By Heather Clancy
July 29, 2015

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. Windows 10 is here! It’s one of the first big tests of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s aggressive strategy to win back business customers. Twitter’s CFO utters the dreaded “T-word.” Alibaba will spend another $1 billion to satisfy its Amazon cloud envy. Like this newsletter? Pass it on. Wishing you a successful Wednesday!


TOP OF MIND

Twitter sign-ups slow to a trickle. The social media company actually grew revenue 61% in its latest quarter. But it added just 2 million new users, very few of them in the United States. “Simply said, the product remains too difficult to use,” CFO Anthony Noto told analysts. “This is both a product issue and a marketing issue.” Turning things around will take time that Twitter may or may not have, if past history is any indication.


TRENDING

Alibaba puts another $1 billion into challenging Amazon’s cloud dominance. China’s Internet giant is already planning data centers in the Middle East, Europe, Singapore, and Japan.

Amazon wants a special fly zone for its delivery drones, to protect them from other aircraft. Plus, the e-commerce company just launched a new storefront to promote products from promising startups.

More bad news from Yelp. The reviews site cut its revenue guidance after surprising investors with a Q2 loss. Compounding matters: PayPal co-founder Max Levchin is resigning his chairman post to focus on his own startup, Affirm.

Hewlett-Packard is buying itself some cloud marketshare. It just acquired Stackato, a service that helps businesses split their applications between their own data centers and outside cloud services.

Citrix CEO and founder Mark Templeton to retire, as activist investor Elliott Management pushes its own agenda. The hedge fund, which wants the software company to sell non-core businesses and spin out GoToMeeting, just gained two seats on the board. Incidentally, don’t expect Citrix Chairman Tom Bogan, the lead independent director, to step in as successor. He’s been the CEO of fast-growing cloud financial software company Adaptive Insights since early this year.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for an Edward Snowden pardon. The Obama administration is having none of it.

Target’s top digital executive may be leaving, reports Re/code. Alan Wizemann led the overhaul of the retailer’s e-commerce strategy and the Cartwheel mobile app.


THE DOWNLOAD

A billion-dollar startup earns its stripes

Patrick Collison never answers his phone when the caller ID says it’s an unknown number. The exercise is always a waste of time: a telemarketer, a wrong number, something. But less than a week before Christmas last year, while he was on vacation in his native Ireland, Collison’s phone buzzed, and he felt the unusual urge to tap “answer.”

Hi, Patrick? It was a man’s voice, nasal in tone. This is Michael Lynton. Scrambling from what this magazine recently dubbed the “Hack of the Century,” the CEO of Sony Entertainment was in search of a way to distribute The Interview, the controversial film at its center. Lynton needed a payments infrastructure that could be deployed quickly and withstand the wrath of the hackers who had already embarrassed his company. Stunned, Collison was all too pleased to help.

Stripe, the five-year-old startup that Collison co-leads with his younger brother John, was an unusual choice for a Japanese conglomerate in search of stability. The San Francisco company had struck deals with ascendant neighbors like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. A Global 500 giant like Sony—let alone one reeling from catastrophe—was a far different endeavor.

But new partnerships with some of the world’s largest companies suggest that Stripe is finally growing into its potential. In the last year the brothers Collison have signed deals with Alibaba (to support Alipay), Apple, and American Express (Amex Express Checkout). Its latest partner: Visa, which just helped Stripe earn a $5 billion valuation.

Read Fortune senior writer Leena Rao’s entire feature.


MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

No communications problem here. Twilio’s software is used by the likes of Uber to embed text messaging, phone calls, and video communications into apps and websites. The company just closed $130 million in Series E funding.

Predictive marketing company Radius raises $50 million. Its software uses more than 50 billion data points to find qualified prospects that look like a company’s most profitable or fastest-growing accounts. Customers include American Express and Staples.

This security startup uses artificial intelligence to outsmart intrusions. Cylance, founded by McAfee’s former CTO, has raised another $42 million. That brings its total to $77 million.

