On Wednesday, Samsung (SSNLF) co-CEO Koh Dong-jin told investors that the South Korean tech giant was having trouble with its supply chain. The company is scrambling to address the dearth of semiconductors, and could continue to face problems in the second quarter, he added.Meanwhile, the auto industry — which has already been rocked by the shortage in recent months — is pointing to worsening conditions.Honda (HMC) and Volkswagen (VLKAF) both said this week that the computer chips crunch had hampered their operations, particularly in the United States. In a statement Wednesday, Honda confirmed that it would temporarily suspend production next week at most of its North American factories, in part because of the lack of semiconductors.”We continue to manage a number of supply chain issues related to the impact from Covid-19, congestion at various ports, the microchip shortage and severe winter weather over the past several weeks,” a company spokesperson said.As a result, factories from Ohio to Ontario are expected to go dark for stretches next week, and “in some way, all of our auto plants in the US and Canada will be impacted,” the representative said.Other major automakers, including Ford (F), Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), GM (GM) and Nissan (NSANF) have also signaled problems. The average car uses between 50 and 150 chips, and they’re increasingly being deployed in driver-assistance systems and navigation control. “In 2021, we will suffer from it,” Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess told CNN’s Julia Chatterley in an interview Tuesday. “Not over the entire [vehicle] lineup, but some models might be constrained.”Diess estimated that the automaker had “probably lost already 100,000 cars this year, which will be very difficult to recover in the second half.”That’s in line with estimates from UBS analysts, who previously projected a significant production loss for Europe’s largest carmaker in the first three months of the year.Diess doesn’t see the problem easing up anytime soon, either. “We see more constraints coming, because of the difficult climate conditions in America, where we had two, three semiconductor plants off [the] grid for more than … a week or so,” he said.The company also recently suffered some disruption due to an earthquake in Japan, according to the chief executive.”It’s really a combination of factors which constrain semiconductor supply,” he told CNN Business. “We hope to overcome this situation.”— CNN’s Yoonjung Seo and Hanna Ziady contributed to this report.
Technology on WPVMFM
The tech giant is expanding Amazon Care — which currently provides its Washington-based employees with access to virtual and in-person health services — to its workers nationwide. And it plans to offer the service to other companies as a workplace benefit for their own employees.Amazon (AMZN) says the program’s follows a “successful launch” for its tens of thousands of Washington workers 18 months ago. “By supplying Amazon Care as a workplace benefit, employers are investing in the health and well-being of arguably their most important asset: their employees,” Amazon said in a release Wednesday. Virtual chats and video visitsAmazon Care gives workers on-demand access to virtual chats or video visits with medical providers who can provide treatment of illnesses or injury, Covid testing and flu shots, nutrition consulting, pre-pregnancy planning and a range of other services. Its doctors can order prescription medications, which are delivered to patients’ homes by Amazon. The program also offers in-person visits by providers to workers’ homes for additional services such as blood draws. “The program’s secure, HIPAA-compliant service also allows employees and their dependents to see the same dedicated teams of medical professionals, which creates long-term relationships that benefit overall health,” Amazon said, adding that an app for the service is available to give employees easy access. As of Wednesday, the full range of Amazon Care services is available to employees at other Washington-based companies. This summer, the virtual services will be available to employees of Amazon and other firms nationwide. Amazon also plans to expand the in-person visit offering to Washington D.C., Baltimore, Maryland, and other cities in coming months. The expanded benefit for its own employees comes as Amazon faces scrutiny for working conditions at its warehouses amid a union election currently underway in Bessemer, Alabama. Amazon is in discussions with a number of companies about using Amazon Care, according to a spokesperson, who did not disclose the names of any potential customers. The spokesperson also declined to share details on how much it will cost other companies to provide their employees with the service. This is the tech giant’s latest effort to grow its presence in the multi-billion-dollar health care industry. In 2018, Amazon bought digital drugstore startup Pill Pack for $700 million and last year, it officially launched Amazon Pharmacy, which delivers prescriptions to customers homes and offers extra perks for Prime members. More virtual careThe move to expand Amazon Care follows a boom in telemedicine during the pandemic — research firm Gartner estimates that by 2023, virtual interactions will exceed face-to-face health care visits. Amazon’s entrance into the space is likely to worry other digital health care providers. The day after Amazon’s announcement, Amwell (AMWL) stock fell nearly 8% and Teladoc (TDOC) shares dropped 2%.The broader market was down across the board Thursday, with tech stocks in particular selling offAmazon’s health care ambitions haven’t always panned out. In 2018, it partnered with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to form Haven, a company aimed at providing better health care services and insurance coverage at a lower cost to workers at the three firms — and potentially to other US companies. The venture folded earlier this year after struggling to make inroads with companies beyond the founding firms.
Nearly two decades ago, Long extolled the benefits of Mac computers while playing one opposite John Hodgman’s PC in Apple’s iconic “Get a Mac” commercials. Now, in a pointed jab at Apple (AAPL), Long is featured in a new Intel (INTC) ad where he appears much more excited about new Intel-based PCs than the latest Mac laptops. “Hello, I’m a — Justin. Just a real person, doing a real comparison between Mac and PC,” Long says in the new Intel commercial, an obvious play on the “Hello, I’m a Mac” intro to the old Apple ads. “These are all PCs,” Long says as he surveys a collection of laptops in the new ad. “Oh yeah, Intel! Nice. My face just unlocked that, that’s so cool. And I’ve never seen a screen like that on a laptop.”He moves on to look at the Mac lineup: “So these are the newer Macs? Okay. So, gray and gray-er.” The new commercial is the latest exchange of not-so-friendly fire between Intel and Apple in recent months. Last fall, Apple went from being an Intel customer to competitor when it replaced the semiconductor giant’s x86 chips with its own M1 chips in the newest Mac lineup. Apple claimed its new chips make Macs significantly faster and quieter and give them longer battery life compared to previous Mac models and rival laptops. In fact, reviving the theme of the old Apple ads was the iPhone maker’s idea. When it announced the new M1 Macs in November, Apple brought back Hodgman to again star as “PC guy” in a new ad. “Hi, I’m a PC,” Hodgman says in Apple’s November ad. “Is there a time for questions? Good, because I have one. Why? Why make all these advancements? What’s the point?”Moves like Apple’s to make its own chips pose a real threat to Intel, which has long relied on dominating the PC business. In recent years, Intel has lost share in the PC market, among other challenges, and the company recently hired new CEO Pat Gelsinger to help right the ship. At an Intel staff meeting in January, after Gelsinger was named the incoming CEO but before officially taking over the role, he told employees that the company has to “deliver better products” for PCs than anything “a lifestyle company in Cupertino” makes, a likely reference to Apple, according to a report from The Oregonian.The new commercial may be another indicator of how aggressive Gelsinger plans to be in countering Apple and other competitors as he attempts to return Intel to its former glory. Whether the ad convinces people to buy more PCs remains to be seen, but at least Intel now has Long’s support.