Talk about stepping up. Nikesh Arora, president of SoftBank and Masayoshi Son’s anointed successor, disclosed this week that he is investing nearly $500 million in his company. Most executives set up programs to continuously sell stock they’ve been granted. Arora will buy stock in installments over six months. “This is a large transaction for me, and involves taking an enormous risk in my life once again,” Arora said, in a news release. Formerly the top business executive at Google, now his charge is to scout investments for SoftBank, which he discussed in an interview shortly after his appointment in May.
It’s tough to overstate the message such a move sends. It calls to mind a similar move Steve Ballmer made at Microsoft more than 25 years ago. Ballmer wasn’t a founder, but he owned a low-single-digit stake in the company. A few years after Microsoft went public in 1986 investors had lost faith in the software maker. The stock languished, and Ballmer, who held a similar role to the one Arora later had at Google, was annoyed. So he paid a non-trivial amount of cash for an additional chunk of stock. Many noticed, especially existing and prospective employees. These included a future top executive, Brad Silverberg, whom Microsoft was wooing at the time. “Steve’s act said, ‘I really believe in this company and I’m putting my money where my mouth is,’” Silverberg recalled. “He was not superrich then, and it was a huge gamble and statement of confidence on his part. It had a huge impact on the company by showing how much Steve believed and was willing to put his financial life on the line.”
Ballmer was richly rewarded for his bet. When he retired from Microsoft, just before buying the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team and years after Bill Gates had begun shifting his wealth to his foundation, Ballmer was the company’s largest shareholder.
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.
Uber plans to IPO soon. A leaked executive presentation concerning the world’s highest valued private company forecasted an initial public offering within 18 to 24 months. The company raked in nearly $3 billion in bookings last year, although no one can say whether the company is profitable. (Reuters)
Intuit kicks Quicken to the curb. While reporting its fourth quarter earnings results, the financial software company announced that it plans to divest Quicken, its original accounting product, in order to sharpen its business focus. The company will retain TurboTax. (Fortune)
Hackers leak more Ashley Madison data. The group responsible for hacking the infidelity site Ashley Madison has posted a second, larger data dump to the dark web. This leak appears to contain a spool of emails from Noel Biderman, CEO of Avid Life Media, Ashley Madison’s parent company, although security experts are reporting that the file is corrupted. (Fortune, Verge)
Google’s Life Science’s unit will become a standalone company under Alphabet. Originally a division of Google moonshot factory Google X, the search giant’s “smart contact lens” company will become a separate entity under its corporate reorganization. The division’s head, Andy Conrad, will be promoted to CEO. (Computerworld)
Salesforce has its “best quarter ever.” The sales automation software company’s revenue grew 24% year over year to $1.63 billion. It plans to launch industry specific verticals—health care, retail, and more—in the next month. (Fortune)
HP sales continue to decline. Revenue fell at the IT giant for the fifteenth time over the past 16 quarters. In November, the company will split in two: HP Inc. will handle the company’s sluggish printers and PCs business while Hewlett-Packard Enterprise will cover its slowly growing data center hardware and enterprise services businesses. (Fortune)
Oracle buys Maxymiser. The software company is beefing up its marketing automation offerings in order to compete with Salesforce and Adobe. Maxymiser’s tools specialize in optimizing marketing campaigns through A/B testing. (Fortune)
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Fortune senior writer Mathew Ingram explains why TV-related stock just took a hammering, and why it might be justified.
“Just a couple of weeks ago, any media company with significant TV-related assets — including Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox and Time Warner—got hammered by investors, after a loss of subscribers at ESPN (which is owned by Disney) triggered fears about cord-cutting and the rise of streaming services. On Thursday it happened again, and this time the spark appeared to be some skeptical comments from a prominent industry analyst, who said that the entire industry is ‘structurally impaired.'” Read more on Fortune.com.
BITS AND BYTES
BREAKING NEWS. Not Facebook’s speciality. (Recode)
Genetic algorithms. A pioneering scientist’s obituary. (New York Times)
Think Seussical. Apple Pay’s new jingle. (Fortune)
Sleeping on the job. It’s healthy, but impractical. (Bloomberg)
Get pedaling! Bike desks are a good idea. (Atlantic)
ALSO ON FORTUNE
John Mackey: the conscious capitalist by Beth Kowitt
Science says working long hours is seriously bad for your health by Claire Zillman
ONE MORE THING
Code is not unbiased. Programmers unknowingly embed prejudices. (Wall Street Journal)
“What, like with a cloth or something?“
Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, responding to a reporter’s question about whether her email server had been wiped. Throughout the town hall session, she repeatedly evaded questions about the subject, eventually resorting to shrugging. The server is in the hands of the FBI. (Washington Post)
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
VMworld: The virtualization ecosystem. (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2015; San Francisco)
Gartner Customer 360 Summit: Strategies for digital engagement. (Sept. 9 – 11; San Diego)
- Executive Insights: Leveraging technology to improve business growth. Data Sheet readers get $200 off registration with promo code EXFRTN15 (Sept. 15-16, 2015; Las Vegas).
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)
Tableau Conference 2015: Tableau’s annual customer conference. (Oct 19 -23; Las Vegas)
Dell World: Global conference for customers and partners. (Oct. 20 – 22; Austin, Texas)
Virtuous Circle Conference: Internet policy in the round (Oct. 12-13, Menlo Park, California)
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)