Jul 13, 2017

Axios Login

By Ina Fried
Ina Fried

Shocker. I'm headed to the airport again. But more on that in a bit (see On Tap).

The complicated politics of net neutrality

Although Wednesday saw a showing of support for net neutrality from a variety of tech companies and executives, the politics are actually quite complicated. The FCC appears likely to scrap the rules no matter what.

Meanwhile, Kim and David scooped Wednesday that Republican congressional leaders have been warning tech leaders not to make too big a stink over this issue, less they see their influence wane on other topics.

Yes, but: The public appears to be on the side of the tech companies. A new poll finds that even supporters of President Trump want an open internet, with 75% supporting net neutrality. Overall, 86% of all Americans say service providers should treat all content equally and 70% of respondents — including Democrats, Republicans, and Trump supporters — think the internet has improved while net neutrality rules have been in place.

PC sales down for 11th quarter in a row

Higher memory and display prices put further pressure on the already slumping computer market, with PC sales down yet again last quarter, according to preliminary numbers from Gartner. Shipments were down 4.3% from a year ago and represented the lowest quarterly total since 2007, according to the market researcher.

  • It's worth noting that Gartner's numbers don't include Chromebook sales, which have been growing, or iPad sales, which haven't.
  • As for Chromebooks, Gartner says shipments last year grew 38% in 2016, while the overall PC market declined 6%.

HP and Dell on the rise: While most of the market was down, HP posted its fifth straight quarter of year-on-year growth and passed up Lenovo to reclaim the top spot among PC makers globally. Dell also posted a slim year-on-year rise for its fifth straight quarterly gain. Apple's Mac sales were roughly flat.

Microsoft and Google make big moves on AI

There was a bunch of news on the artificial intelligence front Wednesday as a major industry conference took place in London. Google revealed it is buying India's Halli Labs, which is trying to use AI to solve old problems.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is setting up a new AI lab as part of its research division as the company aims to better compete with Google's DeepMind. Microsoft also released a free iPhone version of its Seeing AI app, which describes the world for blind people. The company showed a preview of it last March, showing how it can do everything from describing one's surroundings to reading a menu.

Wall Street sours on Snap

With Snap shares closing below the company's $17 IPO price for the first time this week, a number of analysts are rethinking their initial public enthusiasm for Snapchat's parent company.

  • Morgan Stanley cut its price target to $16 from $28 saying that they were wrong about Snap Inc.'s ability to innovate and improve its ad product this year.
  • Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju lowered his target to $25 from $30 citing raised volatility in Snap trading.

Sara has more here.

Money quote

Why is it so hard to protect corporate networks? Microsoft president Brad Smith says:

"Every company has at least one employee who will click on anything. That's pretty hard to protect."
Take note

On tap: The National Governors Association meeting kicks off tonight in Providence, R.I. I'll be there starting Friday and will interview Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on cybersecurity and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer about his latest work with USAFacts.org...Also, today is National French Fry Day.

Trading places: Coworking and office space owner WeWork has promoted Jen Berrent, currently chief culture officer, to chief operating officer. Meanwhile, co-founder and chief creative officer Miguel McKelvey is taking over as culture chief. Berrent, a former lawyer who joined the company in October 2014, is seen as CEO Adam Neumann's right hand as the company looks to expand both geographically and in its range of services.

In other news, Box said that former Cisco and Apple executive Stephanie Carullo is joining as COO, replacing Dan Levin...Lyon Wong is stepping down from Spectrum 28, the Silicon Valley venture firm he co-founded...Sony has hired former Harry Reid aide Kevin Kayes for lobbying work.

ICYMI: Uh oh. New data suggests there may not be enough jobs created to replace the ones the robots will take away...Verizon exposed personal info from millions of its subscribers...Parking-ticket-fighting chatbot DoNotPay has helped people get out of 375,000 tickets, saving customers about $10 million...Coding school Dev Bootcamp is shutting down, saying it couldn't find a sustainable business model...Developing nations face peril of new tech...Uber and Yandex merge ride-hailing business in Russia.

After you Login

Former NASA engineer Mark Rober has built the world's largest Super Soaker, capable of shooting water at more than 240 miles per hour, enough to shatter windows. Check out this YouTube video to see it in action.

Ina Fried