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Elon Musk Testifies In 2nd Day Of Tesla Tweet Trial

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SAN FRANCISCO – Elon Musk returned to federal court in San Francisco on Monday, testifying that during 2018 meetings with representatives from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, he believed he had secured financial backing to take Tesla private — though no specific funding amount or price was discussed.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is facing a class action lawsuit filed by Tesla investors who claim he misled them with a tweet claiming funding was secured to take his electric car company private — for $420 per share.

The tweet resulted in a $40 million settlement with securities regulators after the deal fell through.

The trial hinges on whether Musk’s Aug. 7, 2018, tweets harmed Tesla shareholders during the 10 days preceding Musk’s admission that the buyout he had envisioned would not take place.

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Musk Not At His Peak For Trial

In a soft, halting tone, Musk said Monday that he “had trouble sleeping last night, and unfortunately, I am not at my best.” He said jurors should know that he “felt that funding was secured” because of his ownership of “SpaceX stock alone.”

“I didn’t want to sell Tesla stock to buy Twitter, but I did sell Tesla stock,” he said of the stock sale to compensate for the lack of funding from other sources for his $44 billion deal to take Twitter private. Musk sold nearly $23 billion in shares of his car company between April when he began building a position on Twitter and December.

“My SpaceX shares alone would have ensured funding,” Musk said of the 2018 tweets.

Even before Musk took the stand on Friday, U.S. District Judge declared that jurors could consider those two tweets false, leaving them to decide whether Musk purposefully misled investors and whether his statements caused them to lose money.

Musk previously claimed that he entered into the SEC settlement under duress and thought he had secured financial backing for a Tesla buyout during meetings with representatives from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

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Musk Stepped Down As Tesla’s Chairman

Musk stated in the first of the 2018 tweets that “funding secured” for a $72 billion — or $420 per share — buyout of Tesla was still dealing with production issues and was worth far less than it is now. Musk responded a few hours later with another tweet implying that a deal was imminent.

A lawyer for Tesla shareholders, Nicholas Porritt, asked Musk if he “went with 420 because it was a joke your girlfriend enjoys.” Musk responded that he believes there is “some karma” surrounding the number 420, a slang reference to marijuana, but he doesn’t know “whether it’s good karma or bad karma at this point.”

He later stated that the figure was a “coincidence” and represented a 20% premium over Tesla’s share price at the time.

As part of the Securities and Exchange Commission settlement, Musk stepped down as Tesla’s chairman while remaining CEO after it became clear that the funds to take Tesla private were unavailable.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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PayPal To Cut 2,000 Jobs In Latest Tech Company Cost-Cutting

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(SAN JOSE, Calif.) — PayPal said Tuesday that it will cut about 7% of its total workforce, or about 2,000 full-time employees, as it deals with what it calls a “challenging macroeconomic environment.”

PayPal said the cuts would be phased in over several weeks, with some organizations suffering more than others. The company did not elaborate. The is the parent company of several brands, including Venmo, Xoom, and Honey.

The San Jose, California-based company is the latest in the technology sector to reduce its workforce. Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce alone announced tens of thousands of layoffs in January.

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Paypal Is Resizing Its Cost Structure

Last summer, activist investor Elliott Management purchased a $2 billion stake in stock, which announced a “information-sharing agreement” with Elliott “to continue collaboration across a range of value-creation opportunities.”

“Over the past year, we made significant progress in strengthening and reshaping our company to address the challenging macroeconomic environment while continuing to invest to meet the needs of our customers,” PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman said in a statement on Tuesday. “We have made significant progress in right-sizing our cost structure and focusing our resources on our core strategic priorities, but there is still work to be done.”

PayPal Holdings Inc. is set to report quarterly results on February 9.

The company’s stock is down about 53% in the last year. They gained 2.3% to close at $81.49 on Tuesday.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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Boeing Bids Farewell To An Icon, Delivers Last 747 Jumbo Jet

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SEATTLE, Wash. — On Tuesday, Boeing said goodbye to an icon by delivering its final 747 jumbo jets in front of thousands of workers who helped build the planes over the past 55 years.

The giant yet graceful 747 has served as a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, a transport for NASA’s space shuttles, and the Air Force One presidential aircraft since its first flight in 1969. It transformed travel by connecting previously unconnected international cities and democratizing passenger flight.

However, over the last 15 years, Boeing and its European rival Airbus have introduced more profitable and fuel-efficient widebody planes with only two engines to maintain, as opposed to the 747′s four. The final plane is the 1,574th built by Boeing in Washington state’s Puget Sound region.

Thousands of workers joined Boeing and other industry executives from around the world — as well as actor and pilot John Travolta, who has flown 747s — Tuesday for a ceremony Boeing marking the delivery of the last 747 to cargo carrier Atlas Air at the company’s massive factory north of Seattle.

“If you love this business, you’ve been dreading this moment,” said Richard Aboulafia, a longtime aviation analyst. “Nobody wants a four-engine airliner anymore, but that doesn’t diminish the aircraft’s enormous contribution to the development of the industry or its remarkable legacy.”

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More Than 50,000 Boeing Employees Worked On The Contract

After losing a massive military transport contract, the C-5A, Boeing set out to build the 747. The plan was to use the new engines developed for the transport — high-bypass turbofan engines that burned less fuel by passing air around the engine core, allowing for a longer flight range — for a newly imagined civilian aircraft.

More than 50,000 Boeing employees worked for less than 16 months to build the first 747, a Herculean effort that earned them the moniker “The Incredibles.” The construction of a massive factory in Everett, north of Seattle, required the construction of the world’s largest building by volume. The factory had yet to be finished when the first planes were completed.

