Data Sheet—Monday, December 1, 2014
Welcome back from the long weekend, Data Sheet readers. A report released this morning points to a sophisticated pattern of corporate espionage in the pharmaceutical industry. Intel just bought another security company, and IBM has scored another big contract for its cloud services. Plus, when telecommunications equipment company JDS Uniphase updated its bylaws in May, the move received little attention. But its new rule apparently put a crimp in the plans of activist shareholder Sandell Asset Management.
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New twist on insider trading. A year-long string of security incidents at biotech and pharmaceutical companies are apparently related, according to a report issued by security expert FireEye. The group behind the attacks stole confidential information about drug trials, acquisitions, and other information that could affect a company's stock price. New York Times
Coming soon, an Intel-powered version of Google Glass. A new partnership will displace innards provided by Texas Instruments. Intel plans to promote workplace applications of the wearable technology, while Google prioritizes consumers. Plus, Intel is adding identity management to its security technology portfolio with the acquisition of a Montreal-based service provider called PasswordBox that eliminates "password fatigue." (Terms weren't disclosed.) Wall Street Journal
Here's one way to thwart an activist investor. EMC isn't the only high-tech company under pressure to deliver increased shareholder value through a breakup (the route Symantec and Hewlett-Packard chose) or other "strategic alternatives." In May, optical networking company JDS Uniphase changed its bylaws. It doubled the lead time required to get shareholder proposals onto its proxy statements (from 30 to 60 days). No big deal? Well, when the date for JDS' annual meeting was declared this autumn, institutional investor Sandell Asset Management discovered it had barely an hour to propose its alternative director slate. It blew the deadline. NYT
Former HP CEO contemplates White House run. Carly Fiorina plans to play up two big assets: her experience running a massive high-tech company and her status as the only woman in a field of "suited" men. Washington Post
Samsung chooses status quo. The struggling electronics maker shelved plans for a management shakeup that would have replaced the head of its mobile products unit. The reason: uncertainty over the long-term plans of ailing Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee. Similar succession dilemmas are playing out across Asia, where many massive conglomerates are still managed like family businesses. Reuters, WSJ
Big bucks for Marc Benioff. The Salesforce CEO is getting a 7.6% boost to his base salary (now $1.55 million) and new options estimated at $33 million in value—just one year after a 20% raise. WSJ
RESEARCH & PREDICTIONS
Drone data. More commercial airline pilots are reporting drone sightings—at least 25 incidents per month. This stat comes to you courtesy of the Federal Aviation Administration, which is prepping new regulations that could limit potential commercial applications. Apparently this isn't discouraging product development: video camera maker GoPro plans to sell several models starting next year. New York Times, WSJ
POLICY & STRATEGY
Now starring in the Sony Pictures cleanup. The studio has hired security expert Mandiant to repair damage caused by unidentified hackers who knocked its entire network offline last week. The feds are investigating the possibility that the attack originated in North Korea, and several unreleased Sony movies are circulating online after being released over the weekend. Reuters, Re/code, Fortune
Should you really put that in cyber-writing? When Apple stands yet another antitrust trial starting this month, emails written by its often-intimidating late CEO Steve Jobs will factor prominently as evidence. And that could be a liability. NYT
IBM signs multi-billion-dollar cloud deal with Dutch banking giant
Amazon Web Services is still the clear market-share leader in cloud computing services, with more than 1 million customers including NASA, Netflix and Spotify and about 75% of the total market.
Still, its presence among large multinational companies is relatively limited. That is turning out to be helpful for would-be rivals like IBM, is scoring multi-billion-dollar cloud contracts that build on its legacy services and outsourcing businesses.
IBM's latest deal was disclosed this morning in the form of a 10-year agreement with Dutch bank ABN AMRO. (The exact value wasn't revealed.)
Under the pact, IBM will migrate ABN AMRO's servers, storage hardware and other technology into a private, hybrid cloud installation. This sort of installation is the one preferred by many large companies because it provides more flexibility and security, while building on previous technology investments. Research firm Gartner figures that almost 50% of the biggest U.S. companies will run hybrid cloud services by 2017.
The pact is actually an extension of an existing outsourcing arrangement. The subtle difference is that the migration positions the bank to introduce new services more quickly and update how it handles support, according to a statement issued by IBM.
IBM announced a similar contract—worth an estimated $1.24 billion over seven years—with airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG in mid-November. "Together with IBM, we will have access to the latest IT technologies not only to lower our IT cost but also to continue digitalizing our business processes in order to increase efficiency and customer focus," said Simone Menne, CFO at Deutsche Lufthansa.
Forrester Research analyst James Staten wrote earlier this year: "While the last several years can best be characterized as exploratory for most enterprises, cloud services and cloud platforms are now an undeniable part of the IT landscape. And based on Forrester enterprise CIO inquiries, the shift has begun from exploration of cloud as a potential option, to rationalization of cloud services within the overall IT portfolio."
Other big IBM cloud wins include the Dow Chemicals water solution business unit, which is using this approach to run a mobile app; and grocery giant Delhaize America, which relies on IBM's cloud analytics services to track customer buying patterns.
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty made a substantial investment in cloud capabilities in 2013 in the form of the company's $2 billion acquisition of SoftLayer Services. It is also spending $1.2 billion to open 40 secure, cloud-powered data centers around the globe.
As of 2013, cloud services accounted for just $4.4 billion of IBM's roughly $100 billion in revenue. It will take many deals the size of the ABN AMRO and Lufthansa contracts to close that gap.
MY FORTUNE.COM BOOKMARKS
26 coolest gadgets of 2014 By Erin Griffith
Apple and the crisis of disruption By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Bitcoin buzz bypasses shoppers By Shalene Gupta
How the Internet is giving Small Business Saturday an edge By Karen Mills
FOR YOUR INNER TECHNOPHILE
New dimension for tech toys. The latest gadgets for kids include miniature programmable robots can be controlled via Internet connections and mobile app. Can they bring the spell of "screen time?" New York Times
ONE MORE THING
Steve Jobs' posthumous design genius. Three years after his death, the U.S. Patent Office has approved than 141 patents credited to the late Apple co-founder—including one covering the design for the glass cube entrance to its Fifth Avenue store in New York. That's almost one-third of his total—and there are still more pending. MIT Technology Review
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
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)