Data Sheet—Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 16, 2014, 12:22 PM UTC

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. Intel already has a big customer for its new point-of-sale security: NCR. Plus, why Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff spent his keynote time at the company’s annual customer conference advocating corporate social responsibility, leaving competitor criticism to his No. 2, former Oracle executive Keith Block.


Door closes on HP-EMC merger talks. When Hewlett-Packard suspended its stock repurchase program because it was in possession of "material nonpublic information," most people connected the dots to merger talks with EMC. Yesterday, HP resuscitated its purchases in a move that suggests talks are over. New York Times

PayPal is growing, eBay not so much. The rationale behind the company's forthcoming split is crystal-clear in its latest earnings report. For the marketplace and e-commerce unit, sales slipped 6%. Meanwhile, revenue for the PayPal payments unit grew 20%. Wall Street Journal

Google eyes unused wireless spectrum. Its plans are still highly secretive, but this week it asked the FCC for permission to experiment with Internet access via rarely used radio frequencies. Plus, Google's ultra-fast broadband service just arrived in Austin (it's already in Kansas City and Provo, Utah). Reuters, ZDNet


Watch out SAP. Marc Benioff didn't spend much of his on-stage time at Dreamforce talking about products (see today's FAQ). He left that to Salesforce President Keith Block, who regaled journalists with visions of beating out SAP as the biggest enterprise applications company around. Now that Salesforce extending into business analytics services that aspiration is plausible. But SAP is improving its cloud computing strategy (and reliability concerns) through its new pact with IBMWSJ



Docker gets big Microsoft thumbs-up. There are an estimated 45,000 applications running on the fast-growing virtualization alternative, which lets businesses move software from server to server more quickly. Until now, Microsoft hasn't supported Docker on Windows, but that will change in a future revision of its enterprise server software. "I really think we are seeing a faster and more open Microsoft, one that is more willing to integrate and collaborate with competing technologies without a lot of hesitation," said Al Hilwa, program director for software development research at IDC, when Data Sheet queried him for perspective. Wired 

Intel tackles credit-card security. The chipmaker's new multi-layered protection for point-of-sale (POS) terminals encrypts data collected during transactions and then uses a private connection to transfer it to payment processors. It's already got at least one big endorsement for the approach: the world's biggest payment terminal company, NCR. Computerworld

New Google gadgets. One day ahead of Apple's latest iPad reveal, its rival rolled out a new Motorola-developed smartphone (Nexus 9) and a new HTC-built tablet (Nexus 9) that comes with an 8.9-inch screen and a foldable, magnetic keyboard. Both are due in November.


Blurring the lines of marketing content. Why spend money on a message that already exists? Technology from Thismoment alerts marketers about articles, photos and videos posted on social media that might have to do with their brand. What's unique? The software then helps negotiate the right to republish that content elsewhere. The company just raised another $17.6 million, bringing its total to $52 million. Customers include Coca-Cola, Intuit, and Levi's. TechCrunch


Tech exec or Dr. Feelgood? Salesforce CEO has it both ways

Today's perspective comes from Fortune Senior writer Michal Lev-Ram, who writes frequently about technology from San Francisco. She reports from Salesforce's mammoth annual customer conference, where founder Marc Benioff used his platform to push philanthropic causes, not business software.

If extraterrestrial beings ever landed in the middle of San Francisco’s Moscone Center during Dreamforce, the larger-than-life annual confab hosted by Salesforce, they’d probably have no idea what the business software company actually does.

Two-thirds of the way into CEO Marc Benioff’s keynote address on Tuesday afternoon, there had been little mention of the company’s CRM products, or anything even remotely related to technology. Instead, the crowd was treated to a performance by the Beach Boys (“Good Vibrations” included), a Hawaiian blessing ceremony, and a lot of talk about philanthropy. (Yes, in the end Benioff did make a new product announcement. More on that in a moment.)

An estimated 135,000 people are attending this year’s conference, and each one was asked to donate canned food to One Million Meals, a campaign to combat hunger. Benioff’s keynote extravaganza, meanwhile, highlighted his cause du jour, the San Francisco Unified School District. And through a concert by the pop star Bruno Mars and the rock band Cake later the same day, he expected to raise about $9 million for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. 

Hillary Clinton, the former U.S. Secretary of State who spoke at Dreamforce earlier in the day (other headliners include Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen, media fixture Arianna Huffington, music artist Neil Young and, of course, music producer, cited Salesforce as a prime example of “doing good while doing well.” Benioff’s Salesforce Foundation has committed to spending $6 million over the next three years on job training for unemployed young adults, part of a Clinton Global Initiative effort that was announced last summer.

Not everyone likes Benioff’s tendency to wax poetic on how much he and the Salesforce Foundation donates to various causes—especially from the Dreamforce stage. Last year, during a nearly three hour-long keynote, the actor Sean Penn, supermodel Petra Nemcova, and Haitian prime minister Laurent Lamothe all spoke about Haiti’s rebuilding efforts after suffering a devastating earthquake. Benioff clearly has an agenda. He is a master showman and salesman, and has been for years. The question is whether his insistence on placing philanthropy front and center at his company’s annual customer conference will impact the actions and cultures of other technology companies.

Read Lev-Ram's complete report on


Facebook check-ins as emergency broadcast service? The human reaction to learning about a natural disaster is the same across every culture: figure out whether family, friends and colleagues are safe. So, Facebook is experimenting with a new service called Safety Check. It works by messaging members in an affected region to inquire about their status. They can response with pre-canned answers or quick comments. Re/code


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)

SIMposium 2014. Tech execs and practioners. (Nov. 2-4, Denver)

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)