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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Policymakers in D.C. are targeting a handful of specific Chinese-owned companies as they try to thread the needle between protecting U.S. security and avoiding wider disruption of the two nations' interdependent economies.
The big picture: A new wave of proposals in Congress is turning TikTok, Huawei and other specific companies into proxies in Washington's broader power struggle with Beijing, Axios' Kyle Daly reports.
What's new: Sen. Josh Hawley will soon introduce a bill to ban federal employees from using TikTok on government devices, he announced at a Wednesday hearing centered on Chinese technological threats.
Yes, but: Breaking up with China isn't easy.
Meanwhile: China's enormous middle class has become a major market for U.S. companies like Apple. China, like many other countries, also continues to rely heavily on the U.S. for software, hardware components, and other tech.
Tech and telecom firms have become lawmakers' first stop in targeting China for three reasons:
Between the lines: The U.S. has had its own issues with government surveillance programs, and American tech companies are wrestling with the federal government over its demand for encryption back doors to aid law enforcement.
What's next: Coronavirus-driven supply chain disruptions may soon end up teaching American companies more about how to get along without Chinese counterparts than any Congressional mandate.
The TED conference in Vancouver and IBM's Think conference are the latest major gatherings to be affected by the coronavirus.
Driving the news: As I scooped yesterday, TED organizers plan to either postpone the event to July or hold a digital-only gathering. IBM will make Think, which last year drew 30,000 people to San Francisco, into a digital event.
Why it matters: Travel restrictions are increasingly making large-scale events unfeasible in the short term, with many companies now restricting domestic, as well as International travel as the coronavirus spreads in a number of U.S. cities.
Where it stands: In a note to attendees, TED curator Chris Anderson insisted the event wasn't being canceled. "We have two compelling options for how to outwit this virus, and we need your input."
IBM, for its part, did more than just cancel the in-person version of Think. It is also suspending domestic travel for internal meetings and for participation in all external events with more than 1000 attendees. International travel is limited to "only business-critical situations when virtual methods are insufficient.
Meanwhile: In other coronavirus-related tech news:
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Twitter became the latest company to introduce a feature akin to Snapchat Stories, with Twitter Fleets, messages being tested in Brazil that disappear after 24 hours.
Why it matters: Similar features have already come to Facebook, Instagram and even LinkedIn. There was even a meme around Microsoft adding "Excel Stories," though that has yet to happen.
What they're saying: Twitter acknowledged the similarities between Fleets and other "stories" products.
"I know what you're thinking: 'THIS SOUNDS A LOT LIKE STORIES!' Yes, there are many similarities with the Stories format that will feel familiar to people. There are also a few intentional differences to make the experience more focused on sharing and seeing people's thoughts."— Twitter product chief Kayvon Beykpour, in a tweet
Go deeper: Everyone's ripping off Snapchat's Stories
AT&T will look to cut tens of billions of dollars in costs over the next few years, including job cuts in the near term, AT&T president John Stankey said at a Morgan Stanley conference this week.
Why it matters: Critics were quick to point out that AT&T's cost-cutting plans come despite previous promises to increase investment and create jobs as part of the case for corporate tax cuts and the easing of net neutrality rules.
Driving the news: Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Tuesday, Stankey said that the company has been focused on "10 broad initiatives that we believe can generate double digits of billions over a three-year planning cycle."
What they're saying: An AT&T spokesman noted that the company invested more than any other company in the U.S. between 2014 and 2019, including 20% more in capital expenditures than Verizon.
Yes, but: AT&T plans to spend in the "$20 billion range" on capital expenses this year, down from $23.7 billion last year and $23.2 billion in 2018.
Go little robot, go.