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Data Sheet—Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. It’s Veterans Day, so remember to thank a man or woman who has served in the military. Better yet, hire a veteran for your technology team. That’s one reason companies like General Mills, Booz Allen Hamilton, CA Technologies, and Pfizer excel in IT.

Speaking of hiring, Apple is recruiting for its enterprise sales team. Meanwhile, China and the United States just agreed to ditch trade tariffs for a range of technologies. Plus, enterprise mobile app development is exploding: more in today’s FAQ column.

Remember: your candid, specific feedback can only make this daily newsletter better. You can also make me super happy by sharing Data Sheet with every person you know who has an interest in the business of technology. They can sign up here.


China, U.S. ease tech tariffs after months of strained negotiations. The new pact could cover up to $1 trillion in sales of semiconductors, medical devices, global positioning systems, and other technologies. Fortune

This week’s data breach is brought to you courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service, where personal information for more than 800,000 employees and retirees was compromised. Plus, if your company has suffered a cyber break-in, here are 8 tips for discussing the aftermath with the board. New York Times, InformationWeek

President Obama added his voice to those advocating “net neutrality” rules that will prohibit broadband Internet service providers from creating special fast lanes (and fees) for certain types of content. Proposed new rules from the FCC are imminent, though, and the decision-making process is pretty complete.

Plus, 19 states support antiquated polices that limit municipal investments in high-speed access. The biggest lowers are agricultural operations interested in using sensors in fields to monitor moisture, temperature, and other variables that can affect crop yields. Fortune, NYT

Meet the world’s biggest drone maker. With customers including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and design media mogul Martha Stewart, Chinese company SZ DJI Technology is making its mark. Its flagship product is a four-propeller, miniature helicopter called Phantom that sells for less than $1,000. Wall Street Journal

Juniper CEO forced out after just one year. The networking company’s board cites Shaygan Kheradpir’s “inconsistent” conduct and handling of customer negotiations. NYT loses chief scientist—to one of its biggest customer advocates, Deutsche Bank. Diginomica

Now hiring. Apple is assembling a new sales team to represent its technology in enterprise accounts. Reuters

Google’s planetary footprint. It is taking over the lease for California’s Moffett Airfield for $1.16 billion. The airplane hangars will be converted into R&D facilities for “space exploration, rover/robotics and other emerging technologies.” TechCrunch


IBM lures startups with discounts. Its new Global Entrepreneur Program offers credits that help ease the expense of using IBM cloud services. eWeek

Positive momentum continues for Rackspace. It posted better-than-expected earnings for the third quarter. Plus, it has inked a crucial new partnership with Microsoft. Just two months ago, takeover rumors were rife. ZDNet


What turns off cyber shoppers. Three big factors include unexpected shipping costs (28%), requiring registration as a purchase condition (23%), and security concerns (13%). Visual Website Optimizer

Grounded. AT&T scraps plan for in-flight wireless services. Maybe it was scared by how much the service provider Gogo is losing through its international expansion. Reuters

New math. Chromebooks are the best-selling device this year in the K-12 market, according to a new report from research firm IDC. Gigaom

SAP and Facebook are teaming on a new digital marketing service that lets businesses correlate enterprise customer information with segmentation information from the social network. SAP


Two notable software IPO filings. Analytics company New Relic (application performance monitoring) helps e-commerce companies measure trends such as the average number of items in a shopping cart by gender. Meanwhile, one of the hottest Hadoop data management companies around, Yahoo! spinoff Hortonworks, looks like it will go public before rival Cloudera. The placeholder value for both offerings is $100 million. WSJ, Fortune


7 CEOs with notably devout religious beliefs

What the NBA can teach the NFL about women and power

Twitter lawyer’s advice for taking a company public (video)

5 e-commerce predictions for Black Friday weekend

Exclusive: DogVacay raises $25 million


Need to fix a business process? There’s probably an app for that

Enterprise mobile application development continues to accelerate at a furious pace. Evidence? Activations leapt more than 731% over the past 12 months, according to an ongoing report released Monday by Good Technology, which sells mobile management technology.

The focus of these apps covers everything from aircraft manufacturing support to insurance claims processing and expense reporting. “The rapid rise in custom app development illustrates that organizations are seeing mobility as a real opportunity for competitive advantage and security as a critical requirement in enabling trusted mobility,” says Good Technology CEO Christy Wyatt, commenting about the findings.

The quarter-to-quarter increase in new apps was 107%, the data shows.

When I think of Fortune 500 companies leading the way with mobile apps, several companies top my list when it comes to innovation: Delta Air Lines, which is replacing all inflight paper manuals with Microsoft mobile devices to transform customer service; Starbucks, which is adding an order-ahead option to an app that already handles 7 million transactions weekly; and Walmart, which gives customers using its mobile app a discount if they find a lower price at a competitor’s store.

Another data point: it took just one year for Walgreens to drive almost 40% of its total online revenue via its mobile app (rather than from someone tethered to a desktop computer).

Independent perspective from Forrester Research suggests that if 2014 was the year in which businesses really woke up to the need to develop mobile apps, 2015 will be the year they focus more broadly on the “mobile experience.” That means supporting password alternatives (such as biometrics authentication via thumbprints) or accommodating more data inputs from sensors or beacons. And focusing less on forcing someone to open an app in order to interact.

“Mobile developers are entering a world where their digital designs must augment reality instead of replacing it,” writes Forrester in a report from early November. “This means spare design, with a focus on getting minimum useful information to customers as quickly as possible. Developers will need to push their user experience to the customers’ peripheral visions, and use audio and tactile feedback to engage customers are concentrating on other tasks in parallel.”

Aside from the companies I’ve mentioned, which Fortune 500 companies are really leading the enterprise mobile charge? That’s an issue I’m researching for an upcoming article, so feel free to suggest apps (and mobile development teams I should consider including) by emailing


Truly hands free. An Israeli startup, Sesame Enable, just launched a crowdfunding campaign for a smartphone designed for mobility-disabled people. Instead of using a touchscreen, the technology relies on head movements to control apps. Wired


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)