# 655 – Apple 🤝 Google’s AI – The Average Joe
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    # 655 – Apple 🤝 Google’s AI

    victorlei

    March 19, 2024

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    Good morning. Losing or leaving a job isn’t usually something you want to broadcast to the world. But that’s not stopping some folks from making “Quit-Tok” videos, recording their conversations with employers and sharing them on TikTok. Mostly posted by Gen Z, these videos are a bid for workplace transparency. After all, no company wants to get caught on camera doing a callous layoff.

    However, it’s worth considering that once that video is online, it’s there forever. Some experts warn that such a stunt could complicate someone’s future employment prospects.


    JOBS

    Tech Workers Thought The Layoffs Were Over. They Might Just Be Getting Started.

    They say you can’t have too much of a good thing. Tech execs would disagree. The tech industry is overflowing with talent, which has become a problem for hoards of unemployed tech workers. The surge in hiring driven by low-interest rates has been reversed by rate hikes, prompting companies to rethink their staffing levels.

    End of days: This downturn in the tech industry has resulted in the highest number of layoffs since the Dotcom bubble. Unlike in 2001, waiting for new job opportunities might not be enough this time around. Despite hopes that some of the nearly 500K lost jobs since 2022 will eventually return, many may not.

    • As employees find their way into the job market, Janco Associates CEO Victor Janulaitis says they will face a disconnect between their skills and the salaries they expect.

    • According to Dice, average tech salaries declined in 2023 — and data from Carta found that tech startups are offering 37% less equity to new hires.

    Robot to engineer: “I am the master now”

    Adding to the challenges is the burgeoning threat of AI, which could imminently threaten entry-level tech and data jobs. Even with the IT industry adding 267K employees in 2022, Janulaitis expects it to shrink by 20-30K jobs in 2024. Not even the once highly sought-after software engineers are immune, with companies building potential replacements for the industry’s highest earners.

    • For instance, after raising $21M from Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund in 2023, Cognition AI debuted Devin last week, touted as “the first AI software engineer.”

    • The company claims Devin can “take on and finish an entire software project on its own,” building websites, mobile apps, and games in minutes.

    More for less: While such AI tools may streamline app and website development, they also pose a risk of displacing developers in an already competitive job market. Indeed reported that software dev salaries fell in Feb. 2024 for the first time since recording this month-over-month data in 2019 — and coding job postings are down as much as 67% from Mar. 2022. If software devs struggle to find work, many other fields could also be in for a rude awakening.


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    LARGECAP RECAP

    🍎 Apple will partner with Google to leapfrog into AI

    Tech giant Apple ($AAPL) hasn’t been this unpopular since 2013 — and its recent controversies, high-profile flubs, and lackluster leadership on AI have some investors treating it like a “value stock,” according to Osaic’s Phil Blancato. But the company is throwing its weight behind Alphabet ($GOOG) and its AI model, Gemini, hoping to buy time to catch up.

    • Apple is in talks to integrate Google’s Gemini AI engine into its iPhone Operating System (iOS), which will power several new features launching later this year.

    • This news follows Apple’s reported discussions with OpenAI, which counts competitor Microsoft ($MSFT) among its largest shareholders.

    Forward-looking: Google’s Gemini has not been without its issues, which will have to be worked out to avoid embarrassment — but a deal would give Apple time to plot its own course for success in the crowded generative AI space. Apple has already begun hiring, acquiring, and reallocating resources toward its new AI ventures, which CEO Tim Cook promises will be released on a “very thoughtful basis” and “break new ground” this year.

    🚚 More than just groceries: Now Walmart is selling its software

    Walmart ($WMT) isn’t just selling groceries and clothes anymore — it’s also selling software to logistics giants. The company now offers its Route Optimization tool, which helps businesses map efficient delivery routes. It saved Walmart over $90M in a year as part of a surprising embrace of SaaS (“software as a service”).

