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Data Sheet—Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy Monday, Data Sheet readers. My thanks to Fortune Senior Editor Andrew Nusca for covering last week while I was out. What’s your strategy for purging post-vacation email, because I sure could use some tips!

While I sort through what’s relevant, here is what I’m reading this morning in the world of enterprise technology—autonomous vehicles, industrial espionage in Asia, and IBM’s sabbatical policy. Plus, apparently more big enterprises are willing to trust data analytics projects to the public cloud than we realize. That’s the subject of today’s FAQ riff.

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EMC attracts another activist investor. Hedge fund Greenlight Capital just disclosed a “medium-sized” stake, which could contribute to breakup pressures. Bloomberg

Microsoft doubles down on application innovation. Here’s why CEO Satya Nadella believes Office is critical if his company is to remain relevant in the mobile enterprise. New York Times

Oracle investors still unhappy about exec comp. Larry Ellison took home a smaller paycheck last year, but most shareholders still disapprove of the company’s policies—as evidenced by a recent vote. Wall Street Journal

Cloud-savvy Microsoft exec Quentin Clark is now SAP’s chief technology officer, but will he get enough funding to make a real impact? ZDNet

Samsung digs Vietnam. It’s investing $3 billion in a second smartphone factory in the Thai Nguyen province, bigger than the one it opened in March. Reuters

Don’t leave Ireland just yet. Sure, the government closed the “double Irish” tax loophole that saved companies including Google and Microsoft “significant money” on operations there. But other allowances related to intellectual property and employee salaries still make the country attractive. New York Times

Worried about patent trolls? Patent advisory company RPX is creating an “insurance policy” to help startups access intellectual property without worrying about future lawsuits. WSJ


What sets Amazon Web Services apart from fierce competitors like Microsoft, Google and IBM? Here’s a ZDNet preview of the spin you can expect out of this week’s re:Invent 2014 conference. I’ll be sitting in on two of the bigger keynotes, so stay tuned for perspective later this week.


Don’t expect lots of new gadgets from the reinvented BlackBerry. Even though the “classic” form factor will return in December, CEO John Chen’s top priority is a return to profitability. Reuters

Leave the driving to someone else. Within 20 years, three-quarters of new car and truck models will come equipped with “autopilot” technology for taking over on long-distance journeys or avoiding accidents. Navigant Research

Traveling to Asia? Then, Kaspersky Lab admonishes you to be careful about using the Internet services at luxury hotels. They are being used as part of a “sophisticated industrial espionage campaign” that has hit executives from the auto, cosmetics and chemicals industries.  Reuters


Networking startup Plexxi snags EMC bigwig. Richard Napolitano, who used to run the unified storage division, was named CEO. Plexxi

$1.5 billion for Xiaomi? The fast-growing smartphone maker is apparently seeking its fifth round of capital, which could be the biggest infusion ever for a Chinese company. ZDNet


Your next CEO is probably a Gen Xer

Close to retirement? Why America’s recovery is working against you

Former Blizzard exec Rob Pardo on the evolving game industry

Apple told its sapphire supplier: ‘Put on your big boy pants’

Twitter joins partnership to improve handing of harassment claims



Enterprise resistance waning for cloud analytics projects

More than half of big enterprises are actively planning data analytics applications that “live” in the public cloud—despite lingering concerns over security and regulatory compliance.

That’s one of the more surprising revelations from a survey of more than 300 executives conducted in September by Gigaom Research.

“Contrary to popular belief, many large enterprises are beginning to seriously explore the public cloud as a targeted platform for big data workloads,” says Prat Moghe, founder and CEO of Cazena, which sponsored the research. “The cloud holds the keys to unlocking the next phase of big data, where analysis is completed on demand and immediately accessible to the primary users of this information.”

Cazena reunites the executive team from business intelligence company Netezza, sold to IBM in 2010 for $1.7 billion. Although it’s still pretty mum about its technology (the official launch is next year), the company in late October raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz and North Bridge Venture Partners.

“Cazenza’s vision will make big data accessible to enterprises big and small,” says Steve Papa, who joined Cazena’s board as Andreessen Horowitz’s representative. “This unique opportunity is about reimagining the information management stack so that all stakeholders of big data have a simple out-of-the-box experience.” Papa was the founder and CEO of Endeca, an analytics company acquired by Oracle for $1.1 billion.

One of the bigger objections to putting big data projects in the cloud remains security, according to the Gigaom survey. Approximately one-third of the respondents said limited support for key industry certifications such as SOX accountability for financial services, HIPPA privacy in health care, and PCI compliance in retail is one of their more significant issues.

A potentially larger obstacle is the traditional data management culture. “Unlike a startup that can start by building their apps in the cloud, there are legacy processes set up around how data is managed within large enterprises. There is a center of gravity around data, and it is not easy to displace that,” Moghe says.


Foreign exchange program for adults. Every year, IBM sends at least 500 young leaders to developing nations for a month of community service—more than 1,000 projects have been completed so far. Here’s why the initiative is good for business and the brand. Harvard Business Review


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)

IBM Interconnect 2015: Cloud and mobile strategy. (Feb. 22 – 26, 2015; Las Vegas)

Microsoft Convergence 2015: Dynamics solutions. (March 16 – 19, 2015; Atlanta)

Knowledge15: Automate enterprise IT services. (April 19-24, 2015; Las Vegas)

MicrosoftIgnite: Enterprise tech extravangaza. (May 4 – 8, 2015; Chicago)

SAPPHIRE NOW: The SAP universe. (May 5 – 7, 2015; Orlando, Fla.)

VMworld: The virtualization ecosystem. (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2015; San Francisco)