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Data Sheet—Thursday, July 9, 2015

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. All systems are go for United Airlines and the New York Stock Exchange after prolonged failures on Wednesday. Facebook is making it simpler for members to control their newsfeed. Microsoft is trying put its ill-fated Nokia acquisition in the past. Plus, if you travel frequently to Canada and Mexico, T-Mobile wants to bend your ear. Have a super Thursday!


Experiencing technical difficulties, please stand by. Early conspiracy theories abounded, but it appears the massive system failures Wednesday at United Airlines and the New York Stock Exchange were the fault of technology and not humans with malicious intent. United planes were grounded for almost two hours because of some cantankerous networking equipment. The even-longer stock exchange disruption was blamed on an upgrade gone bad.


Soon, Facebook will know even about what you prioritize. The social network’s “See First” tool makes it simpler for members to choose the pages or people who should be ranked highest in their newsfeed. At the same time, of course, it can gather even more data to feed its advertising algorithms.

Yes, another Jawbone lawsuit. Its latest filing against rival Fitbit seeks to halt imports of its fitness bands (and related components) until other charges are settled. Two suits, filed in May and June, allege theft of intellectual property, trade secrets and talent.

Admit it, Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition was a bad idea. CEO Satya Nadella wants the company to focus where it can provide value and apparently that’s not in the mobile business. Meanwhile, the decision will cost rough 7,800 jobs and a $7.6 billion “impairment charge.”

Most powerful chips ever? IBM has made working versions of microprocessors that boast four times the capacity as current technology, packed into a smaller space, reports The New York Times.

More censorship, tighter data controls. Those are just two potential impacts on U.S. tech companies stemming from China’s proposed new cybersecurity law.

More sophisticated motives for black-hat hackers. Today’s cybercriminals are just as interested in peddling trade secrets as they are in auctioning off social security identities or credit-card numbers.

Apple is pretty optimistic about selling larger iPhones. It just ordered a much larger production run for next year than this year: 85 million to 90 million units, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Bigger Google Glass technology on the way? The next edition of the smartglasses is headed straight for the workplace, with a bigger display and faster processing speeds, reports 9to5Google.


Marketing startup Influitive turns customers into brand advocates

The references for Influitive, the latest startup from Eloqua co-founder Mark Organ, include a who’s-who list of technology companies such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, LinkedIn, and Salesforce.

That’s fitting for a company dedicated to helping businesses scale the influence of word-of-mouth referrals. Its software creates a system that companies can use to reward brand advocates for social commentary that can be embedded into business-to-business marketing campaigns.

“We come at this from the perspective of being pipeline accelerators,” said Influitive founder and CEO Mark Organ.

In fact, five-year-old Influitive just signed the 250th customer for its software—bringing the total number of “advocates” on the platform to something around 20,000. By the time this article publishes, the Toronto-based company should surpass the 100-employee mark. These growth metrics have inspired $30.5 million in new funding led by Georgian Partners. The Series B round, disclosed Thursday morning, is earmarked primarily for geographic and product expansion.

“For a company this stage, this management team offers deep experience and operational sophistication,” said Simon Chong, a managing partner for Georgian, who joins Influitive’s board as a condition of this round.

Here are some of the credentials. Organ’s marketing automation software company Eloqua sold to Oracle for $871 million. It is the foundation for the company’s Marketing Cloud services. Influitive’s chief financial officer, Steve Wilson, has been involved in more than 25 mergers and acquisitions including deals with IBM and Mattell. Other members of the team boast experience from Bain & Co., Deloitte, Endeca, Siebel, Sophos, and Vertica.

The new money brings total funding to approximately $42 million, Organ said. Other backers for this latest infusion include OurCrowd, a crowdfunding organization typically associated with investments in Israel; and Docomo Capital, the venture fund managed by Japan’s largest mobile operator.

According to Crunchbase, two direct competitors to Influitive re Crowd Factory, which was acquired by Marketo in April 2012; and Zuberance, which has so far raised approximately $12 million since it was founded in October 2010. Influitive’s software is also akin to referral marketing applications from Amplifinity ($15.6 million raised), Extole ($19 million), and SocialChorus ($15 million).


Video streaming app Meerkat is getting awfully cozy with Facebook, and the affection apparently goes both ways.

Still no buyer for Nokia’s mapping technology. Reuters reports that the most interested party, a group of German automakers, is balking over the price and structure of the deal.

Communication breakdown. Mobile carriers can now use unlicensed airwaves to create more capacity for their 4G networks. That could limit what’s available for local Wi-Fi services.

Time to run an Adobe Flash update. The software company is scrambling to fix at least three dozen serious “zero-day” flaws.

Another upside to ad-blocker software. The technology could reduce the traffic load on corporate networks, according to a new research paper.

Need to spice up your e-commerce results? Software startup Salisfy helps brands like Rubbermaid and Bosch optimize the all-important product descriptions that can make or break sales.

The rumors about this cloud startup, a niche competitor to Amazon and Microsoft, were right. Digital Ocean has raised another $83 million.


Google’s sexist algorithms offer an important lesson in diversity by Stacey Higginbotham

How virtual reality is helping this actor make kids smile by John Gaudiosi

Upworthy pivoted, and you’ll never guess what happened next by Mathew Ingram

Uber is getting smarter about picking you up by Kia Kokalitcheva

How to spot a ‘cyberloafer’ in a job interview by Anne Fisher

How to spot fake apps on the Google Play store by Daniel Roberts

Apple gets $533M patent verdict tossed in fight with “no products” company by Jeff John Roberts


T-Mobile has you covered in Canada and Mexico, for “free.” Subscribers can now roam all of North America, without incurring extra charges. Plus, CEO John Legere has some feedback for AT&T.


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

Esri Business Summit: Mapping the value of data. (July 18 – 21; San Diego)

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

SuccessConnect: Simplify the way the world works. (Aug. 10 – 12; Las Vegas)

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

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

.conf2015: Splunk’s “get your data on” gathering. (Sept. 21 – 24; Las Vegas)

Cassandra Summit: Largest gathering of Cassandra database developers. (Sept. 22 – 24; 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)

I Love APIs 2015: Apigee’s annual conference. (Oct. 12 – 14; San Jose, California)

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)

TBM Conference 2015: Manage IT like a business. (Oct. 26 – 29; Chicago)

QuickBooks Connect: SMBs, entrepreneurs, accountants and developers. (Nov. 2 – 4; San Jose, California)