Jun 9, 2017

SoftBank buying robotics company Boston Dynamics

SoftBank has agreed to acquire the Boston Dynamics robotics unit of Google parent company Alphabet, around one year after a possible sale was first reported. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which is being done via a SoftBank subsidiary rather than through its new $93 billion private equity fund.

Why it matters: Depending on your point of view, Boston Dynamics robots are either the coolest thing in the world ― or the most terrifying, due to their Terminator-like ability to both run and get back up after falling down. Possible applications range from military to industrial to consumer, with Amazon originally having been said to have interest as a warehouse tool.

What happened: From a business perspective, there was intractable tension between Boston Dynamics engineers who wanted to do super-creative stuff for street cred and Alphabet executives who wanted commercial product on the market.

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Exclusive: Global trust in the tech industry is slipping

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The backlash against Big Tech has long flourished among pundits and policymakers, but a new survey suggests it's beginning to show up in popular opinion as well.

Driving the news: New data from Edelman out Tuesday finds that trust in tech companies is declining and that people trust cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence less than they do the industry overall.

"It was 30 years ago, get over it": Mike Bloomberg's partner brushes off NDA concerns

Diana Taylor at a Mike Bloomberg event last month. Photo: Ron Adar/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Diana Taylor, Mike Bloomberg's longtime partner, dismissed the concerns surrounding non-disclosure agreements used at his company, Bloomberg LP, telling CBS News that she would say to those bothered by the allegations, "It was 30 years ago, get over it."

Why it matters: Democratic candidates have used the NDAs as a talking point against Bloomberg, calling on him to allow women to speak about the reported sexual harassment and gender discrimination they faced while working for him.

Trump's opportunity to use Bernie as an economic scapegoat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Zach Gibson/Stringer, The Washington Post/Getty Contributor

Bernie Sanders is poised to become an economic scapegoat for both the White House and Corporate America, assuming that Sanders comes through Super Tuesday unscathed.

The big picture: If the U.S. economy remains strong, President Trump and CEOs will claim credit (as they've been doing for three years). If it turns sour, they'll blame Bernie (even though it's a largely baseless charge).