August 2, 2022
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: why the U.S. Commerce Department is set to impose export restrictions on software needed to design next-generation AI chips, how Airtable is trying to turn itself into an enterprise software vendor and AMD racks up another spectacular quarter at Intel’s expense.
In a bid to slow China’s ability to make advanced microchips, the U.S. is poised to implement an export ban on a specific piece of design software that is vital for producing the most-advanced chips needed for AI applications, Protocol has learned.
Export restrictions on chipmaking tools are nothing new. Already, the U.S. convinced the Netherlands to block ASML from selling its advanced extreme ultraviolet lithography systems to China.
Tensions between the U.S. and China are high. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan Tuesday, on an official visit that was aimed to reiterate the U.S.’s “unwavering commitment” to support the island country.
How global ecommerce benefits American workers and the U.S. economy: Alibaba — a leading global ecommerce company — is a particularly powerful engine in helping American businesses of every size sell goods to more than 1 billion consumers on its digital marketplaces in China. In 2020, U.S. companies completed more than $54 billion of sales to consumers in China through Alibaba’s online platforms.
Airtable’s “spreadsheet on steroids” quickly became a crowd favorite among designers and developers looking for a new productivity and collaboration tool. But according to CEO Howie Liu, the company harbors larger ambitions to become an enterprise software platform for application development, which could take it to a new level.
As Aisha Counts reported, Liu thinks that Airtable’s database can double as a foundation for application development tools, an insight he observed while working at Salesforce a decade ago. It has already signed up a few customers for this emerging part of its business, but the company faces an uphill struggle to convince IT buyers that it’s more than just a fancy spreadsheet.
AMD told quite a different story Tuesday than its larger rival did last week, when it delivered its latest quarterly financial report card.
For the first time, AMD began breaking out its data center sales as a separate category, which used to be bundled with the company’s video game chip revenue among other things. AMD reported that data center revenue soared 83% to $1.5 billion, which CEO Lisa Su said was largely a product of its server processor sales.
But big data center chip sales were not enough to satiate Wall Street: shares fell nearly 6% in the extended session Tuesday, due to a slightly weaker-than-expected outlook for the coming quarter.
AMD’s server segment has made large gains in recent years. By contrast, Intel has stumbled. Last week Intel reported data center and AI sales of $4.6 billion, a 16% drop from the year-ago period.
In the earnings conference call, executives reiterated the company’s rosy outlook for the year, and said AMD was on track to grow overall revenue by 60% to roughly $26.3 billion. The CEO said that the company expects to achieve its target in spite of the “current macroeconomic environment.”
IBM’s board of directors will investigate claims that its salespeople improperly reclassified mainframe deals as “cloud” or other newer software deals, which shareholders believe hid the true performance of IBM’s newer businesses.
How global ecommerce benefits American workers and the U.S. economy: Using economic multipliers published by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, NDP estimates that the ripple effect of this Alibaba-fueled consumption in 2020 supported more than 256,000 U.S. jobs and $21 billion in wages. These American sales to Chinese consumers also added $39 billion to U.S. GDP.
Thanks for reading — see you tomorrow!