Data Sheet—Friday, April 24, 2015

April 24, 2015, 12:33 PM UTC

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. Three of the biggest names in cloud computing—Amazon, Microsoft and Google—reported their latest quarters last night. We still have no idea how one of them is doing in that business. Comcast’s proposed mega-takeover of Time Warner is dead, but cloud software company NetSuite just made its biggest acquisition. Plus, Fortune‘s resident Apple watcher Philip Elmer-DeWitt strapped an Apple Watch on his wrist one day early. Here’s what he thinks. Enjoy your weekend!


Cable mega-deal collapses. Comcast is one of the most connected companies in Washington, but that wasn’t enough to make regulators comfortable with its $45.2 billion offer to take over Time Warner. The deal is dead, which has set tongues wagging about what’s next. One common refrain: look for a string of smaller, content-related acquisitions.


Salesforce takes on human resources. In a dramatic departure, the sales and marketing powerhouse just released a cloud HR application, Employee Journeys, that handles everything from recruiting to onboarding to career management. “A lot of Salesforce customer experience ideas translate to employees,” one analyst told TechCrunch.

Nasdaq pays $26.5 million to settle suit over Facebook IPO. Problems with the exchange’s systems delayed the IPO timing and disrupted thousands of orders. That resulted in substantial losses for some market makers—up to $500 million. This settlement should settle a chunk of the outstanding claims.

Google’s chairman just bought a big passive stack in a massive hedge fund. Eric Schmidt’s family office, Hillspire, is purchasing 20% of D.E. Shaw Group. The terms weren’t disclosed, but The Wall Street Journal reports the price was around $500 million. Schmidt was already an investor in the firm. Hillspire’s total portfolio is more than $5 billion.



Google might want to start sharing more cloud numbers. It was the revelation many have eagerly awaited: Amazon Web Services (AWS) is on a $5 billion run rate this year. What’s more, it’s generating operating income, $265 million for the latest quarter.

“Born a decade ago, AWS is a good example of how we approach ideas and risk-taking at Amazon,” CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “We strive to focus relentlessly on the customer, innovate rapidly, and drive operational excellence. We manage by two seemingly contradictory traits: impatience to deliver faster and a willingness to think long term. We are so grateful to our AWS customers and remain dedicated to inventing on their behalf.”

The AWS report immediately inspired proactive outreach by IBM’s public relations machine. They would like to remind you that the company’s “rolling 12-month cloud revenue” is $7.7 billion. Plus, it’s growing 75%.

That number reflect IBM’s hybrid model when it comes to selling cloud services. It doesn’t distinguish how much of that amount or how much of that growth comes from public cloud services, which is what AWS sells, versus what comes from private outsourcing arrangements sited in IBM cloud data centers.

It’s also difficult to compare AWS directly with Microsoft, which like AWS spent some time last night briefing analysts about its own cloud results last quarter. CEO Satya Nadella estimated Microsoft’s annualized cloud revenue run rate at $6.3 billion.

That includes both the Azure services (the business most directly comparable to AWS) plus all its cloud business software applications, aka Office 365. Nadella described the growth as “incredible.”

Google, routinely listed as a top cloud services player, also reported its latest quarter Thursday but it didn’t have anything specific to say about that piece of its business. The focus during the post-report management call was almost entirely on the success of its YouTube video business.

That’s understandable, given that Facebook fielded numerous questions about its video advertising aspirations just one day earlier. But you’d barely know that Google is technically the fourth biggest player in cloud services, after the other three companies just mentioned. What’s more, it’s growing almost as fast as Microsoft.

According to Synergy Research estimates, here’s how overall market share stacked up at the end of 2015: AWS (28%), Microsoft (10%), IBM (7%), Google (5%) and Salesforce (4%). “Many actual or perceived barriers to cloud adoption have now been removed and the worldwide market is on a strong growth trajectory,” said chief analyst John Dinsdale.

Now that AWS has thrown down the gauntlet with its official disclosure, every other company in this business needs to become more transparent, starting with Google.


Kleiner Perkins wants Ellen Pao to cover its legal bills. The venture firm wants almost $1 million to recover costs related to her gender discrimination lawsuit. It’s also dangling this option: if Pao doesn’t appeal, it will drop its request.

Meanwhile, Google was just served with a discrimination suit in San Jose, California. This one focuses on age. It was filed by a 64-year-old tech worker passed over after a phone interview.

NetSuite just became a player in email and social marketing. The cloud business software company is paying $200 million for Bronto Software, which works with more than 1,400 Internet retailers. NetSuite was also part of the earnings barrage Thursday, posting its eighth consecutive quarter with more than 34% growth.

Europe: Nothing to see here. The European Commission has become far more aggressive in pursuing policies that level the playing field for digital technologies, such as cloud computing and e-commerce. It might look like the EU is targeting “dominant” American companies, but the commission wants you to know it’s an equal opportunity enforcer. It just gave data to the Wall Street Journal to prove it.

Here’s further evidence of smartphone mainstreaming. The most active buyers this year have smaller wallets (annual salaries of less than $30,000) and the majority are older (age 55 and up).


Mobile apps Digits and Acorns help you save by Jason Cipriani

You can introduce the industrial Internet with a single light bulb by Stacey Higginbotham

How Apple off-loaded its Watch queues to a half-dozen boutiques by Philip Elmer-DeWitt

There’s big pressure on New York’s bitcoin regulation plan by Daniel Roberts


If you’re one of the privileged few wearing an Apple Watch today, you have your choice of more than 3,000 applications to start doing things with it.


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)

Cornerstone Convergence: Connect, collaborate. (May 11 - 13; Los Angeles)

Cloud Foundry Summit: Open source development. (May 11 - 12; Santa Clara, California)

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

Signal: The modern communications conference. (May 19 - 20; San Francisco)

MuleSoft Connect: Tie together apps, data and devices. (May 27 - 29; San Francisco)

MongoDB World: Scale the universe. (June 1 - 2; New York)

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

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference: Future of iOS and OS X. (June 8 - 12; San Francisco)

Hadoop Summit San Jose: Mainstreaming adoption. (June 9 - 11; San Jose, California)

Red Hat Summit: Energize your enterprise. (June 23 - 26; Boston)

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

LinuxCon North America: All about open source. (Aug. 17 - 19; Seattle)

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

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

BoxWorks 2015: Cloud collaboration solutions. (Sept. 28 - 30; San Francisco)

Workday Rising: Meet and share. (Sept. 28 - Oct. 1; Las Vegas)

HP Engage: Big data, big engagement. (Oct. 4 - 6; San Diego)

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

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: World's largest gather of women technologists. (Oct. 14 - 16; Houston)

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

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