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Next week our fabulous media writer, Sara Fischer, is launching her own weekly newsletter, Axios Media Trends. You can sign up here. In the meantime, we have a lot for you in today's Login, so let's get to it.

The hunt for the next Uber CEO

Rebecca Zisser, Gerald Rich / Axios

The biggest guessing game in Silicon Valley right now is who might be the next Uber CEO, now that Travis Kalanick has resigned. The company could look to one of several Silicon Valley free agents, including former Twitter COO Adam Bain or ex-SoftBank executive Nikesh Arora. Or the company might choose to poach a leader from another Silicon Valley firm. Then again, the company could look outside the tech industry for a little Fortune 500 stability.

We'll likely be hearing more on this, but we've put together a set of our Axios cards looking at some of the potential CEO candidates. See the full set here.

Q&A: Branson on batteries, Trump, and Uber CEO

Richard Branson was in San Francisco Wednesday as part of a relaunch of Sprint's Virgin Mobile brand. After the event, I asked the Virgin Group chief his views on a variety of topics. I also pressed him for details on a statement he had made earlier in the day that he had a suggestion for Uber's CEO vacancy.

Some key takeaways from our talk:

Just who might Branson have in mind for Uber's next CEO?

"I'll have to let you do some guessing, but, yeah I made a recommendation," he said. "We'll see whether they accept it."

What technology is he most excited about?

Branson pointed to advances in batteries. "There are a couple of breakthroughs that I think are not far off," he said. "I think it may come in time to counteract the damage that Donald Trump has done in his statements about Paris. We're crossing fingers."

Thoughts on President Trump?

Branson acknowledged he is not a fan of Trump. "Everybody knows my views," he said. "I'm somebody that hasn't enjoyed a lot of what has come out of the White House" under this administration.

Read more here.

Startup 8i launches its hologram selfie app

8i

Want to take a picture with a hologram of Spiderman? Well, now there's an app for that.

Details: Virtual and augmented reality startup 8i is releasing its highly anticipated app Holo on Thursday. The iOS and Android app allows people to combine their own videos with pre-created holograms, including branded options from Cosmo and Sony. Other hologram options include a tiger, the llama from Fall Out, Boy's "Young and Menace" video, and a French bulldog in a hot dog costume.

Upcoming: The company, which has strategic investment from Hearst, Time Warner, and Verizon, is promising more types of holograms — like those featuring athletes or celebrities — to be released in the coming months.

"We want there to be a steady stream of new content so you have a reason to keep coming back all the time," CEO Steve Raymond told Axios.

Snapchat's new map feature and the startup that powers it

Snap's launch of its maps feature Wednesday is a big deal for millennials who want to see the location of their friends. But it was also a big milestone for startup Mapbox, whose underlying technology helps make the new feature possible. While the interface and product is result of a lot of hard work by Snap, the underlying map technology draws on work by Mapbox.

More on Mapbox: This is the biggest consumer use yet of Mapbox's technology. The 250-person startup's platform is used by hundreds of companies, many in the enterprise space like IBM and Tableau. You won't hear much from Mapbox or Snapchat on the partnership, but if you look hard enough in the settings there is a small "powered by Mapbox" logo.

Why it matters: While it's nice for Mapbox to have a big consumer-facing customer, the broad adoption also means lots more location data coming back to the company to further refine its mapping information.

Drones, 5G, IoT on Trump's agenda today

"Tech week" continues at the White House, this time with venture capitals and a different set of execs to talk about the next wave of technology and how to finance it.

  • Michael Kratsios, a Peter Thiel ally and U.S. deputy chief technology officer, said the discussion will include "ways we can expand geographical diversity in venture investment, so that as the tech economy grows communities nationwide can benefit."
  • Trump will get demos of how drone technology and 5G can be integrated into cities.
Guest list: While a number of high-profile VCs declined to attend, investors from 500 Startups, Mohr Davidow, Revolution and Lightspeed Ventures are among the guests. Companies represented include household names like Honeywell and AT&T along with smaller companies like Airmap and Kespry. David has the rundown.

