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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
As tech companies expand their power and impact on society, even outfits whose work lies mostly behind the technical scenes are finding themselves in an unfamiliar spotlight.
Wednesday's case in point: Microsoft's GitHub unit, a key asset for software developers but hardly a household name, was in the news for all manner of things — from protests over its work with U.S. immigration authorities, to new product releases, to an effort to ensure that humanity's greatest code achievements can outlast humanity.
Why it matters: A big part of GitHub's value to Microsoft is the fact that it is widely used by a broad range of developers. That's why Microsoft paid $7.5 billion for the company last year, and why GitHub is desperately (and unsuccessfully) trying to steer clear of controversies.
History lesson: GitHub is a service that allows individuals and companies working on software projects to create repositories of their code. It's especially popular in the open source community and part of Microsoft's effort to stay central even to developers who aren't focused on Windows.
Driving the news:
The big picture: With an increasingly activist tech workforce, it's not only the industry's giants that have to navigate political controversy and ethical dilemmas. Lots of companies, even those that aren't particularly consumer facing, are being called out by their workers to explain U.S. government and military work, ties to China and other issues.
Screenshots of cable news chyrons at 8:01pm ET Wednesday.
The story of the first day of public impeachment hearings varied dramatically Wednesday based on where consumers get their news, Axios' Sara Fischer, Neal Rothschild and Scott Rosenberg write.
Why it matters: The absence of shared facts and narratives on TV and online will make it hard for either party to make its case stick.
On the right, conservative media doubled down on the narrative that Republican questioners like Reps. Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes crushed Democrats' main arguments.
On the left, Democrats focused on messaging that Ambassador Bill Taylor's testimony was damning for President Trump and concentrated on his new information about a cell-phone call between Trump and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
Be smart: The echo chambers on social media are ones users build for themselves by choosing who to follow and befriend online. The echo chambers on TV are prefabricated by cable networks trying to amass ratings. Together, they lock in partisan narratives and lock out conflicting information.
The big picture: The divide is so complete that the event itself cleaved in two. You could assemble one version of the hearing from the left, with all the Democrats' questions spliced together, and then another reel from the right, with the GOP representatives' questions spliced together, and end up with two completely different events.
Our thought bubble: Members of Congress understand this dynamic, and play to it during public hearings to win coverage.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
WeWork reported a $1.25 billion net loss for the third quarter during a call on Wednesday with the embattled company's bondholders, more than doubling its year-earlier number, Axios' Dan Primack reports.
Why it matters: These results represent WeWork's final quarter under the leadership of Adam Neumann, who was ousted after a failed IPO.
Axios obtained a copy of the slide deck presentation. Some highlights:
What they're saying: WeWork did not provide any forward-looking guidance on layoffs or senior management changes.
The bottom line: The real reporting challenge will come in three months, when WeWork's quarterly results will reflect its new, slower-growth strategy.
The Walt Disney Company said Wednesday that its new streaming service Disney+ had 10 million sign-ups since it launched Tuesday at midnight.
Why it matters: Disney wouldn't release the number if the company didn't think it represented a major milestone, Sara reports. Disney told investors in the spring that it hopes to reach 60 million to 90 million subscribers by 2024.
Yes, but: Verizon is giving unlimited mobile subscribers a free year of the service while Disney+ offers everyone a 7-day trial. Retention will be key.
The big picture: Analysts anticipated strong consumer interest prior to the launch of the new service.
Our thought bubble, via Sara: Disney threw a ton of marketing dollars behind its launch. A better measure of its success will be whether it can continue to grow as other rival streaming services launch with new programming.
What's next: Disney says it doesn't plan to release Disney+ subscriber data outside of the company's quarterly earnings calls.
I think we all could use a little of this pygmy hedgehog camping, no?