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Tesla cuts Model S and Model X prices in the U.S. to stoke demand

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A drivers uses a Tesla Supercharging station in Corte Madera, California, US, on Thursday, March 2, 2023.
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David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Tesla cut prices on its two most expensive models in the U.S., the Model S and Model X, in a renewed bid to stoke demand for its cars with aggressive discounts.
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The Tesla Model S now starts at $89,990, according to Tesla’s website, down around 5% from where they were priced previously. The Model X, meanwhile, starts at $99,990, which marks a 9% reduction.

For the high-end “Plaid” versions of the Model S and Model X, car buyers can now expect to pay $109,990. That’s down 4% for the Model S Plaid, and 8% for the Model X Plaid.

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Google’s failure to preserve employee messages in Epic antitrust case merits sanctions, judge says

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A Google sign is pictured during the company’s presentation of a detailed investment plan for Germany outside the Google office in Berlin, Germany, August 31, 2021.
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Annegret Hilse | Reuters

Google should be sanctioned for failing to preserve chat messages between employees related to an antitrust case brought by Epic Games, a federal judge in California ruled on Tuesday.
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The company “adopted a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy for keeping messages, at the expense of its preservation duties,” the judge said in the filing.

The judge did not yet determine what sanctions Google should face, writing that, “the Court would like to see the state of play of the evidence at the end of fact discovery. At that time, plaintiffs will be better positioned to tell the Court what might have been lost in the Chat communications.”

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Google faces similar allegations about destroying potential evidence by the Department of Justice in its antitrust litigation against the company. A Google spokesperson said at the time of the DOJ’s filing that it disagrees with the DOJ’s claims.

The latest filing included a string of messages between Google executives debating whether they needed to keep chat history on issues that might relate to the litigation.

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Epic alleged that Google failed to retain chat messages between employees that it should have preserved while under a litigation hold. Google allegedly left it to employees to determine when to turn on and off their chat history when discussing matters relevant to the legal proceedings. Epic said Google should have ensured those messages were preserved by default. Exhibits presented by Epic seem to show that Google employees saw chats as a less formal way to communicate.

The judge, James Donato, made clear the case “will not be decided on the basis of lost Chat communications,” but said deciding on the proper non-monetary sanction requires more proceedings.

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Donato ordered Google to cover reasonable attorneys fees related to the motion over the evidentiary issue.

“Our teams have conscientiously worked, for years, to respond to Epic and the state AGs’ discovery
requests and we have produced over three million documents, including thousands of chats,” a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

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Epic did not provide a statement for this story.

WATCH: Colorado Attorney General weighs in on Google lawsuit

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Colorado Attorney General weighs in on Google antitrust lawsuit



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Apple launches its Pay Later service

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Apple CEO Tim Cook visits the Fifth Avenue Apple Store on September 16, 2022 in New York City.
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Apple on Tuesday introduced Apple Pay Later, which will allow users to split purchases into four payments spread over the course of six weeks.
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Affirm dropped 4% on the news.

Apple Pay Later users will be able to manage, track and repay their loans in their Apple Wallet, the company said in a release Tuesday. Individuals can apply for Apple Pay Later loans between $50 and $1,000 and use them for in-app and online purchases made through merchants that accept Apple Pay. Payments have no interest and no fees.

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Users can apply for a loan within the Apple Wallet app without it impacting their credit score, Apple said. Once they select the amount they would like to withdraw, a soft credit pull will be conducted to make sure they are in “a good financial position” to take on a loan, according to the release.

Apple will invite select people to access a prelease version of Apple Pay Later Tuesday, and the company said it plans to expand access to all eligible users in the coming months.

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Approved users will see a “Pay Later” option while using Apple Pay to check out online and in apps on iPhones and iPads. They will also be able to apply for a loan right at checkout. Apple said purchases using the software will be authenticated using Face ID, Touch ID or a passcode.

The company said users can see the amount due for their existing loans, as well as the total amount due in the next 30 days, in Apple Wallet. Users will be asked to link a debit card as their loan repayment method. Credit cards won’t be accepted.

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This story is developing. Please check back for updates.



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Microsoft introduces an A.I. chatbot for cybersecurity experts

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Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., speaks during the Windows 10 Devices event in New York on Oct. 6, 2015. Microsoft Corp. introduced its first-ever laptop, three Lumia phones and a Surface Pro 4 tablet, the first indication of the company’s revamped hardware strategy three months after saying it would scale back plans to make its own smartphones.
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John Taggart | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Microsoft on Tuesday announced a chatbot designed to help cybersecurity professionals understand critical issues and find ways to fix them.
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The company has been busy bolstering its software with artificial intelligence models from startup OpenAI after OpenAI’s ChatGPT bot captured the public imagination following its November debut.

The resulting generative AI software can at times be “usefully wrong,” as Microsoft put it earlier this month when talking up new features in Word and other productivity apps. But Microsoft is proceeding nevertheless, as it seeks to keep growing a cybersecurity business that fetched more than $20 billion in 2022 revenue.

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The Microsoft Security Copilot draws on GPT-4, the latest large language model from OpenAI — in which Microsoft has invested billions — and a security-specific model Microsoft built using daily activity data it gathers. The system also knows a given customer’s security environment, but that data won’t be used to train models.

The chatbot can compose PowerPoint slides summarizing security incidents, describe exposure to an active vulnerability or specify the accounts involved in an exploit in response to a text prompt that a person types in.

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A user can hit a button to confirm an answer if it’s right or select an “off-target” button to signal a mistake. That sort of input will help the service learn, Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice president of security, compliance, identity, management and privacy at Microsoft, told CNBC in an interview.

Engineers inside Microsoft have been using the Security Copilot to do their jobs. “It can process 1,000 alerts and give you the two incidents that matter in seconds,” Jakkal said. The tool also reverse-engineered a piece of malicious code for an analyst who didn’t know how to do that, she said.

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That type of assistance can make a difference for companies that run into trouble hiring experts and end up hiring employees who are inexperienced in some areas. “There’s a learning curve, and it takes time,” Jakkal said. “And now Security Copilot with the skills built in can augment you. So it is going to help you do more with less.”

Microsoft isn’t talking about how much Security Copilot will cost when it becomes more widely available.

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Jakkal said the hope is that many workers inside a given company will use it, rather than just a handful of executives. That means over time Microsoft wants to make the tool capable of holding discussions in a wider variety of domains.

The service will work with Microsoft security products such as Sentinel for tracking threats. Microsoft will determine if it should add support for third-party tools such as Splunk based on input from early users in the next few months, Jakkal said.

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If Microsoft were to require customers to use Sentinel or other Microsoft products if they want to turn on the Security Copilot, that could very well influence the purchasing decisions, said Frank Dickson, group vice president for security and trust at technology industry researcher IDC.

“For me, I was like, ‘Wow, this may be the single biggest announcement in security this calendar year,’” he said.

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There’s nothing stopping Microsoft’s security rivals, such as Palo Alto Networks, from releasing chatbots of their own, but getting out first means Microsoft will have a head start, Dickson said.

Security Copilot will be available to a small set of Microsoft clients in a private preview before wider release at a later date.

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WATCH: Microsoft threatens to restrict data from rival AI search tools

Microsoft threatens to restrict data from rival AI search tools



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