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Data Sheet—Friday, July 24, 2015

Happy Friday, Data Sheet readers. Amazon amazes investors, Palantir finds more funding, and AT&T adds subscribers at a furious clip—but not for mobile phones. For a break, check out highlights from last week’s Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference. Or watch Fortune Live at 3 pm Eastern for a philosophical debate about how humans can demonstrate economic “value” in the robotics age. Enjoy your weekend!

TOP OF MIND

Amazon could be worth as much as Facebook, before the day is over. The
e-commerce giant made money in the second quarter, a surprise that sent its stock up more than 20% overnight and added almost $8 billion in paper value to CEO Jeff Bezos’ stake. The fastest growing operation: India. Plus, sales for its cloud operations surged nearly 82%, despite intensifying competition from Google and Microsoft. As of Thursday’s stock market close, Amazon was worth around $227 billion. That’s more than Walmart! Facebook’s number to beat: $272.5 billion.

TRENDING

Airbnb’s new numbers guy? The home rentals site may hire Blackstone Group’s Laurence Tosi, making it the latest Silicon Valley powerhouse to source its chief financial officer from Wall Street, reports Bloomberg. Twitter and Google have both done the same, the latter to particularly good effect.

Monster new round for Palantir. The data analytics company just collected another $450 million in financing, and there’s more money coming. Its valuation: $20 billion.

Comcast contemplates a world without set-top boxes. The cable company’s CEO didn’t address the popularity of its new Internet television service on an analyst call Thursday. But its latest quarterly numbers show “cord cutting” is taking hold.

AT&T could make lots of money from connected cars. The telecommunications giant added at least 1 million new subscriptions last quarter for fleet management insights, informatics, and other data services.

BlackBerry is making progress in its makeover as a security software company, but CEO John Chen admits a turnaround will take longer than he thought.

Finally, there’s a new tech trade agreement. More than 200 products were added to the tariff-free list, including medical devices and next-generation semiconductors. The deal could cover up to $100 billion in U.S. exports.

THE PITCH

Mobile botnets cost advertisers $1 billion in ad fraud

As mobile devices proliferate, app advertising has become a huge business, worth an estimated $20 billion in the U.S. alone. But how much of that is being wasted? According to a new report from fraud-detection firm Forensiq, as much as $1 billion of that advertising money is being lost to fraud in a number of ways—including malicious apps that hijack mobile phones and turn them into an ad-viewing botnet.

There are already several well-known varieties of mobile fraud, including device emulation, mobile user-agent and location spoofing, and fraudulent user-acquisition methods. But Forensiq says that its research has uncovered a new variety, which it calls “mobile device hijacking.”

Read an analysis by Fortune senior writer Mathew Ingram.

ALSO WORTH SHARING

IBM just bought another cloud software company, open source database startup Compose.

Think LinkedIn’s interface is confusing? Co-founder Reid Hoffman agrees dabblers might find it complicated. But only because there’s so much you can do! Speaking of which: SlideShare is now officially a lead-generation platform.

If you want to buy the Nest thermostat, don’t go looking in an Apple store.

Intel and Rackspace put their heads together, with a new innovation alliance centered on cloud data centers.

Time for more security? Most smartwatches are pretty lax on data protection, find Hewlett-Packard researchers.

Google will give your company a huge chunk of free data storage for switching to its Nearline backup service.

Calendar alerts meet corporate chat. Your Google calendar can now tell your Slack workgroups when you’re in a meeting or when a deadline is approaching.

Another Twitter executive heads for the exit. Its head of business development just took the same post at Zenefits, reports TechCrunch.

MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS

Car-jacking hackers are driving Nokia Here acquisition by Kirsten Korosec

Mastercard exec: Why the move to chip cards is so important by Daniel Roberts

Startup funding is only getting crazier by Erin Griffith

Product Hunt aims to become the Oprah Book Club of Silicon Valley by Kia Kokalitcheva

Just like with regular sports, eSports athletes will be tested for drugs by Chris Morris

ONE MORE THING

People still love Pac-Man, who stars in Sony’s new movie, Pixels. The character’s creator explains the appeal.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

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)

Gartner Customer 360 Summit: Strategies for digital engagement. (Sept. 9 – 11; San Diego)

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)

AppSec USA 2015: Application security principles. (Sept. 22 – 25; 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)

DevOps Enterprise Summit: Lean principles meet technology management. (Oct. 19 – 21; San Francisco)

CX San Francisco: Forrester’s forum for customer experience professionals. (Oct. 22 – 23)

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

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

eBusiness Chicago: eBusiness and channel strategy. (Oct. 29 – 30)

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

CMO+CIO: Forrester’s summit on strategy collaboration. (Nov. 2 – 4; Sarasota, Florida)

Oktane15: Identity management trends. (Nov. 2 – 4; Las Vegas)

FutureStack: Define your future with New Relic. (Nov. 11 – 13; San Francisco)