The daily download on the business of technology.
Due to late nights and early mornings, I’m going to save my wrap-up from Cannes for one more day and point you instead to the new cover story in Fortune, entitled simply, “Hacked.” It’s a package comprising an overview of the state of play for corporations in defending themselves against cybercriminals as well as an intriguing look by Robert Hackett at Google’s cyber bounty hunting project.
My colleague Jeff John Roberts and I wrote the top-level think piece. It’s a look at how these attacks occur, the startlingly corporate and collaborative nature of the new breed hackers, how companies are fighting back, and, inevitably, the multi-billion-dollar industry that has arisen to thwart the crooks.
By now most of you know that cybercrime has become a board-level priority at big corporations. What these boards have learned, often the hard way, is that crooks typically can’t be kept off a company’s network completely. Instead, the key is to have a cogent plan to safeguard key material once they’re there.
As Jeff and I conclude in the article, this is no normal fight. Wars, after all, end. This battle promises to continue indefinitely.
I hope you enjoy the article, and we welcome your feedback on it, as well as more examples of how you and your companies are joining the fight.
Bloomberg’s Eric Newcomer is reporting that Benchmark Capital’s Bill Gurley is leaving Uber’s board, to be replaced by his partner Matt Cohler, and that TPG’s David Trujillo will replace the recently departed David Bonderman. The irony here is that Cohler and Trujillo originally sourced the Uber investment for their respective firms, and each was bigfooted on the board seat at Travis Kalanick’s request. Traditionally the investor who finds the deal joins the board, but there were always strong arguments for Gurley and Bonderman, who were more experienced that Cohler and Trujillo. The former didn’t cover themselves in glory in the governance department. Now their colleagues get a turn.
Hypocritical fruit. Remember when Apple unveiled its Apple Music service and one of the big highlights was that it would pay musicians more that Spotify and other streaming services? Now comes word via Bloomberg that Apple is seeking to cut the rate it pays for music rights from the record labels from about 58% of revenue to closer to Spotify’s 52%.
Tough break. Apple graphics chip supplier Imagination Technologies is putting itself up for sale. Imagination’s stock price has lost 70% since Apple said in April that it plans to move on and design its own chips. The company said it’s already received several inquiries.
Not a great precedent. In the largest telecom sector IPO of a U.S. provider since AT&T Wireless in April, 2000, Altice USA raised almost $2 billion going public on Wednesday and will start trading Thursday under the symbol “ATUS.” French billionaire Patrick Drahi formed Altice USA into the fourth-largest U.S. cable TV operator by rolling up Cablevision Systems and Suddenlink Communications.
Only the paranoid survive. Nissan Motor is the latest automaker that says it can evolve along with the industry, even if that means helping consumers buy fewer cars. So Nissan plans to launch driverless ride-hailing and ride-sharing services within the next decade. “We think that the big opportunity for us is in automation, electric vehicles and ride-sharing and hailing together,” Ogi Redzic, head of the company’s connected vehicles effort, told Reuters.
Ellison’s excellence. Oracle reported a 3% revenue increase to $10.9 billion for its fiscal fourth quarter, more than Wall Street expected, with subscription software sales exceeding $1 billion for the first time. Oracle’s shares were up 11% in pre-market trading on Thursday.
Return of a classic. Forget the iPhone 10th anniversary this year, it’s also the the 25th anniversary of the all-black corporate raider of laptops, the ThinkPad. And Lenovo is prepping a special “retro” edition, chief designer David Hill lets slip in a blog post. “At this point, it seems like the cat’s out of the bag. There are certain things I can now confirm,” he writes.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Speaking of what to do when hackers come calling, that was exactly the quandary faced by Larson Studios president Rick Larson and his wife and business partner, Jill Larson, earlier this year.
The couple decided to pay a ransom to the Overlord hacking group to prevent the release of stolen video of Orange is the New Black. But after the Larsons paid $50,000 in bitcoin, the group still released the shows. In an interview with Variety, Rick Larson explained the lesson learned:
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
A Computer Designed Stanley Black & Decker’s New Tool by Jonathan Vanian
In the Fight Against Sexual Harassment, Money Trumps Morals by Valentina Zarya
Amazon and Former Exec Settle Non-Compete Dispute by Barb Darrow
Why Nike May Start Selling Directly on Amazon by John Kell
Sprint’s Virgin Mobile Is Going After Apple iPhone Fans With a $1 Plan by Aaron Pressman
Glassdoor: Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Employee Ranking Has Dropped by Don Reisinger
BEFORE YOU GO
Lots and lots of coverage of the iPhone out there on its 10-year anniversary. Most is pretty laudatory, tech-oriented chatter. But Virginia Heffernan has more of an anthropologist’s take in the L.A. Times that’s worth a read. She starts with the first days: