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Data Sheet—Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Michael Dell won’t talk yet about the “unifying theory of the universe” that will be unleashed by the mammoth EMC acquisition. But he had these brief words for Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, who has famously railed her troops to badmouth their competitors’ merger: “I think she got some of the facts wrong. We’ll let the fact speak for themselves.” Meanwhile, he reminds Meg that HP is a huge VMware partner.

His comments came during a briefing at this week’s Dell World customer event in Austin, Texas. Dell (the executive) dodged Fortune‘s question about whether the $67 billion union reflects slower growth in corporate technology sales. But he was unambiguous about plans to stay in the personal computer market. Dell (the company) reported 10% growth in China during the past quarter, and there’s plenty of upside in both established and emerging markets. (Read more of Stacey Higginbotham’s on-the-scene coverage.)

Several other stories that have my attention this Wednesday morning: Facebook has created a new resource called TechPrep to address high-tech’s diversity gap. The mission is to educate minority parents about careers in technology and prepare their children for potential jobs.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff preaches being “mindful” as a long-term strategy for appealing to millennials.

Prepare to learn more about the payment-processing company behind the year’s biggest initial public offering. Read Fortune‘s exclusive story about why First Data is making a big bet on technology and small businesses.

Plus, this just in: Disk drive company Western Digital will pay $19 billion to buy flash-memory maker SanDisk. Enjoy your day!

 

TOP OF MIND

Marissa Mayer’s Yahoo turnaround plan looks less promising by the day. After diversifying the Internet media company’s interests for the past three years, she talked up the need for focus during the company’s latest quarterly financial update. That includes writing down $42 million for its investment in the now-cancelled TV sitcom Community and (on a brighter note) entering a promising new advertising pact with Google. More bad news: the company may delay the spinoff of its 15% Alibaba stake until early next year. (Fortune, Reuters)

TRENDING

EMC outlines its cloud strategy, which will see it roll services from VMware and EMC together into a new company that will operate under the Virtustream brand name. (Fortune)

Google offers up more shopping insights. It can show advertisers and retailers what consumers are thinking of buying in more than 16,000 U.S. cities and towns. (Wall Street Journal)

Intel will update Chinese facility to produce advanced 3D memory chips. The conversion could cost up to $5.5 billion, but demand for the technology—which can store data without using power— is growing quickly. (Reuters)

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick defends his ride-sharing company’s employment policies. One point in his favor: half of Uber drivers work less than nine hours per week. By the way, about 30% of the company’s trips take place in China. (Fortune, Reuters)

Magic Leap’s strategy comes into view. The company, which last year raised $542 million from a group led by Google, is finetuning glasses that will project images over what you’re seeing in real life. Clearly, the focus is on entertainment, but I can think of many other potential applications, such as projecting instructions for do-it-yourself projects or maintenance jobs. (Journal)

THE DOWNLOAD

Fitbit beats back competition with wellness program

It’s been a busy third quarter for Fitbit’s corporate wellness program, aptly called Fitbit Wellness. In September, Fitbit announced it was HIPAA compliant and would give Target’s 335,000 employees personal fitness trackers. Turns out its plan to build corporate sales for wearables technology is a powerful weapon against stiff competition from Apple, Xiaomi, and Samsung.

 

BITS AND BYTES

Alibaba reveals European e-commerce ambitions. It hired a former Wal-Mart Stores executive to show the way in the U.K. (Journal)

CVS ditches some self-pay kiosks. Drug-store chain will review payment technologies on a location-by-location basis. (Fortune)

Google invests in African wind project. The park, slated for completion in 2017, will generate approximately 15% of the electricity in Kenya. (Journal)

Sprint can’t dodge tax case. The carrier faces a $300 million fraud lawsuit in New York state. (Reuters)

Tim Cook still isn’t disclosing Apple Watch numbers, but the company sold more this quarter than last. (Fortune)

Acer rocks the laptop market with rock-bottom prices. You could buy six of its new Cloudbooks for the same price as Microsoft’s new hybrid SurfaceBook. The tradeoff: they’re incredibly slow. (Fortune)

Speaking of Surface, Microsoft has launched new volume pricing and services packages intended to inspire corporate buyers. (Fortune)

 

 

MORE FORTUNE BOOKMARKS

Former Business Objects CEO tackles workforce analytics by Heather Clancy

Silicon Valley investor: Unicorn startups are like career college students
by Kia Kokalitcheva

Where did all the tech IPOs go? by Lise Buyer

Microsoft pushes data privacy steps in the wake of safe harbor collapse
by Barb Darrow

Are public clouds really safer than private data centers by Tom Krazit

 

 

ONE MORE THING

Which would you rather give up, your car or your smartphone? (Computerworld)