Good morning, CIOs. After years of development, in which U.S. has lagged, drone deliveries may be about to take off. If so, CIOs soon will be managing a new dimension to the supply chain. Commercial drones in the U.S. are expected to begin limited package deliveries within months, federal regulators and industry officials tell the Journal’s Andy Pasztor, who attended a conference last week in Baltimore on unmanned aircraft. Momentum stems partly from increased White House pressure, prompting closer cooperation between the government and companies such as Amazon.com Inc. seeking authorizations for such fledgling businesses, the Journal writes. Highlights from today’s story:
In the skies by May. “At least 10 FAA-approved pilot programs for various drone initiatives—some likely including package delivery—are slated to start by May. Separately, industry and government officials have indicated that Amazon, widely considered one the most aggressive and furthest advanced applicants, is pushing for safety approval of detailed drone designs, as well as precise operating rules.”
Amazon, primed for takeoff. “Amazon officials declined to provide details. But Gur Kimchi, vice president of the company’s package-delivery organization called Prime Air, was hopeful that necessary approvals would be secured by 2019. Responding to questions on the sidelines of the conference about probable locations and timelines to initiate delivery flights, he repeatedly said ‘ask me next year.’ ”
- Broadcom Ltd., whose logo is pictured on its headquarters office in Irvine, Calif., might be in Intel Corp.’s acquisition sights.
- Bloomberg News
Intel considers possible bid for Broadcom. Intel Corp. is considering a range of acquisition alternatives in reaction to Broadcom Ltd.’s hostile pursuit of Qualcomm Inc. that could include a bid for Broadcom, the Journal’s Dana Mattioli and Dana Cimilluca report. Intel is watching the Broadcom-Qualcomm takeover attempt closely and is eager for Broadcom to fail. Intel has been considering such a move since late last year and is working with advisers, people familiar with the matter said.
Why is Intel so wary? Intel’s interest in derailing the tie-up reflects its worry that a combined Broadcom-Qualcomm, which would create the third-largest chip company by revenue after Intel and Samsung Electronics Co., would endanger its competitive position, writes the Journal’s Ted Greenwald. The merged company would combine market-leading smartphone chips with a strong presence in data centers, two areas Intel has targeted for growth.
Broadcom presses its case for a takeover. The company pledged Friday not to sell strategic pieces of its target to foreign companies, one of several steps it’s taken to win U.S. support for the proposed deal, according to the Journal’s Allison Prang and Cara Lombardo. In a dueling announcement, Qualcomm handed the title of board chairman to an independent director, an apparent step to emphasize the board’s independence. Qualcomm’s annual meeting is scheduled for April 5.
High expectations for upcoming unicorn IPOs. Three tech “unicorns” — privately held companies whose valuations have met or exceeded $1 billion — will be the first among this club to brave the IPO waters this year, Dan Gallagher writes for Heard on the Street. Spotify Technology SA, Dropbox Inc. and a provider of cloud-based security software called Zscaler Inc. all filed initial papers last month to list their shares with the public, putting all three in line to complete their offerings before this month is out. All must deal with high expectations right out of the gate.
Hope beyond the crypto hype? All the talk of cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings has obscured the genuine efforts involving the underlying technology, blockchain. “Of all the manifestations of crypto, it’s the most seemingly mundane applications of blockchain that could lead to the biggest and most concrete changes in all of our lives,” the Journal’s Christopher Mims writes. From transferring real estate titles to mapping the origins of conflict minerals, blockchain applications may not turn anyone into an overnight billionaire, but could bring some much-needed change to some of the world’s critical industries.
Toys vs. tools: In Bloomberg Businessweek, Paul Ford examines his own fear, sympathy, envy and excitement as he observes the crypto craziness. While most people won’t make money in the end, he writes, “I’m jealous that they’ll experience it all: the crash, the rejection, and then the slow rebuild as they learn the difference between toys and tools. They get to participate in the screaming edge of culture.”
