Hello from Munich. Just an FYI that Login won't be in your inbox Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, but we will be back on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, today's Login is 1,431 words, a 5-minute read.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The tech industry's stories about itself always start with nimble startups with great ideas in a garage. But today, many small tech companies feel like they're fighting for survival in an industry where giants have grown entrenched and domineering.
Driving the news: That latter perspective will be on display for lawmakers Friday at a House antitrust subcommittee hearing in Boulder, Colorado, where four smaller companies will detail how they believe Google, Amazon, and Apple have smothered their growth.
The big picture: Silicon Valley once maintained that its small-and-scrappy ethos was the key to innovation, as Alexis Madrigal recently described in The Atlantic. But today's giant companies argue that important change happens only "at scale," and only operations their size can compete with China.
Here's the lineup for Friday's hearing:
1. David Barnett, founder of PopSockets: Barnett, whose company makes eponymous circular grips that stick to the back of phones, grew so frustrated with Amazon's treatment of his company that he eventually stopped selling on the platform.
2. Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos: The speaker maker said it worked with Google to include Google's voice assistant with its speaker, only to have Google steal Sonos technology for its own speakers.
3. Kirsten Daru, vice president and general counsel of Tile: Tile makes small devices to help track lost items like keys or a wallet.
4. David Heinemeier Hansson, CTO and co-founder of Basecamp: Hansson called for Google to be broken up after complaining that paid ads for competitors appeared before Basecamp's website does in Google search results.
The bottom line: Americans often root for the little guy, but antitrust enforcement in the U.S. has mostly focused on harm to consumers rather than protecting the rights of smaller companies.
Photo: Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Microsoft vowed Thursday to be "carbon negative" by 2030 and announced new plans to fund emerging technologies and methods that pull CO2 directly from the atmosphere, as Axios' Ben Geman reports.
Why it matters: Those plans and other climate efforts Microsoft rolled out are perhaps the strongest among Big Tech companies.
The announcement comes as the sector overall is increasingly under pressure from activists over its emissions and work with oil industry clients.
The big picture: Microsoft said its pledge to be carbon negative — that is, to spur removal of more CO2 than it produces — would apply not only to its direct operations and energy supplies, but also to the far larger carbon output from use of its products in the economy.
The company's new efforts include...
The state of play: A UN-led scientific report in 2018 concluded that pathways for holding temperature rise to 1.5°C require some level of carbon removal — not just steeply cutting and preventing emissions.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
NBCUniversal unveiled parts of its new streaming service, Peacock, to investors in New York Thursday, promising a consumer-friendly advertising experience that would set it apart from its many competitors, as Axios' Sara Fischer and Marisa Fernandez report.
Why it matters: Unlike some of its entertainment rivals, NBCU plans to offer free and low-cost subscriptions subsidized by advertising. Netflix and Disney+ are ad-free.
Details: NBCU is trying to make the case that, while it will have ads, they will be less intrusive.
By the numbers: Along with debuting its ad strategy, NBCU also revealed its pricing plan. The service will have three pricing tiers:
The streaming service will also debut six new scripted shows from creators including Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, Norman Lear and Will Forte. It will also be the only place to stream shows from the "Law & Order" and "Chicago Fire" franchises.
The big picture: With more people ditching their expensive cable packages for cheaper, digital TV options, Comcast, NBCUniversal's parent company, needs to ensure that it provides an incentive for consumers to keep buying its services, which also include home broadband.
Sara and Marisa have more here.
CEO Nikki Pechet. Photo: courtesy of Homebound
Homebound, a startup that looks to help ease the process of rebuilding homes after a disaster, announced Thursday that it has raised a fresh $35 million in Series B funding.
Why it matters: In the wake of disasters, money often flows in to help residents rebuild. But homeowners often lack expertise and communities often don't have enough tradespeople to do the job.
How it works: Homebound pairs customers who have lost their homes in a fire with a concierge who helps guide them through the process from planning to ultimately moving back. The company uses digital tools to help homeowners monitor the reconstruction process, view plans, and keep tabs on their budgets.
Background: Homebound was conceived in the wake of 2017 wildfires in Northern California. A co-founder, Jack Abraham, lost his home in the fires.
"In the aftermath of the wildfires, homeowners who lost homes — including Jack — felt helpless as they started the process of trying to rebuild," CEO Nikki Pechet told Axios. "From tackling insurance claims to coordinating with contractors and architects, there was simply too much for anyone to navigate alone."
What's needed: Pechet says the company thought the hard part would be finding enough contractors. "But it was actually an amazing surprise when we found people outside of the Sonoma area who were willing and eager to be a part of our mission."
What's next: For now, the 65-person company is focused on Santa Rosa and Malibu. Pechet said the company will only expand to additional areas when it has enough resources and local connections.
In honor of my trip to Munich, check out this map of every European city.