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Data Sheet—Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23, 2015, 1:34 PM UTC

Happy Monday, Data Sheet readers! Apple will spend roughly $1.9 billion to expand its European data center footprint. Google dodged an Android-related antitrust lawsuit (for now), but Italy is coming down hard on its privacy policies. Plus, Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly thinks Hadoop standards should be the responsibility of the open source community, not software vendors with limited market share.

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Apple data centers for Denmark, Ireland. The sites are meant mainly for consumer services, such as iTunes and iMessage, but you can expect murky U.S. privacy policies to send more cloud service providers across the pond. Plus both data centers will run on renewable energy, another area where the U.S. lags.

Bring on the Lenovo lawsuits. You knew someone was going to get all legal about the ill-advised, security-siphoning Superfish spyware preloaded onto its notebook computers. But these lawyers are pretty darn quick.

Turns out your SIM cards might not be so safe either. Dutch tech company Gemalto is scrambling to respond to an investigative report by The Intercept suggesting that U.S. and British spies stole encryption keys from its internal networks. Translation: that makes it simpler for intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on mobile phone calls. The revelation comes courtesy of Edward Snowden. Gemalto makes smart chips for phones, passports, and banking cards. It’s planning an update about the break-in on Wednesday, Feb. 25.

I know, let’s sell business analytics software! Big Indian technology technology outsourcing companies, including Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys, are redirecting programmers into big data development projects as revenue from their traditional business services shrink. Makes sense, especially since many large companies are struggling to add data science skills.

To be considered more private, Google has to get less private about privacy. Got that? Under a new agreement with Italian officials, the search giant will be subjected to “spot checks” at its U.S. headquarters. At issue are Google’s data-mining policies, used for targeted advertising and other personalized marketing.


Facebook shuttle drivers vote ‘Yes’ on union. Apple, eBay, Genentech, Yahoo, and Zynga are up next.

May the best interface win. Speaking of commutes, Apple and Google want to go along for your ride. Both are allied with at least two dozen auto manufacturers that plan to use their software for controlling dashboard features. Can they succeed where Microsoft has so far stalled? Both certainly have better consumer credentials. Buckle up, potholes ahead.

Try, try again. Google’s policy requiring Android smartphone makers like Samsung to prioritize its applications smacks of antitrust tactics to some consumers. For right now, at least, a federal judge doesn’t agree.


An acqui-hire for Box. Few companies understand the full extent to which employees use cloud applications and services day-to-day. Enter Airpost, a little-known startup just swallowed up by the newly public cloud collaboration company. It will officially shut down March 1, but we’re likely to see the cloud applications management service find new life under the Box name.

Something artificial about this. Viv Labs, the company created by the creators of the Apple iPhone personal assistant Siri, have raised $12.5 million led by Iconiq Capital. Their next-gen assistant won’t just find travel sites, it could actually help book your flights and hotel.

Rapid growth for RapidMiner. After tripling sales in 2014, the business analytics company has closed a $15 million Series B funding round led by Ascent Venture Partners and Longworth Venture Partners. Total so far $20 million. The money will fuel hires in partnership, sales and marketing, and research and development. Customers of the 60-person startup include Corning, Ustream, and Hitachi.


Tomorrow, big data management company Hortonworks will report its first financial results since going public last December. Privately held Cloudera—one of its fiercest rivals in Hadoop software and backed with more than $1.2 billion from the likes of Intel—isn’t subject to the same scrutiny. But like any startup contemplating an initial public offering, it occasionally discloses revenue and customer milestones to pique our interest.

Its latest revelation came last week: for its 2015 fiscal year, Cloudera’s unaudited revenue topped $100 million (the CEO won’t disclose by how much), two-third of which are attributable to software licenses (not deployment services). What's more, it added another 250 new accounts—that’s totally new companies, not just additional business within existing clients.

“We’re taking the most conservative way to count customers,” Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly told me late last week.

The total: about 525. If you were to count all the individual projects undertaken within the last year, the number of “wins” would approach 1,000, he estimated.

Cloudera’s disclosure comes as several of its Hadoop competitors, notably the aforementioned Hortonworks (along with IBM, Pivotal Software), are proclaiming their intention to standardize certain Hadoop components through an organization called the Open Data Platform Initiative.

