Semiconductor Crisis & Supremacy

While the world’s manufacturers grapple to get their hands on microchips to run their devices and therefore produce and ship out their growing backlog of orders from months gone by and in time for Christmas, China is on its merry way to semiconductor supremacy.

The latest calls of warning came from Nintendo however theirs comes as a bigger concern. Nintendo and others have noticed not just a quietening down in sales due to the lack of products available on the shelves or through back orders, but as they have put it due to the impacts of COVID-19 that are just making their way through the financial system, as people were starting to return to work without the same sense of normality, followed by calls from governments to tighten the belts and increase taxes, and just when global food and fuel shortages were pushing up prices and therefore the cost of living. Basically people are already starting to tighten their spending belts as their wallets start to feel the pinch.

Nintendo themselves who to date have sold almost 93 million Switch consoles have seen their sales of approximately 6.9 million units sold in July and September 2020 almost halve to 3.9 million over the same period this year. However though the lack of semiconductors and therefore available stock is clearly a reason as to why sales are down, a bigger affordability issue is looming.

However as the majority of manufactures look for ways to increase semiconductor production, the Chinese government owned Tencent Holdings Limited the owner of social networks, web and email hosting, mobile devices, mobile apps, internet services, payment systems, gaming, music services and a whole lot more have developed 3 new chips! Doesn’t sound all that amazing, unless you are aware it usually takes several years and billions of dollars to start manufacturing semiconductors at any level. One of these new chips contains one of the most advanced AI, named Zixiao the chip is capable of processing images, video, language and more via voice assistance, basically giving computers the ability to understand the many different processes of the human language in order to provide a form of AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) or human level intelligence, something that looked set to take decades to achieve.

I’m personally not too sure I want my computer doing any of that thanks!

To Not Show One’s Face

In a strange move by Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg in what can only be described as an attempt to wash his and Facebooks hands of the decades of data, privacy, manipulation, censoring… theft and breaches, Mr Zuckerberg decided to change the Advertising company’s name Facebook to Meta (code name: My Dog Ate My Homework or as I like to call it Out The Pan And Into The Fire), but keeping Facebook as a brand of Meta’s.

However, though critics of the company (basically everyone!) has seen right through this sneaky sidestepping, Zuckerberg continues to pretend that Facebook is no longer a threat to people’s information and control of the narrative by simply moving all of it’s unfavourable spying software over to its new parent company. In a statement on Monday 1st November, Facebook said it had stopped using such tools as facial recognition for photo-tagging and the platform will delete the facial templates of more than a billion people, however what Facebook forgot to mention was that the algorithms and software used to identify people and store a profile of them, even if they do not have a Facebook account has simply moved across to Meta.

Experts believe the real reason for the move was simply because it was costing Facebook too much in legal fees defending itself, and by shifting its blame by setting up an independent company to take over the spying for its platform, would create legal loopholes for future lawsuits against Facebook and Meta. This comes at a time where growing federal government proposals look to rein in on how private companies use facial recognition.

Creative Cryptocurrency Scam

As cryptocurrencies are not regulated like everything else in the financial system it leaves the door wide open to chancers and criminals, and many have been extremely creative in their act. Unless you have been hiding under a rock and even if you do not watch television you will certainly have heard of Netflix’s Squid Games. Though I have not watched it myself I can tell you it’s an extremely popular survival drama with a global following of hardened fans, but what the makers of the drama didn’t foresee was cybercriminals utilising the shows success to their advantage.

The criminals set up a website called SquidGames.cash which the scammers have since removed, built a cryptocurrency platform for people to trade on, as well as having the ability to be used across trading platforms like Coinbase and eToro. The coins or tokens as they were called were believed by the unsuspecting to be used as a form of currency as well as buy things through gaming platforms. However, having read the small print investors were able to buy tokens but unable to use or sell them.

As the currency lured in increasing numbers of investors, raising the coins value by 310,000% since its launch on 20th October to $2,856 per token, alarms went off when people started to realise they were unable to trade on the gains, subsequently the criminals cleared out the funds estimated to be worth $3.38 million overnight in what is known as pump and dump scam before the cryptocurrency could be seized by the authorities.

Obviously at no fault of their own the scam has created negativity towards the Netflix show and its producers.

Apples Can’t Smash Windows

Though certainly not the first time in its historical battle, Microsoft has surpassed Apple as the most valuable listed company, now worth $2.5 trillion, though only a smidge over the $2.46 trillion set by Apple.

Apple’s share in the market fell marginally by some 3.5% simply due to supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic as well as the semiconductor crisis. Regardless of the marginal difference, sales for both companies were drastically up from the year prior.

Microsoft had previously surpassed Apple’s market cap in 2018, 2016 and 2010. Apple on the other hand was the first US company to hit a $1 trillion market cap in late 2018 which they managed to double in just two years, most of their sales have come from their popular iPhone.