Oh thank goodness. I was worried I was going to have to spend all day in your inbox surrounded by spam.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images
Facebook, its investors and its critics wrestled Wednesday with how to assess the prospect of a $3 billion to $5 billion government fine for the social media giant.
On the one hand, that would be a record fine for the Federal Trade Commission, and it's certainly nothing to sneeze at.
On the other hand, it's likely just a flesh wound to a company that brings in roughly that much revenue every month — and a monetary fine alone provides no guarantee that the company's behavior will change.
Driving the news: In its quarterly earnings filing, the company announced that it has set aside $3 billion to cover its liability before the FTC for a variety of issues, most prominently the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.
Why it matters: A settlement with a fine this size would represent a giant win for an agency that had never imposed a penalty on a tech firm more than roughly $20 million.
Between the lines: The amount is a kind of Goldilocks median for the two parties — big enough for the FTC to claim a record victory, small enough for Facebook to take a brief earnings hit and then keep on minting money.
Our thought bubble: The Axios tech team has some quick takes...
The bottom line: Thanks to Facebook's unusual disclosure (we can't ever remember a company accounting for a regulatory fine that hadn't even been proposed), the size of the fine the company could face is now known.
But the real question — and potentially the bigger cost to Facebook — is whether regulators impose any new conditions on the company.
Microsoft isn't just winning the techlash, as we reported yesterday. It's also making a ton of money.
What's new: The company reported $30.6 billion in revenue and $8.8 billion in profits yesterday, exceeding expectations amid strength in both its growing cloud efforts as well as its legacy PC business.
The bottom line: The corporate computing business may not be as sexy as consumer markets, but it's steady and profitable.
There are a bunch of items to watch for in Intel's earnings report today, beyond the usual financial metrics.
Here are 3 things I'll be listening for....
Nils Nilsson in 1987. Photo: Ed Souza / Stanford News Service
Nils Nilsson, a pioneer in artificial intelligence whose groundbreaking work helped lead to today's online maps, died Tuesday at the age of 86.
Nilsson's work was foundational to several modern technologies, Axios' Kaveh Waddell writes. Anyone who's gotten directions online, played a video game, or marveled at moving robots has experienced the legacy of his research.
Nilsson's navigation work "motivated everything that's in Waze and Google Maps," says Frank Chen, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz who studied under Nilsson at Stanford. "That's pretty lasting influence."
Go deeper: Kaveh has more here.
Speaking of small potatoes ... Thanks to Airbnb, you can stay in one.