    • Walmart’s move into software marks a diversification strategy, as the retail giant aims for faster-growing businesses and higher profit margins, as reported by Bloomberg.

    • The introduction of Route Optimization, Store Assist, and its AI-powered search also positions Walmart as a first-mover in AI — boosting efficiency for both shoppers and retailers.

    Thinking beyond retail: Earlier this month, Walmart acquired Vizio ($VZIO) in an effort to enter the connected TV space. Walmart sees significant profit potential in this area, particularly through advertising across its properties. Last year, its ad business grew by 28% to $3.4B — a far cry from Walmart’s retail numbers but indicating a promising segment that should grow in the coming years.


    JOE’S MARKET PULSE

    🔗 Nuvei / MicroStrategy

    Ron Paul says “Everyone Should Request This 401(k) Adjustment: ”Dr. Ron Paul recently shocked his audience by revealing that “the worst financial disaster in history” is happening now. Worst of all, he says Americans with IRAs and 401(k)s will be hardest hit. Click here to learn more →*

    Markets & Economy

    Heading into IPO, Reddit is up to 5x oversubscribed: This means demand for shares is outstripping supply, making it likely that Reddit will hit its sought-after initial valuation of $6.5B. However, Reddit’s struggle to turn a profit raises uncertainty about its performance post-public listing on Wednesday. [Read]

    Hertz ($HTZ) CEO resigns amid EV reroute strategy: Despite Stephen Scherr’s significant investment in electric vehicles from Tesla ($TSLA) and Polestar ($PSNYW), Hertz sold 20K of those vehicles earlier this year amid soft customer demand and high expenses. Gil West, an exec from GM’s embattled Cruise autonomous vehicle division, will take over. [Read]

    NASDAQ resolves technical glitch: The tech-heavy stock exchange is up big this year, so traders certainly weren’t happy when a tech snafu caused NASDAQ to list unusually wide spreads for some stocks. Though it lasted only two hours, it’s the second glitch for NASDAQ this year — something the SEC may scrutinize if it happens again. [Read]

    Business & Wealth

    March Madness kicks off today: A play-in game between 16-seeds Howard and Wagner will determine who squares off against the 1-seed UNC Tar Heels — who were just a game away from winning it all two years ago. Other 1-seeds include Houston, Purdue, and defending champion UConn. [Read]

    Uber ($UBER) and Lyft ($LYFT) call it quits in Minneapolis: Now that rideshare drivers would earn $15/hour under the city’s new minimum wage law, both companies say business in the city is “unsustainable.” Minneapolis’ mayor opposes the new law and could look for a workaround for these rideshare giants. [Read]

    Retailers get serious about stopping theft: Next time you visit the drugstore, you may find most items locked up, your every move tracked by an AI-powered camera, and maybe even some off-duty cops on the lookout. Sure, it’ll deter theft, but will it also deter everyday customers? [Read]

    *Thanks to our sponsors for keeping the newsletter free.


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    DIGIT OF THE DAY

    Real Estate Commissions Could Drop Up To 50% And Homeowners Couldn’t Be More Relieved

    RIP to the 6% realtor commission; you will not be missed (except maybe by real estate agents). Last Friday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) agreed to allow customers to negotiate broker commissions, resolving lawsuits alleging artificial commission fee inflation. This change could mean big savings for homeowners selling their properties.

    • Experts at TD Cowen Insights predict real estate commissions could plummet 25% to 50%, paving the way for alternative flat-fee and discount brokerages.

    • A Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond study suggests that if homebuyers pay agents directly, they could save $30B annually by bargaining for lower prices and viewing fewer homes.

    What does the future hold? Although this deal may reduce seller commission costs, it may not necessarily lower home prices. There’s a risk of “steering” by realtors, where buyers are influenced toward certain homes for reasons unrelated to their needs. However, sellers can still try to cut costs by negotiating lower commission rates with their agents. While negotiable commissions could attract new homebuyers, high mortgage rates and home prices could still hold them back.


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