The group says everyone is welcome to join, but Reilly dismissed this as a marketing ruse. Cloudera is having none of it right now. Instead, the company just signed a new check for the Apache Software Foundation—keeper of the open source Hadoop project—at a higher sponsorship level. “Instead of the dollars it would have cost us to play in the alliance, we took that money and made a donation to the foundation,” Reilly said. “We’re playing long ball, we intend to stay true to open source.”

The reaction from another high-profile Hadoop software company, MapR Technologies, was similar. “The market would be better served with Apache as the governing body and continued competition to drive innovation,” co-founder and CEO John Schroeder said via email. ”By our estimate, the projects deemed as core in the Pivotal initiative are used in less than 30% of Hadoop installations. So at this time we've decided not to participate.”

To be clear (and fair), Hortonworks and Pivotal are also platinum-level sponsors of the Apace Software Foundation. They're not running away. But they don’t have the same customer or fan base that Cloudera is building. So, they're doing something different.

As of last week, Cloudera had more than 1,450 partners in the form of software and consulting companies building real-world applications with its technology. Allies include Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte, Dell, EMC_Isilon, Informatica, Microsoft, MongoDB, NEC, Red Hat, SAP, TCS, and Teradata—those are just the one that signed up within the last year.

Those partners have been instrumental in helping Cloudera customers begin using their Hadoop installations for things such as real-time fraud detection or customer churn analysis. Its new relationship with Deloitte, for example, is focused on an application for identifying insurance claims that should be investigated for subrogation. “In the past year, deployments have become board-room level discussions,” Reilly said.

What about that much anticipated Cloudera IPO? Don’t hold your breath. “We’re not setting any expectations,” Reilly said. “We’re of the size and scale that we could be a successful public company right now. But we’re so well backed that we don’t need to go public to have access to financing.”

Incidentally, Hortonworks expected to release results for its first fiscal quarter Tuesday after the market close—its first report as a public company. I’ll be catching up with CEO Rob Bearden shortly thereafter.


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The death of Austin Ventures by Dan Primack


What makes a meme? Rule one, don’t be boring. Rule two, don’t copy.


Gartner CIO Leadership Forum: Digital business strategy. (March 1 – 3; Phoenix)

DocuSign Momentum. E-signatures and digital transactions. (March 10 – 12; San Francisco)

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

IDC Directions 2015: Innovation in the 3rd Platform era. (March 18; Boston)

Cisco Leadership Council: CIO-CEO thought leadership. (March 18 - 20; Kiawah Island, South Carolina)

Technomy Bio: The big picture on transformation. (March 25; Mountain View, California)

Gartner Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit: Crossing the divide. (March 30 – April 1; Las Vegas)

Knowledge15: Automate IT services. (April 19 – 24; Las Vegas)

RSA Conference: The world talks security. (April 20 – 24; San Francisco)

Forrester’s Forum for Technology Leaders: Win in the age of the customer. (April 27 - 28; Orlando, Fla.)

MicrosoftIgnite: Business tech extravaganza. (May 4 – 8; Chicago)

NetSuite SuiteWorld: Cloud ERP strategy. (May 4 – 7; San Jose, California)

EMC World: Data strategy. (May 4 - 7; Las Vegas)

Sapphire Now: The SAP universe. (May 5 – 7; Orlando, Florida)

Gartner Digital Marketing Conference: Reach your destination faster. (May 5 – 7; San Diego)

Annual Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference: JP Morgan’s 43rd invite-only event. (May 18 - 20; Boston)

HP Discover: Trends and technologies. (June 2 - 4; Las Vegas)

Brainstorm Tech: Fortune’s invite-only gathering of thinkers, influencers and entrepreneurs. (July 13 - 15; Aspen, Colorado)

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

Dreamforce: The Salesforce community. (Sept. 15 - 18; San Francisco)

Gartner Symposium ITxpo: CIOs and senior IT executives. (Oct. 4 - 8; Orlando, Florida)

Oracle OpenWorld: Customer and partner conference. (Oct. 25 - 29; San Francisco)