May 30, 2017

Axios Login

By Ina Fried
Ina Fried

Welcome back to Login after what we hope was a restful long weekend. Let's get right to it.

Sun co-founder Bill Joy on the quest for a better battery

Bill Joy wants a better battery. I mean, we all want better batteries, but Joy thinks he knows which technology will work, and he is putting his money where his mouth is.

Joy, the co-founder of legendary Sun Microsystems, is an investor and strong backer of Ionic Materials, a Massachusetts-based startup working on a battery that uses solid, rather than liquid electrolytes. Ionic and Joy believe the result will be batteries that are far cheaper and safer than today's lithium-ion batteries. The liquid battery, Joy insists, is a soon-to-be relic.

"In the long run, I think all batteries will get rid of liquid," Joy said in a telephone interview from a boat in French Polynesia (rough life, I know). "We used to have vacuum tubes in a lot of things."

Read more of my interview here.

"It's complicated": the web of self-driving car relationships

Uber and Alphabet may be locked in a bitter legal battle over self-driving cars, but the two companies are intertwined financially and once were quite friendly with one another. It's just part of a very complex web of ride-hail relationships ― in terms of investments, personnel and strategic partnerships ― where rivalries and alliances are often one in the same.

Bottom line: As the ride-hail and autonomous car industries continue to grow, these relationships are likely to become even more conflicted.

Kia Kokalitcheva and Dan Primack – along with Axios visuals editor Lazaro Gamio — put together this very cool graphic to show just how complex the web has become (click here for the interactive version).

Trump's antitrust enforcer vows to keep close eye on mergers

Makan Delrahim, who's expected to be confirmed this week as head of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, believes some so-called vertical mergers (such as the proposed AT&T-Time Warner deal) could pose anticompetitive concerns.

He also said he will "vigorously enforce antitrust laws with respect to online platforms," according to written responses, obtained by Axios, to follow-up questions after his short hearing this month.

Why it matters: Delrahim's confirmation process has been closely watched by executives and investors looking for clues about how he views big-ticket mergers. The questions from prominent senators, including Dianne Feinstein, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, indicate their concerns about increasing concentration in the media and internet markets — and that a wave of consolidation could take place under the Trump administration.

Kim has more, including key excerpts, here.

Take note

On tap: Code Conference kicks off in Rancho Palos Verdes this evening. (I'm there and will bring you lots of coverage)...The Computex trade show, which highlights the computer component industry, has started and runs through June 3 in Taipei, Taiwan.

Trading places: Renee Gregory, former FCC and White House tech advisor, is joining law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

ICYMI: ARM announced its latest chip, which is apparently totally great for AI, AR, machine learning or any thing else that's trendy...The major hotel chains, tired of forking over hefty commissions to Priceline and Expedia, are planning a fresh push to get more travelers to book directly...The CEOs of Apple, Facebook, Google, Salesforce and a number of other tech companies are urging Texas to abandon plans for an anti-transgender "bathroom bill."

Ina Fried