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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Silicon Valley's tech companies have a new argument in the unfolding debate over their size and power: We're better than the Chinese competition.
Why it matters: Washington is concerned about both China's rise and Big Tech's power. Now, Axios' David McCabe reports, the companies are trying to use the former to defuse the latter, as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did this week.
What they're saying:
My thought bubble: As much as companies are holding out China as the boogeyman publicly, they are doing it even more behind closed doors. Several times in the past month, as I have talked to big tech companies, they've explained their unwillingness to set limits or halt work with the government by noting that "You know, the Chinese aren't having this debate."
The big picture: Major Chinese internet companies like Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com are growing fast.
Yes, but: Chinese tech companies could struggle to succeed globally — even without American competition — because there is so little trust that they'll keep customer data private from the government.
Go deeper: NYT's Farhad Manjoo argued Wednesday that the way for the U.S. to meet the challenge from China is for the government to fund more research.
AT&T is announcing today that Charlotte, Raleigh and Oklahoma City will be among the dozen cities that will get 5G service this year.
Why it matters: There's a big marketing battle shaping up over the race to 5G with all four major carriers saying they will be first in one way or another. Eventually 5G will pave the way for connecting whole new types of devices, but the first use will be for faster internet service.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
After a months-long battle, Comcast said Thursday it would no longer pursue the acquisition of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets, nearly guaranteeing that Disney will acquire most of Fox barring any regulatory concerns.
The bottom line: As Axios' Sara Fischer notes, the combined company will nearly double Disney's size, giving it enough content and international assets to take on Netflix, which has quickly become a dominant force in the American entertainment industry.
Some other metrics:
Go deeper: Sara has more here.
One of the nonprofits leading the fight against the Trump administration's immigration policies has declined a donation from Salesforce after the business software company refused to end its contract with the U.S. border patrol.
Salesforce has maintained that it “isn’t working with CBP regarding the separation of families at the border,” but the group, known as RAICES, rejected the logic, along with the donation. RAICES stated:
Your software provides an operational backbone for the agency, and thus does directly support CBP in implementing its inhumane and immoral policies. There is no way around this, and there is no room for hair splitting when children are being brutally torn away from parents, when a mother attempts suicide in an effort to get her children released, and when an 18 month old baby is separated from their mother in detention.
The context: By taking strong positions on other social issues, Salesforce has won many fans on the left, but it also means that it gets held accountable when people feel it has made any kind of compromise. That said, employees at other tech companies, including Microsoft, have also questioned their companies' work with U.S. immigration agencies.
If you are curious how exactly the Justice Department plans to publicize foreign influence attempts like election meddling, Axios' Joe Uchill has a deep dive on the process.
How it works: The notification policy will apply to four groups of victims, all of which are now pretty familiar. Had the policy been in place in 2016, it could have been used to notify:
Why it matters: We’re two years removed from the last massive election tampering campaign, less than a week removed from a suspected Russian operative being arrested for trying to infiltrate and influence conservative circles, and three months away from the next election.
Go deeper: Read the rest of Joe's story here.