Tuesday's technology stories

Coinbase posts monster Q1 results ahead of direct listing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cryptocurrency company Coinbase posted $1.8 billion in revenue for Q1 2021—more than it brought in for all of 2020, ahead of its direct listing next week.

Why it matters: Coinbase's public listing is hotly anticipated and seen by insiders as an event that will bring validation to the industry.

E3 returns this June with an all-digital show

A scene from E3 2019 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Photo: Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The video game industry’s biggest trade show, E3, will be held June 12–15 as a virtual event full of livestreamed press conferences and demonstrations of new games, the show’s organizers at the Entertainment Software Association announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: E3’s digital return is an attempt to reestablish the long-running show as the game industry’s premier showcase, following the cancellation of the event in 2020 and amid questions about E3's continued relevance.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Apr 6, 2021 - Technology

Sarcos Robotics going public in $1.3 billion SPAC deal

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sarcos Robotics, a Salt Lake City-based developer of robotic exoskeletons, agreed to go public at a $1.3 billion implied valuation via acquisition by Rotor Acquisition (NYSE: ROT), a SPAC led by Wall Street vet Brian Finn.

Why it matters: Expect this one to get some special scrutiny from the SEC. Finn's venture capital firm, Rotor Capital, last year led a Series C investment in Sarcos and also participated in a CES product unveiling. And Finn seems aware of the potential pitfalls, mentioning the existing relationship early in today's investor presentation.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Apr 6, 2021 - Technology

Unpacking LG's legacy as it exits the smartphone market globally

LG's 2013 G Flex was among the first phones with a flexible display. Photo: LG

In a world where smartphones have become increasingly homogeneous, Korea's LG was notable for being willing to take risks, even in its flagship models.

Why it matters: LG's exit from the smartphone business doesn't put a lot of market share up for grabs, but the firm's penchant for trying new things will be missed.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Apr 6, 2021 - Sports

Sacramento Kings to offer bitcoin as salary option

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Sacramento Kings will become the first major sports franchise to offer a bitcoin payment option to all players and staff, Coindesk reports.

The backdrop: Russell Okung made headlines in December for becoming the first NFL player to convert some of his salary into bitcoin.

Tampa Bay leads the way on blockchain

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Whether you understand the world of cryptocurrency and are already using it — or you’ve been living under a rock and trying to avoid it (like us) — there’s one thing you need to know: Tampa Bay is where its future is being built.

What's happening: Like the garage Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built the first Apple computers in, Tampa has become the hub for startups centered around blockchain.

Oracle vs. Google was a software fight for the ages

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The epic legal fight between Oracle and Google took place in the technical trenches, but it captured Silicon Valley's imagination because it dramatized deep tensions that the software industry has never resolved.

The big picture: A software program is a machine that's written. Because of that, software has always held a precarious position within the legal system.

Google's Supreme Court win has the software industry breathing easier

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Monday's Supreme Court's ruling in favor of Google over Oracle left much of the software industry feeling like they'd dodged a bullet.

Why it matters: By resolving an 11-year-old dispute over rights to program code in favor of Google, the Supreme Court is allowing tech companies to largely continue with their practice of building on past software advances in creation of new technology.

Clubhouse teams up with Stripe for payments feature

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Clubhouse is rolling out the ability to send payments directly to other users, partnering with digital payment company Stripe to facilitate the feature.

Why it matters: Clubhouse has touted plans to help conversation hosts generate revenue on the app amid a growing push for creators of digital and social media content be better compensated. Hosts receiving money will get to keep the entire amount for now.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Apr 5, 2021 - Technology

ACLU says it shares user data with Facebook, a frequent target of criticism

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying to a House panel. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The American Civil Liberties Union is raising eyebrows after updating its privacy policy to note that it is sharing data with Facebook, one of the companies whose policies it often criticizes.

Why it matters: The move shows that even many organizations that don't like Facebook nonetheless find it an effective way to reach people online.

Apr 5, 2021 - Technology

Supreme Court sides with Google in long-running copyright dispute with Oracle

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Supreme Court handed Google a major victory on Monday, marking an end to a bitter battle between two tech giants over the use of software and copyrights.

Driving the news: The Supreme Court ruled 6-2 Monday in favor of Google in its long-running copyright dispute with Oracle.

Supreme Court vacates lower court decision on Trump blocking Twitter followers

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Supreme Court vacated a lower court ruling that found former President Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking followers on Twitter, ordering the case to be dismissed as moot now that he is no longer in office.

Between the lines: Though the Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of the case, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a concurring opinion that the "unprecedented" amount of control that Twitter and other digital platforms have over speech must be addressed in the future.

Cleo Capital adds new partner with second fund

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Cleo Capital is raising $20 million for its second venture capital fund and has added Earn.com co-founder Matt Pauker as a second general partner, Axios has learned. It just held a $6.7 million first close, per an SEC filing.

Why it matters: Cleo is one of a (still) small number of Black-led VC firms, and an even smaller number to raise more than a first fund.

Apr 5, 2021 - Technology

Big Tech's big D.C threat: the FTC

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While antitrust lawsuits and Capitol Hill hearings get headlines, Big Tech's biggest threat in Washington may come from the Federal Trade Commission.

Why it matters: The FTC is gearing up to flex its muscle, by both enforcing current rules and trying to draft new ones. And it may be able do so relatively quickly.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Apr 5, 2021 - Technology

LG is getting out of the mobile phone business

The dual-screen Wing was one of LG's latest efforts to win back business in phones. Photo: LG

After years of trying to turn its fortunes around, Korea's LG said it would exit the mobile phone business globally.

Between the lines: The phone business is a hard one to make profitable for all but the largest players. LG was once one of those, but hasn't been for many years, and had no clear path to change that.