Colorado to ZenPayroll: We’ll fund your new office here. The San Francisco-based software company will get $19 million in tax incentives to bring an anticipated 1,000 new jobs to Denver.

3-D scanning specialist snags $13 million. Occipital’s technology has applications in medicine, architecture, prototyping, and visual effects.

Real money for virtual reality company. AltspaceVR, which focuses on communications and virtual events, is getting another $10.3 million. Return investors include Tencent and Dolby Family Ventures. A new backer: Comcast Ventures.


ALSO WORTH SHARING

Instagram could pass Google and Twitter in mobile ad revenue within two years, according to an eMarketer forecast. Here’s why Google stopped running full-page ads to encourage mobile app downloads. Plus, three other trends marketers should watch closely.

You can’t buy the latest Motorola smartphones in any carrier stores,which means owners can choose whatever wireless service they want.

Facebook published its entire handbook for fighting workplace bias, with the hope that your company will use it, too.

Another Twitter exec defects, shows up at Dropbox. Todd Jackson, who ran the content and discovery operation, also worked for Facebook and Google.

Google is the latest tech company to back legislation that would set safeguards against discrimination over gender identity or sexual orientation.

Intel and Micron have invented a new class of computer memory. The first to use it in their data centers: Baidu, Facebook and Microsoft.

10 million people in one month. That’s how many people Apple may have signed up for the free trial of its streaming music service. The trick will be converting them into paid subscriptions.

Approximately 15% of Americans aren’t online, and have no intention of changing that habit anytime soon.



ONE MORE THING

Sorry New York and San Francisco, the most wired city in the world isn’t in the United States. Book your ticket to Barcelona.


MARK YOUR CALENDAR

LinuxCon North America: All about open source. (Aug. 17 – 19; Seattle)

SuccessConnect: Simplify the way the world works. (Aug. 10 – 12; Las Vegas)

VMworld: The virtualization ecosystem. (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2015; San Francisco)

Gartner Customer 360 Summit: Strategies for digital engagement. (Sept. 9 – 11; San Diego)

Dreamforce: The Salesforce community. (Sept. 15 – 18; San Francisco)

.conf2015: Splunk’s “get your data on” gathering. (Sept. 21 – 24; Las Vegas)

Cassandra Summit: Largest gathering of Cassandra database developers. (Sept. 22 – 24; San Francisco)

AppSec USA 2015: Application security principles. (Sept. 22 – 25; San Francisco)

BoxWorks 2015: Cloud collaboration solutions. (Sept. 28 – 30; San Francisco)

Workday Rising: Meet and share. (Sept. 28 – Oct. 1; Las Vegas)

HP Engage: Big data, big engagement. (Oct. 4 – 6; San Diego)

Gartner Symposium ITxpo: CIOs and senior IT executives. (Oct. 4 – 8; Orlando, Florida)

AWS re:Invent 2015: The global Amazon Web services community. (Oct. 6 – 9; Las Vegas)

I Love APIs 2015: Apigee’s annual conference. (Oct. 12 – 14; San Jose, California)

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: World’s largest gather of women technologists. (Oct. 14 – 16; Houston)

DevOps Enterprise Summit: Lean principles meet technology management. (Oct. 19 – 21; San Francisco)

CX San Francisco: Forrester’s forum for customer experience professionals. (Oct. 22 – 23)

Oracle OpenWorld: Customer and partner conference. (Oct. 25 – 29; San Francisco)

TBM Conference 2015: Manage IT like a business. (Oct. 26 – 29; Chicago)

eBusiness Chicago: eBusiness and channel strategy. (Oct. 29 – 30)

QuickBooks Connect: SMBs, entrepreneurs, accountants and developers. (Nov. 2 – 4; San Jose, California)

CMO+CIO: Forrester’s summit on strategy collaboration. (Nov. 2 – 4; Sarasota, Florida)

Oktane15: Identity management trends. (Nov. 2 – 4; Las Vegas)

FutureStack: Define your future with New Relic. (Nov. 11 – 13; San Francisco)

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