Hello from Las Vegas, where Sara Fischer, Kia Kokalitcheva, Joann Muller, Mike Allen and I are bringing you what you need to know from CES 2020 (aka we wait in long lines so you don't have to).
Today's Login is 1,351 words, a 5-minute read.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
The biggest battles Big Tech faces in the coming year pit the industry's corporate colossi against the U.S. government, foreign nations, and the human needs of their own customers, Axios' Scott Rosenberg writes.
1. Securing the 2020 U.S. election
Federal officials have documented Russia's operations to manipulate the 2016 election at length and in detail, but the U.S. political system has yet to come to terms with that attack, or plan a rigorous defense against a repeat.
2. Defining the limits of privacy
Congress' failure to pass national privacy legislation last year left the new California Consumer Privacy Act as the de facto law of the land.
3. Coping with the antitrust onslaught
Antitrust cases can drag on for years, but the speed and momentum of multiple investigations into whether Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple are engaged in monopolistic practices suggest 2020 will bring some resolution to the cases. That could come in the form of lawsuits or settlements — or the closing of an inquiry, effectively absolving the target company.
4. Defending a global industry in an age of "decoupling"
The globalist triumphalism of the '90s and 2000s has given way to Trump-era protectionism and a splintering of the global internet into three distinct regions — the U.S., Europe and China — with fundamentally different legal regimes.
5. Flipping tech from harm to "wellness"
Overuse of smartphones and the social media apps they bear has left many in the industry and the broader public yearning for less screen time and more control.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
President Trump's use of Twitter to threaten Iran brought renewed calls for CEO Jack Dorsey to take action to limit the president's use of the platform. However, Twitter maintains none of the president's messages violate the company's policies.
The bigger picture: Twitter has said that, in general, it will leave political leaders' tweets up even if they violate the terms of service that apply to other users. Last year it announced a policy that would see the company append a warning to tweets deemed to violate its rules. But, it has yet to apply that policy to Trump or anyone else.
Driving the news: In the wake of the killing of Qasem Soleimani, President Trump took to Twitter, using the platform to threaten to bomb Iranian cultural sites and, later in the weekend, to say he was putting both Iran and Congress on notice that if any Americans were killed he would take action — potentially disproportionate action — against Iran.
What they're saying:
The bottom line: Twitter is unlikely to rein in Trump.
Amazon made a series of moves at CES in Las Vegas, most notably announcing deals to get its Fire TV software built into more televisions, soundbars and even the back seats of cars.
Why it matters: In tech, it pays to control the operating system. Amazon found itself on the outside looking in when it came to smartphones, and wants to maintain a strong position in smart TVs, speakers and other emerging consumer devices.
Driving the news:
Meanwhile: Amazon also announced its Ring unit is expanding further into home lighting, including the first Ring smart LED bulbs.
And Lamborghini is adding Alexa to its Huracán EVO this year.
Samsung has set Feb. 11 in San Francisco as the date and place for its next Unpacked event, where it is expected to launch the next high-end Galaxy smartphone as well as likely a new foldable device.
Why it matters: The event is being held earlier than past Galaxy launches and its announcement comes after the date was revealed in a leaked video. It comes in between next week's CES in Las Vegas and February's Mobile World Congress, a traditional launching point for smartphones.
The image in the teaser that accompanied Samsung's invitation aligns with the rumors of a more square-shaped foldable phone than the current Galaxy Fold.
Separately: Samsung did use CES to show off its latest TVs, including an 8K QLED model, several MicroLED displays that can be combined to form a giant MegaTV and the Sero, which can be rotated vertically or horizontally like a tablet or smartphone. Oh, and it is also adding support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa into its smart TV line, after previously putting its energy into its less-popular-but-homegrown assistant, Bixby.
But when will there be a truly important use of augmented reality? ... Oooh, bubbles!