Why it matters: From the Valley to D.C., Big Tech players like Facebook, Google and Amazon are under more scrutiny than ever as new technology develops and privacy and antitrust concerns grow in lockstep with companies’ ambitions.
Unity Technologies was just one of many companies with blockbuster IPOs this week, but it took a decidedly different approach, using data rather than handshakes to decide who got to invest and at what price. CEO John Riccitiello explained why in an interview with Axios.
Why it matters: Traditionally, bankers and companies set IPO prices based on conversations and expectations, a process that has been criticized as basically leaving money on the table.
President Trump has 48 hours left to either follow through on his threatened ban of TikTok, or accept a proposed tech partnership with Oracle.
Axios Re:Cap digs into how the TikTok user community has reacted to this political drama, and what comes next, with New York Times tech reporter Taylor Lorenz.
TikTok received an unlikely vote of public support from its rival Instagram Friday, in response to the Commerce Department's latest order barring downloads of the app beginning Sunday. Meanwhile, the Chinese-owned video platform also said it would challenge the Trump administration's ban order as a violation of due process.
Why it matters: Major internet platform companies do not like to see different rules written for international apps in different countries, and many in the industry are beginning to view the campaign against TikTok as a dangerous precedent.
Matt Peterson, a senior Amazon exec, joined the "Axios Re:Cap" podcast to explain the thinking behind the tech and commerce giant's climate venture capital fund, which rolled out its first investments on Thursday.
Why it matters: The fund, $2 billion to start, is beginning to invest on the heels of Amazon's late 2019 pledge to be net-zero emissions by 2040.
More Americans own a smart speaker than ever before and the devices are also seeing an increase in usage, according to a survey from Adobe, results of which were shared first with Axios.
Why it matters: Smart speakers and displays not only represent a new frontier for computing, but also could shift the balance of power in search and advertising, as Google faces tough competition from category pioneer Amazon.
Arizona State University, which has been at the forefront of the shift to online learning, is partnering with VR startup Dreamscape to help make its classes more cinematic in both approach and storytelling.
The big picture: Shifting in-person classes online too often feels like a "less than" experience. The partners hope that a more ambitious digital transformation of teaching can actually improve on the traditional classroom.
The Commerce Department issued Friday an order blocking new downloads of WeChat and TikTok in the U.S. as of Sept. 20.
The state of play: President Trump has been in a standoff with TikTok, threatening to ban the app if its Chinese owner, ByteDance, does not relinquish control to a U.S. company. A deal is in the works with the American tech company Oracle, but would need to go through before Sunday to prevent TikTok from being ousted from app stores.
Republican member of the Federal Trade Commission Noah Phillips intends to stay at the agency through the end of his term, which is up in about three years, and has not yet decided what happens after, he told Axios during a taping of C-Span's "The Communicators" this week.
Why it matters: Phillips is one of three Republicans serving on the five-member agency, along with Chairman Joe Simons and Republican commissioner Christine Wilson. Their perspective holds sway at an agency that is pursuing big tech more aggressively than in the past, but still moves meticulously when bringing antitrust cases.
An agreement between TikTok's Chinese owner ByteDance and Oracle includes a variety of concessions in an effort to make the deal palatable to the Trump administration and security hawks in Congress, according to a source close to the companies.
Driving the news: The deal, in the form of a 20-page term sheet agreed to in principle by the companies, would give Oracle unprecedented access and control over user data as well as other measures designed to ensure that Americans' data is protected, according to the source.