Dec 2, 2019

Big Tech backlash could spur the next generation of startups

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 bull case for tech startups, and the investors who love them, is that federal regulators will intensify their antitrust investigations into incumbents like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

The catch: This isn't about successfully breaking up the goliaths, which could only come after years of legal challenges. It's about distraction — and disincentives to move into new categories, thus creating more space for startups to grow.

  • That's the same sort of environment that Google enjoyed in its early days, when Microsoft was otherwise engaged.
  • U.S. tech startups may have an added advantage as other federal authorities take a tougher tact toward Chinese upstarts (pay close attention to how the TikTok situation gets resolved).
  • The caveat, as perhaps evidenced by Google's recent deal for Fitbit, is that today's incumbents learned from the Microsoft example, and won't stop buying and building unless forced.

The bottom line: Big Tech is unpopular in both political parties, particularly among some of the leading presidential candidates (despite their ad spends), and that antipathy could help birth Big Tech's next generation.

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Updates: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted early Tuesday that he'd just left the Bronx and the police commissioner was sending additional assistance to problem areas. Protesters were "overwhelmingly peaceful" Monday, he said. "But some people tonight had nothing to do with the cause + stole + damaged instead," he added.

2 hours ago - Technology

Civil rights leaders blast Facebook after meeting with Zuckerberg

Screenshot of an image some Facebook employees used as part of their virtual walkout on Monday.

A trio of civil rights leaders issued a blistering statement Monday following a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top executives to discuss the social network's decision to leave up comments from President Trump they say amount to calls for violence and voter suppression.

Why it matters: While Twitter has flagged two of the president's Tweets, one for being potentially misleading about mail-in ballot procedures and another for glorifying violence, Facebook has left those and other posts up, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying he doesn't want to be the "arbiter of truth."

4 hours ago - Technology

Cisco, Sony postpone events amid continued protests

Screenshot: Axios (via YouTube)

Cisco said Monday night that it is postponing the online version of Cisco Live, its major customer event, amid the ongoing protests that have followed the killing of George Floyd.

Why it matters: Cisco joins Sony, Electronic Arts and Google in delaying tech events planned for this week.