Tech 2.0 for Monday, August 12, 2013

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Updated: 8/13/2013 4:22 pm

Imagine stepping into a car-sized capsule in downtown Los Angeles and, 30 minutes later, emerging in San Francisco. Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk on Monday unveiled a concept for a transport system he says would make the nearly 400-mile trip in half the time it takes an airplane. If it's ever built. The "Hyperloop" system would use a large tube. Inside, capsules would float on air, traveling at over 700 miles per hour. The air would be sucked by a powerful fan at the front and expelled at the rear. Musk has said he's too busy to oversee the Hyperloop. Instead, he hopes others will take it on.

Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has sold $91 million worth of shares in the social networking company. The sale was part of a pre-determined trading plan that was set up in 2012. It came a week after Facebook's stock passed its $38 IPO price for the first time since going public in May 2012. According to a regulatory filing from Friday, Sandberg sold the shares in the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company on Aug. 7 for prices ranging from $37.79 to $38.93.

Officials with Micron Technology Inc. are confirming that the company's purchase of a Japanese memory chip maker will lead to job cuts in Idaho and elsewhere through next year. Micron spokesman Dan Francisco said on Monday that the cuts would affect less than 5 percent of the company's 30,000 member global workforce, or fewer than 1,500 workers. The cuts were announced on Aug. 7 and will include not filling vacant jobs, buyouts and other reductions. Dave Petso with Petso Financial Consultants in Boise says letters detailing the cuts have been distributed company-wide along with severance package offers. Officials haven't said how many workers at Micron's research and design headquarters in Boise will be affected, but Petso says the cuts appear to be pretty heavy.

Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry will consider selling itself. The company said Monday that its board has formed a special committee to explore "strategic alternatives" in hopes of boosting the adoption of its BlackBerry 10 smartphone. The company says its options could also include joint ventures, partnerships, or other moves. The Canadian company's shares had risen Friday on reports that it might be warming up to the idea of someone taking it private. BlackBerry Ltd. has been hammered by increased competition from its Apple and Android-based rivals. In January, BlackBerry unveiled new phones running a revamped operating system called BlackBerry 10 designed to better compete, but its market share continues to lag.
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