Happy Cinco de Mayo. For those who aren't fluent in Spanish, that translates to, "Happy birthday, Dad." Well, at least in my family.
Today's Login is 1,482 words, a 6-minute read.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
As the coronavirus pandemic heightens tensions between the U.S. and China, policymakers and industry are promoting a new, software-driven approach to build next-generation cellular networks without using Chinese equipment, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill reports.
Why it matters: It's a tall order to replace the wireless ecosystem's hardware-powered status quo, but designing 5G more around software could make it cheaper and easier to deploy — and give hawks a way to lock out China's products.
Driving the news: A new coalition of more than 30 tech companies launched Tuesday to advocate federal policies to fund research and development of open and interoperable 5G networks.
Details: Founding companies of the Open RAN Policy Coalition include Amazon's AWS, AT&T, Cisco, Facebook, Google, Oracle, Dish Network and Verizon.
How it works: The group, like other backers of leaning harder on software, hopes to see 5G networks handle some functions virtually and to create open standards to underpin software that could run on any standard hardware.
What they're saying: "Let's break down the barriers and inject more competition and get more folks in the space," Diane Rinaldo, the former top Commerce Department telecom official who's leading the Open RAN Policy Coalition, told Axios. "That only drives newer, better things coming into the market."
On Capitol Hill, some key lawmakers already want to fund the development of open-software-driven 5G networks.
The big picture: The White House and the Federal Communications Commission have each signaled interest in the technology.
A group of equipment makers that specialize in Open RAN technology is also pushing the UK to consider that approach, as Axios first reported. The UK has so far ruled that Huawei can be a part of its 5G networks, despite U.S. pressure.
Yes, but: Despite support within the administration, there are also detractors. Attorney General William Barr, a former Verizon executive, called the concept "pie in the sky" in a speech in February that favored investing in Ericsson and Nokia as a counter to Huawei.
What to watch: Dish Network is tasked with building a new nationwide wireless network. It recently signaled its commitment to doing so through the software-based approach, inking a service agreement with network software provider Mavenir.
Tim Bray, vice president and distinguished engineer at Amazon Web Services, announced Monday in a blog post that he resigned after the company fired workers who raised concerns about warehouse employees frightened of the coronavirus, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.
Why it matters: Amazon has been a lifeline for consumers during the pandemic, but it has drawn rising scrutiny over whether it's doing enough to protect its fulfillment center workers from the coronavirus.
The other side: Amazon denied the connection, saying it terminated the employees for violating internal policies.
What he's saying: Bray, an influential early software blogger and one of the creators of the XML data standard, worked for Amazon for five years and called the position "the best job I've ever had."
"The big problem isn't the specifics of COVID-19 response," Bray wrote. "It's that Amazon treats the humans in the warehouses as fungible units of pick-and-pack potential. Only that's not just Amazon, it's how 21st-century capitalism is done."
Our thought bubble: Bray is an engineering expert whose role at Amazon Web Services put him at a far end of the giant’s operations from its retail warehouses.
Photo: AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Steven Sinofsky, the former Microsoft executive and current Andreessen Horowitz board partner, has been working on a book chronicling what he learned during his decades at Microsoft, including his time leading the Office and Windows teams.
Why it matters: There are a lot of lessons today's tech giants can learn from Microsoft's experiences — and Sinofsky was at Microsoft for many of its most crucial moments.
"I'm so often asked by founders and execs at big companies 'why' or 'how' or 'what were you thinking' about the products I was fortunate enough to work on at Microsoft that I thought I would write down the stories about organization, management, culture, that I often share."— Sinofsky, in an interview with Axios
What he's saying: In an excerpt published Monday night on Fast Company's website, Sinofsky recalls early security headaches — including the ILOVEYOU email worm, which infected computers 20 years ago this week.
The backstory: Sinofsky said he had hoped to publish the book soon, but like many other things, the plans have been disrupted by the pandemic.
Courtney Brousseau. Photo: Twitter
Colleagues and friends paid tribute Monday to Courtney Brousseau, a 22-year-old Twitter product manager also known for his activism in favor of public transit. Brousseau died Monday after sustaining fatal injuries in a shooting Friday night in San Francisco's Mission District.
Brousseau was shot shortly after he posted a picture from San Francisco's Dolores Park. "I just ate a delicious burrito in Dolores Park and for a brief moment everything felt okay," he said in his final tweet.
What they're saying:
This pottery-making technique is cool, and the video of it in action is positively mesmerizing.