The latest from Trump Tower: For months, I’ve been tracking the presidential transition in a series of stories, all scoops, with a particular eye on technology. I’ve covered Peter Thiel, and his potential conflicts of interest; the intense lobbying by tech giants, as well as executives like Google’s Eric Schmidt, and I took readers behind-the-scenes for a look at many tech leaders’ meeting with Trump in December; and the race for key government positions, like the FTC, a leadership post that could land in the hands of a Google skeptic. Beyond tech, I looked beyond companies’ jobs and investment announcements to explain why so many folks are allowing Trump to take credit for old announcements.
Apple takes Washington: Steve Jobs famously disdained D.C. Tim Cook’s quietly taking it on. Well before the fight over encryption had Apple and the federal government squaring off in court, I devoted a magazine cover story to Cook, who has quietly forged powerful relationships in the nation’s capital.
Wired to fail: How a little known agency mishandled several billion dollars of stimulus money trying to expand broadband coverage to rural communities. I spent six months tracking the Rural Utilities Service, and visiting towns like Two Harbors, Minnesota, where the government hoped roughly $3 billion might help close the digital divide. But the agency, which predicted it would wire 7 million Americans with new broadband service, has helped only a few hundred thousand, some of whom had Internet access in the first place.
Silicon Valley still cool on Rand Paul: The senator is struggling to capture money and attention in the region, despite unveiling a San Francisco office months ago. Before he quit the presidential race, Paul tried to hype his work to make friends in the Bay Area. When I paid his office in San Francisco a visit, however, I found nothing — a sign that the senator didn’t gain the tech traction he sought.
Tech’s political giving ticks off Silicon Valley liberals: Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have tried for years to court Republicans and Democrats in equal measure, even though their executives (and many of their employees) lean liberal. In 2014, though, I reported regularly about the ways in which this attempt at neutrality had caused the industry some major headaches — like when Facebook backed state attorneys general who opposed gay marriage, even as the company supported the LGBT community on the issue.
Comcast’s political ties run deep: The cable giant has a vast political footprint, and I traveled back home to Philadelphia to report the ways in which Comcast has leveraged its size and reach to get what it wants politically — and how that might continue if the company expands.