Desi Evans, 92, was among those in attendance. He joined Boeing in 1957 at its factory in Renton, south of Seattle, and worked for the company for 38 years before retiring. His boss informed him in 1967 that he would join the 747 programs in Everett the following morning.

“They told me to wear rubber boots, a hard hat, and warm clothing because it’s a sea of mud,” Evans recalled. “And they were preparing for the factory’s construction.”

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State Of The Art Technology

As a supervisor, he was in charge of figuring out how the passenger cabins would be put together. He also oversaw the crews that worked on sealing and painting the planes.

“It was an incredible time when that very first 747 rolled out,” he said as he stood in front of the last plane parked outside the factory. “You felt ecstatic as if you were making history. You’re a part of something big, and it’s still big even if this is the final installment.”

The plane’s fuselage measured 225 feet (68.5 meters), and the tail was as tall as a six-story building. The plane’s design included a second deck very important extending from the cockpit back over the first third of the plane, giving it a distinctive hump and inspiring a nickname, the Whale. The 747 was dubbed the “Queen of the Skies” in a more romantic sense.

Some airlines converted the second deck into a first-class cocktail lounge, and even the lower deck featured lounges or even a piano bar on occasion. One decommissioned 747, built-in 1976 for Singapore Airlines, has been converted into a 33-room hotel near Stockholm’s airport.

“It was the first big carrier, the first widebody, so it set a new standard for airlines to figure out what to do with it and how to fill it,” said Guillaume de Syon, an aviation Boeing and mobility expert at Pennsylvania’s Albright College. “It became the essence of mass air travel: You couldn’t fill it with people paying full price, so you need to lower prices to get people onboard. It contributed to the deregulation of air travel that occurred in the late 1970s.”

The first 747 entered service on Pan Am’s New York-London route in 1970, and its timing was terrible, according to Aboulafia. It debuted shortly before the 1973 oil crisis, during a recession that saw Boeing’s employment fall from 100,800 in 1967 to 38,690 in April 1971. The infamous “Boeing bust” was commemorated by a billboard near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport that read, “Will the last person leaving SEATTLE — Turn out the lights?”

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Delta Was The Last To Use 747 For Flights

The 747-400 series, an updated model, arrived in the late 1980s and had much better timing, coinciding with the Asian economic boom of the early 1990s, according to Aboulafia. He remembered flying from Los Angeles to Hong Kong on a Cathay Pacific 747 as a twentysomething backpacker in 1991.

“Even people like me could travel to Asia,” Aboulafia explained. “Previously, you had to stop for fuel in Alaska or Hawaii, which was much more expensive. This was a no-brainer — and reasonably priced.”

Delta was the last U.S. airline to use the 747 for passenger flights, which ended in 2017, though some international carriers, including Lufthansa, continue to use it.

Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, recalled flying in a 747 as a young exchange student and said that when he realized he’d be traveling to the West Coast of the United States for the event on Tuesday, there was only one way to go: first-class in the nose of a Lufthansa 747 from Frankfurt to San Francisco. He assured the audience that Lufthansa would continue to fly the 747 for many years.

“We just adore the airplane,” he explained.

Atlas Air ordered four 747-8 freighters early last year, with the final one decorated with an image of Joe Sutter, the engineer who oversaw the original design team for the 747, arriving on Tuesday. Atlas CEO John Dietrich referred to the 747 as the greatest air freighter, owing to its unique ability to load through the nose cone.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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Nokia 4Q profit beats expectations on back of robust demand

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HELSINKI, Finland — Nokia, a company that makes equipment for both wireless and fixed networks, reported strong results for the fourth quarter on Thursday. The company cited strong demand for 5G technology and an improved product portfolio.

The company, which is based in Espoo, Finland, made a net profit of 929 million euros ($1 billion) from October to December, which is 27% more than the 731 million euros it made in the same time period the year before.

The net income attributable to shareholders increased from 727 million euros the previous year to 931 million euros this year.

Nokia’s sales increased by 16% to 7.4 billion euros. During the quarter, the company’s performance exceeded analyst expectations.

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Another Year Of Growth For Nokia

CEO Pekka Lundmark said that the highlight of the fourth quarter was the “stellar” performance of the company’s network infrastructure business unit, which grew revenue by 14% “with significant operating margin expansion.”

Lundmark said that 2023 would be “another year of growth” for Nokia, but he added, “we are aware of the uncertain economic outlook.”

Nokia reported sales of 24.9 billion euros for the fiscal year 2022, up 12% from the previous year, with a net profit of 2.5 billion euros, up 18% year on year.

“We said at the beginning of 2022 that it would be a year of acceleration, and we delivered,” Lundmark said. “The Nokia team navigated geopolitical, economic, and supply challenges, put our strategy into action, and delivered a strong full-year performance.”

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The Latest Generation Of Broadband Technology

Nokia, along with Swedish company Ericsson, Chinese company Huawei, and South Korean company Samsung, is one of the world’s top suppliers of 5G, the latest generation of broadband technology.

Nokia announced earlier this week that it had signed a multi-year license patent agreement with Samsung, allowing the Korean company to use Nokia’s technology in its products in exchange for royalties.

Lundmark told reporters on Thursday that Nokia is almost done leaving the Russian market. This decision was made public after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The Finnish company criticized what Moscow did and said it would move its research and development out of Russia, where it employed a few thousand people. Nokia also announced that it would stop selling its equipment and software in the country.

“We are now at the final meters of implementing the exit program that was published in April,” Lundmark said. “We will not deliver anything there once we have left.”

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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