Many matters cyber will be near the top of the discussion list when China President Xi Jinping arrives Tuesday in the United States for an eagerly anticipated state visit with President Barack Obama. It’s unlikely the two will see eye-to-eye after just a few hours together. That’s why a separate gathering with major tech companies including Apple, Facebook, and IBM (orchestrated by China’s Internet policy advisor Lu Wei and apparently co-hosted by Microsoft) is just as meaningful as the officially sponsored dialogue. Which is probably why President Obama apparently wasn’t too thrilled when he heard about it.
As Fortune‘s Scott Cendrowski notes in this pre-visit essay, the American tech industry is between a rock and a hard place, so it’s hard to fault them for accepting an invitation to talk. “These are the same U.S. companies who have complained of limited access in the Chinese market and proposed new government regulations that would require them to store data inside the country.”
The question is: How much will these leaders concede when it comes to intellectual property or data governance for a chance at the world’s largest Internet market?
There is definitely a lot riding on this visit. On a lighter note, since the Chinese entourage will spend some time in Seattle, do you think they’ll test out the updated Starbucks mobile app? They won’t even have to wait in line for their coffee, or tea.
TOP OF MIND
Apple’s electric car project shifts into next gear. The company is “committed” to getting a vehicle on the road by 2019, according to sources familiar with the “Titan” initiative. The 600-person team got approval to triple its resources. GM’s vice chairman doesn’t think much of the plan. (Wall Street Journal, Fortune)
This cloud software company just got $110 million from Fidelity, Microsoft, others. CloudFlare simultaneously speeds and secures Internet traffic. (Fortune)
Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi now sells wireless services. Its approach is similar to Google’s U.S. strategy. (Reuters)
Twitter CEO search passes 100-day mark. Analysts with SunTrust think the board should relax its stance against a CEO who has more than one job. (USA Today)
Microsoft’s latest Office suite is here. This is the last big overhaul. Subscribers can anticipate new features monthly. (New York Times)
Disney’s interest in virtual reality is growing keener. The company is leading a $65 million investment in camera maker Jaunt, which competes with Samsung and GoPro. (Fortune)
CIO challenge: so many priorities, so little time
Businesses want the best, most powerful, but easiest-to-use software for every job but don’t want to juggle a thousand vendors. They want the lowest cost but the best service. With no downtime. Welcome to the world of a modern-day chief information officer. Fortune‘s Barb Darrow reports on his or hers five biggest worries.
BITS AND BYTES
Fastest update ever. Apple’s latest iOS has already been downloaded to half the devices that can run it. (Fortune)
Open source software pioneer Red Hat just had another great quarter, so it just raised expectations for the current fiscal year. (Journal)
Dropbox steps up transformation into team collaboration platform. (Fortune)
E-book subscription service Oyster is shutting down. Most of its team joined Google. (Fortune)
Salesforce isn’t the only cloud company with a successful software marketplace. Business collaboration upstart Atlassian has inspired $100 million in viral sales. (Fortune)
Experts are torn over the future of bitcoin. (Fortune)
Should you lease or buy an iPhone? Here’s the math. (Fortune)
MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS
Business Insider is close to being bought by this company by Verne Kopytoff
This movie theater company is spending $15 million on eSports by Chris Morris
Meet the computer that could pass high school geometry by Derrick Harris
AT&T and Verizon spent $47 million prepping their networks for Pope Francis by Stacey Higginbotham
ONE MORE THING
Very few people are actually blocking Internet ads, but here who is driving the frenzy over ad-blocking software. Which begs the question: as ads become more relevant, will people be so eager to shut them out? (Fortune)