Technology

Microsoft Tops Apple to Become Most Valuable Public Company
Technology

Microsoft Tops Apple to Become Most Valuable Public Company

For more than a decade, Apple was the stock market’s undisputed king. It first overtook Exxon Mobil as the world’s most valuable public company in 2011 and held the title almost without interruption.But a transfer of power has begun.On Friday, Microsoft surpassed Apple, claiming the crown after its market value surged by more than $1 trillion over the past year. Microsoft finished the day at $2.89 trillion, higher than Apple’s $2.87 trillion, according to Bloomberg.The change is part of a reordering of the stock market that was set in motion by the advent of generative artificial intelligence. The technology, which can answer questions, create images and write code, has been heralded for its potential to disrupt businesses and create trillions of dollars in economic value.When Apple replac...
Google Cuts Hundreds of Jobs in Engineering and Other Divisions
Technology

Google Cuts Hundreds of Jobs in Engineering and Other Divisions

Google laid off hundreds of workers in several divisions Wednesday night, seeking to lower expenses as it focuses on artificial intelligence and joining a wave of other companies cutting tech jobs this year.The Silicon Valley company laid off employees in its core engineering division, as well as those working on the Google Assistant, a voice-operated virtual assistant, and in the hardware division that makes the Pixel phone, Fitbit watches and Nest thermostat, three people with knowledge of the cuts said.Several hundred employees from the company’s core engineering organization lost corporate access and received notices that their roles were eliminated, two of the people said.“We’ve had to make some difficult decisions about ongoing employment of some Google employees and we regret to inf...
A.I. Giant Tied to China Under Scrutiny
Technology

A.I. Giant Tied to China Under Scrutiny

A U.S. congressional committee has asked the Commerce Department to look into whether a giant technology company controlled by the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates should be put under trade restrictions because of its ties to China.The company, G42, specializes in artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, and is overseen by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, the national security adviser of the Emirates and a younger brother of the country’s ruler.It has signed recent agreements with prominent American technology companies, including Microsoft, Dell and OpenAI. A Silicon Valley chip firm, Cerebras, is building a supercomputer for G42 to create and power A.I. products.But in a letter sent to the Commerce Department on Wednesday, the bipartisan House Select Committee on the Ch...
Switching to a Flip Phone Helped Me Cut Down on My Smartphone Addiction
Technology

Switching to a Flip Phone Helped Me Cut Down on My Smartphone Addiction

This time of year, everyone asks what you like least about your life, but they phrase it as, “What’s your New Year’s resolution?”My biggest regret of 2023 was my relationship to my smartphone, or my “tech appendage” as I’ve named it in my iPhone settings. My Apple Screen Time reports regularly clocked in at more than five hours a day.That’s only an hour more than the average American, but I still found it staggering to think that I spent the equivalent of January, February and half of March looking at that tiny screen (April too, if we only count waking hours).Sure, some (much?) of that time was gainfully spent on activities that enrich my life or are unavoidable: work, family text threads, reading the news and keeping up with far-flung friends. But I reached for the device more than 100 t...
U.S. Moves Closer to Filing Sweeping Antitrust Case Against Apple
Technology

U.S. Moves Closer to Filing Sweeping Antitrust Case Against Apple

The Justice Department is in the late stages of an investigation into Apple and could file a sweeping antitrust case taking aim at the company’s strategies to protect the dominance of the iPhone as soon as the first half of this year, said three people with knowledge of the matter.The agency is focused on how Apple has used its control over its hardware and software to make it more difficult for consumers to ditch the company’s devices, as well as for rivals to compete, said the people, who spoke anonymously because the investigation was active.Specifically, investigators have examined how the Apple Watch works better with the iPhone than with other brands, as well as how Apple locks competitors out of its iMessage service. They have also scrutinized Apple’s payments system for the iPhone,...
Boy, 13, Is Believed to Be the First to ‘Beat’ Tetris
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Boy, 13, Is Believed to Be the First to ‘Beat’ Tetris

