A supply-chain “strike force”, and the problem with allies

Shortly after election, US President Biden enacted an executive order to perform a 100-day review of critical supply-chains. The report was released in June, and one of the outcomes of the report was a trade “strike force”, which is supposed to look for anti-competitive practices that have hollowed-out the US supply chain for a number […]

National Tech Wars

It’s been clear for a while that the major world powers are going to need to do something about securing their own technological future in a world of competing nation-states (“The resurgence of national tech wars,” newsletter #53). One of the things that has come out of the global pandemic, beyond the generic need to have […]

Australian news war escalation

It looks like Australia is going forward with their ridiculous news law (“If Australia doesn’t get their act together, they may lose all news”, newsletter #44). It passed their House of Representatives this week, and looks set to pass the Senate. It’s perfectly reasonable to have a discussion around how to save news; and it’s perfectly reasonable […]

Warner’s zero-day theatrical window

Last month I took note of Warner’s experiment to remove the theatrical window for all movies coming out in 2021 (“Are we witnessing the death of the cinema,” newsletter #58). A few weeks ago the first movie in this experiment, The Little Things, came out — and I think Warner is going to view it is a […]

What’s a monopoly?

It used to be the case that it was pretty easy to spot a monopoly; it also used to be pretty easy to spot anti-competitive practices; but neither of these things is necessarily so easy in the age of the Internet. When we start looking at the large Internet companies, which certainly we will be […]

What to make of the Parler shutdown

In the wake of the “assault” on the US Capitol (in quotation marks, because if you look at the video footage, it really seems a lot more like LARPing than an actual attempt at insurrection), everyone was all abuzz about how the social-media giants were handling Trump’s accounts (Twitter gave him a “permanent suspension” (I […]

China and the opportunity for Britain

This week saw more anti-democracy arrests in Hong Kong, Trump signing an executive order banning Ali pay (the Chinese PayPal) and seven other apps, and another executive order “blacklisting” 35 Chinese companies, which caused the SEC to flip-flop, but ultimately ended with the NYSE deciding to delist three Chinese telecoms. On the other side of the Atlantic, after 35 […]

China is also a market

I wrote a lot in 2020 about China’s geopolitical aspirations, and the impact of Covid on the global supply chain, but it’s also important to remember that those geopolitical aspirations also impact how the rest of the world deals with China as a market. In the tech field, it’s always been tricky: Google doesn’t play […]

Keep your eye on Chinese tech

Over the last several months there’s been a lot of meaningful news on China from both an economic and political front, but it’s also worth paying attention to them on the technological front. While they may be best known for different values around intellectual property than we’re used to in the West, the reality is, […]

“Afghan lives matter!”

Make no mistake, the Chinese government does not do things by mistake. Trade tensions between the US and China have grown substantially during the Trump administration, but China has also been engaging in a bit of a trade war with Australia, with the latest move being a tariff imposed on Australia’s wine — for which China is the […]

The future of free trade

For all that Donald Trump is a buffoon, he had some big successes (from a U.S. point of view), particularly with regard to international trade. His renegotiation of NAFTA is almost certainly an improvement, and his hard stance on trade with China was a long time coming. That said, he made a number of strategic […]

The resurgence of national tech wars

It used to be the case that much of “high tech” was considered a national security issue. This wasn’t just about ballistic missiles and targeting software. Today, everyone has strong encryption, but through the 1990s, cryptographic software was considered “munitions”, and was strongly controlled. The same applied to microchips. With the collapse of the Soviet […]