Amazon dumps NYC, shocking developers who had rushed to be near its new HQ2

In a startling and rare defeat for the $800 billion tech giant, Amazon is scrapping its plan to bring a new headquarters — along with 25,000 jobs — to New York City. The company had faced a wave of fierce opposition from New York politicians, activists, and labor unions. Amazon says it will continue with plans for a new corporate campus in Northern Virginia that can hold up to 25,000 employees, and will spread the remaining 25,000 jobs over its existing 17 offices and hubs throughout North America. The move stunned real-estate speculators, developers, and renters who had rushed into the Long Island City neighborhood to be near the new HQ2 development. Amazon’s pullout was a huge victory for the groups that protested the billions in tax breaks the company brokered in secret, but some of the deal’s opponents — including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — wish that Amazon had stuck around and compromised. [Jason Del Rey / Recode]

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President Trump will declare a national emergency to bypass Congress and build his long-promised wall along the nation’s southwestern border — even as he agreed to sign a spending package that does not finance it. The White House announcement came just minutes before the Senate voted 83 to 16 to advance the spending package; the House followed later in the evening, 300 to 128, in effect ending a two-month war of attrition that closed much of the federal government for 35 days and threatened a second shutdown on Friday. Declaring a national emergency lets Trump avoid another shutdown while not giving in, but it could instigate a constitutional clash over who controls the federal purse and test the bounds of presidential authority in a time of divided government. [Peter Baker, Emily Cochrane, and Maggie Haberman / The New York Times]

Faced with a multibillion-dollar fine, Facebook is negotiating with the Federal Trade Commission to settle the agency’s investigation into the social media giant’s privacy practices, including its entanglement with Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that improperly accessed data on 87 million of the social site’s users. The fine would be the largest the agency has ever imposed on a technology company; to date, the largest fine the FTC has imposed on a tech giant for breaking an agreement with the government to safeguard consumers’ data was a $22.5 million penalty that Google paid to settle a probe over in 2012. If talks break down, the FTC could take the matter to court in what would likely be a bruising legal fight. [Tony Romm / The Washington Post]

JPMorgan Chase is the first major US bank to create its own cryptocurrency. The bank, which moves more than $6 trillion around the world every day, has created the “JPM Coin,” a digital token that will be used to instantly settle transactions between clients of its wholesale payments business. JPMorgan is preparing for a future in which parts of the essential underpinning of global capitalism, from cross-border payments to corporate debt issuance, move to the blockchain, the database technology made famous by its first application, bitcoin. But in order for that future to happen, the bank needed a way to transfer money at the dizzying speed that those smart contracts closed, rather than relying on old technology like wire transfers. While the bank’s CEO Jamie Dimon notoriously bashed bitcoin as a “fraud” a year ago, he and his managers have consistently said blockchain and regulated digital currencies held promise. [Hugh Son / CNBC]

Samsung plans to open three Samsung Experience Stores next Wednesday, February 20 — the same day it unveils its Galaxy S10 and foldable smartphones during an event in San Francisco. Samsung is the world’s biggest phone and TV maker, but until now it hasn’t operated its own retail stores; the first locations are The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles; Roosevelt Field on Long Island in Garden City, New York; and The Galleria in Houston. Samsung will also launch pop-up stores in other malls next month. [Shara Tibken / CNET]

ABC is moving its Oscars red-carpet preshow from Facebook to Twitter for 2019. Twitter’s exclusive livestream will be available at the @TheAcademy account Sunday, February 24, starting at 6:30 pm ET / 3:30 pm PT. The deal is a bit of a coup for Twitter, which has been pushing to bring more live video to the platform. Facebook was the Oscars’ official streaming partner for red-carpet coverage the last two years, and has worked with ABC on the Oscars since 2015. [Todd Spangler / Variety]

Top stories from Recode

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