Data Sheet—Monday, October 3, 2016
One of the best hook-them-while-they’re-young business software tricks came out of computer-aided design specialist Autodesk. The 34-year-old company’s early success was due in large part to its decision to convince influential architectural schools to include its AutoCAD product as part of their core curriculums—and giving the software to students, in order to seal the deal.
I was reminded of that strategy last week when cloud software company Workday announced a new service meant for colleges and universities, a departure from its usual focus on corporate human resource departments.
The product, called Workday Student, is a higher education resource for students and school administrators to access transcripts, change their schedules, gather academic feedback, connect with peers in their fields, and receive financial aid updates. They can even upload samples of their extraordinary coursework and information about internships or real-world experiences that may count more heavily toward a particular degree.
But here’s where things get interesting: As students near graduation, the data in this system could be used to for their resumes. That, in turn, could make it simpler for corporate recruiters at organizations that use Workday’s HR applications to see the backgrounds of potential employees. That’s currently hard to do. Workday senior vice president Leighanne Levensaler puts it this way: “Most of the systems in place today are older than the students themselves.”
And if companies decide to make job offers to those new graduates, all the better.
For starters, new hires will already be familiar with using Workday’s systems (which means they can concentrate on getting down to doing their job more quickly). Chances will also be high that they may be more inclined to use another new Workday application, called Learning, on a more regular basis than their older coworkers. Learning suggests video tutorials, seminars, and other customized career development paths for employees, based on recommendations by their managers, their personal interests, or changes in their job roles. In other words, Workday is encouraging a corporate culture of lifelong learners—starting with undergraduates.
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BITS AND BYTES
Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are spending billions on European cloud data centers. Microsoft said Monday that its latest facility will open in France next year—so far, it has invested more than $3 billion in Europe, a nod to the EU’s data privacy and security concerns. In fact, it’s getting hard to keep count of where the next data center will show up. Amazon is adding one near Paris to supplement operations in Frankfurt, Dublin and the U.K. Google’s latest will be in the Netherlands. (Fortune, New York Times)
Apple is on the hook for $302 million in patent case. The tech giant lost the latest retrial of its fight against VirnetX Holding, which owns the rights to Internet security technology used in Apple’s Facetime video conferencing app. On the bright side, the judgement is less than half of what the previous jury in this ongoing saga thought Apple should pay. (Reuters)
Here’s how the EU may punish Google in the Android antitrust case. Regulators plan to forbid the company from offering discounts to smartphone manufacturers in exchange for pre-installing its applications, particularly Google Play with Google Search, according to a document circulated last week. It also faces a big fine for its ongoing recalcitrance. (Reuters)
Tesla deliveries record-breaking quarter despite Autopilot controversy. The electric vehicle company doubled the number of sedans and SUVs it shipped in the third quarter to 24,500. The company is under scrutiny for a fatal accident in June involving the software it uses to guide it EVs in self-driving mode. (Wall Street Journal)
So far, mostly good for American Airlines tech migration. Over the weekend, the biggest U.S. airline officially merged the systems used to manage American and US Airways flights. There appear to have been few glitches, although some quirks in the pilot-scheduling software may have run afoul of union and FAA rules. (Wall Street Journal)
Nutanix CEO on why the hot data center hardware startup went public. It’s been a nine-month-long journey since Nutanix filed for an initial public offering, but the wait was worth it. The company’s shares closed at $37 on their first day of trading Friday, a whopping 131% jump from the original IPO pricing of $16 a share. Nutanix, which had a valuation of $2 billion as a privately held company, now has a market value of more than $4 billion.
In an interview with Fortune, Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey said he was pleased with the IPO even though it seemed like the company could have raised more money if it had initially priced its shares higher. Nutanix raised almost $240 million in the offering. “Hindsight is 20-20,” Pandey said.
WATCH FOR IT
Get ready for a slew of new Google gadgets. The Internet giant is expected to introduce its voice-activated home automation product—one positioned squarely against Amazon Echo—at a San Francisco event on Tuesday. You can also expect new virtual reality headsets, tablets, and phones. (New York Times)
Artificial intelligence isn’t the only think Salesforce will preach about. More than 170,000 people are expected to show up for the cloud software giant’s annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. Alongside hundreds of technology demonstrations will be daily classes on mindful eating and “walking” meditation. (Wall Street Journal)
Oracle’s acquisition of NetSuite clears final hurdle. The $9.3 billion union was blessed last week with final antitrust approval from the U.S. Department of Justice. Shareholders have until Oct. 6 to tender their shares.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
An Apple a Day: How to Get a Headphone Jack for iPhone 7, by Don Reisinger
Why Now May Be a Good Time to Buy Broadcom Shares, by Ian Mount
Amazon Marketplace Shoppers Slam the Spam, by Barb Darrow
ONE MORE THING
A peek at Amazon’s secret garden, where drones bloom. A reporter for The New York Times went hunting for the mysterious site in England where the retailer is testing drones for applications such as package deliveries. He found it near a town called Worsted Lodge, much to the chagrin of the locals. (New York Times)