Technology

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.

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Japanese gaming giant Konami at a crossroads

Image: Konami Digital Entertainment

Some unusual new game releases from Konami highlight the strange state of one of gaming's most legendary companies.

Why it matters: Konami was once as revered as Capcom, Sega, Square, Nintendo and other Japanese game-makers, but it has drifted into other businesses and lost the confidence of many players, particularly in the West, who are no longer quite clear what it stands for.

Tom Steyer: Private companies starting to invest more in climate solutions

Photo: Axios

The world will have to spend four trillion dollars a year to solve the climate crisis, Tom Steyer, the billionaire founder of Farallon Capital, said at an Axios virtual event on Thursday, but private businesses will play a crucial role.

Why it matters: Steyer's comments come two weeks after the billionaire launched Galvanize, a climate tech investment platform that will back companies from the seed-stage through private equity and project finance.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Investors pour millions into immersive, interactive art experiences

Photo Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images

How much would you pay for "a sleek, if pleasantly confusing, package of moods" or "a confusing tangle of disjointed installations" or even "the total erosion of meaning itself"? The answer, according to the current market-clearing price, seems to be about $35.

Why it matters: Investors are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into ticketed experiences — immersive, interactive museum-like spaces that don't have the d0-not-touch stuffiness of traditional museums.

Ina Fried, author of Login
7 hours ago - Economy & Business

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer to step down

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer speaking at a forum in Laguna Beach, Calif., in October 2019. Photo: Martina Albertazzi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook confirmed Wednesday that CTO Mike Schroepfer will leave that post next year and become a part-time adviser, while longtime engineering executive Andrew Bosworth will assume the CTO role.

Why it matters: It's a major leadership shift that has one veteran engineering leader cutting back his involvement and another getting a significant promotion.

Ina Fried, author of Login
8 hours ago - Technology

Hands-on with Microsoft's new Surface hardware

Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

Since I was in Seattle anyway, I managed to pop over to Redmond Wednesday to check out the array of Surface hardware Microsoft debuted earlier in the day.

Why it matters: Microsoft is rolling out Windows 11 on Oct. 5 and the new products give it a fresh lineup to accompany the biggest update to its operating system in years.

EU moves to require single charging method for all phones

Photo: Kenzio Triboullard/AFP via Getty Images

The European Commission proposed legislation Wednesday that would require mobile phone manufacturers to adopt a single charging method in an effort to boost convenience for consumers and cut down on electronic waste.

Why it matters: If the European Parliament passes the legislation, USB-C will become the standard charging port used in all newly produced smartphones, tablets and other chargeable consumer electronics sold in the European Union.

Instacart's new president talks advertising, post-pandemic business

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Consumers who rushed to use delivery services during the pandemic won't abandon them even though most restrictions have eased, says Instacart's new president, Carolyn Everson.

Why it matters: Instacart is rumored to be planning an IPO, though it reportedly tried to sell itself to a couple of rivals amid rumors of weakening customer demand for grocery delivery.

Tech firms' nightmare: Vanishing green cards

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Thousands of green cards are about to go to waste, leaving Google, Microsoft and other tech companies fuming — and pushing the Biden administration to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Why it matters: Tech workers have waited years for green cards that will grant them permanent legal status in the U.S. — but because of pandemic-related processing delays, they will have to wait even longer.

Marvel's "Guardians" gamble

Image courtesy of Eidos-Montréal

Eidos-Montréal's upcoming entry into the Marvel gaming universe, "Guardians of the Galaxy," has big shoes to fill — but may just be on track.

The details: A recent demo given to the press covers part of the game's fifth chapter, where the Guardians find themselves exploring an oddly deserted Nova Corps station.

"Fortnite" blacklisted from Apple store

Image courtesy of Epic Games

Epic Games CEO and founder Tim Sweeney said Wednesday that Apple has "blacklisted ['Fortnite'] from the Apple ecosystem until the exhaustion of all court appeals," a process that could take up to five years.

Why it matters: It appears "Fortnite" won't be returning to the Apple store any time soon.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 22, 2021 - Technology

Microsoft debuts new Surface hardware

Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft unveiled updates to its Surface line, including laptops, convertible tablets and an improved versions of its Android-based dual screen Surface Duo.

Why it matters: The new devices come ahead of Windows 11's official launch on Oct. 5.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Sep 22, 2021 - Economy & Business

Zoom's mega-merger with Five9 is hitting speedbumps

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

Video conferencing giant Zoom is having troubles with its $14.7 billion deal to buy Five9 (Nasdaq: FIVN), a cloud-based call center operator.

Why it matters: Some of the opposition is related to shareholder value, but the bigger issue is geopolitical tensions with China.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Sep 22, 2021 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: David Pakman leaves Venrock for CoinFund

Venture capitalist David Pakman. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Venture capitalist David Pakman is leaving Venrock after nearly 13 years, to become managing partner of crypto-focused CoinFund.

Behind the scenes: Pakman has backed several crypto startups via Venrock, including NBA Top Shot creator Dapper Labs, but regulatory limits make it hard for traditional venture firms to dive too deep into crypto without becoming a registered investment adviser.

Sep 22, 2021 - Technology

Facebook says Apple’s ad changes are hurting its business

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Facebook said Wednesday that changes to Apple’s new privacy terms will continue to cause headwinds for its ads business in the third quarter.

Why it matters: Facebook doesn’t typically provide these types of updates outside of earnings calls. The update signals to investors that the company is seeing numbers in the current quarter that reinforce previous warnings about impact from Apple’s changes.

Facebook fights for its image

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Facebook is ditching apologies and taking a more combative stance against its critics as it faces a new barrage of negative coverage and leaked internal reports.

Driving the news: As part of the new posture, Facebook started testing placing positive messages about itself in users' News Feeds last month, according to a New York Times story Tuesday.

Russian hackers target Iowa farm co-op

Farmer in Iowa. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Russian hackers launched a ransomware attack on an Iowa farming co-op and demanded $5.9 million to unlock the company's computer networks, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: NEW Cooperative, a member-owned alliance of soy and corn farmers consisting of over 8,000 members, was forced to go offline on Tuesday due to the cyberattack. The system is used to track food supply chains and feeding schedules for millions of chickens, hogs and cattle.

Sep 22, 2021 - World

Scoop: U.S. government buying risky Chinese drones

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Federal law enforcement agencies are purchasing surveillance drones from a Chinese company the Pentagon has deemed a potential national security threat, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Efforts to purge military and law enforcement agencies of potentially compromised Chinese technology have stalled amid bureaucratic red tape, and experts worry the federal government is needlessly exposing itself to snooping by malicious foreign actors.

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