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Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
For years, China's TCL sold tons of TVs and phones in the U.S. under other brand labels, like Alcatel and RCA. These days, though, it's looking to make its own moniker into a household name here.
Why it matters: TCL's move comes amid threats from Washington to push at least some Chinese tech out of the U.S. market. And it marks a bit of global brand unity that contrasts with efforts companies like TikTok have made to distance themselves from their China connections.
Driving the news:
What they're saying: TCL marketing executive Stefan Streit said he isn't worried that a strained U.S.-China relationship will hurt the company the way that it has companies like Huawei and ZTE.
Yes, but: TCL will still sell devices under the BlackBerry brand it licenses from that company. (Blackberry no longer makes hardware of its own.) TCL will also keep selling lower-end Alcatel devices through carriers.
Between the lines: TCL's branding move for its premium phones makes sense, since consumers think of Alcatel as a budget device, analyst Carolina Milanesi of Creative Strategies said. TCL phones will naturally feel to buyers like TCL TVs — "a smart buy, not a compromise buy," as she put it.
What's next: TCL will also look to bring its appliances, like air conditioners, to the U.S. market.
Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images
TikTok on Wednesday published a lengthy update to its rules of conduct, sharpening its definition of unacceptable content and its stance towards misinformation, as Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
Why it matters: The move is an acknowledgement that TikTok's previous standards did not adequately address the onslaught of content-related issues that the video-sharing platform is starting to face as it grows.
What's new: Tiktok's updated community standards are three times the length of the old guidelines. The platform has defined 10 issues which its content policies address, ranging from suicide and self-harm, to minors' safety, hate speech and violent content.
Be smart: While TikTok's old guidelines addressed many of these areas, the new rules go into much greater detail.
The big picture: TikTok's unprecedented rise has rattled U.S. lawmakers, who fear that the Chinese-owned app's ambiguous standards around content, as well as data privacy, could pose security risks to the U.S.
Separately, TikTok patched multiple holes in its security at the end of 2019 that had left the video sharing app's accounts, videos and user information potentially exposed for most of the year, as detailed in a new report from cybersecurity research firm CheckPoint.
It's rare to hear a CEO talk proudly about bringing profit margins down, but Arm chief Simon Segars says that's just what his company's 2016 acquisition by SoftBank has allowed him to do.
Why it matters: Arm-based chips have found their way into nearly every smartphone. Freed from having to satisfy shareholders with hefty profits, Segars says that under SoftBank, Arm can focus on investing, in hopes of finding similar dominance in the cars and smart devices of the future.
For those not familiar, Arm doesn't make chips, but licenses its processor designs to companies like Qualcomm, Nvidia and Apple that use it as the starting point for their own chips. It was acquired for $32 billion by SoftBank in 2016.
As a public company, Segars said, Arm had roughly 50% percent operating margins. Now those margins are about 10%.
"I don't know of companies that do that successfully in public markets. It would be very hard."— Segars, in an interview with Axios
It's not about making less money in the long term, of course, Segars said, but rather about investing so that it can gain a bigger foothold in areas like cars.
As Arm doesn't make the actual chips, most of that investment is in people. The company is now around 6,500 employees, up from 4,500 when it was acquired by SoftBank.
What's next: Segars said Arm is focused on the long-term impact 5G will have on businesses and in connecting all manner of devices, as well as making sure its designs are used throughout the connected car.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Apple on Wednesday offered fresh details on its fast-growing services business, which had a record year in 2019, as Sara reports.
Why it matters: Apple has been focusing on growing its services business as iPhone growth has stalled.
Backdrop: 2019 was a transformative year for Apple's services business. The tech giant introduced a gaming service called Apple Arcade, a subscription video service called Apple TV+, a subscription news app called Apple News+ and a credit card called Apple Card. It also expanded some of its older software services, like Apple Music and its App Store.
By the numbers: Apple released engagement numbers for several of its services.
Yes, but: The company notably did not offer subscription numbers for some of its newer services like Apple TV+, which launched in November with mixed reviews, and Apple Arcade, which launched in September.
Go deeper: Apple pivots to media as iPhone sales fall
Funny or tearjerker? OK, I'm going tearjerker. Check out this viral video of a mom with dementia realizing she is talking with her daughter.