The party for Salesforce's Dreamforce is tonight at the local baseball stadium, which was recently renamed Oracle Park. Or, as Salesforce calls it, the place where the San Francisco Giants play baseball.
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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
As lawmakers and regulators zero in on issues around Chinese tech companies and U.S. tech companies' ties to China, the longstanding low U.S. profile of Chinese tech brands is beginning to change.
The big picture: Our devices are made in China but our software and services, for the most part, aren't. TikTok is a big exception — and now the video-sharing network is under fire amid concerns over its Chinese ownership and the potential for censorship or risks to user data.
For its part, the company has broken its silence and is on a media campaign to distance itself from the Chinese government, an effort that could include a rebranding to disassociate the service from its Chinese ownership, per the Wall Street Journal.
As TikTok looks to play down its Chinese roots, it is following a path similar to the few Chinese companies who have gone after the U.S. consumer market.
Yes, but: Chinese companies aren't the only tech firms that don't trumpet their ownership of high-profile brands. A surprising number of people fail to connect Instagram and WhatsApp with Facebook, which owns them. Ditto for Google and YouTube.
History lesson: The first Chinese tech company to make a serious run at the U.S. consumer market was Lenovo, which bought IBM's PC business back in 2005.
Meanwhile: U.S. brands, outside of Apple, have largely struggled in China, where the internet is dominated by homegrown brands like Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba. The Chinese hardware scene is also dominated by domestic players such as Oppo, Xiaomi and Huawei.
In separate responses to congressional inquiries released Tuesday, Amazon disclosed the breadth of its Ring subsidiary's partnerships with local police departments, and admitted that it used sales data from third-party products to help decide which products to start selling under its own name.
Why it matters: Both disclosures will give fresh ammunition to the company's critics.
On Ring, in response to an inquiry from Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Amazon noted that it now has partnerships with more than 600 police agencies across the country, with few guide rails on how data from Ring's video doorbells will be used.
As for the products, Amazon told House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) that it doesn't use data from individual sellers to inform its own product plans, but it does use aggregated data to make such decisions.
The FTC is also said to be looking into Amazon's relationships with its marketplace sellers.
Not surprisingly, Tim Cook and Marc Benioff found plenty of common ground in their Tuesday fireside chat at Dreamforce, Salesforce's annual developer conference. After all, the two CEOs are close business allies and share a passion for civil rights issues.
It wasn't the kind of environment likely to produce news or answer tough questions. But the setting did allow Cook to drop his guard more than he typically does.
The CEOs talked tech, too.
What's next: The company is looking forward, not back, with a top executive saying that the company won't rely as heavily on data as rival Netflix did in building its service or creating its content.
Yes, but: Mayer did concede that Disney needed to invest more in its technology in order to make its product as functional as Netflix for users. He said that he thinks that Disney will be able to match Netflix's engineering capabilities in a couple of years.
The bottom line: Disney has a lot riding on Disney+, and the company wants to reach 60 million to 90 million subscribers by 2024.
Would your smartphone take a bullet for your? This Pixel 3 took one for its owner.