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Data Sheet—Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. It looks like the online sales tax bill languishing in Washington, D.C., for months (years actually) is about to disappear. Salesforce may become a bigger San Francisco landowner, and former Apple CEO John Sculley is behind an intriguing telemedicine startup. Plus, will wearable technology actually become mandatory in the office, like ID badges? Apparently, many people think so.

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The case of the vanishing Apple text messages. A class-action lawsuit concerning misdirected and undelivered messages sent via its iMessage service is headed to federal court. Wired

It’s official. Yahoo is paying $640 million for BrightRoll to round out its digital video advertising services. Customers include all 15 top U.S. advertising agencies. Fortune

That proposed technology tariff agreement between China and the United States is likely to have a huge impact on videogame consoles, prepaid “content” cards that can be used to buy software, and specialized computer chips. Big beneficiaries: Apple, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft. Wall Street Journal

EU antitrust regulators to Google rivals: Let’s talk. Before the European Union resolves its case against the search giant, the new commissioner in charge of the investigation wants more time to chat up companies most affected by any decision. New York Times

Internet sales tax dead? House Speaker John Boehner is promising to block the bill that would have allowed states to collect sales taxes related to cybershopping. The Senate passed the legislation more than a year ago. WSJ

Microsoft co-founder reduces holdings. Bill Gates sold 20 million shares of the company’s stock in late October, but his stake is still worth a whopping $13.6 billion. Computerworld

The Salesforce tower? The software company is poised to buy one of the tallest buildings in San Francisco, currently owned by retirement fund TIAA-CREF. San Francisco Business Times


Spreading the wealth. Almost 80% of big businesses are opting for multiple cloud services—reflecting both the piecemeal nature of migrations and their desire to spread the risk. Also, more are planning budget increases for 2015. ZDNet



Couch-side shopping via mobile device will account for one-quarter of all online transactions during the upcoming holiday shopping season, according to e-commerce data cooked up by IBM. eWeek 

Echoing the Apple-IBM pact earlier this year, SAP is teaming with Samsung and other consumer electronics companies for a range of applications related to the “Internet of things”—the vast array of sensors and other devices that surrounds us at home and at work. There’s a pretty good business case for doing this: 4.9 billion connected “things” will generate useful business data by the end of next year, according to new Gartner research projections. InformationWeek

Skype it is. Microsoft just rebranded its business communications technologies (formerly known as Lync) to build on the name recognition of the “consumer” brand it bought for $8.5 billion in 2011.


$100 million for high-profile iPad cash register technology. Among those contributing to the Series C round for Revel System are private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. Revel’s customers include Dairy Queen and Smoothie King. Gigaom

Former Apple CEO bets on telemedicine. John Sculley owns an undisclosed stake in MDLive, which provides physician consultations through online services and mobile apps. On Tuesday, the company expanded into mental health, behavioral health, and life coaching through the buyout of Breakthrough Behavioral. Reuters

How much did that marketing campaign add to the bottom line? A startup led by former Salesforce executives just got $3.8 million to figure out the answer. Full Circle CRM


Why women should do less and network more

GE has a plan to make futuristic ‘smart homes’ happen

Wal-Mart, Target gird for toughest Black Friday battle yet

Investors buzz for marijuana-related businesses

Why Uber was right to ‘kneecap’ Lyft’s fundraising

Musk says SpaceX will make a formal satellite announcement soon

How to stay excited about your career? Never take a job you’re qualified for


Why wearables will quickly become part of ‘always on’ corporate culture

Could wearing smart eyeglasses, watches or other digital gadgets eventually become a workplace requirement?

At least 72% of the 2,009 U.S. workers responding to a survey sponsored by software company Cornerstone OnDemand think it’s possible. In fact, at least 66% of the respondents would willingly embrace this, a 7% increase over last year’s survey on the same topic.

Notes Cornerstone OnDemand CEO Adam Miller: “We now live in a world where physical presence is optional, lines between work and life are increasingly blurred by tech, and flex schedules are viewed by employees as a right, not a perk. Employers who empower their people to get their work done in the best ways possible, where it is through policies, resources or workplace culture, are best positioned to attract and retain top talent. Fortunately, cloud and mobile tech is making it easier to intertwine physical and virtual workspaces in ways that still encourage collaboration and connectivity.”

The data dovetails with two other recent surveys suggesting wearables will make an impact in the workplace more quickly than in the average individual’s personal life. Some large businesses encourage this through employee engagement programs and incentives. Up to 80% of the Cornerstone OnDemand survey respondents indicated they would be “motivated” to use wearable technologies that track health and wellness metrics. Those who were reluctant would change their minds for monetary benefits such as a bonus, reduced health insurance premiums, or discounted exercise programs.

Seattle-based Limeade, which sells technology for managing employee engagement initiatives, reports a higher level of participation from workers who are using fitness tracking devices and apps in conjunction with its application. These devices record metrics from “walking meetings” (where individuals meet in motion rather than sit in a conference room) or contests to see which employees can walk to nearby lunch spots most quickly. “It allows companies to connect their workforce in a low-stress way,” says Limeade CEO Henry Albrecht.

The company raised $25 million in late October led by Oak HC/FT (the same team behind athenahealth, Castlight Health, and Benefitfocus) and existing investor TVC Capital. Limeade has more than 100 large business clients, including Green Mountain Coffee, Jamba Juice, MolsonCoors, and Nokia.

“We see two trends that make companies like Limeade,” Albrecht says. “One is healthcare costs have gone up 80% in the past decade, and the other is that people are feeling increasingly disengaged at work.”


What do DataGravity’s Paula Long and Oracle’s Safra Catz have in common? They are two of just six women to make a new list of the 50 most influential people in enterprise tech. Let’s change this, shall we? BusinessInsider



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)