Data Sheet—Monday, September 28, 2015
In case there was any doubt about the critical role that information technology will play in future China-United States relations, consider this. Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Apple’s Tim Cook all scored at seats at the head table during Friday’s state dinner with President Obama.
Soon after, however, Cook and Zuck raced back to Silicon Valley to meet with India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, the first leader from that country to visit the west coast in close to three decades.
India is increasingly viewed as one of the biggest growth opportunities for American technology companies. Its role could become even more important in the months ahead, given the Chinese government’s ever-changing rules of engagement regarding intellectual property ownership. Many tech giants could find the government’s demands tough to swallow. Modi certainly came off as more approachable than the Chinese contingent. On Sunday, he wrapped up his whirlwind tour with visits at Google and Facebook, where he became emotional talking about his mother during a 50-minute town hall chat with Zuckerberg.
My Monday morning non sequitur: Oil giant Shell is giving up on its plan to drill off the shore of Alaska. You can bet that plan will be the buzz at Fortune‘s annual Brainstorm E conference about emerging energy technologies. The livestream from Austin, Texas, begins Monday afternoon.
TOP OF MIND
Is your company ready for its digital moment? There's still more talk than action, despite high expectations in the C-suite. New research by McKinsey Institute suggests only 17% of corporate boards are participating in strategy for big data or digital marketing initiatives. The good news is almost half of big companies have managed to get their CEOs personally involved.
Troubled Sharp having trouble finding investors. The Japanese electronics company is speaking with potential buyers for a stake in its smartphone display business, which supplies companies including Apple. The banks backing its $5 billion bailout in May are pushing for a deal. (Wall Street Journal)
Two high-profile software IPOs in the offing. Square could file for IPO within two weeks, which means the road show could begin just before Thanksgiving. Plus, it looks like collaboration disruptor Atlassian is traveling a similar path, with the filing of a confidential prospectus. Square was last worth $6 billion. Atlassian's last-reported valuation was $3.3 billion, although the latter is unique for its focus on profitable growth. (Fortune)
More revelations about HP's Autonomy deal. You can add former Hewlett-Packard chairman Ray Lane to the list of those who had grave doubts about the 2011 buyout of the software company, based on an internal email that was part of recently released court documents. HP is still pursuing legal action against former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch and former CFO Shushovan Hussain. (Fortune)
What top venture capitalists say about the tech bubble
Are startups overvalued? Are there too many billion-dollar “unicorns”? Are we in a tech bubble? Most VCs say "No," while issuing dire warnings that a shake-out is coming for certain startups. Just don’t ask them to name which ones are on their dying unicorn lists.
BITS AND BYTES
Why Apache Spark is the Taylor Swift of big data software. (Fortune)
Sprint will sit out the next wireless auction, which raises questions about future network upgrades. (Journal)
Virtual reality in the privacy of your own home. 20th Century Fox will release 100 movies, including Pulp Fiction and The Hunger Games, for the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift technology. (Fast Company)
Cybersecurity's massive gender gap. Women hold an abysmal 10% of jobs, which is really bad when you consider the massive talent shortage in this field. (Reuters)
MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS
Citrix for sale? Maybe not by Barb Darrow
It's official: BlackBerry will release an Android smartphone by Jason Cipriani
This sports bra has microchips in it by Andrew Nusca
ONE MORE THING
What U2's Bono and Facebook's Mark Zuckberg have in common. They want to connect the world. Fast. “The Internet should not belong to only three billion people, as it does today. It should be see as a necessity for development, and a tool that makes larger things possible,” the two wrote Saturday in a New York Times editorial.