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Data Sheet—Monday, August 10, 2015

Welcome to the new workweek, Data Sheet readers! Speculation swirls about the Twitter CEO search. Microsoft makes changes to its corporate bylaws. Plus, why Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure took a personal interest in his company’s call center overhaul. Have a productive Monday.

TOP OF MIND

More than videoconferencing on steroids. The practical applications of virtual reality—for things like practice surgeries or trans-oceanic business meetings—are typically overshadowed by how it’s used for games or movies. But they’re something that Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey, who just landed on the cover of Time magazine, obsesses about. Now that sensor technologies are less expensive, it’s time for the commercial world to open its collective mind.

“It’s not primarily about people sitting alone in their rooms playing virtual-reality games,” Luckey told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published last Friday. “Science fiction portrays it as the most social technology that’s ever existed.” Now, we just need business-minded developers to prove it.

TRENDING

It’s now easier to nominate someone for Microsoft’s board. The catch is you can’t suggest just one person under the company’s new bylaws.

Still no official word on Twitter’s open CEO position. The former one, Dick Costolo, is now planning to step down from the board when the transition is complete. Plus, prominent investor Chris Sacca seems to think co-founder Jack Dorsey can do the job, without stepping down from the top job at Square.

Verizon’s latest pitch to new wireless customers is all about flexibility. No contract minimums. No phone subsidies. Lots of different data plans.

Baby steps toward the drone economy. After a slow start, there have been more than 1,000 commercial permits granted, with an average of 50 added every week. Now, NASA is working on working on the air-traffic control dilemma.

Close to 200 million Internet surfers use ad blockers. That could cost publishers $22 billion in advertising this year.

THE DOWNLOAD

Can this software help Sprint win back core customers?

Call Sprint customer support any given evening after hours, and CEO Marcelo Claure may be listening.

“One of my most important imperatives is to transform the customer care experience,” he told Fortune, two days after the carrier disclosed its game-changing Q1 financials.

Within weeks of assuming the CEO post one year ago, Claure mandated simpler, more unified processes and took a personal interest in selecting the technology to run them. Ultimately, the project was entrusted to relatively unknown Pegasystems—the same software company overhauling customer engagement at American Express, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, and United Health Group. So far, early results are positive.

ALSO WORTH SHARING

You can count Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi as one of the companies that will use Foxconn’s$5 billion manufacturing facility being built in India.

Coming soon, more power in your lap. Intel is adapting the Xeon processors traditionally found in high-performance workstations for use in notebook computers.

What should you budget for connectivity? Recurring access costs an average of $3,000 annually.

Many companies talk up diversity hiring for tech projects. The widespread use of contract labor for software development and engineering could skew those metrics, reports Computerworld.

Patent-rich IBM is hawking some of its intellectual property. Startups contacted via email are wary of the overture, but it’s not unusual big portfolio holders to sell ones they don’t use.

How many engineers does it take to hack a light bulb? A security heads-up related to the popular ZigBee wireless technology.

MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS

Women in tech: don’t even try to fit in a man’s world by Jane Lansing

This is the date Apple will unveil new iPhones by Benjamin Snyder

Uber labor lawsuit hinges on whether drivers are similar enough for class-action status by Kia Kokalitcheva

Hands on with Apple’s CarPlay in the Chevy Corvette by Kevin Fitchard

ONE MORE THING

Netscape nostalgia. The web browser pioneer went public 20 years ago this week, closing at twice its IPO price on the first day. Sure, it lasted barely five years, but it certainly validated Silicon Valley’s “hypercaffeinated” startup culture.

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: “Get your data on” with Splunk. (Sept. 21 – 24; Las Vegas)

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

nginx.conf: The modern web. (Sept. 22 – 24; San Francisco)

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

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

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

Minds+Machines: GE’s annual industrial Internet event. (Sept. 29 – Oct. 1; San Francisco)

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

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

AWS re:Invent: The global Amazon Web services community. (Oct. 6 – 9; Las Vegas)

I Love APIs: 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)

Dell World: Global conference for customers and partners. (Oct. 20 – 22; Austin, Texas)

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: 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)

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

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