Big Tech

The big picture

Ranking the 5 big suits against Google and Facebook

Facebook stands to lose the most, but Google is more likely to lose, according to antitrust experts.

Dec 18, 2020 - Technology
Big Tech's reckoning on race

The industry also must grapple with the effects, good and bad, on inequality.

Jun 12, 2020 - Technology
Tech giants' life cycles shape their crisis responses

Their ages help determine their responses to the coronavirus, government investigations, and protests against racial inequality.

Jun 11, 2020 - Technology
Sundar Pichai's Alphabet to-do list

The new CEO of Google's parent company inherited a long list of issues in need of tackling.

Dec 17, 2019 - Technology
The sovereign state of Facebook

It's making the kinds of world-shaping decisions that used to be in the hands of governments.

Nov 1, 2019 - Technology
For tech, it's all hard problems now

The giants must navigate treacherous political, social, and ethical rapids at every turn.

Oct 9, 2019 - Technology

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Jan 22, 2021 - Technology

Review of Trump ban marks major turning point for Facebook

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's decision to ask its new independent Oversight Board to review the company's indefinite suspension of former President Trump is likely to set a critical precedent for how the social media giant handles political speech from world leaders.

What they're saying: "I very much hope and can expect … that they will uphold our decision," Facebook's VP of global affairs Nick Clegg tells Axios.

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

Google's parent shuts down effort to deliver internet via balloons

Image: Loon

Alphabet is shutting down Loon, one of its "moonshots," which aimed to deliver internet service via high-altitude balloons.

Why it matters: The effort was one of several approaches designed to get high-speed connectivity to some of the world's most remote spots and proved useful in the aftermath of disasters that shut down traditional infrastructure.

Updated Jan 21, 2021 - Technology

Facebook refers Trump ban to independent Oversight Board for review

Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's independent Oversight Board has accepted a referral from the platform to review its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump.

Why it matters: While Trump critics largely praised the company's decision to remove the then-president's account for potential incitement of violence, many world leaders and free speech advocates pushed back on the decision, arguing it sets a dangerous precedent for free speech moving forward.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Jan 21, 2021 - Technology

LG may ditch the smartphone business

Photo Illustration: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

South Korea's LG is weighing whether to exit the smartphone business as it tries to figure out what to do with the money-losing mobile division.

Why it matters: LG's struggles are similar to other big electronics companies that have struggled to gain enough of the business to turn a profit.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Jan 20, 2021 - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 19, 2021 - Economy & Business

New survey shows companies are open to moving to cheaper locales

The Phoenix office tower in Houston, Texas. The Lone Star State was the top stated destination for executives considering moving their operations. Photo: Loren Elliott/Getty Images

A survey of C-suite executives found more than a quarter are considering moving their operations to another state or country.

Why it matters: The forced march to remote work during the pandemic has shaken loose the bonds that tie large businesses to their home territory — and that could be bad news for high-cost cities and states.

The deplatforming fight shifts to the courts

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Capitol riot and tech firms' sweeping attempt in its wake to dislodge the online far right are kicking up efforts to have the courts settle knotty questions about online speech and power.

Why it matters: Legal battles could force the people angry at Big Tech to bring more rigor to arguments that have often devolved into messy sideshows.

Big Tech scrambles to prevent inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Tech companies are scrambling to take action to prevent Inauguration Day violence, taking matters into their own hands after the government was caught ill-prepared for last week's Capitol siege.

What's happening: Major firms are taking a range of steps to stop their platforms from being used to plan, incite or carry out violent acts in Washington, D.C.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Jan 13, 2021 - Technology

Intel names former exec Pat Gelsinger as new CEO

Gelsinger. Photo: Intel

Intel said Wednesday that VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger will return to the chipmaker as CEO, with current chief Bob Swan stepping down as of Feb. 15.

Why it matters: Intel faces a host of challenges from manufacturing issues to competition from rival AMD to Apple's move to use homegrown chips in the Mac.

Jan 13, 2021 - Technology

Scoop: Google pausing all political ads following Capitol siege

Members of the U.S. National Guard arrive at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 12. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Google informed its advertising partners Wednesday that beginning Jan. 14, its platforms will block all political ads, as well as any related to the Capitol insurrection, "following the unprecedented events of the past week and ahead of the upcoming presidential inauguration," according to an email obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: Political ad bans are designed to curb confusion and misinformation surrounding highly sensitive events. Google says a limited version of its "sensitive event" policies went into effect after the violent events in the Capitol on Jan. 6.

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