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San Antonio tech giant racks up major company milestone – culturemap.com

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Rackspace Technology Inc., arguably the highest-profile tech company in San Antonio, is on the verge of becoming one of the city’s biggest publicly traded companies.
On July 10, cloud technology specialist Rackspace filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicating it plans a stock offering of up to $100 million through Nasdaq. The number of shares to be sold, the per-share stock price, and the date of the offering haven’t been set, Rackspace says. The company’s stock would trade under the symbol RXT.
This won’t be Rackspace’s first go-round as a publicly traded company. In August 2008, Rackspace went public in a $187.5 million IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. But six years later, the company went private in a $4.3 billion buyout by New York City-based investment firm Apollo Global Management LLC.
If the latest stock offering proceeds as planned, Rackspace would become the fifth-largest publicly traded company in the San Antonio area based on revenue, as well as the region’s largest publicly traded tech company. Rackspace generated revenue of $2.44 billion last year. With annual revenue exceeding $108 billion, Valero Energy Corp. holds the No. 1 spot among local public companies, followed by Rush Enterprises Inc., Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc., and iHeartMedia Inc., according to San Antonio Business Journal research.
Rackspace employs about 6,800 people in 15 countries. About 2,100 employees work from its corporate headquarters at a 1.2 million-square-foot office campus on 67 acres in Windcrest. Since early March, nearly all of Rackspace’s employees have worked remotely due to the pandemic. Across North America, Rackspace employs about 4,400 “Rackers,” as its employees are known.
“We have a culture of innovation that permeates all that we do,” Rackspace says in its SEC filing. “Our Rackers gather insights from customers, cloud partners, and each other to design, implement, and operate some of the most advanced cloud environments.”
Rackspace has gone through several big changes in the past year or so. In June, the company changed its name from Rackspace Corp. to Rackspace Technology. In April 2019, the company brought aboard a new CEO, Kevin Jones. Three months later, Rackspace added Dustin Semach as chief financial officer and Subroto Mukerji as chief operating officer.
“Our technical acumen with the world’s leading cloud technologies — across apps, data, and security — empowers our customers to build new revenue streams, increase efficiency, and create incredible experiences,” Jones said in a June 8 release. “Our new name, mission, and multicloud solutions better represent the full value we bring to market. Our mission is simple. Embrace technology. Empower customers. Deliver the future.”
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European Union accuses Microsoft of breaching antitrust rules by bundling Teams with office software

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European Union accuses Microsoft of breaching antitrust rules by bundling Teams with office software

LONDON (AP) — Microsoft violated European Union antitrust rules with “possibly abusive” practices by tying its Teams messaging and videoconferencing app to its widely used business software, the bloc said.

The European Commission said Monday it informed Microsoft of its preliminary view that the U.S. tech giant has been “restricting competition” by bundling Teams with core office productivity applications such as Office 365 and Microsoft 365.

The commission, the 27-nation bloc’s top antitrust enforcer, said it suspects Microsoft might have granted Teams a “distribution advantage” by not giving customers a choice on whether to have Teams when they purchased the software. The advantage might have been widened by limits on the ability of rival messaging apps to work with Microsoft software, it said.

“We are concerned that Microsoft may be giving its own communication product Teams an undue advantage over competitors, by tying it to its popular productivity suites for businesses,” Margrethe Vestager, the commission’s executive vice-president for competition policy, said in a statement.

“And preserving competition for remote communication and collaboration tools is essential as it also fosters innovation on these markets.”

The commission took aim at Microsoft a day after accusing Apple of breaching the bloc’s new digital competition rulebook, in a flurry of regulatory action underlining Brussels’ leading role as a watchdog for Big Tech companies.

Microsoft made some changes last year in an effort to head off an penalty, including offering the software packages without Teams for European customers. But the commission said Tuesday the changes are not enough to address its concerns and that it needs to do more to “restore competition.”

“Having unbundled Teams and taken initial interoperability steps, we appreciate the additional clarity provided today and will work to find solutions to address the Commission‘s remaining concerns.” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a prepared statement.

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In April, the company also gave customers worldwide the option to get Microsoft 365 and Office 365 without Teams. The two software suites include programs like Word, Excel and Outlook.

Microsoft now has a chance to respond to the accusations, formally known as a statement of objections, before the commission makes its final decision. The company could face a fine worth up to 10% of its annual global revenue, or be forced to carry out “remedies” to satisfy the competition concerns.

The commission opened its investigation in July 2023 after rival Slack Technologies, which makes popular workplace messaging software, filed a complaint with Brussels. Alfaview, which makes videoconferencing software, also filed a separate complaint.

Slack, owned by business software maker Salesforce, had alleged that Microsoft abused its market dominance to eliminate competition — in violation of EU laws.

