Hillicon Valley - Biden-Bezos brawl heats up on Twitter




  • In Business
  • 2022-05-18 00:38:36Z
  • By The Hill
 

President Biden and billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have been trading barbs on Twitter, escalating their feud as the president shows support for Amazon unionizing efforts and the administration backs proposals to rein in the power of Big Tech.

In other tech business news, former President Trump's past failures are haunting his path forward. The company merging with Trump's social media company to take it public warned investors about Trump's previous business failures.

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill's Rebecca Klar, Chris Mills Rodrigo and Ines Kagubare. Subscribe here.

Biden vs. The Billionaire

A simmering feud between President Biden and Jeff Bezos has spilled into the open after the Amazon founder went on the offensive to criticize the White House's approach to inflation and taxing wealthy corporations.

Biden has frequently used Amazon as a foil as he pushes for higher taxes on the richest Americans and big companies to help fund his economic agenda, and he recently vocally backed unionization efforts at the company.

But Bezos's tweets accusing the president of "misdirection" and of risking worse inflation with his economic proposals, and the White House's sharp response, marked an escalation in what has become an increasingly adversarial relationship.

The online back-and-forth also followed Biden's recent public support of efforts to unionize among Amazon workers, and the administration's support for a key antitrust bill that would weaken Amazon's control over its e-commerce platform.

Read more about the feud here.

Investors warned of Trump's past failures

The company merging with Donald Trump's social media company to take it public in a filing Monday warned about the former president's previous failed business ventures.

In the registration filed by Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC) - a special purpose acquisition company that has raised over $1 billion - and Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), the groups also warned that the Securities and Exchange Commission could still halt the merger.

The merger document, known as an S4, details several risks related to Trump's chairmanship of TMTG.

"A number of companies that were associated with President Trump have filed for bankruptcy," the document warns, listing Trump Shuttle, Trump University, Trump Vodka, Trump Mortgage and Trump Steaks.

The filing noted the former president is "generally obligated" to post on Truth Social, where he has roughly 2.7 million followers, and "not make the same post on another social media site for 6 hours."

Read more here.

CHIPMAKERS LOOK TO EXPAND IN US

As tremors in global supply chains continue to rattle everything from auto manufacturing to baby formula, the especially intricate domestic semiconductor industry is looking to Washington for help bringing more of its production to the U.S. and getting insulated from geopolitical hazards.

But it won't be easy. State-of-the-art chipmaking and packaging has long been centered in East Asia and particularly in Taiwan, where powerhouse fabricator TSMC has been working for decades to position itself as an indispensable mass producer of chips for client companies including AMD, Apple and Texas Instruments.

"Tiny microchips are in everything and right now there's a global shortage," Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) told a conference on a technology and trade bill last week that could include significant tax breaks for chip manufacturers.

Read more here.

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Cyrpto anxiety: Should you worry about crypto crime?

Lighter click: the cutest couch potato

Notable links from around the web:

When Amazon Puts a Warehouse Next Door: 'We Can't Escape It' (Bloomberg / Ilena Peng and Matt Day)

Crypto crash stokes some financial crisis fears (NBC News / David Ingram)

How fears of electromagnetic radiation spawned a snake-oil industry (The Verge / Jordyn Haime)

One more thing: Layoffs hit Netflix

Streaming service platform Netflix has laid off up to 150 employees as it continues to see a downturn in revenue and subscriber growth.

A Netflix spokesperson confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday about the latest string of departures, saying that the layoffs are a part of new changes focused more on a business approach rather than individual performance.

"As we explained on earnings, our slowing revenue growth means we are also having to slow our cost growth as a company. So, sadly, we are letting around 150 employees go today, mostly US-based," Netflix spokesperson said in its statement.

Read more here.

That's it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill's Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We'll see you tomorrow.

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