after Trump’s ban extension, the US is once again launching another salvo against Huawei. Announced today, the US Commerce Department has unveiled its plans to expand the current ban towards more companies.
Currently, the ban covers only American companies operating on American soil. However, with the expansion, it can potentially cover overseas companies who use American technology and software. Given the new parameters, Huawei’s chipsets are explicitly at risk.
Unlike other ban-related documents, the announcement specifically pertains to Huawei, its semiconductor designs, and chipsets. If expanded, HiSilicon, Huawei’s chipset-making company, must either change its processes or stop producing components entirely.
The loss will create a huge gap in the company. HiSilicon notably produces Huawei’s Kirin chipsets, a major component in today’s post-American Huawei devices.
According to the Commerce Department, “Huawei has continued to use US software and technology to design semiconductors, undermining the national security and foreign policy purposes of the Entity List by commissioning their production in overseas foundries using US equipment.”
Since the ban’s first iteration, Huawei has found ways to skirt around the penalties, including making its own software or re-releasing old devices. Even then, the company could still operate in America using a temporary license instituted to supposedly help in the transition process. Today, the government has also extended that license further until August 13.
Ironically, the US is still relying on Huawei to institute new standards for the country’s upcoming 5G technology.
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Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings steps down as CEO
Names new successor
Netflix’s 2022 was rocky, to say the least. After dropping long-time subscribers for the first time in a while, the streaming platform has resorted to a variety of strategies to entice users to stay. While only a few of the new initiatives have resulted in positive change, the company is still on its uphill climb to regain its position atop other streaming giants. Now, Netflix is moving towards more drastic changes.
As revealed by the platform’s quarterly earnings, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings has stepped down as co-CEO of the company. However, Hastings will not completely leave the company. Instead, the co-founder will assume the role of executive chairman, leaving Ted Sarandos and the newly appointed Greg Peters as co-CEOs.
Currently, neither Hastings nor Netflix has revealed why the former is stepping down from the position. Of note, the platform even posted a growth in subscriber count for the past quarter. Netflix added 7.7 million new subscribers, eclipsing a projected growth of only 4.5 million subscribers. At the very least, Hastings has confirmed that he wants to work on share value and philanthropy going forward.
Last year, Netflix added new ways for users to engage with the platform. Now, besides watching movies and series, subscribers can play a gallery of mobile games. Users can also avail themselves of cheaper subscription plans supported by ads.
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Apple is preparing to open its first stores in India
Based on new job listings
For one of the largest smartphone markets in the world, India is one of the rarer countries where Apple does not outright dominate. Undoubtedly, the company is trying to change that. Ongoing job listings in India are suggesting that Apple is ready to open its first brick-and-mortar store in the country.
First reported by Financial Times, Apple has posted job openings in India for several retail roles including for the iconic Genius Bar. Another clue even indicates that some spots have already been filled ahead of time. A few employees in the country have reportedly posted about their new jobs on LinkedIn.
Unfortunately, none of the job listings show how many stores are planned and where they will be. Narrowing things down by a bit, a few of the confirmed employees are from Mumbai and New Delhi. The report also does not indicate when the stores will open. However, since a few have already been hired, a grand opening might be coming soon.
Apple has a lot to gain by strengthening its foothold in India. The country is an important stronghold for smartphone companies. However, the company might find things harder as time goes by. The country recently dictated that brands must switch to USB-C if they want to sell their devices in India. All over the world, Apple remains the last stalwart against adopting the more universal standard.
Samsung hires Mercedes-Benz alum to head design team
Will handle Galaxy S, Galaxy Z, among others
Outside of the arms race of maximizing hardware, another important battle is the persistent evolution of design. A friendly and approachable design just adds the necessary pizzaz to make an otherwise bland device pop off the shelves. Pushing the next evolution of design for the brand, Samsung has hired a Mercedes-Benz alum to head its Mobile eXperience Design Team.
Today, Samsung has announced the hiring of Hubert H. Lee as the head of the MX team, which handles Samsung’s most popular designs. Formerly, Lee was the chief design officer of Mercedes-Benz China. During his tenure as the carmaker’s designer, Lee spearheaded several projects in both China and the United States. He also bagged awards at his former position.
Now, as part of the Samsung MX team, Lee is in charge of the designs of the Galaxy S, Galaxy Z, and Galaxy Watch series. Given the timing of Samsung’s usual product cycles, Lee’s contributions will likely affect the Galaxy S24 series, rather than the upcoming Galaxy S23 series. Samsung is already pegged to launch the next flagship series sometime in early February.
Still, a new design head sparks some optimism for the South Korean brand. The effect of brilliant design is remarkably palpable for tech companies. For example, Samsung’s primary rival Apple still relies heavily on the contributions of its former design chief, Jony Ive.
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