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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.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Beto not even best Dem against Abbott

Beto O'Rourke speaks at a rally at the Texas State Capitol in June. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Actor Matthew McConaughey’s nine-point lead in a theoretical matchup against Greg Abbott shows just how vulnerable the hard-right Texas governor could be in a general election.

Why it matters: Abbott has won conservative accolades for his abortion, mask and vaccine bans. Axios reported Sunday that former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to announce a gubernatorial challenge — but a recent poll shows he’s not even the most popular Democrat in the state.

Delayed maps upend midterm campaigns

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Midterm candidates are panicking about how the congressional maps will ultimately be drawn, with several strategists telling Axios campaigns are in limbo.

Why it matters: Candidates are unsure if the district they're targeting will remain intact or be reshaped by the process. The uncertainty is especially vexing to Democrats, who are vying to maintain their narrow margin in the House.

First look: Conservatives' 2022 big target: Tax increases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Conservative groups are unveiling huge ad-buys going after vulnerable House Democrats over tax increases and other revenue measures in their party's massive infrastructure spending bill, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: President Biden and Democrats have an immense amount of political capital riding on a $3.5 trillion bill facing razor-thin margins in both chambers. Conservatives are running ads targeting the House members who leaders will need to pass the measure.

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