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France had no prior knowledge of Microsoft’s Mistral AI deal

France had no prior knowledge of Microsoft’s Mistral AI deal

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France had no prior knowledge of Microsoft's Mistral AI deal

 France had no prior knowledge of Microsoft’s partnership with tech startup Mistral AI, a finance ministry official told Reuters, denying suggestions that French lobbying for looser European AI rules had been on behalf of the U.S. tech giant.

Earlier this week, Microsoft (MSFT.O) said it had made a 15-million euro ($16 million) investment in Mistral, and would soon make the Paris-based company’s AI models available via its Azure cloud computing platform.

Following the announcement, a Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters it had invested in Mistral without taking a stake. Later, Microsoft clarified that its investment would convert into equity in Mistral’s next funding round, a common practice among big tech companies investing in AI startups.

Mistral and the French government had previously lobbied for looser regulations under the European Union’s wide-ranging AI Act, ostensibly to avoid over-regulating smaller startups.

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Some EU lawmakers on Tuesday questioned whether Mistral had lobbied on Microsoft’s behalf and the extent of the French government’s knowledge of the partnership.

“That story seems to have been a front for an American-influenced big tech lobby,” Kim van Sparrentak, an EU lawmaker who worked closely on the AI Act, told Reuters. “The Act almost collapsed under the guise of no rules for ‘European champions’, and now look. European regulators have been played.”

However, the French government denied any prior knowledge of the agreement.

“Yesterday, we learned of the technological partnership between Mistral and Microsoft. It’s great news that a young French company has joined Microsoft’s previously exclusive partnership with OpenAI on its Azure platform,” a French finance ministry official told Reuters.

“France, like all other member states, took part in the writing of the AI Act.

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At the time, we were not aware of this partnership project, but it has no specific consequences.” 

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Apple CEO says looking into possibility of building manufacturing facility in Indonesia

Apple CEO says looking into possibility of building manufacturing facility in Indonesia

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Apple CEO says looking into possibility of building manufacturing facility in Indonesia

Apple Inc will look into the possibility of building a manufacturing facility in Indonesia, its CEO said on Wednesday after meeting President Joko Widodo.

Apple CEO Tim Cook arrived in Jakarta on Tuesday, after visiting Vietnam. He met with Jokowi, as the president popularly known, and will be inaugurating an academy for Apple developers on the island of Bali.

“We talked about the president’s desire to see manufacturing in the country, and it is something that we will look at,” Cook told reporters after the meeting. 

Apple has based much of its key manufacturing of iPads, AirPods and Apple Watches in Vietnam and suppliers for MacBooks are also investing in the country.

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Apple has no manufacturing facilities in Indonesia but has established four Apple Developer Academies.

Indonesia has a huge tech-savvy population, making the Southeast Asian nation a key target market for tech-related investment.

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TikTok quizzed by EU on TikTok Lite launch in France, Spain

TikTok quizzed by EU on TikTok Lite launch in France, Spain

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TikTok quizzed by EU on TikTok Lite launch in France, Spain

ByteDance’s TikTok has been given 24 hours to provide a risk assessment on its new app TikTok Lite launched this month in France and Spain on concerns of its potential impact on children and users’ mental health, the European Commission said on Wednesday.

The move by EU industry chief Thierry Breton under EU tech rules known as the Digital Services Act (DSA) comes two months after he opened an investigation into TikTok over possible DSA breaches. 

The landmark DSA requires companies to do more to tackle illegal and harmful content on their platforms, with fines of up to 6% of their global annual turnover for violations.

The Commission on Wednesday said it had sent a request for information to TikTok, asking for more details on the risk assessment the social media company should have done before deploying TikTok Lite in the 27-country European Union.

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“This concerns the potential impact of the new ‘Task and Reward Lite’ programme on the protection of minors, as well as on the mental health of users, in particular in relation to the potential stimulation of addictive behaviour,” the EU executive said in a document seen by Reuters.

“TikTok must provide the risk assessment for TikTok Lite in 24 hours and the other requested information by 26 April 2024, after which the Commission will analyse TikTok’s reply, and then assess next steps.”

The Commission also asked for details on measures the company has put in place to mitigate systemic risks.

TikTok Lite, an app with a new functionality aimed at users aged 18+, was launched in France and Spain this month.

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SiTime introduces chip aimed at saving power in AI data centers

SiTime introduces chip aimed at saving power in AI data centers

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SiTime introduces chip aimed at saving power in AI data centers

SiTime (SITM.O) on Wednesday introduced a chip that it says is designed to help data centers built for artificial intelligence applications run more efficiently.

SiTime makes what are known as timing chips, whose job is set a steady beat for all the parts of a computer and keep them running together in sync, like a conductor in an orchestra directing multiple groups of instruments. The company says its new line of chips, called Chorus, can do so with 10 times more precision than older styles of timing chips.

SiTime CEO Rajesh Vashist said the company aims to help customers save electricity with that precision. SiTime’s chips themselves require less than a watt of power, but powerful AI chips such as Nvidia’s (NVDA.O) require more than 1,000 watts of power.

With a more precise clock to keep all the elements of a computer in sync, parts of the machine can be turned off for a few milliseconds at a time when they are not in use. Over the multiple years a power-hungry data center server might be in use, it can generate energy savings, though the amount will depend on how SiTime’s chips are used.

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“We deliver timing that they can rely on so that they can wake up their products and bring data more efficiently to them, rather than just running more often,” Vashist said in an interview.

SiTime said the chips will be available in the second half of this year.

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