Thanks everyone for the feedback on the new formatting. Glad to hear people like it. As a reminder, you can always let me know what's on your mind, send tips, slow cooker recipes, etc. just by hitting reply or sending mail to email@example.com.
That said, I'm going to be off Friday and Monday, so the next two issues of Login will be coming from my awesome Axios colleagues.
Bitcoin's wild ride continues
The price of Bitcoin continued to fluctuate wildly Thursday. The digital currency rocketed past the $19,000 mark Thursday morning, just hours after crossing $14,000, before falling sharply to less than $16,000. It continues a remarkable week that has seen Bitcoin's market value top $270 billion, per CNBC, meaning it would rank among the 20 largest stocks in the S&P 500.
Waze doesn't know its way around LA wildfires
Waze and other mobile navigation apps are sending their users towards the wildfires raging in Southern California, according to multiple reports, because streets near the fires are more clear than unaffected streets.
- The details: Waze gave a USA Today reporter directions onto a street blocked off because of the fire, per the paper. And the Los Angeles Times reported that the city's police department was cautioning people about using the programs.
- What they're saying: Google, which owns Waze as well as the Google Maps app, said in a statement that to "to provide access to accurate and useful transportation information, we use algorithmic and manual methods to account for everyday and emergency road closures. These road closures also appear on our LA Fire Crisis Map, embedded as part of our SOS Alert on Search." The company says it will continue to update that map — which appears when users search for information about the fire.
Our thought bubble: Online mapping and navigation tools are useful tools, but they also have their limitations. Though far less serious, I encountered something similar over the weekend where Google Maps wasn't able to recognize that a particular freeway connector in Oakland was closed due to an earlier fatal traffic accident.
Qualcomm says 5G phones coming by 2019
As it wrapped up its Snapdragon Summit in Maui, Qualcomm said Thursday that it expects 5G-capable phones to start arriving in 2019.
- Hawaii wasn't the only place that Qualcomm was talking up 5G. Our Kim Hart caught up with CEO Steve Mollenkopf after a speech in Washington DC, where he echoed the enthusiasm the was on display in Maui. "5g is the underlying fabric that allows everything in every industry get connected," Mollenkopf said.
- Bonus: The company also said it doesn't expect the devices to be battery hogs — as was the case with early 4G LTE devices.
- Cash cow: One of the reasons Qualcomm is so excited for 5G is that it expects to continue to make a bundle from licensing its related patents. Fierce Wireless reported last month that Qualcomm expects to collect $16.25 per phone, well ahead of Ericsson's $5 per phone royalty.
Ajit Pai's got jokes
Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai faces the biggest moment of his tenure so far next week when he brings his net neutrality repeal plan to a vote. But Thursday night he gave the chairman's annual comedic keynote at a dinner held by all the telecom lawyers in D.C. The key moments, per David McCabe in the room:
- "Now people ask me, 'Well, what keeps you up at night?' And that's actually pretty easy: the thought of the FCC having to resolve a retransmission dispute between Verizon and [conservative broadcaster] Sinclair. I mean, how do you choose between your longtime love and your newfound crush."
- "The biggest political firestorm had to be when President Trump suggested that we should revoke the licenses of NBC. Of course, this attempt to influence us was a nonstarter. Who do you think we are, the Antitrust Division?," he said, in a reference to the Department of Justice's case against the AT&T-Time Warner merger.
- The Fortune Global Forum continues in Guangzhou, China.
- Facebook director of corporate development Gary Johnson is moving over to Pinterest to be head of corporate and business development, per Adweek.
- From the department of "this isn't helping," Bloomberg reports that some Silicon Valley companies are hiring models to make their holiday parties more female and good-looking.
- Another women has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct by investor Shervin Pishevar. Boston entrepreneur and author Laura Fitton tells Axios that Pishevar forcibly kissed her and engaged in other inappropriate behavior after a charity event six years ago.
- A judge dismissed a gender pay gap lawsuit against Google, saying it didn't meet the legal standard for a class action suit.
- A judge set a March 19 trial date for the Justice Department's effort to block AT&T's Time Warner acquisition..
- SoftBank is considering investing as much as $300 million in DoorDash, according to Recode.
- San Francisco passed tough new rules on the number of delivery robots the can be operated in the city.
- Chinese authorities are pouring through WeChat message logs and detaining people for comments, even joking ones, made in such forums, the Wall Street Journal reports.
- Patreon announced it was changing its fee structure, prompting an outcry from artists.
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