Take note

On tap: Trump meets with tech startups and investors at the White House (see above)

Trading places: Former Facebook executive John Lagerling is joining Japanese unicorn Mercari as the consumer marketplace's chief business officer...Benchmark's Bill Gurley is leaving the Uber board, to be replaced by colleague Matt Cohler.

ICYMI: Remember that record $100 million fine the FCC proposed slapping on AT&T a while back? It's all but dead, and David explains why...The Trump administration plans to delay and then scrap a rule allowing foreign entrepreneurs to enter the U.S. to build companies...Apple is looking to convince record labels to take a smaller cut of music subscription revenue, sources told Bloomberg...Waymo is asking a judge to find Uber in contempt, saying the company has admitted it knew former executive Anthony Levandowski had taken Waymo documents before it bought his startup.

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Richard Branson on Trump, Uber and battery tech

Photos: Virgin Group; Illustration: Rebecca Zisser

Richard Branson was in San Francisco Wednesday as part of a relaunch of Sprint's Virgin Mobile brand. After the event, he spoke with me on a range of topics, from his views on technology and President Trump to where he wants the Virgin Brand to go next. Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.

What are the areas of technology that are going to do the most good and have the most change in the next few years?

If I wanted to just choose one, I'd say just battery is the most important thing right now for the world. We've gotten sun (power) now to a fantastically good price, wind at a wonderfully good price, cheaper than coal.
We need batteries to store that sun during night time and to be able to use that during night time. We need battery technology to fly our people across the Atlantic and around the world.

That's been a slow area to get progress compared to other things?

Yeah, but I am quite excited. There are a couple of breakthroughs that I think are not far off. I think it may come in time to counteract the damage that Donald Trump has done in his statements about Paris. We're crossing fingers.

Is it hard to come to the Untied States under President Trump?

Everybody knows my views. ... I'm somebody that hasn't enjoyed a lot of what has come out of the White House (under Trump.)

You mentioned you have somebody in mind for Uber CEO, who might that be?

I'll have to let you do some guessing, but, yeah I made a recommendation. We'll see whether they accept it.

Where would you like to see Virgin go that it's not today?

There are some exciting things we are developing that we will be announcing over the next two to three months which have sort-of cutting edge technology, which are tough, like space is tough. We're becoming a bit of a serial entrepreneur in not-for-profit ventures (too) and doing a lot of work on protecting the oceans, conflict resolution issues, climate change, drug reform, trying to abolish the death penalty, issues that we feel strongly about.
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Who might be the next Uber CEO

Following months of controversies, Uber's search for a COO has now grown to a hunt for a new CEO following Travis Kalanick's resignation on Tuesday. Here are some of the names that have been floated as possible candidates, and the list will surely shift as the search continues:


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Startup Mapbox is helping power Snapchat's new map feature

Snapchat

Snap's launch of its maps feature Wednesday is a big deal for millennials who want to see where their friends are. But it was also a big milestone for startup Mapbox, whose underlying technology helps make the new feature possible. While the interface and product is result of a lot of hard work by Snap, the underlying map technology draws on work by Mapbox.

It's the biggest consumer use yet of Mapbox's technology. The 250-person startup's platform is used by hundreds of companies, many in the enterprise space like IBM and Tableau.

Neither Mapbox nor Snapchat is crowing over the partnership, but a reference to the role is shown on the settings page for the new map feature.

Why it matters: While it's nice for Mapbox to have a big consumer-facing customer, the broad adoption also means lots more location data coming back to the company to further refine its mapping information.

Here's a look at the settings page that reveals Mapbox's role.

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Richard Branson doesn't want Uber CEO job

Ina Fried / Axios

Speaking at a Sprint event on Wednesday, Virgin Group chief Richard Branson said he has offered Uber a suggestion on who should be its next chief. "We'll see whether he gets the job," Branson said, without naming his choice.

Who will be Uber's next chief has become the biggest question in the tech industry, after Travis Kalanick resigned Tuesday night, under pressure from investors.

Branson, meanwhile, praised Kalanick.

"He's created something really special," Branson said. "He's obviously made some mistakes," Branson said, but added that is something that happens when you are building a company quickly. Other executives on a panel were less forgiving of Kalanick, holding him to account for the company's many issues.

