Data Sheet—Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Good morning, Data Sheet readers. Twitter missed its first quarter. Even worse, the stock market found out before executives were ready to go public with their explanations. There’s a reorg under way at Intel. Plus, the Walmart-led mobile payments consortium hoping to take on Apple Pay just replaced its top executive. Enjoy your Wednesday!


Twitter finds itself tweet-worthy. First, the bad news: The social media company reported Q1 revenue of $436 million, but the 74% increase was shy of what Wall Street anticipated. Now, the really bad news: the results were disclosed early, apparently the result of a goof by Nasdaq and some tenacity on the part of financial data company Selerity, which (ironically) tweeted them to the world. Before trading was halted, Twitter’s stock slid almost 20% (more than $5 billion in market value).

Amid the ensuing tweetstorm, it was easy to overlook Twitter’s other big news last night. Not only will it buy ad-personalization expert TellApart for an undisclosed sum, it just inked a close partnership with Google’s DoubleClick group.


Intel reorg in process. The company is centralizing its emerging technology teams into one group, which will be led veteran Joshua Walden, reports The Wall Street Journal. That means Mike Bell, mostly recently in charge of Intel’s wearables technology initiatives, will take on an “unspecified” new role. Bell previously led product development groups at Apple and Palm.

IBM takes another quantum leap. It’s touting prototype technology for “qubits” (aka quantum bits) that could spawn supercomputers that aren’t limited by Moore’s Law of chip design. The biggest problem with this approach right now: it is extremely error-prone. Still, IBM believes the industry is poised for a relatively mainstream breakthrough within five years. Google is also an active quantum computing researcher.

Plus, here’s something else to make IBM stockholders a little happier: the board just approved an 18% dividend increase.

Samsung slips. According to independent research firm, it sold “only” 83 million smartphones during the first three months of 2015. As a result, its profit was down 39% for the quarter. That puts more pressure on its latest and greatest model, the Galaxy S6. And on the company’s other business units, which are dreaming up business usage scenarios for wearables and augmented reality headsets.

By the way, after its bang-up second quarter, Carl Icahn still thinks Samsung’s biggest rival in smartphones, Apple, is still undervalued.

CEO out at Apple Pay rival. The Walmart-led consortium working on its own mobile payment alternative, CurrentC, just replaced its top executive. The new leader is former Bank of America Merchant Services CEO Brian Mooney. This move comes just one day after the revelation that one of the consortium members, Best Buy, has decided to use Apple Pay anyway.


Why writing software is no longer just for software companies

Fortune writer Barb Darrow, based in the Boston area, specializes in coverage of cloud computing strategies and technology.

If you look at the mainstays of the Fortune 100, even manufacturers associated more with the Rust Belt than Silicon Valley know that software is a big part of their business. Scratch a car company and a software company will bleed, albeit one that is writing software for internal use or to embed in its vehicles. This is a trend that companies like Pivotal—spun out of EMC and VMware—IBM, Microsoft, and HP are all banking on.

Count Apprenda in those ranks as well. The Troy, N.Y. company offers technology—dubbed Platform as a Service—that business customers can use to create and maintain specialized software. Apprenda's PaaS can run in a company's internal data center for IT folks still not comfortable with public cloud infrastructure. And, it can run on public clouds such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. Or both.

Now, to help large corporate customers still leery of giving up control of their IT departments to the public clouds, Apprenda is supporting Docker containers. Docker is the latest software darling coming out of Silicon Valley because it lets developers write applications and assign them just the computing resources they need, all in one efficient package. This is seen as more practical than running multiple applications in a virtualized manner because the virtualization layer soaks up system resources, making software run more slowly.

Docker makes it easy for software developers to write applications that run in both in the cloud and on-premises, said Apprenda CEO Sinclair Schuller via email. "The problem is that Docker alone is a bit like the wild-west: you can do whatever you want. Unfortunately, most large corporations can’t allow that sort of flexibility because of the inherent risk it comes with."

To be sure, pretty much the entire software universe has blessed Docker already, but Apprenda's pitch is that it supports a wide range of underlying technologies running in customer sites.

Read the rest of Darrow’s report about how the company is helping big companies become more competitive through software.


Expect higher PC prices before the end of the year. The main rationale for Gartner’s dire prediction is the stronger dollar, which is eating into profits. The side effect is that buyers are likely to become much more budget-conscious. That will help the low-end market but extend product lifetimes at the high end.

E-commerce software company moves into the real world. Bigcommerce, which has more than 85,000 customers, is buying Zing for an undisclosed sum. The latter specializes in point-of-sale and inventory management systems.

Here is Xerox’s latest play for the paperless office. It unfurled close to a dozen new workflow-automation and mobile apps intended to help businesses go digital.

Hitachi Data Systems: We have an Internet of things strategy, too. Its focus is a little vague, but it does have the right technology to play a serious role in industrial data analytics.

More trouble in the world of 3D. This time, it comes in the form of a first-quarter earnings warning from Stratasys. As a result of the miss, the company will reorganize its MakerBot division and cut capital spending by up to $110 million.

Riverbed finally private in $3.5 billion deal. Why is CEO Jerry Kennelly is happy that the network equipment company is finally rid of the “90-day planning cycle?” In a word, flexibility.

Marketing automation upstart snags another $20.5 million. The latest round for five-year-old Signpost, which has more than 10,000 small- and midmarket-business customers, was led by Georgian Partners. Its differentiation: the ability to automatically track all emails, credit-card transactions, and social media activity of targeted customers. The company previously raised about $16 million from backers including Spark Capital and Google Ventures.

Richard Branson is hosting a digital currency conference. The Virgin Group founder is a vocal and actual supporter of bitcoin technology, so he’s convening a private confab to debate its future. You can bet one of the main topics will center on what these startups fear the most: regulation.


GoPro’s revenue goes wild with strong overseas sales by Tom Huddleston, Jr.

Google and Apple’s new sci-fi patents for sweet dreams and lost cars by Kia Kokalitcheva

Education tech funding soars—but is it working in the classroom? by Mark Koba

How protected does laptop encryption leave you? by Robert Hackett

PayPal extends one-touch payments to the Web by Leena Rao

Wearable technology, meet Mini by Bradley Berman

What bitcoin businesses most fear right now by Daniel Roberts



Could you or your CIO use some strategy tips? Logistics company UPS tops industry trade publication InformationWeek’s latest annual list of the 100 most innovative users of information technology.


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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