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Recent film and TV projects also under the Boardroom umbrella include the Academy Award-winning Two Distant Strangers (Netflix), the critically acclaimed scripted series SWAGGER (Apple TV+) and Emmy-nominated documentary NYC Point Gods (Showtime).

Boardroom’s sister company, Boardroom Sports Holdings, features investments in emerging sports teams and leagues, including the Major League Pickleball team, the Brooklyn Aces, NWSL champions Gotham FC, and MLS’ Philadelphia Union.

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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
April 21, 2024
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Tech Talk is a weekly digest by Boardroom’s Michelai Graham that breaks down the latest news from the world’s biggest tech companies and the future of industry-shaping trends like AI.

Living in Brooklyn is cute, but suddenly I feel compelled to apply for a digital nomad visa to work from Italy. Sadly, I don’t quite meet the criteria, but I did truly think about it (and look into it).

A peek into today’s edition: 

  • Microsoft invests $1.5B in Abu Dhabi-based AI firm
  • Meta rolls plans for education on Quest
  • More layoffs and shakeups at Tesla 

Microsoft Gambles Big With $1.5B Investment in Foreign AI Firm

Microsoft announced a $1.5 billion strategic investment in Abu Dhabi-based AI firm G42, which comes with a minority stake in the company. Microsoft’s Vice Chair and President, Brad Smith, will join G42’s Board of Directors as part of the deal. G42 spearheads AI development and expansions in the United Arab Emirates, and now the company will leverage Microsoft’s cloud computing platform to run its AI apps and services.

The Big Tech giant cut the deal in close consultation with the US and UAE governments, despite concerns from US politicians who fear G42 has close ties to China. G42 has previously said it would cut its commercial relationships with China-based hardware suppliers to stifle concerns.

Between this new investment, Microsoft’s strong partnership with OpenAI, and hiring for its new AI research and product development unit, it’s clear that Microsoft is investing in AI for the long haul.

Meta Announces Plans to Bring Quest Headsets to Classrooms

Meta is on a mission to make its Quest headsets a staple in classrooms worldwide with the launch of a new educational initiative. The Big Tech company said it will launch a new product offering for Quest devices later this year that will include a suite of educational apps and features. Teachers and administrators will be able to access and manage content on multiple Quest devices at once from the comfort of their classrooms. The new offerings will be launched via Quest for Business, and while the product doesn’t have a name yet, it will be announced in the coming months, along with more details about its features. At launch, the new product will only be available to institutions that serve students ages 13 and up.

More updates from Meta:

  • Meta is testing a DM feature on Threads that syncs with your Instagram inbox.
  • Meta released its new and free Meta AI assistant on WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger.

Samsung Reclaims Title for Most Global Smartphone Shipments in Q1

Samsung is having a pretty good week. The electronics leader reclaimed the title for most global smartphone shipments after Apple took the lead in 2023 for the first time since 2010. We still have three quarters left in the year, but Samsung shipped the most smartphone devices in Q1 of 2024. The company shipped 60.1 million units across the globe, while Apple only shipped 50.1 million units in the first quarter.

If one win wasn’t enough, the Department of Commerce also announced that Samsung won a $6.4 billion CHIPS grant to expand its new semiconductor manufacturing facility and production in Taylor, Texas. The electronics company will produce chips for vital industries, including the aerospace, consumer tech, and automotive sectors. Intel and TSMC received the same grant to run some of their chip manufacturing processes in the US. Samsung will also use some of the grant funds to expand its facility in Austin.

  • Tesla is laying off 10% of its global staff in an effort “to be lean, innovative, and hungry for the next growth cycle,” Elon Musk wrote in an internal memo viewed by Business Insider. The cost-cutting move by Tesla, which included low severance packages, comes as the EV maker also bumped down the price of its Full Self-Driving software subscription from $199 to $99 per month.
  • Boston Dynamics debuted an electric version of its Atlas humanoid robot, and trust me, you want to see this. The robotics company said it designed Atlas for “real-world applications,” which could literally mean anything from dancing to warehouse work, mass destruction (kidding, sort of), and beyond.
  • Adobe is speeding further into the AI race. The company released its AI assistant, Acrobat AI, which helps users by summarizing documents, answering questions, generating and formatting content, and developing citations. Acrobat AI is available via desktop, web, and mobile, and it comes with a $4.99 monthly add-on subscription to tap into more features.
  • OpenAI is expanding to Asia for the first time with a new office in Tokyo, Japan. In an effort to expand its presence in the region, the ChatGPT developer also released a new version of its GPT-4 model that was uniquely optimized for the Japanese language.
  • Comcast announced that it’s launching a new program and product line called NOW. NOW will offer prepaid and month-to-month low-cost internet, phone, and TV streaming plans. Comcast will roll out NOW nationally in the coming weeks.
  • A group of TikTok creators penned an open letter to President Joe Biden to urge him not to sign a TikTok ban bill into law if it lands on his desk. President Biden previously said he’d sign a ban bill into law if Congress passed one, but we haven’t seen much movement in the Senate for a vote following the House’s decision.

Prices for Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs have declined by over 90%, marking a new all-time low for one of the NFT market’s most popular collections. I’m going to bet that the BAYC team will either announce a new project or pivot from NFTs by the end of the year to try to salvage its brand.