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A worldwide Big Tech crackdown

Joe Biden

Your five-minute guide to the best of Protocol (and the internet) from the week that was, from Trump's aimless Big Tech lawsuits to the turmoil at the top of Facebook.

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Best of Protocol

Autodesk is dragging the industrial world into the cloud — and showing it the future, by Joe Williams

  • Autodesk might be the most important company nobody ever talks about. A huge portion of the physical world relies on the company, from water-treatment plants to ventilators. A move to the cloud has helped it grow even bigger in recent years. But the competition is heating up, and Autodesk is going to have to learn to move even faster.

The 8 ways Biden's competition order could shake up Big Tech, by Ben Brody

  • Definitely the biggest policy development of the week: Biden's executive order covers everything from net neutrality to right to repair to hearing aids to tractors. It's more a signal of priorities than any meaningful legislative moves, but on the "Is this anything?" scale, this one rates a lot higher than your average political posturing.

The $1.8 trillion question: How to audit Chinese companies, by Tomio Geron and Shen Lu

  • From Alibaba to DiDi to the Chinese crackdown on cryptocurrency mining, what's happening in China's tech sector has huge global effects that we're still only starting to understand. Part of the challenge, as Tomio and Shen Lu found, is that agencies and organizations outside of China understand very little about those companies. And it's making them hard to work with.

Gig workers are prepping for a $100+ million battle against Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, by Megan Rose Dickey

  • The next fight over the future of gig work will be in Massachusetts. And after the blockbuster battle that was Proposition 22 in California, those on the side of the workers are preparing for a long, brutal and seriously expensive fight. And given the trouble that gig companies are having finding workers, the stakes feel higher than ever.

Trump is suing Google, Twitter and Facebook. The cases are 'DOA,' by Ben Brody and Issie Lapowsky

  • This one belongs on the other end of the "Is this anything?" scale. Because it's nothing. But it will still be noisy and controversial, and offer conservatives plenty of leeway to continue shouting about censorship online. This conversation won't go away, but Trump's lawsuit won't solve anything, either.

Tech CEOs were wary of vaccine mandates. That's changing, by Allison Levitsky

  • Many people will head back to the office in the next couple of months. When they do, odds are good that they'll have to prove they're vaccinated. What was once a hot-button issue is quickly becoming the norm in tech: no vax, no coming back. It's going to be fascinating to see how that goes, especially as "soft reopenings" turn into mandatory plans later this year.


In 2020, U.S. merchants sold over $54 billion worth of products to Chinese customers on Alibaba's e-commerce platforms, which rely on Alipay to facilitate the transactions. The year prior to the pandemic, Chinese tourists in the U.S. engaged in 800,000 transactions using the Alipay App, for sales valued at $232 million.

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Join Protocol's David Pierce for a conversation with Smart Columbus' Jordan Davis, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP)'s Jonathan Winer and Microsoft's Jeremy Goldberg on what it takes to build smart cities right. July 13 @ 11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET Learn more


Best of Everything Else

Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg's Partnership Did Not Survive Trump — The New York Times

  • This excerpt from the upcoming book, "An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination," is a brutal and unsparing look at how the last four years changed everything inside the company, all the way to the top. And the relationship between Zuckerberg and Sandberg feels a bit like a microcosm of everything.

Three months, 700 steps: Why it takes so long to produce a computer chip — The Washington Post

  • Every time we hear or talk about the chip shortage, there's always one question: Why not just, you know, make more chips? Here is a step-by-step guide to how the process actually works that will feel elementary and simple to those inside the industry, and eye-openingly complicated to everyone else.

The Internet is Rotting — The Atlantic

  • This one's technically from last week, but it's still a hot topic of conversation all over tech. The internet was supposed to create a single, universally accessible store of all knowledge and information. But so much of it is withering and dying before our eyes. How should tech continue to move forward without losing what came before?

Welcome to Simulation City — The Verge

  • Most of Waymo's training doesn't happen on the road. Like other self-driving companies, it's all about simulation. And Waymo's investment in that simulated world, and the data and progress that has been created, is worth understanding for anyone trying to build something ambitious.

In 2030, You Won't Own Any Gadgets — Gizmodo

  • Here's one to spend your Sunday pondering as you stare into the middle distance. What happens when everything is free up front and $9.99 per month after that? And we mean everything, from your phone to your stove to your car to your mattress. What does that future look like? Do we want to live there?

TikTok made me buy it — Vox

  • We continue to be fascinated by the ways TikTok seems to be fully in charge of modern culture. And you know that thing it does to music, where it'll take, like, an old Fleetwood Mac song and make it the biggest thing in the world for five minutes until something else comes along? Turns out it's doing that for makeup, clothes, kitchen gear and much more.


In 2020, U.S. merchants sold over $54 billion worth of products to Chinese customers on Alibaba's e-commerce platforms, which rely on Alipay to facilitate the transactions. The year prior to the pandemic, Chinese tourists in the U.S. engaged in 800,000 transactions using the Alipay App, for sales valued at $232 million.

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Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to, or our tips line, Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

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