Tech: In search of profits, Tesla announces job cuts
“Elon Musk has finally been forced to rethink his vaulting ambitions for Tesla,” said Dana Hull in Bloomberg.com. The faltering electric automaker announced this week it will dismiss roughly 9 percent of its workforce, or more than 3,000 employees. The mass firings follow Musk’s “bungled” attempts to mass-produce the Model 3 and signal he is “pumping the brakes from years of hiring at breakneck speed.” Musk is under pressure to stop burning through money; Tesla has already lost a total of $5.4 billion, and “even most optimists don’t believe the red ink will end there.”
Taxes: Seattle repeals ‘Amazon tax’
The Seattle City Council this week repealed a “controversial head tax on large employers like Amazon,” just weeks after unanimously passing it, said Daniel Beekman in The Seattle Times. The 7-2 vote to repeal the $275 per employee tax was “a stunning reversal without parallel in Seattle’s recent political history.” The tax, created to increase funding for low-cost housing and Seattle’s surging homeless problem, was bitterly opposed by Amazon and other Seattle-based corporations. A business-backed campaign spurred the repeal after companies collected enough signatures to generate a referendum on the tax in November.
Internet: Net neutrality is officially over
“As far as the Federal Communications Commission is concerned, net neutrality is dead,” said Makena Kelly in TheVerge.com. This week marked the official end of rules that required internet service providers to offer equal access to all web content. The rollback, which was approved by the FCC in December in a 3-2 vote along party lines, is aimed at returning the web to what FCC Chairman Ajit Pai calls a “successful, light-touch regulatory framework.” Critics says the changes will allow “massive internet service providers to do practically whatever they like”—including paid prioritization and bandwidth throttling.
Entertainment: Pixar animation boss exits
John Lasseter, the chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, is exiting after admitting to “missteps that left some employees feeling ‘disrespected or uncomfortable,’” said Gregg Kilday in The Hollywood Reporter. Lasseter, a co-founder of Pixar in 1984, “developed and popularized computer-graphic animation” on films such as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Monsters, Inc., becoming “a modern-day equivalent of Walt Disney.” Lasseter took a six-month sabbatical last November after “allegations of inappropriate behavior” surfaced.