"Culture matters," said Bo Ghirardelli, CEO of Skysthelimit.org. "People matter."

That was echoed by author and writer Luvvie Ajai. "I would tell the Uber CEO to listen to black women,"

Jamie Siminoff, CEO of smart doorbell maker Ring had practical advice for Uber, suggesting the company focus on the good it is doing, including keeping many potential drunk drivers off the road.

"I can't understand why they don't talk about that and make it the mission," he said. The mission doesn't excuse a bad culture, Siminoff told Axios afterwards, but part of the path forward could be about refocusing on the good work it can do and the lives it is saving every day. "Nobody talks about that. It's crazy."

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Japanese consumer marketplace hires former Facebook executive for big U.S. push

John Lagerling, who ran business development and mobile partnerships at Facebook until earlier this month, is joining Mercari, a Japanese consumer-to-consumer e-commerce company that is expanding in the U.S. Like OfferUp and LetGo, Mercari wants to make it easier to sell your stuff from your phone. But while those companies are more like mobile versions of Craigslist, Mercari is more akin to eBay, focusing on shipping goods anywhere rather than meeting up with a local buyer.

Lagerling told Axios that as the company's Chief Business Officer, he will be leading its effort to continue growth in Japan and jumpstart business in the U.S. Before Facebook, Lagerling spent eight years at Google, working with Andy Rubin on the Android team.

He admits Mercari has a bit of work to do to raise his profile, noting that when he told his team at Facebook, only two of the 200 people had even heard of Mercari. But, he said, some of the obscurity comes from the fact that unlike a lot of startups, Mercari is targeting average consumers rather than the coastal elites. "It's a bit of a different profile."

By the numbers: Mercari currently operates in Japan and the U.S. and says it does more than $100 million in transactions per month.


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Richard Branson helps Sprint relaunch Virgin Mobile as iPhone-only brand

Sprint is trying to remake its Virgin Mobile prepaid brand, focusing on the iPhone and perks tied to the broader Virgin brand, including discounts on Virgin airlines, hotels and wines. The company announced plans for a new "Inner Circle" offering that offers those who buy an iPhone six months of wireless service for just $1 (and an additional six months free for those who sign up by July 31.)

Virgin Group head Richard Branson was on hand at an event in San Francisco where Sprint announced the move.

"We're committed to innovating," Branson said, rattling off a list of Virgin's current efforts ranging from electric race cars to space travel. Branson said he challenged Sprint two years ago to make better use of the Virgin brand and is pleased to see the company doing so.

Why it matters: Sprint has been looking for some time to reposition Virgin, one of two prepaid brands it has. (It also sells service under the Boost Mobile moniker.) Competition in that space has been tough since T-Mobile bought MetroPCS and AT&T purchased Cricket, not to mention just generally brutal price pressure in the cell phone market.

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Uber CEO Kalanick steps down amid investor pressure

After months of scandal, it was pressure from investors that finally led Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to step down late Tuesday. Axios' Mike Allen discusses the boot from power more here.

What happened: As first reported by Axios' Dan Primack late Tuesday night, a group of Uber's investors was exploring how to achieve a change at the top of the troubled company. The New York Times followed a half hour later with a story that Kalanick was stepping down after getting a letter from five major investors seeking his resignation.

Don't forget: Kalanick had already taken a voluntary, indefinite leave of absence stemming from both the death of his mother and various workplace crises facing the company, including allegations of sexual harassment.

The big question: Who will replace Kalanick and how hard will it be for the company to move forward?

Likely candidates: Possible replacements include top free agents in Silicon Valley (Adam Bain, Nikesh Arora, Marissa Mayer), established leaders (Meg Whitman, Sheryl Sandberg), and non-tech Fortune 500 executives.

The reasons why tech leaders met with Trump

Photo: Dan Scavino / White House; Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Silicon Valley doesn't see eye to eye with President Trump on social and climate change policy. But as we detailed yesterday, that didn't stop most of the industry's top executives from showing up to the White House this week.

From tax reform to high-skilled immigration, these companies have a number of business priorities they feel they need to work on with the White House, and they want Trump to understand their perspective on technology-driven economic shifts. David & Kim take a closer look here.