“The Statement of Objections issued today by the European Commission is a win for customer choice and an affirmation that Microsoft’s practices with Teams have harmed competition,” Salesforce President Sabastian Niles said. “We appreciate the Commission’s thorough investigation of Slack’s complaint and urge the Commission to move towards a swift, binding, and effective remedy that restores free and fair choice and promotes competition, interoperability, and innovation in the digital ecosystem.”

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Record labels sue AI song-generators Suno, Udio for copyright infringement

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Record labels sue AI song-generators Suno, Udio for copyright infringement

BOSTON (AP) — Big record companies are suing artificial intelligence song-generators Suno and Udio for copyright infringement, alleging that the AI music startups are exploiting the recorded works of artists from Chuck Berry to Mariah Carey.

The Recording Industry Association of America announced the lawsuits Monday brought by labels including Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Records.

One case was filed in federal court in Boston against Suno AI, and the other in New York against Uncharted Labs, the developer of Udio AI.

Suno AI CEO Mikey Shulman said in an emailed statement that the technology is “designed to generate completely new outputs, not to memorize and regurgitate pre-existing content” and doesn’t allow users to reference specific artists.

Shulman said his Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup tried to explain this to labels “but instead of entertaining a good faith discussion, they’ve reverted to their old lawyer-led playbook.”

Udio didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier said in a written statement that the music industry is already collaborating with responsible AI developers but said that “unlicensed services like Suno and Udio that claim it’s ‘fair’ to copy an artist’s life’s work and exploit it for their own profit without consent or pay set back the promise of genuinely innovative AI for us all.”

AI has been a heated topic of conversation in the music industry, with debates ranging from the creative possibilities of the new technology to concerns around its legality. In March, Tennessee became the first U.S. state to pass legislation to protect songwriters, performers and other music industry professionals against the potential dangers of artificial intelligence. Supporters said the goal is to ensure that AI tools cannot replicate an artist’s voice without their consent.

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The following month, over 200 artists signed an open letter submitted by the Artist Rights Alliance non-profit calling on artificial intelligence tech companies, developers, platforms, digital music services and platforms to stop using AI to infringe upon and devalue the rights of human artists.

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Biden begs for money for 2024 Campaign from local SF Bay Area tech leaders and talks AI

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Biden discusses risks and promises of artificial intelligence with tech leaders in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — President Joe Biden convened a group of technology leaders on Tuesday to debate what he called the “risks and enormous promises” of artificial intelligence.

The Biden administration is seeking to figure out how to regulate the emergent field of AI, looking for ways to nurture its potential for economic growth and national security and protect against its potential dangers.

“We’ll see more technological change in the next 10 years that we saw in the last 50 years,” Biden said as the meeting with eight technology experts from academia and advocacy groups kicked off.

“AI is already driving that change,” Biden said.

The sudden emergence of AI chatbot ChatGPT and other tools has jumpstarted investment in the sector. AI tools are able to craft human-like text, music, images and computer code. This form of automation could increase the productivity of workers, but experts warn of numerous risks.

The technology could be used to replace workers, causing layoffs. It’s already being deployed in false images and videos, becoming a vehicle of disinformation that could undermine democratic elections. Governments, as well as the European Union, have said they are determined to regulate and put brakes on AI before it is too late.

Biden said social media has already shown the harm technology can do “without the right safeguards in place.”

In May, Biden’s administration brought together tech CEOs at the White House to discuss these issues, with the Democratic president telling them, “What you’re doing has enormous potential and enormous danger.”

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White House chief of staff Jeff Zients’ office is developing a set of actions the federal government can take over the coming weeks regarding AI, according to the White House. Top officials are meeting two to three times each week on this issue, in addition to the daily work of federal agencies. The administration wants commitments from private companies to address the possible risks from AI.

Biden met Tuesday at the Fairmont hotel in San Francisco with Tristan Harris, executive director of the Center for Human Technology; Jim Steyer, the CEO of Common Sense Media; and Joy Buolamwin, founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, among others. California Gov. Gavin Newsom was also in attendance.

Biden is also in the San Francisco area to raise money for this 2024 reelection campaign. At his first fundraiser of the night, Biden spoke about what he saw as freedoms under siege, particularly for the LGBTQ community and with the overturning of abortion protections by the U.S. Supreme Court. And as president, it’s his job to help safeguard the right to choose.

“I think the American people need to have the confidence that we’re going to do what we say we’re going to do,” he said.

Climate change has also been a priority in Biden’s speeches at the fundraisers. On Tuesday, he told a group that he expects that John Kerry, the special envoy for climate, will soon return to China for talks on reducing carbon emissions.

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Associated Press writer Barbara Ortutay in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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