August 10, 2020

It’s Big Tech faceoff in Congress today – how to watch, and more tech news

Bezos, Cook, Pichai, and Zuckerberg do battle, and it all goes down at 12PM ET. All that, and more tech news today.

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Wednesday, 29 July 2020.

Bezos, Cook, Pichai, and Zuckerberg face Congress

Zuckerberg Cook

Super short here because it’s all about to happen:

  • It’s a big day, as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google CEOs, aka Bezos, Cook, Pichai, and Zuckerberg, testify before Congress. Members of the House judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee will be looking for answers, as they look at possible new and updated antitrust laws that could limit Big Tech for the first time in decades.
  • It will all be on Zoom so the visceral in-person views (and traditional Monopoly Man cosplayer) will be missing, and it might be a little more restrained.
  • It’ll be Jeff Bezos’ first appearance before Congress. We’ve seen the others before.

What do you need to know?

  • This is probably the one primer you can read ahead of time: “What to Watch for in Congress’ Big Tech CEO Hearingâ€� (Wired), although if you don’t want the thick detail yet, the Gizmodo primer is a little faster and more obvious. Like, why isn’t Microsoft going to be there? (Actually, no one really knows.)
  • Opening statements have already been made with TechCrunch pulling out the details that matter. Apple is saying the smartphone market is fiercely competitive and it can’t possibly therefore be anti-competitive, Google is talking rivals too, Facebook goes all-in on America vs. China, while tiny Amazon says it’s just tiny: Amazon says it accounts for “less than 1% of the $25 trillion global retail market and less than 4% of retail in the US.â€�
  • Reports are lawmakers will bring evidence of “copy-kill-acquireâ€� strategies where competitors are squashed through aggressive reactionary apps and strategies, or just allegedly buy problems to make them go away,
  • When: it goes down at 12PM ET today, and you can watch freely below from YouTube. You know, the one owned by Google.
  • The big question: Will anything come of this?

Also: Apple threatens to remove Airbnb from App Store over virtual experiences commission. Not a good look. (MacRumors)


1.  CES 2021 is going online-only, and you already know why (Android Authority). This is probably secondary news to if it was going to still happen in person! But it’s a pretty huge loss for the industry which met in Vegas each year to show off tech for the coming year and beyond, networked, and so on. My colleagues are basically relieved given the stresses. Berlin’s IFA 2020 is still happening, but with strict limits and controls.


2. This could be our first real-world look at the Galaxy Z Fold 2 (Android Authority).


3. OnePlus Nord vs iPhone SE quick camera shootout: You pick the winner, and my pick leans towards the iPhone with the Nord just being so soft. Here’s the Nord review, too (Android Authority).


4. Sony’s Alpha a7S III is official and it’s built for recording 4K video, but not 8K (Android Authority).


5. LG’s upcoming 163-inch 4K microLED TV is ideal for those unadorned walls in your new mansion (notebookcheck.net).


6. Our guide to picking the best case for your new phone (Android Authority).


7. “This app is keeping my plants alive, no thanks to me.� (Gizmodo).


8. Gogoro Eeyo 1s is the lightest carbon fiber e-bike people have tried yet (CNET).


9. Mellow made its ‘smart’ sous vide machine (that’s been out since 2014) dumb, unless you pay a monthly fee (The Verge). Also: Canadian smart glasses going ‘offline’ (aka, becoming normal glasses again) just weeks after company bought by Google (CTV).


10. Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft has six passenger seats and lots of windows: looks good, but these are renderings? (Ars Technica).


11. Mad scientists revive 100-million-year-old microbes, but fear not! (Wired).


12. World’s largest nuclear fusion project begins assembly in France: “Nuclear fusion promises clean, unlimited power but, despite 60 years of research, it has yet to overcome the technical challenges of harnessing such extreme amounts of energy.� Yup. (The Guardian).


13. I think the Disco Goats are worth watching today in particular (Twitter).


14. “We’re preparing to launch NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover and Mars Helicopter Ingenuity. Ask Us Anything about our #CountdownToMars!� (r/askscience). 80% chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch tomorrow.


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