May 14, 2020 - Technology

Apple scoops up live virtual reality streamer NextVR

Screenshot: Axios

As had been rumored, Apple is buying NextVR, an Orange County, Calif.-based startup best known for streaming sports, concerts and other live events in virtual reality. The company confirmed the acquisition first to Bloomberg, and also to Axios.

Why it matters: NextVR was struggling before the pandemic hit. The combination of slower-than-expected adoption of VR headsets and now a lack of live events put severe pressure on the company's ability to fundraise and build its business.

The purchase price was not disclosed and Apple declined to comment beyond telling Axios, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," the typical statement it offers when it buys a company.

Context: While NextVR had deals with the National Basketball Association and others, Apple's acquisition doesn't necessarily mean Apple will continue taking the company in that direction. Indeed, the only message now on NextVR's website is a statement that "NextVR is heading in a new direction" and thanking its existing fans.

Go deeper: Check out this week's special report from Login.

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House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to hammer the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.

U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter

Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — 0.2% worse than initially estimated — according to revised figures released by the government on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's the worst quarterly decline since 2008 and shows a huge hit as the economy was just beginning to shut down because of the coronavirus. Economists are bracing for the second quarter's figures to be the worst ever — with some projecting an annualized decline of around 40%.

23 mins ago - Economy & Business

The end of the beginning on energy companies' net-zero carbon pledges

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Activist investors' push to make the world's largest energy companies commit to ambitious climate targets is entering a new phase.

Why it matters: A key thing to watch now is whether and how energy giants start providing more granular information on how to transform the pledges into concrete steps.