Plus, Washington state defies the FCC by enacting its own net neutrality protections, Silicon Valley VCs visit the Midwest by (luxury) bus, and the billionaire who gave it all away.
You have probably been ignoring the $ 117 billion takeover fight between Broadcom and Qualcomm, but now the Trump administration is paying attention. That’s because chip-maker Broadcom is based in Singapore and Qualcomm is based in San Diego, and the White House isn’t sure an Asian buyer should own a big, U.S. tech company. Qualcomm management agrees, and has been fighting off Broadcom’s advances for months. This week a secretive government panel called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States moved to stall the takeover for 30 days while it reviews the deal. [The New York Times]
Washington is the first state to enact its own net neutrality protections.In direct defiance of the FCC’s December decision to repeal the Obama-era regulations, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill requiring internet providers to treat all lawful content the same in Washington state. Lawmakers in more than 25 states have introduced their own net neutrality legislation. Meanwhile, tech companies including Etsy, Expa, Kickstarter, Automattic, Foursquare and Shutterstock filed a petition against the FCC’s action; in January, the Internet Association, representing Amazon, Google and Facebook, joined an existing lawsuit against the FCC. [Monica Nickelsburg / GeekWire]
Amazon is expanding free Whole Foods delivery to San Francisco and Atlanta. It’s a signal that Amazon is moving quickly to integrate Whole Foods, which it purchased last year, into the regular shopping habits of Prime customers. Another possible perk for Prime customers: An Amazon-branded checking account. [Jason Del Rey / Recode]
Disney went in-house to find a new head of ESPN, hiring consumer products boss Jimmy Pitaro, who steps into the vacancy created in December when former John Skipper resigned. ESPN is both huge and troubled: Its subscriber base is in decline as audiences cut the cord or don’t sign up for cable in the first place, but ESPN is on the hook for costly sports programming deals. [Peter Kafka / Recode]
Silicon Valley is over, says Silicon Valley: Led by Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, about a dozen venture capitalists recently took a three-day luxury bus trip through the Midwest, which was pitched as a kind of Rust Belt safari — a chance for Silicon Valley investors to meet local officials and look for promising startups in overlooked areas of the country. A growing number of tech leaders have been flirting with the idea of leaving Silicon Valley, and by the end of the “Comeback Cities Tour,” some of the coastal elites had caught the heartland bug. [Kevin Roose / The New York Times]
Pharma-fraud Martin Shkreli has to forfeit $ 7.36 million — and his one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album — as part of his upcoming criminal sentence. Shkreli gained widespread infamy after he raised the price of a drug used to treat some pregnant women, babies and people with HIV by more than 5,000 percent, from $ 13.50 per pill to $ 750 per pill. He will be sentenced on Friday. [Dan Mangan / CNBC]
Recode will be podcasting live from SXSW next week — and if you’re in Austin, you’re invited.Vox Media is taking over The Belmont for three days of live podcasts and musical spotlights, including live tapings of our popular podcasts Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher and Recode Media with Peter Kafka. On Saturday, March 10, Kafka interviews Jason Blum, the innovative Hollywood producer behind such hits as “Paranormal Activity” and “Get Out,” which just won director Jordan Peele an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Also on Saturday, Swisher talks with Michelin-star-studded chef José Andrés about his humanitarian venture, World Central Kitchen, and the role that social media and food can play in post-disaster community building. While you’re there, check out Polygon’s vintage arcade, or just hang out on our patio. You can RSVP here.
Top stories from Recode
The social news site didn’t find any Russian ads about the election, but there was plenty of non-ad content being shared.
It’s a coup for Kleiner, which has been rife with turnover.
State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the company violated Pennsylvania’s Breach of Personal Information Notification Act.
A cyptocurrency company could do some fairly outside-the-box acquisitions.
Do you have questions about cryptocurrency, ICOs or blockchain?
Now’s the time to get them answered: Kara Swisher and Lauren Goode will be talking to a crypto expert on this week’s Too Embarrassed to Ask podcast, so send all your questions to TooEmbarrassed@recode.net.