All Big Tech stories

Jun 25, 2020 - Technology

Facebook faces trust crisis as ad boycott grows

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

What started out as a few whispers about advertisers pulling Facebook ads has turned into a growing boycott of the social network over its content moderation policies — a situation the company is now describing as a "trust deficit."

Why it matters: Given Facebook's size, the boycott likely won't hurt the company's bottom line in the short term, but it turns up the political pressure on Facebook ahead of the 2020 election and underscores the company's challenges managing its public image.

Jun 25, 2020 - Technology

Google will start paying publishers to license content

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

In a major departure from its long-standing practice of not paying publishers directly to distribute their work, Google executives tell Axios that the search giant is creating a licensing program to pay publishers "for high-quality content" as a part of a new news product launching later this year.

Why it matters: Regulators around the world have been threatening Google with broad-based policies that would force it to pay publishers on policymakers' terms. Google aims to get ahead of that threat by introducing its own payout terms, while also strengthening its relationship with the embattled publishing community.

Jun 23, 2020 - Technology

Apple makes concessions to developers and antitrust regulators

Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo: Christoph Dernbach/picture alliance via Getty Images

While not heavily touted by Apple on Monday, the company made several moves designed to address some key criticisms leveled by developers and antitrust authorities in recent weeks.

Why it matters: The moves likely won't end all the grumbling or stop regulators in their tracks, but they might turn down the heat for Apple over charges that it is increasingly behaving like a monopolist.

Jun 23, 2020 - Technology

Making sense of the Mac's transition to Apple chips

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Though Apple's announcement that it will move the Mac to homegrown chips was long expected, the company has now filled in the blanks for when that shift will start, how long it will take and what developers must do to get ready.

Between the lines: Apple laid out the shape of its chip transition and lined up its key partners Adobe and Microsoft — but some observers say the company didn't fully explain how the shift will benefit developers and consumers.

Jun 23, 2020 - Technology

Outdoor brands lead the call for Facebook ad boycott

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Patagonia became the third major outdoor brand to say it was boycotting Facebook and Instagram on Sunday, following similar moves by North Face and REI.

Why it matters: Tension between advertisers and the tech giant has existed for years, but now — as the country faces a reckoning over systemic racism — marketers feel more compelled to take a public stand on filtering hate speech.

Updated Jun 22, 2020 - Technology

Apple announces iOS 14, shift to homegrown chips for the Mac

Apple CEO Tim Cook, speaking at WWDC 2020. Screenshot: Axios

Apple used its developer conference to announce its transition to homegrown chips for the Mac, supplanting Intel, which has powered Apple's computer line for the past decade. It also announced updates to its phone, Mac, tablet and watch operating systems.

Why it matters: The shift will give Apple more control of its own destiny, but is likely to add short-term pain for users and developers alike.

Jun 22, 2020 - Technology

Snapchat explains its Juneteenth filter misstep

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Snapchat's head of diversity apologized to employees Saturday for a widely criticized Juneteenth filter that encouraged people to "smile and break the chains." However, in the same note, the executive insisted that it was white employees who raised concerns and black employees who suggested it was fine.

Between the lines: While the letter offers some clarity about the process that led to the filter's release, it's not clear that it makes the company look much better.

Jun 19, 2020 - Health

Apple will again close 11 stores in states with increasing coronavirus cases

Apple store employees wear protective equipment and clean down stations. Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Apple announced Friday that 11 of its stores in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Arizona will temporarily close this weekend after a spike in coronavirus cases in those states.

The big picture: The states where Apple is closing the stores saw some of the highest coronavirus case growth in the country over the past week, per an Axios analysis.

Washington's rush to smash tech's liability protection

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new Justice Department proposal Wednesday accelerates a headlong charge in Washington to rewrite a law that protects online services from being sued over user-created content.

Why it matters: If Congress approves any of the bills in play, every dispute over content moderation on platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter could turn into a court case — while the government could find itself with a big new job deciding whether companies like Facebook and Twitter are acting neutrally and "in good faith."

Jun 17, 2020 - Technology

Apple developers speak out on App Store policies

Photo: Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images

In the wake of Europe's announcement of the Apple antitrust investigation, several iOS developers are publicly criticizing the policies that govern the App Store — in particular the up-to-30% cut Apple takes for the sale of digital goods.

Why it matters: The public criticism could encourage other developers to speak out and form the basis for antitrust investigations beyond Europe.