Manufacturing a semiconductor wafer. Photo: Alfredo Sosa/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images
Global chip sales rose nearly 14% last year to a record $468.8 billion, according to new numbers from the Semiconductor Industry Association. However, growth slowed significantly in the second half as the industry enters what appears to be a period of slower growth.
Why it matters: Chips are at the heart of all manner of electronics, from phones and PCs to broader markets like cars and appliances. Plus, unlike the gear they end up in, a significant number of semiconductors are not only designed in the U.S. but also manufactured here.
Slowing growth: Several factors are weighing on the chip business, beyond the fact that it is a cyclical industry that has boomed for the last couple of years. In particular, there are concerns that the U.S.-China trade dispute as well as a slowing domestic Chinese market for consumer electronics could be hurting business.
By the numbers:
A girl uses the adaptive Xbox 360 controller. Screenshot: Microsoft via YouTube
This year's Super Bowl ads highlighted society's divide over the promise of big tech, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
What we're seeing: Some spots showed dystopian fears around robots and automation. Others showed ways new technologies can improve health care, employment and connectivity.
Why it matters: The conflicting messages reflect the debate happening right now over whether automation and artificial intelligence will improve our lives or displace our humanity.
There was also a bit of irony to be found in the millions of dollars spent on ads by streaming tech companies. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and YouTube TV all purchased spots Sunday, serving as a reminder that traditional television, and particularly the Super Bowl, is still considered a top destination for high-level branding.
Another major theme this year was the power of female protagonists. Bumble, Toyota, Wix, Amazon Prime and Hulu all ran ads showing the power of women in sports, in the workplace, and in society.
Go deeper: Sara has more here.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
China's tech giants have invested aggressively to expand esports in ways that U.S. tech platforms, like Amazon's Twitch and Google's YouTube, have not, Sara reported over the weekend as part of our Axios deep dive on the business of sports.
Why it matters: Those investments are what could drive the Chinese gaming community ahead of some international rivals, despite being smaller in reported revenue ... for now.
The big picture: Alibaba and Tencent use unparalleled reach across e-commerce, logistics, entertainment and tech to change the way users consume, interact with and participate in sports.
Axios published a deep dive on the business of sports this weekend that covers a range of issues from the rise of esports, to the dawn of nationwide legal sports betting. I even got to write a piece on the challenging economics and persistent pay gap in womens' sports.
Go deeper: Read the full report here.
Google is launching 2 new features aimed at making its mobile operating system more accessible.
Why it matters: There are more than a billion people with a disability, some 15% of the world's population. Technology, when implemented thoughtfully, can play a big role in knocking down barriers. Beyond that, advances in accessibility often have a way of making technology more usable for everyone.
Check this out, then bookmark it for the next time you have to hang a picture.