Ms. Cox bought her son a version of a Nintendo console called a RetroN, which used the same hardware as the original Nintendo console, from a pawnshop, as well as an old cathode-ray tube television to help him get started. In a given week, Willis said, he plays about 20 hours of Tetris.“I’m actually OK with it,” Ms. Cox, a high school math teacher, said. “He does other things outside of playing Tetris, so it really wasn’t that terribly difficult to say OK. It was harder to find an old CRT TV than it was to say, ‘Yeah, we can do this for a little bit.’”For decades, gamers “beat” Tetris by hacking into the game’s software. But Willis, who in the last year has become one of the country’s top Tetris players, is thought to be the first to do it on the original hardware.“It’s never been done by ...
A Stunning Eclipse, a Moon Race and Other Space Events in 2024
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A Stunning Eclipse, a Moon Race and Other Space Events in 2024

Crucial Events on the Path Back to the MoonNASA wants to put American astronauts on the moon’s surface in the years ahead with the Artemis III mission. Before that can happen, though, many things have to go right, and two of the most important are scheduled for 2024.The first is the Artemis II mission. NASA introduced the four astronauts of Artemis II last year. As soon as November, the four could travel around the moon and back. They would be the first humans to travel near the moon since 1972, when the Apollo 17 mission concluded. To fly in 2024, NASA will need to resolve issues with a heat shield on the astronauts’ spacecraft, as well as overcome other potential delays.The second hurdle is that the Orion capsule can only orbit the moon — it doesn’t land. Astronauts need another vehicle ...
Asian American Officials Cite Unfair Scrutiny and Lost Jobs in China Spy Tensions
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Asian American Officials Cite Unfair Scrutiny and Lost Jobs in China Spy Tensions

When Thomas Wong set foot in the United States Embassy in Beijing this summer for a new diplomatic posting, it was vindication after years of battling the State Department over a perceived intelligence threat — himself.Diplomatic Security officers had informed him when he joined the foreign service more than a decade ago that they were banning him from working in China. In a letter, he said, they wrongly cited the vague potential for undue “foreign preference” and suggested he could be vulnerable to “foreign influence.”Mr. Wong had become a U.S. diplomat thinking that China was where he could have the greatest impact. He had grown up in a Chinese-speaking household and studied in the country. And as a graduate of West Point who had done an Army tour in the Balkans, he thought he had experi...
Need a Home for 80,000 Puzzles? Try an Italian Castle.
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Need a Home for 80,000 Puzzles? Try an Italian Castle.

Meet the Millers, George and Roxanne, proprietors of the world’s largest collection of mechanical puzzles: physical objects that a puzzler holds and manipulates while seeking a solution. In total, the Miller collection — an accumulation of collections, and collections of collections — amounts to more than 80,000 puzzles. It comprises some five thousand Rubik’s Cubes, including a 2-by-2-by-2 rendering of Darth Vader’s head. And there are more than 7,000 wooden burr puzzles, such as the interlocking, polyhedral creations by Stewart Coffin, a Massachusetts puzzle maker; they evoke a hybrid of a pine cone and a snowflake and are Mr. Miller’s favorites. Mrs. Miller is fond of their 140 brass, bronze and gold puzzle sculptures by the Spanish artist Miguel Berrocal; Goliath, a male torso in 79 pi...
California Pushes Electric Trucks as the Future of Freight
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California Pushes Electric Trucks as the Future of Freight

Neri Diaz thought he was ready for a crucial juncture in California’s ambitious plans, closely watched in other states and around the world, to phase out diesel-powered trucks.His company, Harbor Pride Logistics, acquired 14 electric trucks this year to work alongside 32 diesel vehicles, in anticipation of a rule that says that after Monday, diesel rigs can no longer be added to the list of vehicles approved to move goods in and out of California’s ports. But in August the manufacturer of Mr. Diaz’s electric vehicles, Nikola, took back the trucks as part of a recall, saying it would return them in the first quarter of the new year.“It’s a brand-new technology, first generation, so I knew things were going to happen, but I wasn’t expecting all my 14 trucks to be taken back,” he said. “It is...