By Jeff John Roberts and Adam Lashinsky
December 3, 2018
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Good morning from San Francisco, where I touched down Friday evening earlier (according to the clock, anyway) than I left Guangzhou, China, the same night.

The undercurrent of the Fortune Global Tech Forum in Guangzhou last week was U.S.-China trade tensions. There were two, non-contradictory thoughts among the attendees. First, no one really expects the conflict to abate. The subsequent truce declared after the presidents of China and the U.S met Saturday pretty much confirmed that position: The leaders kicked the explosive can down the road, solving little but lowering the temperature for now.

At the same time, for many the tension between the two countries is beside the point. In some cases, the China and U.S. trade economies are closely intertwined, particularly where China is the manufacturer of U.S.-designed goods. But in the case of the Internet and software, there are two distinct economies that interact almost not at all. Alibaba is about as much a force in the U.S. as Google is in China. Barring a “beautiful” trade deal, that’s not going to change. Considering the current U.S. president’s two big deals so far—a North Korean agreement that has accomplished nothing and a NAFTA re-write that otherwise would have been called an update—don’t expect much.


The Wall Street Journal has a good review of Microsoft’s rejuvenation here. The occasion: The once-and-current software powerhouse passing Apple in market capitalization Friday. Wow.


I honor the passing of a great and gracious and honorable American, George H.W. Bush, who served his country with distinction for decades. It’s good to reflect on the impressive life of a president who governed with humility and reflected time-honored American values.


I finished the British novelist Kate Atkinson’s latest book, Transcription, on the long flight home. It’s a thrilling work of historical fiction about espionage on the home front in the early days of World War II Britain. I recommend it.

Adam Lashinsky


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