Google wants (another) Android manufacturer
Remember that time Google bought Motorola for $12.5 billion, basically did nothing with it, kept the patents and then sold it to Lenovo for $2.9 billion? Yeah, it's probably about to happen again — but with HTC this time around.
Google and HTC have been close for a long time. Many of the Nexus devices were built by HTC and the company's new flagship, Pixel, is also manufactured in close partnership with HTC, so an acquisition makes sense if Google is really for real in the phone business now.
That's, of course, what Google said last time around. The difference now is that Andy Rubin was head of Android back in 2013, drove the acquisition, and had different ambitions before it fell flat — now he's off building his own handset manufacturer instead.
In my mind Google + HTC makes a lot of sense. HTC is a struggling company that doesn't know how to make phones particularly well on its own, but when guided by Google (such as in the case of the Pixel) it does exceedingly well.
If this deal does happen — and I suspect it will, eventually — Google needs to play this differently. It's reported that the company craves deeper integration between the hardware of Android devices and the software but when it acquired Motorola in 2012 it built a firewall inside the company between the teams that meant any effort to do that failed.
Provided Google is willing to go all-in and piss off vendors, a better way to do it would be Microsoft's Surface strategy where it used homegrown devices to show manufacturers what a next-generation PC was — and they quickly got off the ground and started innovating again.
Amazon's looking for a second home
Amazon's home base is Seattle, but the company is looking to spread its wings and open a new "HQ2" somewhere else in the US — following a vague announcement that it hasn't decided which city yet will win the 50,000 jobs.
Assuming it really hasn't settled on a city yet, the announcement is likely some sort of power play in which the company is hoping cities will offer it preferential treatment in return for bringing those thousands of jobs to town.
"HQ2" will supposedly be a 'complete HQ' and will operate as the other half of the main office while allowing teams to transfer as they see fit.
It's a bizarre way to announce the move if you look at it on the surface, but the company's marketing materials that focus on the value that the company has brought to Seattle tell the full story: it wants a deal with a city that would help make the decision much, much easier.