Big Tech

The big picture

Facebook boycott battle goes global

As more companies jump on the boycott bandwagon, organizers are taking their campaign to the world stage.

Jun 29, 2020
Big Tech's reckoning on race

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

Jun 12, 2020
Tech's biggest upcoming battles in 2020

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

Jan 6, 2020
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
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
For tech, it's all hard problems now

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

Oct 9, 2019

All Big Tech stories

A wild weekend for Microsoft's play for TikTok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While its Big Tech rivals were testifying in front of a congressional antitrust committee last week, Microsoft was negotiating what could be the largest — and most politically perilous — tech acquisition of 2020.

The state of play: The hullabaloo surrounding Microsoft picking up TikTok has undergone a flurry of twists and turns over the weekend, as both the White House and the tech giant reacted in real time.

What a Microsoft deal to buy TikTok would look like

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump, who said Friday night that he'll ban TikTok, may allow Microsoft to buy the app's U.S. operations if there's "complete separation" from the original Beijing-based company, Republican sources tell Axios.

What's new: Conversations with Republicans over the weekend suggest a possible blueprint for making the proposed Microsoft deal palatable to the White House.

Instagram morphs into an information powerhouse

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Instagram is in the midst of a transformation — what was once the place to share photos of food and social outings is quickly becoming a hub for information and advocacy.

Why it matters: Text, infographics and topical illustrations are exploding on Instagram as the pandemic and racial justice movement brought purpose and focus to its millions of users, supercharging the urgency to get educated and share useful information.

Jul 31, 2020 - Technology

Google cracks down on deceptive ads ahead of election

Photo: NurPhoto / Contributor

Google is updating its ads policies to prohibit domestic advertisers that use spammy tactics to conceal their identities and to ban international advertisers that use ads to promote illegally hacked or obtained political material — like stolen campaign emails.

Why it matters: Google alludes to the crackdowns in its existing ads policy, but the company is stating them more explicitly in an effort to rein in political and election misinformation ahead of the election.

Jul 31, 2020 - Technology

Big Tech's take grows as economy tanks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While the rest of the U.S. economy was falling off a cliff, Big Tech saw its business soar.

The big picture: Thursday morning, government economists reported a 30% drop in GDP for the second quarter — the largest decline, by far, since the numbers have been reported.

Jul 30, 2020 - Technology

Apple confirms short release delay for this year's iPhones

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Apple's financial chief said Thursday that this year's new iPhone models will arrive a few weeks later than they have in years past, confirming earlier news reports and supplier comments.

Why it matters: The move means some revenue that typically comes at the end of September won't come until the final quarter of the year, but also reassures investors and customers that the delay won't be longer.

Jul 30, 2020 - Technology

Alphabet sees first-ever revenue decline

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Alphabet revenue dropped 2% from last year, the company announced in second-quarter earnings Thursday, beating Wall Street expectations a day after Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared before the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee to face allegations of anticompetitive behavior.

Yes, but: Despite beating expectations on revenue, the company still reported its first-ever decline, thanks to a reduction in the advertising growth rate thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Stock rose slightly in after-hours trading.

Jul 30, 2020 - Technology

Apple crushes earnings expectations

Tim Cook, kicking off Apple’s September 2018 event. Photo: Apple

Apple on Thursday handily beat expectations for quarterly sales and earnings and announced a 4-for-1 stock split.

Why it matters: The move comes a day after Congressional hearings and as other Big Tech firms also turned in stellar reports.

Jul 30, 2020 - Technology

Top antitrust Democrat: There's a case to break up Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who ended Wednesday's hearing by saying some Big Tech companies need to be broken up, told Axios that Facebook in particular lacks significant competitors and should not have been allowed to buy Instagram and WhatsApp.

Why it matters: Cicilline chairs the antitrust subcommittee, which has been looking into competition issues in the digital space.

Jul 30, 2020 - Technology

House throws kitchen sink at tech CEOs

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

House lawmakers aired an enormous array of grievances with the CEOs of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple Wednesday, throwing everything in their arsenal at four of the most powerful men in the world for six hours.

Quick take: The antitrust hearing didn't nail a case that these companies are harmful monopolies. But the representatives succeeded in wringing some surprising admissions from the executives about how they wield their market power, providing ammunition for regulators now conducting investigations — and possibly a spur for Congress to strengthen antitrust law for the digital era.

More Big Tech stories