Data Sheet—Thursday, October 2, 2014

October 2, 2014, 1:22 PM UTC

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. There’s a new twist in the ongoing EMC saga: the company just named a former Apple sales executive as its new chief financial officer. Plus, what email service do PayPal, Oracle and Facebook all use? You’ve probably never heard of the company. Read on for your Thursday dose of technology news, and if you like what you’re reading, share the sign-up link.


EMC grabs former Apple sales exec as CFO. The merger rumors have been quiet this week, but Zane Rowe's appointment as the top financial executive is setting off speculation over CEO Joe Tucci's succession plan. EMC's formal announcement makes much of Rowe's skills in "complex, multi-business environments and as a highly accomplished corporate strategist." Rowe actually left Apple after just two years in May for undisclosed reasons. His boss before Apple was Continental Airlines (for 19 years); he was CFO of the combined company after the United Airlines merger. 

Germany to Google: You're getting too personal. The country's data protection commissioner ordered it to change the way that information about individuals is used to help marketers target their messages based on things like interests, activities or locations. Google does limit profiling, but apparently its measures don't go far enough. Wall Street Journal

Wall Street giants invest $66 million in communications service. More than a dozen companies led by Goldman Sachs are teaming up to create a company called Symphony, which will help heavily regulated financial services firms manage emails, text and chat messages, and social network conversations (like tweets) in one place. The technology will compete with similar offerings from Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters and Markit. Reuters

Cisco CEO takes pay cut. According to a new SEC filing, John Chambers earned "just" $16.5 million in the 2014 fiscal year compared with $21 million in fiscal year 2013. The networking giant's CFO, COO and president of development and sales also had smaller paychecks. eWeek


Analytics firm GoodData tops $101.2 million. Intel Capital is leading a $27.5 million funding round for the big data management company, which works with data from many different sources. Competing with the likes of Business Objects and Tableau, the company claims "tens of thousands" of customers, including Hewlett-Packard and Nordstrom. TechCrunch

Security concerns inspired Amazon reboot. The cloud services company temporarily parted with its no downtime pledge last weekend when it switched off a number of servers for unspecified maintenance reasons. Looks like that move was tied to a vulnerability found in virtualized servers that also affected Rackspace and IBM's SoftLayer division. Computerworld

Google cuts prices. The 10% reduction across for its storage and server capacity services reaches across all regions as it vies to steal share from competitors Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. ZDNet


Get ready for even smarter smartphones. Qualcomm is adding artificial intelligence to future mobile phone chips, enabling future devices to adjust settings according to lighting or other visual conditions. This could enable sophisticated facial recognition apps. MIT Technology Review



Record infusions for digital health care. Investors put more than $700 million into telemedicine, patient management, analytics and other healthcare technologies during the third quarter pushing the total this year over $3 billion, according to data from Rock Health.

The three biggest deals: $52 million for Proteus Health (dosage management); Teladoc and Chunya (physician consultation services) got $50.3 million and $50 million, respectively. And here's one to start the fourth quarter: Cohealo, which makes a platform that keeps tabs on specialized medical equipment so it can be shared across hospitals, just raised $9 million in Series A financing led by Romulus Capital and Krillon Ventures.

In PayPal's rear-view mirror. eBay's about-face decision to spin off PayPal months after dismissing Carl Icahn's idea to do same reflects how seriously the mobile payments industry is taking Apple Pay. The drama overshadowed a significant development over at Stripe: it is teaming with General Catalyst on a $10 million fund for startups that extend its platform, used by the likes of Lyft. Plus, online payment network Dwolla, allied with service provider GoDaddy (among others), just got another $9.7 million to automate invoices for SMBs. Wired


The biggest email provider you've never heard of

What company manages more than 2.5 trillion marketing notices, fraud alerts, statement updates and customer service messages annually for the likes of American Express, Facebook, Groupon, Oracle, PayPal, Salesforce and Twitter?

Kudos if you guessed 17-year-old Message Systems, which is behind more than 20% of all "legitimate email" sent globally for a who's-who list of Fortune 500 businesses, telecommunications service providers and email marketing companies. In an environment fraught with spam concerns and nefarious phishing campaigns, that's not an easy feat but it's kind of a necessary evil. 

"Email doesn't always get a lot of respect, but it's still the No. 1 communications channel on the Internet. "It's the one thing that works for marketers and customer service organizations," said Message Systems CEO Phillip Merrick, who joined the 150-person Columbia, Md.-based organization in April. If you recognize his name, it's because Merrick took software company WebMethods public in 2000 in what was then one of the biggest tech IPOs ever.

To be clear, Message Systems isn't the sort of service that runs your internal communications. It works with websites or and enterprise applications to send messages when certain things happen, such as when someone tries to use a credit card fraudulently or when a payment is due. Today, most of its traffic comes in the form of email, but it could also send push notifications to a mobile app or SMS text updates to a smartphone.

For this, businesses can expect to pay an annual fee starting around $50,000. (The free service lets someone send up to 10,000 messages in a month, but Message Systems will cut off anyone it thinks is a spammer.)

It's tough to find a direct competitor, but some services offered by venture capital darling Twilio, such as a features that lets businesses embed text messaging capabilities into a mobile app, are broadly similar. (Twilio has $103.7 million to the older company's $38 million, although it's admittedly not an apples-to-apples comparison.)

Indeed, pushing more of Message Systems' services into the cloud is high on Merrick's agenda. "What we do is sufficiently specialized, this is something that companies don't want to do themselves," he said.


Counting up millionaire CIOs. The first chief information officer to crack the million-dollar salary threshold was DuWayne Peterson of Merrill Lynch back in 1987. Now, Janco Associates reports there are close to 30. If you include total compensation, the list is led by Facebook CTO Michael Schroepfer, T-Mobile CTO Neville Fay and Cyrustone CTO Kevin Timmons. The highest paid woman is Norfolk Southern CIO Deb Butler. The biggest reported annual salary is for FedEx CIO Rob Carter. Computerworld


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

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

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

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

QuickBooks Connect: SMBs, entrepreneurs, accountants and developers. (Oct. 21 – 23, San Jose, Calif.)

IBM Insight 2014: Big data and analytics. (Oct. 26 – Oct. 30, Las Vegas)

TBM Conference 2014: Manage the business of IT. (Oct. 28- 30, Miami Beach)

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

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