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Anthony Levandowski, then-head of Uber's self-driving program, spoke about their driverless car in San Francisco before he was fired from Uber in May. Photo: Eric Risberg / AP

Just a month before the scheduled trial, the federal judge threw out on Thursday one of the trade secret claims in Waymo's lawsuit against Uber. He also dismissed Otto Trucking, the startup founded by the engineer at the center of the case, as a defendant, and threw out a technical analysis by one of Waymo's expert witnesses.

Between the lines: The dismissal of Otto Trucking is the latest instance of the judge's nudging Waymo to show it has a case against Uber, and not just against Otto Trucking co-founder Anthony Levandowski who is accused of downloading proprietary files. Waymo specifically didn't name Levandowski as a defendant as a way to keep the lawsuit out of arbitration, and the judge argued that it must now stick with this decision without trying to use Otto as a stand-in for him. His other decisions also show the judge's growing skepticism of Waymo's case.

Update: The judge has also ruled to exclude testimony from Waymo's financial damages expert, Michael Wagner.

Go deeper

Biden to tap telecom trio for NTIA, FCC posts

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday is expected to name Alan Davidson as head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, Jessica Rosenworcel as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as a commissioner at the FCC, according to a person familiar with the process.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.

16 mins ago - Technology

Facebook seeks fountain of youth

Data: Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens Study; Chart: Axios Visuals

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday said that the company is pivoting its strategy to focus on young adults, following reports that teens have fled its apps.

Why it matters: A series of stories based on leaked whistleblower documents suggest the company sees the aging of its user base as an existential threat to its business.

Too big to cover alone: Newsrooms team up

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

News outlets are increasingly willing to work together on big, multifaceted stories — including this week's reporting on leaked documents from a Facebook whistleblower.

Why it matters: Collaborative efforts help bring more resources to bear on complex stories, some of which require a global reporting effort. But they require high degrees of coordination, and competition can sometimes get in the way.