The skyrocketing file size of top iPhone apps

Data: Sensor Tower's analysis of App Intelligence; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

The top iOS apps have been taking up an increasing amount of space on the device. Sensor Tower reported Tuesday that the total space required by the top 10 most installed U.S. iPhone apps is now nearly 2 gigabytes, up twelvefold since May 2013 when the top 10 apps occupied just 164 megabytes of space.

Two factors at play: First, Apple has been raising the cap on the size of apps, most recently lifting the maximum to 4GB in early 2015. Second, the phones themselves are also coming with more memory, increasing consumer's willingness to put up with bigger apps.

Read more here.

Speaking of iOS, did you know...

There's actually another iOS and it's been around for decades. While the better known iOS comes from Apple, IOS also is the name Cisco uses for the software that powers its networking gear, and it has been around far longer than the iPhone. But as a non-enterprise junkie, it is still funny to hear Cisco executives talk unironically as if its IOS was the only one out there.

History lesson: Cisco also had the trademark of the iPhone and sued Apple over its use of the term. The two companies settled that dispute in 2007. In 2010, it officially licensed Apple to use the term iOS as well. So, now the world has two iOSes.

Preparing for the rise of AI

Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk warn of a coming artificial intelligence apocalypse. Others say the conversation has become alarmist.

Axios asked four experts for their thoughts on how we should prepare in case AI rises.

Why Shift's co-founder is becoming Code for America's COO

Minnie Ingersoll, co-founder and operations chief of car marketplace Shift, is joining Code for America as COO next month, Kia reports. She'll remain an advisor to Shift and continue to attend company meetings and help with recruiting.

The mission: Rather than pushing for new policies, Code for America is focused on improving the implementation of existing ones. Its efforts are geared toward helping underserved Americans, especially those underserved by the tech industry.

"We have no social safety net and we're losing our middle class...and a lot of the tech we're building is on-demand laundry apps...not that there's something wrong with that but there are hungry children," Ingersoll said.

Take note

On tap: Sprint's Virgin Mobile is having a media event in San Francisco with Virgin Group founder Richard Branson expected to be on hand. Sprint has said for some time that it had plans to reinvigorate the prepaid cellular brand...Trump is taking "tech week" on the road, with plans to talk broadband in Iowa on Wednesday; he plans to tell Iowans that he's committed to "including internet connectivity" in any federal infrastructure package.

Trading places: Former FCC advisor Rosemary Harold is the front-runner to be the agency's next top cop as Enforcement Bureau chief, David scooped last night...Chris Lattner, the Apple veteran who joined Tesla as head of autopilot software in January is leaving the company, while the company has hired computer vision expert Andrej Karpathy to work in a key role on the autopilot team, per TechCrunch.

ICYMI: Uber is adding tipping...Cisco says it has a way to spot malware in encrypted traffic without needing to decode the packets...Amazon is testing Prime Wardrobe, a service that lets customers try out different outfits and return the ones they don't want...Security startup Cybereason said it has raised $100 million from investor and partner SoftBank...Adobe reported record quarterly earnings, topping estimates...Former iPhone executive Scott Forstall talked about the early days of the iPhone and iPad in a chat with John Markoff at the Computer History Museum on Tuesday night.

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The top iPhone apps are taking up a lot more space

The top iPhone apps have been taking up an increasing amount of space on the device. Sensor Tower reported Tuesday that the total space required by the top 10 most installed U.S. iPhone apps is now nearly 2 gigabytes, up twelvefold since May 2013 when the top 10 apps occupied just 164 megabytes of space combined.

Data: Sensor Tower's analysis of App Intelligence; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why? There are two big factors at play, and both are tied to moves by Apple itself. First, the iPhone maker has been raising the cap on the size of apps, most recently lifting the maximum to 4GB in early 2015. Secondly, the phones themselves are also coming with more memory, increasing consumer's willingness to put up with bigger apps.

Snapchat has grown the most and is now 50 times the size it was four years ago (204MB vs. just 4MB in 2013).

It's also worth noting these sizes refer just to the amount of space taken up by apps themselves. Associated files can take up way more space, especially for video and audio content.