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Tesla Fires Hundreds of Workers After Their Annual Performance Review

They’re not layoffs, the automaker says.

Electric automaker Tesla Motors fired hundreds of employees this week, including workers at its Fremont, Calif. factory and corporate managers, as it tries to solve production problems for its recently released Model 3.

An estimated 400 to 700 people were dismissed this week, according to a San Jose Mercury News report published Friday afternoon. That’s between 1% and 2% of the company’s more than 33,000 employees. Former and current employees told the Mercury News that little or no warning preceded the dismissals.

A Tesla spokesman would not confirm that number but told Fortune that the move follows its annual performance reviews, which typically involve both involuntary and voluntary departures.

“Like all companies, Tesla conducts an annual performance review during which a manager and employee discuss the results that were achieved, as well as how those results were achieved, during the performance period,” a Tesla spokesman said in an emailed statement. “This includes both constructive feedback and recognition of top performers with additional compensation and equity awards, as well as promotions in many cases. As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures. Tesla is continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world.”

Tesla insists that the losses are not layoffs and that it plans to backfill the positions. That’s likely accurate, at least for jobs in California. State law requires companies to notify employees of layoffs through its WARN notification system. There are no records of new layoffs from Tesla. About 200 Tesla and SolarCity employees in the company’s Roseville, Calif. offices were notified Aug. 30 that they would be terminated.

The latest cuts come as the automaker tries to fix bottlenecks on the production line for its Model 3, an all-electric model designed to appeal to the masses. Earlier this month, Tesla reported that it produced 260 Model 3 cars in the third quarter, of which it has delivered 220. That figure is far less than CEO Elon Musk’s prediction that Tesla would produce more than 1,600 of the vehicles by September.

In July, Musk tweeted a production update for the Model 3, saying the car had passed all regulatory requirements ahead of schedule. After announcing that the first 30 customers would receive the Model 3s on July 28, Musk wrote, “production grows exponentially, so Aug should be 100 cars and Sept above 1,500.”

Altogether, Musk said that third quarter production numbers for the Model 3 would be around 1,630 vehicles—a prediction off by 84%.

A Wall Street Journal report published earlier this month revealed that Tesla workers were assembling Model 3 vehicles by hand until at least early September. One of the “bottlenecks” Musk alluded to was a process that involved positioning and welding body panels by hand, rather than by precision robots, according to workers interviewed by the Journal.

Musk recently delayed the unveiling of an electric semi-truck until Nov. 16 so the company can focus its attention on production problems with its new mass-market car, the Model 3.

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BitTorrent removes 10 folder limit in free version of Sync, slashes Pro price from annual to one-time $40 fee

BitTorrent_Sync_Image_2

BitTorrent today updated its file synchronization service for the desktop to version 2.2, adding some important changes for free and Pro users. You can download the latest release now for Windows, Mac, and Linux from getsync.com.

BitTorrent’s goal with Sync is simple: Move large amounts of data directly and efficiently between devices without leaning on a cloud service. After first introducing the product in April 2013, BitTorrent eventually released Sync out of beta in March 2015, while also debuting Sync Pro, a premium edition of Sync priced at $ 39.99 per year that adds new functionality not available in the free version.

With today’s Sync versions 2.2 release, the company is offering “a clearer delineation between personal users and business users.” Personal users are now able to purchase a “perpetual license” for Sync Pro for $ 39.99 that means they don’t have to pay every year to keep all the Pro features.

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Yet that license comes with a catch: It only covers future updates for 2.X versions. “If and when a v.3 launches it will be considered a new product addressing a different use case,” a BitTorrent spokesperson told VentureBeat. “For now we’re focused on the 2.X generation of Sync.”

Personal users that have already paid for a Pro license will receive an email with instructions for how to convert to this new pricing model (as opposed to sticking with the old $ 39.99 per year model). Business accounts for Sync Pro, however, will remain subscription-based.

There is also some good news for users of the free version of Sync: Version 2.2 removes the 10 folder limit. While Sync puts no limits on file sizes and transfer speeds, it previously only let you share up to 10 folders, and users would simply get around this limit by merging folders. Now that restriction’s gone, so you can once again organize your files just as you like.

To generate interest in the Pro product, BitTorrent previously included a free 30-day trial for new installations: all Sync Pro functionality for a month when you first launch Sync. That feature is now opt-in, likely because users of the free version are perfectly happy without Pro features.

Additional updates in the 2.2 release also include the usual bug fixes and performance improvements. BitTorrent says these improvements are based on feedback gathered from user surveys, its forum, and “other feedback channels.”

Lastly, as part of the Sync 2.2 release, BitTorrent today also launched a Sync reseller program. Resellers can offer Sync licensing to their customers directly, including the option to bundle Sync with their own solutions.

BitTorrent today also reminded Sync users that a Sync-based file replication product is still in development for larger scale deployments. Last we heard of this product, which is largely targeted at IT departments, it was scheduled for a 2015 release. BitTorrent added nothing new today in terms of timing, though a spokesperson said, “We are, however, interested in speaking with potential partners; they will help us ensure we build a product they need.”

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