I finally bit the bullet and set up a real home office yesterday, putting a desk in the bedroom.
Today's Login, which comes to you from said desk, is 1,311 words, a 5-minute read.
Situational awareness: Taiwanese chip giant TSMC confirmed plans to build a semiconductor manufacturing plant in Arizona amid White House interest in boosting U.S. chipmaking operations.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Tech companies are gaming out how to bring employees back to the office, but many are expecting a new normal in which a significant portion of their workers stay home for good.
Why it matters: Some tech firms may find they are just as productive with a remote workforce. But a shift away from in-office work will have profound impacts on everything from the commercial real estate market to the vast number of support jobs that were built around serving Silicon Valley's sprawling campuses.
Driving the news:
Some companies were headed toward more remote staff even before the coronavirus crisis.
Others found themselves having to quickly switch gears.
Between the lines: Embracing remote work has a number of benefits for companies beyond just the costs of hiring and retaining workers.
Yes, but: Some companies have invested significantly in their campuses and have a vested interest in maintaining an office culture.
The big picture: Companies' stances will range from Twitter's "stay home forever if you want" to Apple's "can't wait for you to come back in." Software companies are likely to have an easier time than hardware producers relying on a largely distributed workforce.
What's next: Not all the changes we are seeing as a response to the coronavirus will be permanent. Some jobs that are being done remotely at the moment, including many roles in sales and support, will require more travel once shelter-in-place rules ease.
As had been rumored, Apple is buying NextVR, an Orange County, California-based startup best known for streaming sports, concerts and other live events in virtual reality. The company confirmed the acquisition first to Bloomberg, and also to Axios.
Why it matters: NextVR was struggling before the pandemic hit. The combination of slower-than-expected adoption of VR headsets and now a lack of live events put severe pressure on the company's ability to raise funds and build its business.
The purchase price was not disclosed and Apple declined to comment beyond telling Axios, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," the typical statement it offers when it buys a company.
Between the lines: While NextVR had deals with the National Basketball Association and others, Apple's acquisition doesn't necessarily mean Apple will continue taking the company in that direction. Indeed, the only message now on both NextVR's website and Oculus app is a statement that "NextVR is heading in a new direction" and thanking its existing fans.
Go deeper: If you missed it earlier this week in Login, check out our special report on VR:
As they hope to weather the coronavirus crisis despite severe dips in business, Airbnb and Lyft have both made new hires focused on safety and community, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.
Driving the news: Airbnb announced yesterday it has hired AppleCare chief Tara Bunch as its new head of global operations, while Lyft recently brought on Jennifer Brandenburger as its first director of community safety.
Between the lines: The coronavirus pandemic has raised the stakes when it comes to making customers feel safe and comfortable. Sharing economy companies, such as Airbnb and Lyft, will have to find ways to convince customers their services are safe, while not imposing such severe standards on hosts and drivers that they abandon work.
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios
Large smart city projects were getting a lot of attention and investment from city halls before the coronavirus pandemic. Now, those budgets have all but evaporated and priorities have shifted dramatically, Axios' Kim Hart reports.
Yes, but: Some smaller-scale innovations could help cities as they fight to recover from the crisis.
Driving the news: Citing "unprecedented economic uncertainty," Google sister company Sidewalk Labs last week abruptly halted its high-profile bid to transform a formerly industrial Toronto neighborhood into a mini city of the future.
The big picture: Local economies have ground to a near-halt due to the pandemic, and cities' precarious financial situations will force tough decisions about what services and products to fund.
Still, some tech tools will likely play a crucial role as cities and companies look to open up offices, shops and public spaces over the next several months.
Kim has more here.
Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
Apple laptops, now and then. On the left, Apple's just-introduced 13-inch MacBook Pro. At right, my still-working PowerBook 145B from 1992.