May 22, 2018

Baidu loses a key AI executive

Baidu COO Lu Qi speaks at an AI conference in China last year. Photo: Liu Guanguan/CHINA NEWS SERVICE/VCG via Getty Images

Lu Qi, an AI expert and former Microsoft executive, stepped down as COO of Chinese search company Baidu, Caixin reports (subscription required). Shares in Baidu fell 9.5% after the announcement, the sharpest drop in 3 years.

Why it matters: Lu had been responsible for "Baidu’s transition to becoming an ‘All in AI’ company,” Credit Suisse analyst Thomas Chong wrote in a note cited by Caixin. The market reaction reflects the centrality of AI expertise in the valuation of global big tech companies, often concentrated in a single star scientist at the top.

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.