Technology Roundup – SoftBank considers potential Arm sale, Apple shifts retail staff to remote work

Published on: July 13, 2020
Author: Amy Liu

SoftBank considers potential Arm sale – WSJ

WSJ sources say SoftBank ([[SFTBF[[,OTCPK:SFTBY) is exploring options for Arm Holdings, including a full or partial sale or public offering.

SofBank bought the British chip designer four years ago for $32B.

Goldman Sachs is advising the company on the review, which is still in the early stages.

Last week, Arm announced plans to spin off its two IoT businesses to SoftBank to focus on the core semiconductor business.

Related: Apple’s recently announced in-house silicon is based on Arm architecture. The silicon could make its debut in new MacBooks later this year.

Apple shifts retail staff to remote work

As coronavirus cases spike around the U.S. and the world, Apple (AAPL -0.4%) is adjusting its schedules for returning workers.

Retail staff impacted by the recent wave of store closures will shift to remote work. More than 90 of Apple’s 271 U.S. retail locations have had to close again due to the virus spikes.

Apple will ship coronavirus test kits to retail and corporate employees working from home.

The company doesn’t expect workers at the U.S. office to return before the end of the year, but it expects “full resumption” for “many” offices in Asia-Pacific and Europe over the coming months.

The pandemic isn’t dulling analyst optimism around the company. Earlier today, Wedbush raised Apple to a new Street-high target on the 5G tailwind and services momentum.

Microsoft spinning out Xiaoice chatbot

Six years after its launch, Microsoft (MSFT -2.0%) is spinning out its Xiaoice chatbot as a standalone company.

The AI-based chatbot is aimed at Chinese consumers and has the personality of a teenage girl to add more human and social elements.

Microsoft will retain a stake in the new company, and Xiaoice will license technologies from Microsoft for future R&D efforts.

The new entity will keep serving existing users while expanding the tech to other companies in China, Japan, and Indonesia.

Microsoft claimed Xiaoice reached 660M users and 450M third-party smart devices around the world.

Alibaba drops after Ma cuts stake

Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) shares are currently down 2.7% after an annual filing last Friday showed that Jack Ma dropped his stake from 6.2% to 4.8% over the past year.

Alibaba didn’t disclose the average selling price of Ma’s divestment, but he would’ve walked away with about $8.2B by Friday’s closing price.

BABA Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai reduced his stake from 2.2% to 1.6% over the same period.

Ma retired as Alibaba’s chairman last year and recently left SoftBank’s board to focus on philanthropic efforts.

Amazon restricts third-party storage in early holiday push

Starting today, Amazon’s (AMZN +1.9%) third-party sellers will face stricter quantity limits for storing goods in U.S. warehouses as the e-commerce giant preps for holiday shopping.

The change will impact all categories, though the limits will vary by product.

As part of the push, Amazon is waiving its inventory removal fees to help free up more space.

From Amazon’s announcement:”Given the unprecedented challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on all of us, we are preparing early to deliver a great holiday season for our customers and selling partners—building out capacity as quickly as we can so we can deliver products customers need and want directly to their doorsteps and help you continue to grow your business.”