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Data Sheet—Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Digital advertising giants Facebook and Google made their dominance known at a New York advertising convention Monday, describing new services that help marketers build even closer ties to prospects. For Facebook, it’s a new service that helps brands plan and schedule video spots for Facebook and TV simultaneously. Meanwhile, Google can now even personalize outreach using someone’s email address.

And then, there’s Apple, which this morning updated its privacy policy site with a commitment that every company in the business of collecting data—and that’s every company, isn’t it?—should take the time to review. (By the way, the person signing it is CEO Tim Cook. How many statements like this do you see directly from the CEO?)

Let’s be clear, Apple collects plenty of personal information. But it takes pains to make sure data isn’t associated with any particular Apple account ID. The new News service, for example, uses a unique identifier. Searches using Maps are handling in a similar way. The company also declares its stance on encryption: “We’re committed to using powerful encryption because you should know that the data on your device and the information you share with others is protected.”

Why is Apple making such a big deal out of privacy? “The way they are built, they don’t make any money through collecting personal information. That’s the core of Google’s business,” long-time Apple analyst Rich Mogull, chief executive of Securosis, told the Washington Post. By the way, I highly recommend the newspaper’s analysis of this topic.

This isn’t to suggest that Facebook and Google don’t care about protecting personal data. But Apple sure seems interested in helping consumers understand the implications. On its terms.

Also making headlines this morning: German publisher Axel Spring bought a majority stake in digital news service, Business Insider. Jeff Bezos’ personal investment company owns the remaining shares. Stay tuned for more news from Fortune’s Brainstorm E conference, exploring emerging technologies in energy. Today’s talks include SolarCity co-founder and CEO Lyndon Rive. You can find aggregated coverage here.

TOP OF MIND

Here’s what you can expect from Google’s big product launch today. New Nexus smartphones, an updated video-streaming device, and an overhaul of its Android mobile operating system, aka Marshmallow.

TRENDING

Day of reckoning nears for retailers. The deadline for stores and restaurants to add chip-enabled credit-card readers to point-of-sale systems is Thursday. Soon, payment processing giants including MasterCard, Visa, and American Express could start holding merchants responsible for fraudulent transactions. Incidentally, banks are also getting far tougher about online fraud, too. Their position: if retailers aren’t secure, they should bear the responsibility. (New York Times)

Yahoo will spin off Alibaba stake as planned, despite uncertainty over tax bill. The Internet search company wants to transfer the roughly 384 million shares into an independent holding company. Ownership would be distributed among Yahoo’s shareholders, but the IRS hasn’t divulged how it will handle the transaction. (Fortune)

Big automakers embraces wireless connectivity. More manufacturers are talking up connectivity services that update vehicle sensors and systems, without requiring a visit to the dealer. “Our goal is to disrupt ourselves, and own the customer relationship beyond the car,” General Motors Mary Barra said Monday in an interview. (Reuters)

Microsoft rewrites how it reports financials. The new structure more closely mirrors how the company’s business units are actually organized. (Fortune)

Walmart fights back in online grocery war against Amazon. It’s expanding free pick-up services beyond five initial test markets. The stakes are high: the massive retailer generates about 56% of its U.S. revenue from food. (Fortune)

THE DOWNLOAD

Microsoft and Cloudera target big, broad data with new storage systems

While industry analysts and vendors have long touted the promise of analyzing big data, building systems to do this has not always been easy. It has become especially difficult as companies try to analyze data in new ways, such as adding real-time analysis to what was previously a nightly job, or bringing in new types of data from previously unavailable sources like social media. On Monday, Microsoft and Cloudera each announced new storage systems designed to tackle this problem.

BITS AND BYTES

The world’s hottest security startup just raised another $300 million. The late-stage infusion values the “alpha unicorn” near $3.5 billion. (Fortune)

Go ahead, pontificate. Business chat platform Slack now lets you write way longer emails. (Verge)

Workday is finding more fans in the finance department, and they aren’t just signing the purchase order. (Fortune)

Samsung’s mobile payments service makes U.S. debut. Its tryout in South Korea produced $30 million in sales during the first month. (TechCrunch)

Amazon is building a tech hub in Detroit. (Fortune)

IBM now has a fourth female board member. Saudia Arabian executive Hutham Olayan works for a huge food and beverage conglomerate in the Middle East and North African. (Fortune)

Hotel giant Hilton is investigating a potential security breach in several locations. (eWeek)

Can this startup build a better battery than Elon Musk? Vacuum cleaner maker Tyson plans to give them a try. (Fortune)

IBM is staffing up on Workday software experts, by buying a small services company, Meteorix. (ZDNet)

Cypress Semiconductor gives up on Atmel takeover. The British chip maker won’t fight the company’s $4.6 billion merger agreement with another U.K. company, Dialog Semiconductor. (Wall Street Journal)

Market analytics company Origami Logic doubles funding. It tells you which digital campaigns work best. (Fortune)

MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS

Facebook legal notice is back — and it still doesn’t work by Jeff John Roberts

Medium raises funding round, while Facebook gets more Medium-like by Mathew Ingram

If Ray Lane hated HP’s Autonomy move so much, how did it happen? by Barb Darrow

Meet Accenture’s heli-skiing digital wunderkind by Heather Clancy

The 13-million iPhone weekend: What the analysts are saying by Phillip Elmer-DeWitt

ONE MORE THING

Leaders need to ask tougher questions. It works for Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz. (Fortune)