Feb 3, 2017

Clash of titans: tech v Trump

Ringo H.W. Chiu, Jae C. Hong, Evan Vucci / AP

May you live in interesting times ...

A 26-year-old who created disappearing messages for kids filed for an IPO that could top $20 BILLION, despite losing $500 million last year. This was days after Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel agreed to invest $2 billion in Google's "cloud," which until a few years ago was something that blocked the sun, but now houses our digital secrets and creates vast riches for tech titans.

Thanks in part to this money cloud, Google knocked off Apple as the world's most valuable brand. Elon Musk, who builds private rocket ships and mass-consumer electric cars for the rich, agreed to keep his meeting with Donald Trump this morning, so he can push for, among other things, making "humanity a multi-planet civilization."

Meanwhile, the sector where all of the companies reside seemed ready for war with Trump over restricting the foreign-born talent that helped bring them to life and property.

Only major changes are going to defuse this collision between the new White House and the new economy. A sweeping WashPost front-pager led by Silicon Valley correspondent Elizabeth Dwoskin points to "[r]ising alarm along the West Coast's tech archipelago from Silicon Valley to Seattle."

The Post reports that tech companies "are preparing themselves for a high-stakes confrontation with the president." Three juicy points:

  • A new letter warning of the economic risks of the administration's economic policies is being drafted by executives at Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple and others.
  • "Some tech companies are now considering whether to move jobs out of the United States to places with more relaxed immigration policies, such as Vancouver, B.C., and Dublin, which have made clear they would welcome an influx of U.S.-based immigrant technology workers."
  • Read this paragraph: "A little more than half of U.S. start-ups that are estimated to be worth more than $1 billion were founded by immigrants, according to the National Foundation for American Policy, an Arlington think tank. ... Satya Nadella, the chief executive of Microsoft, is an immigrant from India; Google co-founder Sergey Brin is a refugee from the former Soviet Union; and Omid Kordestani, Twitter's executive chairman, was born in Iran. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant."

Go deeper

China tries to contain coronavirus, as Apple warns of earnings impact

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

As China pushes to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus — placing around 780 million people under travel restrictions, per CNN — the economic repercussions continue to be felt globally as companies like Apple warn of the impact from the lack of manufacturing and consumer demand in China.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others, mostly in mainland China. There are some signs that new cases are growing at a slower rate now, although the World Health Organization said Monday it's "too early to tell" if this will continue.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Apple will miss quarterly earnings estimates due to coronavirus

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple issued a rare earnings warning on Monday, saying it would not meet quarterly revenue expectations due to the impact of the coronavirus, which will limit iPhone production and limit product demand in China.

Why it matters: Lots of companies rely on China for production, but unlike most U.S. tech companies, Apple also gets a significant chunk of its revenue from sales in China.

America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.