A look back at the biggest news of 2019

Here are the biggest stories of 2019 in a year-end recap.


December 31, 2019

In 2019, the world obsessed over which Fyre Festival documentary was better, how that coffee cup ended up on the set of “Game of Thrones,” and whether it matters that Baby Yoda isn’t the real Yoda.

But on top of all the fun and games, there was a lot of big news. 

Here are some of the biggest business and tech stories that defined this past year — and will shape the next one:

  • Facebook’s co-founder (and others) called for its breakup. The company’s co-founder (and Zuckerberg’s college buddy) Chris Hughes called for stricter regulation of Facebook — which he sees as anti-competitive — in an alarming opinion piece.
  • The IPO boom was… anticlimactic. Despite huge expectations, many companies that hit the public markets in 2019 — Slack, Uber, Lyft, and Pinterest — declined sharply after their debuts.
  • The streaming wars got serious. After months of hype, Disney+ finally launched in November — and signed up more than 10m subscribers. Now, Netflix, Amazon, NBC, HBO, and Apple are all promoting their streaming offerings going in to the coming year.
  • WeWork didn’t really “work.” After filing for an IPO with an expected valuation of about $47B, WeWork’s value plummeted to less than $5B, which prompted the cancellation of its IPO and a takeover by its main investor, SoftBank.
  • People drooled over food delivery. With 50%+ of restaurant spending expected to be “off premise” in 2020, the growth of food delivery giants exploded in 2019. DoorDash led the way with 33.8% market share and 113% year-over-year growth.
  • Boeing had a bad year. After the crashes of 2 of its jets resulted in 346 deaths, Boeing spent most of 2019 doing damage control. With less than 2 weeks left in the year, the company fired its CEO.
  • People started paying more attention to privacy problems. After VICE and the NYT revealed cell phones allow both bounty hunters and Amazon to monitor consumers, most Americans (62%) now believe it’s impossible to get through the day without being digitally tracked.
  • Tech employees (and others) got a little ornery. Contract workers at Google, warehouse workers at Amazon, and others protested unfair working conditions in 2019. Meanwhile, employees at Google, Microsoft, and Palantir demanded that their employers terminate contracts with ICE and Customs and Border Control.
  • The world got its first $2T company. After Apple did the unimaginable and became the 1st trillion dollar company in 2018, several others (Amazon, Microsoft) hit the mark — and at the end of 2019 oil giant Saudi Aramco hit the $2T mark on its 2nd day of trading.
  • After trade war tumult, the economy… did really well. Despite a roller coaster of trade turbulence related to an ongoing tariff tiff between the US and China, America’s economy reached its longest expansion in history in the 3rd quarter of the year — and seems poised to continue climbing.

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