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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47 mins ago - Podcasts

Podcast: Not enough laptops

This weekend we're posting four mini-episodes of the Axios Re:Cap podcast, focused on the unique challenges of back-to-school in 2020. This one digs into the device drought that could render remote learning irrelevant.

Facebook begins merging WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger infrastructures

Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook is starting to merge the messaging infrastructure of its apps WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram, the Verge reports.

Why it matters: This is the latest move in Facebook's broader initiative to fuse individual apps and products, paving the way for users to be able to communicate cross-platform.

3 hours ago - Technology

The coming age of digital reality

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The next decade of technological advances — in virtual reality and AI — is poised to move more of human life into the digital realm.

The big picture: Moments of great upheaval are often followed by major technological and social innovations. Prompted in part by the pandemic, the 2020s could see the development of a new reality that captures the best of the analogue and virtual worlds.

Epic Games lawsuit against Apple, Google highlights hurdles for apps

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Big Tech antitrust throwdown of 2020 continued Thursday when Fortnite maker Epic Games sued Apple (and Google) over how they manage their mobile app stores, objecting, for instance, to the 30% cut the company takes from in-app payments.

Why it matters: Apple’s control over iOS app distribution has been a thorny issue, so any changes would have ramifications for the business models of startups and indie app developers.

Trump tightens screws on ByteDance to sell Tiktok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump added more pressure Friday night on China-based TikTok parent ByteDance to exit the U.S., ordering it to divest all assets related to the U.S. operation of TikTok within 90 days.

Between the lines: The order means ByteDance must be wholly disentangled from TikTok in the U.S. by November. Trump had previously ordered TikTok banned if ByteDance hadn't struck a deal within 45 days. The new order likely means ByteDance has just another 45 days after that to fully close the deal, one White House source told Axios.

22 hours ago - Technology

Facebook goes after Apple

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Facebook is seeking to force a face-off with Apple over its 30% in-app purchase commission fee, which Facebook suggests hurts small businesses struggling to get by during the pandemic.

The big picture: Facebook has never publicly gone after Apple, a key strategic partner, this aggressively. Both companies face antitrust scrutiny, which in Apple's case has centered on the very fee structure Facebook is now attacking.

Apple's antitrust fight turns Epic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Millions of angry gamers may soon join the chorus of voices calling for an antitrust crackdown on Apple, as the iPhone giant faces a new lawsuit and PR blitz from Epic Games, maker of mega-hit Fortnite.

Why it matters: Apple is one of several Big Tech firms accused of violating the spirit, if not the letter, of antitrust law. A high-profile lawsuit could become a roadmap for either building a case against tech titans under existing antitrust laws or writing new ones better suited to the digital economy.

Aug 14, 2020 - Technology

Media giants look abroad to build next round of streaming services

Data: Company filings; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Facing saturation and stiff competition in the U.S., media giants are planning to launch new streaming services internationally to accrue more subscribers.

The big picture: Growth in streaming video is exploding, particularly since the pandemic began, and media companies seem to see a lot of unclaimed territory out there. Streaming made up 25% of TV usage last quarter, up from 19% at the same time last year, according to Nielsen's latest total audience report.

What Kamala Harris as VP could mean for Silicon Valley

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Stringer

Tuesday, Joe Biden announced Calif. Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate for November’s presidential election, which is likely great news for Silicon Valley and friends.

The big picture: Harris is not only from California, but she spent some of her earliest years in politics in San Francisco. And her ties to the tech industry run deep.

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