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TSMC warns of softening chip demand

In today’s top stories, chipmaker TSMC’s share price gained slightly despite a disappointing sales forecast, with electronics demand set to remain soft. Elsewhere, Toyota has announced two new electric vehicle models will launch in China next year, while Renault has refused to slash prices. Elon Musk is threatening to sue Microsoft for using Twitter data to train its AI, and Google is set to integrate generative AI into its ads business. Lastly, insiders have warned that, despite fundraising efforts over recent months, Bed Bath & Beyond is preparing to file for bankruptcy within days.

TSMC warns of softening chip demand

TSMC’s [2330.TW] share price gained slightly on Thursday despite a disappointing sales forecast for the current quarter, with electronics demand set to remain soft. The company expects to split the cost of an $8bn chipmaking plant in Kumamoto prefecture with the Japanese government. It’s also seeking $15bn in support from the US government, but has objected to profit-sharing conditions. Greenpeace has warned that chipmakers’ emissions threaten climate goals. Chinese state-backed chipmaker ChangXin Memory Technologies is seeking a $14.5bn valuation in a Shanghai IPO.

Two new EVs for Toyota

Toyota [7203.T] has announced two new electric vehicle (EV) models will launch in China next year, as orders began this week for its bZ3 electric sedan. Renault [RNO.PA] has refused to slash prices, warning that price-cutting will “kill” the residual value of cars, making them more expensive to lease. This stance contrasts with that of Tesla [TSLA] which has signalled it will sacrifice margin for market share, even as first quarter (Q1) profits declined 24%, in part due to its price cuts.

Musk threatens Microsoft lawsuit

Elon Musk has threatened to sue Microsoft [MSFT] for “illegally” using Twitter data to train its artificial intelligence (AI) models. The threat followed news that Microsoft was dropping Twitter from its advertising platforms. Earlier this week, in an interview with Tucker Carlson Tonight, Musk said he intends to build a “truth-seeking AI”, TruthGPT, and claimed that ChatGPT and Google Bard are trained to be politically correct.

Corners cut in Google’s AI arms race

Google’s [GOOGL] next move in the AI arms race will be to integrate generative AI into its ads business, creating novel adverts from input material provided by advertisers. However, the company’s rush to win the AI race has led to corner-cutting, with the teams responsible for ethical oversight warned not to block Bard’s development, according to employees. Snap’s [SNAP] Snapchat+ premium service attracted 3 million subscribers thanks to early access to the My AI chatbot.

Final chapter for Bed Bath & Beyond?

Insiders have warned that, despite fundraising efforts over recent months, Bed Bath & Beyond [BBBY] is preparing to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy within days. The retailer needs to raise $300m through share sales by 26 April, but as of 10 April had only raised $48.5m of this total. With remaining sellable shares worth just $70–80m at current prices, the company is thus unlikely to avoid insolvency.

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