Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Tech's newly bolstered dominance doesn't make these companies invulnerable.

The big picture: Three elements form the ground on which the tech giants built their success — cheap hardware, connectable software and the freedom to innovate. Each of these foundations already faced threats that the virus crisis has now amplified.

Cheap hardware: The tech economy relies on a simple dynamic of efficient manufacturing and process improvement that drives down the prices of expensive breakthrough products until they become cheap and universal.

  • The petering out of Moore's Law — the miniaturization dividend that drove tech for decades — has already slowed this dynamic, while new approaches like quantum computing remain impractical at scale.
  • The other driving force behind cheap hardware — globalization and specifically the transformation of China into the world's tech-manufacturing engine — is now threatened by political tensions over trade and security concerns, as well as by supply-chain disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Connectable software: Our digital civilization is built on software-all-the-way-down stacks of interdependent code. These layers upon layers of programs and libraries talk to each other using application programming interfaces (APIs) — sets of commands that let diverse companies, organizations, and individuals build services that work together.

Freedom to innovate: There's widespread consensus in Silicon Valley that the industry has thrived because it's been left relatively unregulated.

  • Most digital successes have been built by introducing new models that "disrupt" incumbents — whether it was personal computers replacing mainframes, smartphones replacing landlines, online services replacing traditional businesses, or streaming media replacing broadcast and cable.
  • These models have been so successful and popular, and during this crisis they've become so essential, that they've inspired a new argument for regulation.
  • In this view, propounded by a rising chorus of academics, pundits, and politicians, we are now too dependent on Big Tech services to leave them to the market. Instead, we should treat them like public utilities, with public oversight and community responsibilities

Read the rest of this report:

Go deeper

Democrats drubbing Trumpless GOP on social media

Data: Twitter/CrowdTangle (Feb 24, 2021); Chart: Will Chase/Axios

In a swift reversal from 90 days ago, Democrats are now the ones with overpowering social media muscle and the ability to drive news.

The big picture: Former President Donald Trump’s digital exile and the reversal of national power has turned the tables on which party can keep a stranglehold on online conversation.

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to announce details of a plan to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
49 mins ago - Health

New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

New research is bolstering the case for delaying second doses of coronavirus vaccines.

Why it matters: Most vulnerable Americans remain unvaccinated heading into March, when experts predict the more infectious virus variant first found in the U.K. could become dominant in the U.S.