Data Sheet—Monday, October 12, 2015

October 12, 2015, 11:56 AM UTC

After days of speculation, the details of the merger pact between Dell and EMC are officially public. The $67 billion transaction is a complex one, but the end game is simple. The deal will create the world’s largest privately controlled technology company, one that will be led by Michael Dell once the unification is complete. The proposal has EMC board approval.

Along the way, long-time EMC CEO Joe Tucci will finally get a chance to retire after months of trying to appease activist investor Elliott Management. Virtualization software company VMware will remain a public entity. EMC shareholders will receive new tracking stock as part of the transaction. (EMC owns approximately 80% of VMware.)

In announcing the deal, the companies suggested that the turmoil of the industry’s transition to cloud computing, mobility, and digital business are tough to navigate in the public markets. It’s difficult not to interpret this statement in their joint press release as a dig against activist investors focused on quarter-to-quarter results:

“Since becoming a private company, Dell has had the flexibility and agility to focus completely on customers and invest for long-term results. … The combined company will consist of strategically aligned businesses and incubated high-growth assess, fostering innovation, enabling customers choice, and attracting and retaining world-class talent.”

If things go smoothly, the EMC privatization should be finalized somewhere between May and October 2016. An analyst briefing is scheduled for early Monday morning. Look for more coverage throughout the day on


Obama backs away from encryption requirement. His administration won't force tech companies to hand over the "back door" to their software source code. The reasoning: it could make citizens and businesses more vulnerable to hacking incidents. The White House still thinks the industry should play a bigger role in aiding national security investigations. (New York Times)

Cyber-insurance crackdown. Not only are premiums on the rise—an average of 32% for retailers—some of the largest firms are limiting their policies to $100 million in coverage. For perspective, damages from the Target breach in 2013 totaled around $264 million. (Reuters)

Twitter cutbacks anticipated. Several reports, citing sources close to the plan, suggest belt-tightening measures will include layoffs and a halt to its headquarters expansion in San Francisco. (NYTimes, Re/code)

DocuSign hires CEO recruiter. Keith Krach intends to step down as chief executive of the well-funded electronic signatures and company after a successor is found. He will stick around as chairman for three years. (Re/code)

Google chief promotes three executives. Sundar Pichai has named three senior vice presidents, including two who will lead advertising and mobile software. The company also has a new chief of global sales and operations. (Re/code)


How big data can take the pain out of performance reviews

The big bad annual performance review is getting a 21st century makeover. A growing number of large and influential companies are ditching their old and much-hated annual reviews and employee engagement surveys and are replacing them with a more flexible, “rolling” system. Soon, employees will be able to give and receive feedback anytime throughout the year on a variety of issues. The new surveys would be shorter and much more targeted than the hellish behemoth of yesteryear, while being optimized for smartphones, a medium more attuned to the lifestyle of today’s young and mobile workforce. Kanjoya, a Silicon Valley-based startup, has proposed one of the more unique and insightful solutions.



Apple is seeing slower Macintosh computer sales. It's the first hiccup in almost two years. (Fortune)

In California, more electric cars than public places to charge them. Looks like drivers in the state need a Miss Manners etiquette intervention. (NYTimes)

Southwest Airlines still beset by computer problems. The issue caused lengthy delays on Sunday. Passengers braced for more of the same Monday morning. (NYTimes, CBS)

Peace, love and data analytics. Bob Dylan is now hawking IBM Watson. (Fortune)

Don't try to use the Apple News app while you're traveling in China. Right now, it won't work because the service is at odds with the country's strict censorship policies. (NYTimes)


Amazon's new Fire TV fails to sizzle, and here's why by Jason Cipriani

What does Steve Jobs' widow have against "Steve Jobs"? by Philip Elmer-DeWitt

Why self-driving cars are crashing: humans by Jen Wieczner



A physics laboratory error could aid the quantum computing research movement. (NYTimes)

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