Big Tech backlash

Tech conferences' spotlight shifts away from product launches

Andy Rubin debuts the Essential Phone at Code Conference 2017. Photo: Asa Mathat for Vox Media via Getty Images

Not that long ago, what people wanted from a tech conference was to hear from executives about the next shiny object coming down the pipeline.

What's new: Nowadays, tech CEOs aren't talking about what's fresh from their corporate ovens — instead, they're the ones being grilled.

The clash of two troubles

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

U.S. politics have teed up twin reckonings — one a sudden threat against the gargantuan power accumulated by Big Tech, and the second a challenge to the decades-long rise of China. 

What's happening: The two, launched one after the other, appear to be on a collision course, potentially jeopardizing one or both of the risky U.S. attempts to police the market at home and maintain geopolitical primacy abroad.