And, I was able to put some old tech industry knowledge to use today. Read on to see where.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Photo: Microsoft
CEO Satya Nadella doesn't think Microsoft alone can solve the housing crunch in the Pacific Northwest, but that isn't stopping the company from investing $500 million in affordable housing there.
Why it matters: Tech companies have been widely blamed for making their hometowns unaffordable for anyone not in their industry — and even for some of their own workers.
The big picture: Some tech companies have embraced a role in dealing with housing costs and homelessness, while other companies have fought efforts to boost taxes.
What they're saying:
"We don’t have enough affordable housing units that then can be bought by people in these jobs. We’re going to invest quite a bit. Microsoft can’t solve this by ourselves. But we should do our fair share to create more supply. It’s a supply problem. There’s a market failure that we need to go work on. That’s what we’re going to do."— Satya Nadella, speaking to reporters earlier this week
"What it’s required them to do is live farther away and spend more of their day commuting. It has undermined the health of the communities in which our companies are prospering."— Brad Smith, also from earlier this week
Be smart: Investing in affordable housing is a socially responsible move. But the tech companies benefit, too. Skyrocketing housing prices make it harder to recruit new talent, especially entry level workers with lower salaries. Plus, tech workers at all income levels want quality schools and transportation, services which suffer when teachers and bus drivers can’t afford to live there.
In the Trump administration's latest effort against Huawei, federal prosecutors are exploring criminal charges against the company for stealing the intellectual property of business partners, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Details: The allegations stem, in part, on a years-old case in which Huawei workers stole part of Tappy, a cellphone testing robot used by T-Mobile US, which sued Huawei in 2014.
Our thought bubble: It certainly was a bad look for Huawei, costing them business here and hurting their reputation. But it's a really old case to be basing new charges on. Nonetheless, it joins other current concerns including how Huawei is dealing with U.S. sanctions as well as issues related to 5G.
Photo: Sergei Konkov/TASS/Getty Images
Facebook said Thursday that it has removed hundreds of pages and accounts that pretended to be real news sites from places in Eastern Europe, but were actually operated employees from Russian state-owned news company Sputnik, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
Why it matters: The effort potentially shows a new tactic being used by Russia to weaponize misinformation — using its state-run media arm to create fake posts that look like they come from real newsrooms in vulnerable countries.
Between the lines: Facebook says the groups also spent $135,000 on ads, the first big ad spend announcement the tech giant has made since it first revealed bad actors bought ads on the platform in the fall of 2017.
The bigger picture: These announcements are becoming common from tech platforms, particularly Facebook and Instagram. Despite efforts to secure their platforms, Big Tech is still very vulnerable to attempts to manipulate users via organic and paid activity online.
What's next: Expect congressional and advocacy outrage — and probably news of more activity. Facebook says it hasn't yet reviewed the organic activity linked to the accounts that bought the ads yet.
Go deeper: Read Sara's full story.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere. Photo: T-Mobile
T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who has carefully crafted his image as a customer-friendly maverick, drew significant criticism Wednesday after the Washington Post reported that he and other executives have been spending a lot of time in Donald Trump's D.C. hotel since announcing plans to buy Sprint.
Why it matters: The move appeared to be a way to curry favor with the leader of an administration tasked with deciding whether the Sprint deal goes through.
What they're saying:
Flashback: This actually isn't the first time Legere's stay at a Trump hotel has been in the news. He famously was staying at one back in 2015 and complained about loud noise outside his room. Trump responded by criticizing T-Mobile's service. Legere responded by immediately checking out while the dispute continued on Twitter.
Amazon today announced plans for re:MARS, a new conference that will be focused on topics like machine learning, automation, robotics and space.
The event will take place June 4–7 in Las Vegas and include speakers from Amazon as well as a number of leading academics.
Context: It's an extension of a more private event, MARS, that had been run by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, which he dubbed "summer camp for geeks."
I'm a sucker for the U.K. Parliament's rituals and this video of Speaker John Bercow trying to bring things to order is amazing.