Data Sheet—Thursday, September 15, 2016

By Heather Clancy
September 15, 2016

There have been rumors for some time about Apple offering a Netflix-style streaming TV service to users through its Apple TV box. Nothing has ever come of them but there are signs the company is getting more serious about the idea.

Here’s a big one: Apple just hired veteran Time Warner Cable executive Peter Stern and made him a vice president in its cloud services unit. He will report to Eddy Cue, who is in charge of services like Apple Music and iCloud.

Why is Stern’s hiring such a big clue that Apple is moving forward with its cable TV plans? Because when he worked at Time Warner, he was a key player in negotiations with Apple about a deal to offer streaming TV.

Those talks have never come to fruition, for a variety of reasons—among them, the fact that Apple doesn’t want to pay as much for the content as TV networks and other providers want them to pay.

In a sense, cable companies like Time Warner and Comcast and content producers like CBS are caught between a rock and a hard place. They know that streaming is the future and cord-cutting is a reality, so they want to partner with companies like Apple, but they are also leery of giving away their content too cheaply.

Whether Stern’s arrival at Apple makes it any more likely they will succeed is an open question. But they are far more likely to do so with him than without him.

Mathew Ingram is a senior writer at Fortune. Email him. Share this essay.


BITS AND BYTES

Another day, another GE software acquisition. It will pay $495 million for Meridium, which sells technology for tracking the performance of heavy-duty machinery. GE bought supply chain software specialist ShipXpress in latest August, and offered $1.4 billion for two 3D printing firms last week. (Bloomberg)

Ford launches new division dedicated to autonomous fleet services. The 113-year-old  automaker is developing transportation service centered on robotic taxis, vans, and electric cars. Ford’s first fully self-driving car isn’t due until around 2021. (Wall Street Journal)

Ericsson, Qualcomm collaborate on patents crucial for Internet of things. Both companies—along with several other wireless technology specialists—are contributing intellectual property to Avanci, an organization that will represent a range of patents for things such as connected cars or smart meters. The plan calls for members to share licensing revenue. (Wall Street Journal)

How SAP audits its gender diversity efforts. It’s difficult to find a high-profile, high-tech company that isn’t prioritizing better ethnic and gender diversity, and talking about it pretty regularly even when progress is questionable. The software giant has taken the relatively unusual step of undergoing an independent audit of how well it’s doing. (Fortune)

Twitter is ready for some football. The social media company released its new video application for a plethora of streaming TV devices, just in time to livestream its first NFL game Thursday night. (Wall Street JournalNew York Times)

Deleting unwanted Apple apps is more complicated than you think. One of the more intriguing additions to the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 10, is a feature that lets people eliminate thinks like Weather or Compass. But doing so could negatively affect other apps. (Fortune)


THE DOWNLOAD

John Chambers on how leaders can cross the digital divide. Cisco’s executive chairman writes about why digitization—”the intelligent connection of people, process, data, and things”—will be key to how countries maintain competitiveness, foster innovation, and create jobs. World leaders can start by asking themselves these four questions:

  1. Which side of the digital divide are you on?
  2. Are you fueling the “startup ecosystem”?
  3. Have you focused curricula on technology skills?
  4. Can your infrastructure support a digital economy?

Read Chambers’ essay from the latest issue of Fortune.


WATCH FOR IT

Expect another Oracle cloud progress report. The software giant is due to report its fiscal first quarter late Thursday, with the consensus of estimates calling for $8.7 billion in revenue. There are sure to be many questions about the $9.3 billion NetSuite acquisition, but Oracle has been pretty quiet about it since the initial announcement and the tender offer was just extended to Oct. 6. Oracle’s mammoth customer and developer conference starts Sunday. (MarketWatch)



ONE MORE THING

There could soon be an emoji to depict Muslim headwear. The list of female-centric options on smartphone keyboards is still relatively limited. A German teenager is taking matters into her own hands to build awareness of her religion and culture. (New York Times)


This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.

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