It's 2021 and nearly 7 percent of the US workforce is currently idle on account of the pandemic but heck if Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn't still making money hand over fist. He's surpassed Jeff Bezos as the richest person on the planet over the past year, all while his company has delivered a record number of electric vehicles to Tesla customers worldwide. The company reportedly handed off 499,550 vehicles in 2020 -- just a hair shy of its 500k delivery target and a 36 percent increase over 2019's delivery figures. The company credits strong sales of the Model Y in the Chinese market for helping reach that high water mark. "Given Tesla's stock doubling again since November, we believe... bulls are betting on Tesla leading commercialization of autonomous vehicles technology," Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch told Yahoo! Finance in a note last week.
The world's hunger for graphics chips for PCs and gaming consoles means there will be short supply in many markets through the first half of this year, according to chip titan Advanced Micro Devices. "We did have some supply constraints as we ended the year," said CEO Lisa Su on a conference call with analysts Tuesday evening following the company's report of stronger-than-expected Q4 results. Shortages of supply "were primarily, I would say, in the PC market, the low end of the PC market and in the gaming markets," said Su. "That being said, I think we're getting great support from our manufacturing partners. The industry does need to increase the overall capacity levels. And so we do see some tightness through the first half of the year." AMD's Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card, introduced last quarter.
In the latest quarter, revenue fell 6.5% to $20.37 billion, missing analysts' projections, according to FactSet. Shares fell 6.8% in after-hours trading. IBM's stock closed at $131.65 on Thursday, down 5.4% over the past year. IBM, which had suspended financial projections last year over uncertainty about the pandemic's business impact, said Thursday that it expects revenue to grow this year and anticipates $11 billion to $12 billion in adjusted free cash flow for the year and $12 billion to $13 billion in 2022. "The actions we are taking to focus on hybrid cloud and [artificial intelligence] will take hold, giving us confidence we can achieve revenue growth in 2021," Mr. Krishna.
Outgoing Intel chief executive Bob Swan previously told PCWorld that he was worried that, when the pandemic hit, PC sales would drop off a cliff. As Intel's fourth-quarter earnings revealed, the exact opposite occurred. Intel reported $5.9 billion in profits and $20 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2020, with profits down by 15 percent and revenue essentially flat. But those numbers far exceeded analyst expectations, and the PC was primarily the cause. "Fourth-quarter revenue exceeded prior expectations by $2.6 billion driven by record PC-centric revenue, with PC unit volumes up 33 percent year-over-year led by record notebook sales," Intel said in a statement in advance of a conference call with analysts on Thursday afternoon.
Here's a look at how the cloud leaders stack up, the hybrid market, and the SaaS players that run your company as well as their latest strategic moves. IBM's fourth quarter revenue fell 6% from a year ago, but the company said it expects to return to growth in 2021. The company's earnings report was a mixed bag. IBM reported non-GAAP earnings of $2.07 a share and $1.41 a share under generally accepted accounting practices. However, IBM's fourth quarter revenue was down 6% to $20.4 billion.
Promaxo, an AI-powered medical imaging enhancement platform, announced the closing of an investment round of $4.17 million led by Huami. The medical technology company plans to use the new funds to accelerate its data strategy as it continues to incorporate artificial intelligence in imaging and image-based interventions. Using a combination of linear and genetic optimization algorithms, the company's medical imaging system forms the magnetic field within the field of view to maintain linearity and uniformity constraints while being thermally stable, the company said. "As an industry, we are just scratching the surface of how powerful MRI is poised to become in guided interventions, and we are proud to have Huami as a strategic investor as we introduce our truly open MRI system to the masses," said Dr. Amit Vohra, founder, and CEO of Promaxo. "Huami's mission is to connect health with technology, and we see tremendous opportunity in imaging to expand our growth opportunities. Companies such as Promaxo are disrupting the locations, applications, and costs of medical imaging. Huami has resources, such as miniaturization engineering expertise, that can help accelerate Promaxo's scaling, growth, and success, and we look forward to what our partnership can develop," said Huami Chief Operating Officer Mike Yeung.
Typically the presenters at a CES press conference don't get a lot of attention. Wearing a pink hooded sweatshirt with the phrase "Stay punk forever," Reah Keem was among presenters highlighting some of the offerings from LG, ranging from appliances to personal technology. LG describes her as a "virtual composer and DJ made even more human through deep learning technology." Keem was there to introduce the LG CLOi robot, which can disinfect high-traffic areas using ultraviolet light. You can watch Reah make her debut during LG's press conference Monday morning, at roughly the 22-minute mark.
CES has gone all-digital for the first time this year. Unsurprisingly, some companies are using the format change to experiment with their live-streamed press conferences. LG, for instance, used an entirely virtual human called Reah Keem to promote some of its products today. Sporting a hoodie with the slogan "stay punk forever," she explained that travel was an important part of her life, and how desperate she was to roam around the world and perform once again. Keep used those wishes to transition into the LG CLOi UV-C Robot, an already-announced machine that uses ultraviolet light to disinfect public and generally popular areas.
In 2012, economist Robert Gordon published a controversial paper in which he argued that economic growth was largely over, due in no small part to our failure to maintain the engines of innovation in recent decades. A study from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research supported his general thesis and argued that while we're spending even more money on creativity and innovation, our returns are flatlining. And this investment is not only in dollars, as the research revealed roughly 20 times as many people work in R&D today as did in 1930. Why has creating things become so difficult? Researchers from Northwestern University attempt to answer this in a paper that shows a growing percentage of today's creation is what's known as recombination.
Equifax said Friday that it has signed a deal to acquire Kount, providers of digital identity and fraud prevention software, for $640 million. Equifax said it plans to use Kount's technology to bolster its footprint in digital identity and fraud prevention market. Kount's software relies on artificial intelligence to link trust and fraud data signals from billions of digital interactions, devices, and annual transactions. The signals are collected and combined with Kount's AI-driven predictive insights to help businesses prevent digital fraud and protect against account takeovers in real time. Applied to business transactions, Equifax posits that Kount's technology can help facilitate faster and more accurate identity trust decisions, including payments, account creations and login, while also reducing fraud, chargebacks, false positives, and manual reviews.