Views from the Vrge: DOJ and Antitrust, RSA Media Strategies, and the 2024 Election

DOJ and Antitrust

And we’re back…

Breaking news!  No Labels – the group that was threatening to run a bipartisan 3rd party ticket in the race for President – has bowed out, unable to find credible leaders to run under its banner.  The fear – that they would play the role of spoiler and ease the way for Donald Trump to return to the Presidency.  With this group now out of the way, expect Democratic firepower to turn to anti-vaxxer RFK, Jr., who most analysts believe will draw votes away from President Biden.

Meanwhile, there are just 213 days until the November election, and right now Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump is ahead. At the national level, Trump is leading Biden by 1.1% according to the Real Clear Politics average.  In the battlegrounds, Trump enjoys a strong 3-7 point advantage.

On the other side of the coin, President Biden has had a good month since the State of the Union address and has closed the gap.  But there are several issues that are making it hard for him – the war in Gaza, high prices in grocery stores and at the pump, and immigration.  And that doesn’t even include his biggest negative – the widely held perception that he is old and has lost some zip on his fastball.

Yet, there’s still plenty of time for a Biden resurgence, particularly as Trump faces several legal challenges, including charges related to hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, mishandling of classified documents, and a RICO case in Georgia. Who knows what a criminal conviction will do to public sentiment related to the former president?

Tech in the Public Sector

Two weeks ago, the US Department of Justice sued Apple for potential antitrust violations.  The suit makes the case that Apple has monopoly power in the smartphone market and leverages control over the iPhone to engage in what it says is “a broad, sustained, and illegal course of conduct.”  

Cases like these are notoriously difficult to predict, but color us skeptical. The heart of the charges seems to revolve around iMessage and whether green bubbles and the lack of end-to-end encryption create a huge disincentive for people to buy Android phones. Seems pretty thin to us.

But here’s the key point.  Over the next weeks and months, the Apple behemoth will start to roll into action and follow the path established by Microsoft and followed by Google. We’ll see “regular people” share what their iPhones mean to them – both personally and professionally.  

Yet, this certainly gives the Biden Administration a major talking point in the runup to the November election that showcases how it is standing up to Big Tech.

Navigating the RSA Media Labyrinth

RSA is just five weeks away. Vrge Partner Josh Zecher has 4 lessons for making the most of your RSA PR program.

Start Early – Reporter schedules book up quickly. Start at least six weeks in advance. That means if you haven’t started yet, start now!

Know Your Story – What story do you want to tell? Who do you want to tell it to? 

Know What Reporters Want – Before pitching a reporter, know their beat and what they want. Politico doesn’t care about your product, but SC Magazine might. 

Put the Brakes on Breaking News – Unless you are a publicly traded, billion-dollar company, don’t use RSA to break news; use it to preview news. Reporters have too much to cover during RSA week, but sometimes, there is not enough in the weeks following. Use RSA to discuss news under embargo and then release it in the weeks after RSA. Reporters appreciate the preview/first look and are likelier to give you attention when the news hits.

The Must Reads, Listens and Watch

Must Read

Must Watch

  • Fallout on Prime is the next great show, an adaption from video game to a series, similar to the Last of Us.  We’re excited!
  • Iowa vs UConn tonight at 9:30 ET in the Women’s side of March Madness.  Kaitlin Clark has become must see TV.

Must Listen

  • ICYMI – Vrge’s Adam Benson sat down with Chuck Todd to discuss WHAT

Silicon Valley Vibes – Season 1