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Data Sheet—Thursday, September 24, 2015

Which high-profile tech CEO is missing from the official photo documenting Wednesday’s meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping?

Kudos if you guessed Google’s Sundar Pichai before actually peeking. The company’s search engine is still banned in the country, so his absence makes sense as a political statement. Although that didn’t discourage Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg from showing up. In any event, I’ve heard very little so far about the actual substance of the meeting. More to come as it emerges.

Two quick PSAs. The latest class of Fortune’s annual “40 Under 40” list is out, and it includes many high-tech mavericks. Plus, need to brush up on your negotiating skills? Write a business plan? Fortune is teaming with Cornell University to launch a new online business education program. Enjoy your Thursday!

TOP OF MIND

 

 

Ad blocker side effect: they may mess with mobile e-commerce. Many media companies are upset about the Apple iOS 9 feature that allows owners to install ad-blocking apps. The technology could cost at least $1 billion in advertising sales, although fearmongers use a $20 billion figure. The technology could also cause big issues for retailers like Walmart, Sears, and Lululemon that have been investing heavily in mobile commerce sites, reports Fortune‘s Dan Primack. That’s because installing one appears to create glitches in what’s displayed.

TRENDING

 

Hackers may have stolen 5.6 million fingerprint records. The government believes far more personnel records were stolen than originally estimated. The breach, which the U.S. intelligence community thinks originated in China, could be an attempt to monitor certain travel activities more closely. (New York Times)

Microsoft talks up the size of its cloud resources. The software giant insists its geographic presence beats rivals Amazon Web Services and Google, hands down. Then again, it’s all a question of semantics. (Fortune)

EMC’s board adds another. BJ Wholesale Club CEO Laura Sen is the third addition this year, as part of the enterprise storage company’s arrangement to appease activist investor Elliott Management. (Re/code)

Ford engineers are fans of virtual reality. The automotive giant uses the technology for prototyping, plus it will play a role in autonomous vehicles. (Fortune)

Alibaba: Our numbers are real. The Chinese e-commerce giant’s results seem too big to fathom to many investors. The company believes that’s just because China’s purchasing power is far more enormous than comparable markets. (Fortune)

THE DOWNLOAD

This software keeps the price right, in near real time

What’s the “right” price for a given product or service? Be sure not to ask someone at Turing Pharmaceuticals, which raised the cost of one drug by 5,500% virtually overnight only to change its mind again after a rabid backlash from the medical community.

But this isn’t a story about healthcare cost politics. It’s the tale of how a 30-year-old software company co-founded by a former Continental Airlines executive helps organizations like healthcare giant McKesson, personal care company Kimberly-Clark, petroleum powerhouse Citgo, and tech behemoth Hewlett-Packard make decisions based on data not just intuition.

BITS AND BYTES

Google CFO Ruth Porat now owns the most expensive home in Palo Alto, California. That’s saying a lot when you consider her neighbors include Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Ellison. (Fortune)

Consumers are holding onto mobile gadgets longer, which foretells a sales slowdown for tablet, smartphones and notebook computers. (Computerworld)

Digital payments done better. The second edition of the Coin electronic money card is way better than the original. (Fortune)

This 3D modeling company just raised $80 million. Onshape is helmed by Jon Hirschtick, the founder of SolidWorks (now owned by Dassault Systemes). (TechCrunch)

Watson gets second home in California, at IBM’s new supercomputing center in San Francisco. (Fortune)

Samsung’s mobile payments service did $30 million in its first month. The U.S. debut is Sept. 28. (Fortune)

U.S wireless service is way slower than other countries. You can thank our heavy dependence on smartphones. (Computerworld)

Want to buy a Tesla? Hidden costs you should consider. (Fortune)

Google’s cloud team embraces big data as a service. The new Dataproc offering handles Hadoop and Spark projects, for the low, low price of 1 cent per CPU hour. (Fortune)

MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS

SpaceX and Tesla backer just invested $50 million in this startup by Leena Rao

Why food delivery is an uphill battle for Amazon, Google and Uber by Sarah Silbert

Microsoft takes on ‘Silicon Valley darling’ Slack by Adam Lashinsky

This startup’s connected outlets can make your smart home even smarter by Stacey Higgingbotham

Why body language is the next frontier for robots by Jonathan Vanian

Facebook’s new videos are like nothing you’ve ever seen by Benjamin Snyder

Meet Pebble Time Round, the company’s first circular smartwatch by Jason Cipriani

ONE MORE THING

 

This technology can help you read minds, and you don’t even have to be in the same room. (Fortune)