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Apple vs Microsoft – record breaking profits for big tech earners

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Apple’s profits have risen to $21.7 billion as its iPhone sales and digital services continue to rise

Apple says its profit in the last quarter nearly doubled amid improved consumer spending and a “growing sense of optimism” as lockdown restrictions are eased.

The company’s Chief Executive, Tim Cook says there is “renewed hope for a better future” for customers in the US and globally.

He explains the roll-out of 5G has already made a “significant impact on how people get the most out of our technology”.

Apple shares were little changed in after-market trading following the results, but were already stronger than most forecasts.

It follows Apple and other tech giants facing heightened pressure from anti-trust enforcers around the world.

Microsoft surpasses analysts expectations

We knew this was going to be a huge earnings week, with Microsoft also revealing its earnings after the closing bell on Tuesday.

The tech giant’s growing cloud empire saw its Azure platform revenue skyrocket by 51 per cent.

Microsoft surpassed expectations, with revenue rising 21 per cent.

Microsoft’s new franchises, including gaming, security, and LinkedIn, all surpassed $10 billion dollars in annual revenue over the past three years.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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Google CEO condemns AI blunders in staff memo

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In response to recent controversies surrounding Google’s artificial intelligence blunders, CEO Sundar Pichai issued a memo to employees, addressing the company’s missteps and outlining plans for improvement.

The memo comes after Google faced criticism for flaws in its Gemini image-generation feature, leading to the tool being taken offline for further testing. Pichai described the issues as “problematic” and acknowledged that they “have offended our users and shown bias,” according to reports first surfaced by Semafor.

The Gemini image generator, introduced earlier this month as part of Google’s main group of AI models, allows users to input prompts to create images.

However, users discovered historical inaccuracies in the generated images, prompting widespread backlash online.

Consequently, Google removed the feature last week, stating its intention to relaunch it after addressing the issues.

Google Gemini

Pichai expressed regret over the offensive responses produced by the AI system, emphasising that such behavior is “completely unacceptable.”

He emphasised the challenges of developing AI technology, acknowledging that perfection is elusive, particularly in the nascent stages of the industry’s evolution.

Nevertheless, Pichai stressed that Google recognizes the high standards expected of them.

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Slack CEO has advice for turning off work notifications

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In an era dominated by constant connectivity, Slack CEO Denise Dresser emphasises the importance of setting boundaries to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

As leaders grapple with the challenges of an always-on culture, Dresser suggests that modeling certain behaviors can help alleviate the pressures faced by employees in today’s hyper-connected workplace.

Dresser, who assumed the CEO role last November, advocates for leaders to establish clear boundaries to prevent employees from feeling overwhelmed by the demands of modern work.

Rather than implementing new company policies, she believes that leaders can effectively shape the organisational culture by exemplifying healthy work practices.

Proactive measures

Victoria Mills, CEO of Hello Coach, echoes Dresser’s sentiments, emphasising the need for proactive measures to foster work-life balance.

Mills encourages her staff to disconnect by turning off notifications after 5pm and questions the necessity of installing work apps on personal devices.

Recognising the pervasive nature of technology, Mills underscores the importance of individuals taking control of their digital interactions. She advises employees to manage notifications and settings to prevent technology from dictating their lives.

In addition to individual efforts, Hello Coach implements company-wide initiatives to promote well-being, such as mandatory lunch breaks devoid of meetings or messages.

Mills believes that frequent breaks are essential for maintaining energy levels and productivity, particularly for employees spending prolonged hours in front of screens.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook announces AI timeframe

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In a recent announcement during Apple’s annual shareholder meeting, CEO Tim Cook revealed that the tech giant intends to provide more insight into its utilization of generative artificial intelligence later in the year.

Cook expressed Apple’s enthusiasm for the potential of generative AI, highlighting its capacity for breakthroughs in productivity and problem-solving.

Despite lagging behind competitors like Microsoft and Google in incorporating generative AI into products, Cook assured shareholders of Apple’s ongoing investment in this area.

“While AI is already integrated into Apple’s products behind the scenes, we are committed to unveiling more explicit AI features in the near future,” Cook stated.

Enhanced search

Apple’s plans reportedly include utilising AI to enhance data search capabilities across its devices, a move previously hinted at by Bloomberg.

Cook emphasised the prowess of Apple silicon-powered Macs as leading AI machines in today’s market.

However, shareholders voted against a proposal urging Apple to disclose further details about its AI practices and ethical guidelines.

The proposal, presented by the pension trust of AFL-CIO, America’s largest labor union federation, sought transparency regarding AI usage and ethical considerations within Apple’s operations.

Similar propositions have been raised at other tech firms, indicating growing concerns over AI ethics and transparency. AFL-CIO’s request specifically called for disclosures on AI training procedures and guidelines for utilizing copyrighted materials and personal likenesses.

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