- Dorothee Baer, Germanys incoming minister overseeing digital policy, says Facebook Inc. and other social media companies must pay more attention to truth and will push them to include diverse sources in users’ news feeds.
- OMER MESSINGER / EPA / Shutterstock
German minister to challenge news presentation on social media. Germany’s incoming minister overseeing digital policy says she will push social media giants like Facebook Inc. to make users’ information feeds more diverse, according to Reuters. “At the moment, the algorithms sort according to relevance or popularity,” the minister, Dorothee Baer, told the newspaper Die Welt. “That pushes to the top old posts that often have little to do with the truth.”
Europe moves on fintech regulations. Europe’s banking watchdog laid out a roadmap to help plug regulatory gaps in the fast-changing financial technology sector, but urged caution in tackling cryptocurrencies, Reuters writes. The European Banking Authority will analyze the nature of services provided by fintech firms “with a view to ensuring that similar services, entailing comparable risks, are regulated in a consistent way across the EU.”
- Israeli scientists participate in an experiment simulating a mission to Mars, at the D-MARS Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station project of Israel’s Space Agency, Ministry of Science, near Mitzpe Ramon, Israel, Feb. 18.
Trips to Mars in 2019? Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. founder Elon Musk said his plan to send a space vehicle to Mars could reach its first milestone early next year, CNBC reports. “We are building the first Mars, or interplanetary, ship and I think we’ll be able to [take] short trips, flights by first half of next year,” Mr. Musk said Sunday at the South by Southwest festival. “Although sometimes, my timelines are a little, you know…”
Meanwhile, underground… Elon Musk’s tunnel-based Hyperloop transportation concept takes a bit of a populist bent, Bloomberg reports. Mr. Musk said tunneling startup Boring Co. will prioritize pedestrians and cyclists over cars in its hyperloop plan. The system would support cars after other personalized mass transit needs are met.
- Attendees on Saturday viewed the YouTube story exhibit at the South By Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. This year’s festival of technology, film and music is expected to strike a somber note as attendees deliberate about serious topics such as digital ethics and gender discrimination.
- Bloomberg News
A more reflective SXSW. While this year’s South by Southwest festival will include the usual techno-optimism and fanfare around the hottest startups, the event will be dominated by somber assessments of the tech industry’s impact on society, Bloomberg writes. From using social media to spread misinformation to the digital surveillance and the changing nature of warfare, digital ethics has taken on a new urgency.
Google’s uphill battle on diversity. Alphabet Inc.’s Google was one of the first tech companies to disclose the race and gender breakdown of its employees, but the firm has made modest progress in its plan to create a more diverse workforce, the New York Times reports. The Times looks at a number of recent incidents and lawsuits show the challenges Google faces as it becomes part of the national discussion around politics, race and gender at work.
The idea-to-IPO chief at Dropbox. The New York Times chronicles the rise of Drew Houston, the “very un-CEO-like-CEO” of Dropbox Inc., which filed to go public last month. When the IPO happens, Mr. Houston, a lover of 1990s rock and business books, will be the latest addition to a small group of tech founders who took their startups all the way to Wall Street, the Times writes. Dropbox set a valuation target between $7 billion and nearly $8 billion in a filing Monday, the Journal’s Maureen Farrell reports.
EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW
Republican lawmakers are openly discussing legislation to limit President Donald Trump’s trade powers after the White House detailed plans last week to impose global tariffs on U.S. imports of steel and aluminum. (WSJ)
Longtime Dow Chemical Co. leader Andrew Liveris plans to step down next month, ending a 14-year tenure after combining with rival DuPont Co. (WSJ)
Insurers, including Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc., game Medicare system to boost federal bonus payments by shuffling patients among privately managed plans in a practice known as crosswalking. (WSJ)
Senate banking bill to ease Dodd-Frank rules pits centrists up for re-election against more liberal lawmakers. (WSJ)
The Morning Download is edited by Kim S. Nash and Steven Norton and cues up the most important news in business technology every weekday morning. You can get The Morning Download emailed to you each weekday morning by clicking http://wsj.com/TheMorningDownload.