Data Sheet—Thursday, August 20, 2015
Question: Is it a sign of desperation or outside-the-box thinking when Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, appears onstage at a semiconductor developer’s conference with Mark Burnett, the world’s greatest reality-television impresario?
To be generous, let’s go with the latter. Krzanich invited Burnett to the gathering of technologists who build products that use Intel’s chips to promote a new Intel-sponsored TV show about so-called makers. These are tinkerers who are using new, low-cost technologies like 3D printing to make all sorts of things that used to be the exclusive domain of industrial-grade manufacturers. The maker movement is both a personal passion for Krzanich, still relatively new in the job, as well as an opportunity for his company. Intel needs to find new markets for its chips, seeing as the industry it dominates—PCs—is dwindling and because Intel so badly missed the last big market, smartphones. (Jonathan Vanian provides an astute overview of the event, “Five crazy devices showcased at Intel’s developer conference.”)
Here’s what Intel has in its favor: a fortress balance sheet, world-class manufacturing, and, as Stacey Higginbotham tartly observes, savvy marketing. Perhaps Intel’s biggest problem is that it’s a victim of its own success. Microprocessors for PCs are a high-ticket item, and Intel got so good at making and marketing them that it reaped high margins for years. Chips for connected devices, including those that are embedded in so-called wearables like fitness trackers and smart watches, tend to fetch lower prices. Worse, these markets are nascent and therefore highly fragmented. They are an opportunity for Intel, but by definition, also for the oodles of competitors too.
The reality is that Intel needs a massive hit in a new market for chips. A hit reality TV show won’t be good enough.
Your usual curator Heather Clancy is away on vacation. Fortune reporter Robert Hackett here, subbing in. You can reach me on Twitter (@rhhackett) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Feedback welcome.
Fortune introduces "Change the World" list. This is the first year that Fortune will recognize a collection of 51 companies for behaving spectacularly. Corporations can be—and do—good. (Fortune)
Uber raises $100 million. The ride-sharing company picked up a new round of funding from the Tata Group in India. Uber recently said it plans to invest $1 billion in the country, a market in which it has run up against legal and regulatory issues. (Fortune)
Big banks to form data company. JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley plan to create a company that will help consolidate the costs of managing reference data. Each will contribute seven figures to the cause. (Wall Street Journal)
Unicorns poach talent in Silicon Valley. Multi-billion dollar startups are luring talent away from tech stalwarts. Uber, for example, has mercilessly raided Google's mapping unit over the past year. (New York Times)
Ashley Madison hack victims speak up. Some people are worried their marriages will be wrecked. Others are angry, still others sad. A few deny ever using the site. (Fusion)
Uber misses murder in background checks. Prosecutors in California allege that the ride-sharing company's screening process has failed to vet murderers and sex criminals. A San Francisco District Attorney says the firm's process suffers "systemic failures." (Reuters, Fortune)
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Fortune senior editor Stacey Higginbotham draws from personal experience, providing five reasons why the "smart home" is still stupid.
"For several days after I returned from my vacation, the lights in my house would automatically turn on around 6 pm and then again at 7 am. This would have been far more frustrating in the morning if it weren’t already light and we weren’t mostly up anyway. But there were a few times when my husband rolled over and seriously questioned my commitment to smart home technology — an emerging category of futuristic household conveniences — and, more importantly, his commitment to me." Read more on Fortune.com.
BITS AND BYTES
Wrong to be forgotten. Google lost data in a lightning strike. (Time)
Comcast not evil? The company's latest scheme: cheap broadband for low-income seniors. (Wired)
Jack Ma, third place. Two other billionaires have topped the list of China's richest. (Wall Street Journal)
Stay dry. Yes, you can buy an umbrella for your smartphone. (Verge)
STEM versus poetry. Technology needs more artistry and creatives. (Quartz)
ALSO ON FORTUNE
Is the Trump candidacy like a stock market bubble? by Shawn Tully
Why your funeral will probably be run by a woman by Anne Fisher
ONE MORE THING
Coders gonna code. And you can watch live. (Medium)
Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men. We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data."
Hackers who breached Ashley Madison.com and dumped its data on the dark web, writing a statement on the release. They call themselves "Impact Team." (Wired)