Big Tech

The big picture

Tech's biggest upcoming battles in 2020

Tech firms' battles this year will touch every part of our lives.

Jan 6, 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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Scoop: Facebook hire aims to infuse ethics into product design

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

Facebook has hired the World Economic Forum's former head of technology policy, Zvika Krieger, as its new director of responsible innovation, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: In the wake of its many scandals and amid growing regulatory scrutiny, Facebook is looking to make sure it addresses ethical issues earlier in the design and engineering processes.

Huawei makes its case against U.S. hostilities

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Two top Huawei U.S. executives are at the RSA Conference in San Francisco this week, hoping the crowd of security experts will be more receptive to its position than have been policymakers in Washington, where the Chinese giant has gotten an increasingly hostile reception.

The big picture: Huawei's business has been under all manner of attack from the U.S. government, from trade sanctions to criminal charges to efforts to persuade allies not to buy their gear.

Microsoft says PC unit will fall short of guidance due to coronavirus

Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft does not expect its PC unit, which includes Windows and Surface, to meet its previous quarterly revenue guidance due to the impact of the coronavirus on computer production, the company said in a Wednesday statement.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Ina Fried: It's PC supply, not demand, that is below expectations, as the supply chain — much of which is in China — has been slower to return to full production.

Why Amazon's bigger Go grocery stores matter

An Amazon Go store in Seattle. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

With the opening of its first large-format cashier-less grocery store in Seattle on Tuesday, Amazon is on its way to further expanding its physical footprint across U.S. cities.

The big picture: Amazon’s 2017 purchase of Whole Foods was never the end of its grocery ambitions — or its fight to win a bigger share of the whopping $700 billion per year American grocery industry. With its own network of stores, Amazon could attract shoppers looking for cheaper prices than Whole Foods and dramatically grow its brick-and-mortar reach.

Tech can't remember what to do in a down market

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Wall Street's two-day-old coronavirus crash is a wakeup alarm for Silicon Valley.

The big picture: Tech has been booming for so long the industry barely remembers what a down market feels like — and most companies are ill-prepared for one.

With no Mobile World Congress, product announcements start rolling in

Inside the Mobile World Congress (MWC) pavilion in Barcelona, Spain during the dismantling of the stands following the cancellation of the fair due to the coronavirus crisis and company cancellations. Photo: David Zorrakino/Europa Press via Getty Images

With the cancellation of Mobile World Congress, many tech companies now have lots of products to announce and no physical place to do it. The result has been a flurry of press releases and webcasts designed to replace planned in-person gatherings. In the last 24 hours or so, Intel, Sony and Huawei have all announced new products and components.

Why it matters: The show was to have been a key launching point for a number of products, including several high-end 5G-capable phones.

"Facebook: The Inside Story" paints a revealing portrait of the tech giant

Penguin Random House

Tech writer Steven Levy's new book, "Facebook: The Inside Story," goes on sale on Tuesday. He told Axios his reporting for the 583-page tome, which he started working on in 2015, took a dramatic turn after the Cambridge Analytica scandal and revelations following the 2016 election.

Why it matters: Since Levy already had a seat inside the company when its broader problems arose, he was on the frontlines as Facebook scrambled to address an onslaught of challenges posed by policymakers in Washington and elsewhere.

Exclusive: Global trust in the tech industry is slipping

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The backlash against Big Tech has long flourished among pundits and policymakers, but a new survey suggests it's beginning to show up in popular opinion as well.

Driving the news: New data from Edelman out Tuesday finds that trust in tech companies is declining and that people trust cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence less than they do the industry overall.

Why Apple may move to open iOS

Photo illustration: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Apple may finally allow iPhone owners to set email or browsing apps other than Apple's own as their preferred defaults, according to a Bloomberg report from last week.

The big picture: Customers have long clamored for the ability to choose their preferred apps, and now Apple, like other big tech companies, finds itself under increased scrutiny over anything perceived as anticompetitive.

Privacy group says Facebook isn't sharing all off-platform data with users

Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

Facebook is now offering users a feature that lets them see what data it has collected about their activities beyond Facebook, but a new report from Privacy International says that not all the advertisers that have uploaded individual user data to Facebook are included.

Why it matters: As the report notes, without more complete information, it is hard for users to fully exercise their rights under the EU's GDPR and other privacy laws.

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