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Recode Daily: The US charges Chinese tech giant Huawei with stealing trade secrets

Plus: Silicon Valley’s favorite charity wants a fresh start after recovering from scandal; men will have it worst when the robots come for our jobs; Apple is planning a game subscription service.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.
Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.
DW News / YouTube

The US Justice Department unveiled 13 criminal charges against the Chinese telecom firm Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, accusing the company of stealing trade secrets, obstructing justice, and bank fraud by evading economic sanctions on Iran. One indictment details Huawei’s efforts to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile and offer bonuses to staff who stole confidential information from other companies. The US will seek to have Meng extradited from Canada, where she was detained late last year at the request of the US. The charges come at a sensitive diplomatic moment, as top Chinese officials are expected to arrive in Washington, DC, this week for trade talks. [Katie Benner, Matthew Goldstein, and Alan Rappeport / The New York Times]

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Silicon Valley’s favorite charity almost imploded in scandal; now the Silicon Valley Community Foundation wants a fresh start. For the past decade, the foundation has amassed $13 billion in assets to become the nation’s most important, gilded, and opaque charity. And it has done so very quietly — until last spring, when this behind-the-scenes consigliere to the wealthy became the front-of-camera story. New CEO Nicole Taylor now runs a $13 billion philanthropy that houses donor-advised funds — pools of cash that are earmarked for philanthropic projects and that come with incredible tax write-offs — they’ve become en vogue with members of the tech elite, including Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sergey Brin. And Taylor is now asking donors for a second chance. [Theodore Schleifer / Recode]

We seem to have accepted that the robots will someday take our jobs — but it’s the men, for once, who will be getting the short end of the economic stick. Automation and artificial intelligence will affect Americans unevenly, according to data from McKinsey and the 2016 US Census. Meanwhile, many executives have been wringing their hands in public over the negative consequences that AI and automation could have for workers. But many of the suits at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos privately admit to racing to automate their workforces to stay ahead of the competition, with little regard for the impact on workers. [Rani Molla / Recode]

The 35-day government shutdown cost the US economy $11 billion — with about $3 billion of that total permanently lost. While the shutdown officially ended on Friday, it is only a temporary three-week reprieve. President Trump has warned the government could shut down again if Congress does not agree to his $5.7 billion request for funds to build a wall along the border with Mexico. [Alan Rappeport / The New York Times]

Apple is planning a Netflix-like subscription service for games; the company has also discussed partnering with developers as a publisher, which could signal Apple’s ambition to assume distribution, marketing, and other related costs for select games. The move to create a gaming subscription service comes as the iPhone maker faces pressure to grow its services business as iPhone sales are slowing and gaming and eSports are booming. Along with developing a video streaming service to rival Netflix and partnering with carriers to boost the subscriber base for Apple Music, Apple is also planning to release a news and magazine subscription service this year — here’s a look at what that all-in-one service may look like. [Alex Heath / Cheddar]

Dropbox is acquiring electronic signature startup HelloSign for $230 million in cash, its largest purchase ever. The move puts Dropbox in competition with Adobe and DocuSign, and adds functionality that can potentially lure more big businesses to the company’s core file sharing and collaboration products. HelloSign has 80,000 customers, including Intuit; its users can apply their signatures to digital documents and ask for signatures from others; it also has tools for virtually faxing documents and managing the flow of paperwork. [Jordan Novet / CNBC]

Bill Simmons’s The Ringer network of 28 podcasts made $15 million in ad sales in 2018. Four years after splitting with ESPN, Simmons set out to make podcasts a focus of The Ringer, and podcast advertising has grown quickly — it increased 86 percent from 2016 to 2017, but still represents less than 1 percent of the overall US digital ad market. Advertisers pay between $25 to $50 for every 1,000 people who hear each ad on The Ringer’s podcasts; the Los Angeles-based company keeps at least two-thirds of the money, with the rest going to Midroll, the audio-advertising vendor that sells much of The Ringer’s ad space. The Ringer’s content is hosted on Vox Media’s platform, but maintains editorial independence. [Benjamin Mullin and Joe Flint / The Wall Street Journal]

Top stories from Recode

Amazon’s white-collar workforce says their warehouses need better conditions. The situation isn’t as bad at other tech company warehouses and manufacturing facilities. [Rani Molla]

The erectile dysfunction pill company Hims will be worth $1 billion. Some investors balked at the price tag for the direct-to-consumer men’s health brand. [Theodore Schleifer]

Facebook will start tracking political ads around the world. Facebook is preparing for important international elections this year in Europe, India, and Israel. [Kurt Wagner]

How can you prepare for the future of work? The answer is not “learn to code.” Boston University professor Ellen Shell talks about her new book, The Job, on the latest episode of Recode Decode. [Kara Swisher]

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