Roundup – Biden tightens regulation around the CHIPS Act; Twitter lay-offs continue
Biden forces chips companies winning subsidies to share excess profits
The Biden administration will require companies winning funds from its $52 billion US semiconductor manufacturing and research program to share excess profits. Recipients who receive over $150 million in direct funding will need to provide “a portion of any cash flows or returns that exceed the applicant’s projections by an agreed-upon threshold” to the US government, the department added.
Companies receiving funding are also prohibited from using chips funds for dividends or stock buybacks, and must provide details of any plans to buy back their own shares over five years. The department will consider an “applicant’s commitments to refrain from stock buybacks in the application review process” in a five-step application.
European Parliament axes TikTok from staff phones, EU official says
Staff working at the European Commission have been ordered to remove the TikTok app from their phones and corporate devices, reported by the BBC. The commission said it was implementing the measure to “protect data and increase cybersecurity” after allegations against TikTok suggest that it harvests users’ data and passes it directly to the Chinese government, since it is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance.
Employees have until 15 March to remove the app and those who do not comply will be axed from corporate apps such as the commission’s email and Skype for Business. TikTok argued that the commission’s decision was based on mistaken ideas about the platform.
Twitter lays off 10% of current workforce
Adding to the staff slashes already made by Musk, Twitter laid off at least 200 of its employees on Saturday night, reports suggest. The cuts hit product managers, data scientists and engineers who worked on machine learning and site reliability, which helps keep Twitter’s features online. The monetisation infrastructure team, which maintains the services through which Twitter makes money, was reduced to fewer than eight people from 30, The New York Times reported.
Saturday’s round of layoffs was one of the largest since Musk told employees in an internal meeting in late November that there were no more plans for staff reductions.
Apple supplier Foxlink stops production at Indian facility after fire
Apple supplier Foxlink, which makes cables for the tech giant, has paused production at its assembly facility in Andhra Pradesh in India and evacuated 400 of its employees after a “massive” fire, two local government officials told Reuters. Reports suggest around 50% of the machinery at the facility was damaged and half of the building collapsed. The damage is estimated to be worth around $12 million, yet Apple said there were no casualties.
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