Skip to Content

Data Sheet—Friday, August 15, 2014

TGIF, readers. You’ve heard of Mark Cuban, but what about Marc Canter? Hint: he’s one of the software pioneers who made it possible to stream video or audio on your personal computer. Now, he wants to help businesses write apps for the Internet of things. Plus: Apple is now using a data center on mainland China to store personal data. Is it asking for more trouble and will other cloud service providers be forced to follow suit? That (plus news about another Marc) await in your Friday edition of Data Sheet.

TRENDING

Apple’s data center about-face. Breaking rank with other cloud service providers—especially Google—the company is storing personal iCloud data on mainland China to improve service quality. Censorship? What censorship?

Sprint picks up the pace. Well, that was fast. The struggling wireless carrier’s new CEO plans price cuts plus a tighter relationship with Apple. That’s what he told employees in his first town meeting. First details could come next week.

Oracle “vindicated” in lawsuit against support provider Rimini Street. We’re far from a final decision in the copyright infringement case, but the latest ruling validates the developer’s intellectual property theft claims and dismisses the defendant’s counterclaims.

Better mind your Ps and Qs. It spent more than a decade fighting terrorists. Now, military-grade security bodyguard Digital Reasoning helps big banks uncover compliance rule breakers by flagging behavioral changes that signal bad intentions.

CLOUD CHATTER

I wonder what Marc Benioff thinks. Despite being closely tied to Salesforce.com for more than three years—they even collaborated on a product—Infor is buying CRM developer SalesLogix for an undisclosed sum citing a rich list of joint customers including Cabot Corp., Dollar Thrifty, and Sandals Resorts. It plans industry-specific app suites starting with automotive, health care and manufacturing. And, yes, this puts it in direct competition with its partner.

More venture capital flows into cloud management. This time the beneficiary is Luminal, founded by a former Amazon Web Services architect.

 

STATS & SPECS

Crowdsourced translation. It’s not quite the Berlitz Method, but billions of people use Google translation services on multilingual sites—so the developer created a community where linguists can help plump up its dictionaries.

Sense of deja vu. You can’t have it until after Labor Day, but the public beta of Apple’s next desktop operating systems, OS X Yosemite, suggests it will borrow even more interface features from the iPhone and iPad.

STARTUPS

Setting up border patrol. Web security startup CloudFlare is looking for partners in China and Brazil as denial-of-service attacks spread around the world. Instead, it’s finding “labyrinthe regulations.”

Multimedia pioneer goes mobile app. Once upon a time, your PC couldn’t handle video or animation or sound. Then came Marc Canter, with MacroMind. (Which eventually became Macromedia.) Now, he wants to make it easier to author apps for the Internet of things.

FAQ

So … something you should know about me. I defy the female shopping-as-therapy stereotypes. I’ll show you my list, you show me my choices. Apparently, I have company: considering interest in big data-driven personal shopping services like Stitch Fix (for gals) or Trunk Club (for guys, and just bought by Nordstrom).

Yes, I know, personalization is the most overused word in digital marketing. But even if you’re the sort of person who dodges cloying store clerks, I’ll bet you appreciate gestures catering to your unique interests. That’s why so many e-commerce sites are investing in technology to pull that off.

With $46.1 million in backing and customers like Best Buy, QVC and Godiva, Monetate is one of the better-known players in this space. Another to watch is Evergage, infused with $4 million in June. During the first half, the Boston-based startup added fast-growing online retailer Wayfair to a client list that includes Gardener’s Supply Co., LifeSavers, Publishers Clearing House (PCH), and Palms Casino.

Evergage’s proposition is deceptively simple: companies pay an annual subscription for Java code they stick on their website to track where someone is poking around in real time. Using that info, marketers can change what’s displayed in subtle or overt ways so content is more relevant. It’s like a secret handshake. Example: if someone clicks into Gardener’s Supply from a Pinterest post, they are greeted differently than random visitors. PCH tests different messages on an hourly basis.

Evergage co-founder Karl Wirth, a former Red Hat engineer, explains: “People have been talking about one-to-one since the dotcom days, but it has been complicated and expensive. You pay millions and have to get developers involved, and it takes six months on top of that. … We are super-easy to use.”

For those raising the privacy flag, the digital dossier collected about visitors is limited; it doesn’t work from site-to-site. The question: will personalization draw people in or creep them out? Speaking personally, the first thing I do when an automated chat agent pops on a web page is shut it down. That doesn’t bode well.

Is personalization worth the financial or reputational investment? Drop me a note at datasheet@heatherclancy.com.

ONE MORE THING …

I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that. A robotic bellhop that delivers toiletries. Robot swarms that assemble like a “mechanical flash mob” to handle tasks. Driverless cars. They’re here, and we’re paranoid because humans get off on worrying about being obsoleted by machines. Should we? The vast majority of respondents in a PewResearch Internet Project study on artificial intelligence and robotics think both will permeate “wide segments of daily life by 2025,” especially health care, logistics, customer service and home maintenance. Whether they behave more like WALL-E or HAL 9000 remains to be seen.

EVENTS

VMworld: Learn about latest virtualization innovation. (Aug. 24-28, San Francisco)

Atlassian Summit: Build software, collaboratively. (Sept. 9 – 11, San Jose, Calif.)

Open Data Center Alliance Forecast 2014: Catch up on enterprise cloud trends. (Sept. 22 – 24, San Francisco)

Oracle OpenWorld: Get a roadmap reality check. (Sept. 27 – Oct. 2, San Francisco)

Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2014: Compare notes. (Oct. 5 – 9, Orlando, Fla.)

Splunk .conf2014: Glean intelligence from machine data. (Oct. 6 – 9, Las Vegas)

Dreamforce: Pick from 1,400 sessions about the world’s largest cloud ecosystem. (Oct. 13-16, San Francisco)

Strata/Hadoop World: Analyze big data tools and techniques. (Oct. 15 – 17, New York)

AWS re:Invent: Hear the latest about Amazon Web Services. (Nov. 11 – 14, Las Vegas)

Gartner Data Center Conference: Get new ideas for operations and management. (Dec. 2 – 5, Las Vegas)