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Alan Diaz/AP

Ford's abrupt naming of a new CEO—James Hackett, the head of its Smart Mobility division—makes it clear that the company wants to catch up in the self-driving race. In explaining the Ford board's move, NBC aptly pointed out that Waymo is ahead of the automaker (and all other self-driving car companies, for that matter) when it comes to miles driven autonomously and a good track record of safety drivers not having to intervene in cars' operations.

Apple and oranges: But these metrics aren't the only assessment of a company's potential. What's more, the two companies are more likely to work together than to compete with each other given their respective business models and core competencies.

Since Waymo became a standalone unit within Alphabet, new chief John Krafcik made it clear that it has no plans of manufacturing cars on its own—rather, it's focused on building self-driving tech for actual automakers to eventually use. And that's not to mention all the investments Ford has already made into autonomous driving tech and companies, including LiDAR maker Velodyne, and Argo.ai, an artificial intelligence startup founded by Waymo and Uber veterans.

Bottom line: If anything, chairman Bill Ford Jr.'s comments about the need for more cost cutting and streamlining reveal the real reason: Ford needs to focus on making and selling cars at a profit.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

COP26 head warns Glasgow summit will be "harder than Paris"

Alok Sharma, U.K. COP26 president, in Milan on Sept. 30, 2021. Photo: Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

U.K. COP26 President Alok Sharma told reporters Tuesday that the upcoming talks in Glasgow, widely viewed as the last chance to avoid some of the worst consequences of global warming, will be extremely difficult.

Driving the news: Sharma sought to temper expectations and note that the agenda features some of the toughest items that negotiators have punted on at previous summits.