Data Sheet—Friday, January 15, 2016

January 15, 2016, 1:02 PM UTC

Here’s how important Foursquare used to be. In 2011, when I was researching a book about Apple, I unearthed a tidbit that was telling about the great company’s secrecy as well as about the currency of a flavor-of-the-month startup. “Checking in” on Foursquare was prohibited at Apple. In other words, Apple asked visitors—say, those having lunch with a friend or attending a business meeting—not to use the app to let their “followers” know they were at Apple.

The irony is rich, then and now. Then, it was worth at least a chuckle that Apple was so paranoid about people coming and going to its corporate campus that it restricted the use of an app that wouldn’t have existed but for Apple’s mobile platform. Now, the chuckle is over who the hell would waste their time “checking in”—posting a message buttressed by the location-based sensors in one’s own phone—at all.

My thoughts turned to momentum and its opposite Thursday with the news that Foursquare had raised $45 million, valuing the company at $400 million less than its last valuation of $650 million. First, let’s take a moment to acknowledge what an accomplishment it is for Foursquare to raise $45 million. Is this a great country or what? (President Obama said something similar, though not about Foursquare, Tuesday night.)

Foursquare wasn’t a bad idea. If this whole checking in thing worked, then mobile advertising would be an easy sell against it. But as with so many things, the momentum was well-nigh impossible. (Foursquare has cleverly expanded to other location data services.)

Examples abound. The Nest thermostat is a phenomenon for our times, and its founder, Tony Fadell, has even been entrusted with reviving Google Glass. But a phenomenon with a software bug won’t heat your home at night. Or take the latest new form of extremely old media, the podcast. The radio-over-the-Internet series “Serial” disappointed its legion of listeners—okay, I’m really disappointed—by announcing it will deliver a fresh episode every other week now instead of weekly. It will be worth the wait, but the shift is likely to hurt momentum.

Here’s wishing you a momentous day.

Adam Lashinsky


Intel CEO hints at more investments. The iconic chipmaker reported an 8% sales decline for its data center business for the fourth quarter, which CEO Brian Krzanich attributes to seasonal factors. Overall revenue reached slightly less than $15 billion. Intel is prioritizing new memory technologies related to cloud computing and the Internet of things. Krzanich plans more spending in these areas during 2016. (Fortune, Reuters)

Foursquare valuation cut, co-founder relinquishes CEO role. The company is worth just $250 million after a $45 million funding round, less than half its previous valuation of $650 million. Plus, co-founder Dennis Crowley is handing chief executive responsibilities for the location app company to the company's chief operating officer, Jeff Glueck, who has more experience scaling sales and organizations. (Fortune)

Snapchat courts ad-tech startups. The messaging service is exploring various strategies to boost advertising sales, including the acquisition of technologies that automate placement or offer targeted placement, reports Re/code. Snapchat, privately valued at around $15 billion, needs something to boost sales for its one-year-old advertising effort and diversify its revenue sources. (Re/code)

California fines Uber $7.6 million for reporting lapses. According to the state's public utility commission, the ride-sharing company shares incomplete data about trips made for passengers with disabilities. Transportation companies are required by federal law to accommodate those with wheelchairs, service dogs or other special needs. So Uber's reluctance raised red flags. The company will pay to keep its operating license but you can expect an appeal. (Fortune)

Is Progress Software for sale? Progress, which makes tools for application development, is considering strategic alternatives including a buyout, reports Reuters. The shift to cloud computing is forcing business software companies to reconsider their financial models and some, including Informatica and SolarWinds, are choosing to go private. (Reuters)

Widow sues Twitter for aiding terrorists. The wife of a private contractor killed by terrorists in Jordan last year has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the social media company of violating the Anti-Terrorism Act. The suit claims that Twitter knowingly allows terrorist groups like ISIS to spread recruiting information and other propaganda that incite violent acts. Twitter characterizes the accusations as meritless. (Ars Technica)

Amazon now holds an ocean shipping license. Earlier this week, we reported on the retailer's plan to buy out French delivery company Colis Privé—a move that would expand its logistics capabilities. It looks like ocean shipping is next. Amazon's Chinese subsidiary now holds a maritime freight license that will allow it to control even more of the delivery process. (Fortune)

Obama proposes $4 billion research budget for driverless cars. The federal transportation agency pledged to release more guidelines for operating autonomous vehicle technology, with the aim of accelerating real-road testing. The President's proposed budget also includes significant funds for research and road infrastructure improvements that could speedup adoption. (New York Times)


Yahoo's big data dump. In the era of big data, where researchers truly need massive amounts of information from many sources, more really is more. Extremely big data sets are needed to test new academic theories and replicate results of already-tested formulas. So Thursday’s announcement that Yahoo Labs is releasing 13.5 terabytes of data culled from 20 million readers of Yahoo News, Finance, Sports, and other sites over four months, was a big deal for academics and big data heads, who can now slice and dice it. The information will also be useful for artificial intelligence applications. (Fortune)



Xiaomi sales fall short by Scott Cendrowski

Clean energy got a record $330 billion in investment last year
by Katie Fehrenbacher

Fast-growing payments startup Adeyn flexes its muscle by Leena Rao

Cloud cost cuts simmer down by Barb Darrow

This new fingerprinting technology can secure almost any handgun
by Hilary Brueck

Salesforce signs contract with Texas wind farm by Heather Clancy


Motive matters when it comes to data privacy concerns. The same Americans freaked out about thermostats that reveal when they're away from home are OK with connected video cameras that record their movements at the office. What's more, age has less to do with privacy opinions than you may think, according to Pew researchers. (Fortune)


Connect 2016: Mobile Internet trends. (Jan. 14; San Francisco)

Connect: IBM's social business and digital experience event. (Jan. 31 - Feb. 3; Orlando, Florida)

IBM InterConnect: Cloud and mobile issues. (Feb. 21 - 25; Las Vegas)

MarketingSherpa Summit: Advance your campaign and careers. (Feb. 22 - 24; Las Vegas)

Enterprise Connect: Communications and collaboration trends. (March 7 - 10; Orlando, Florida)

Pure//Accelerate: The future of the modern data center. (March 14 - 15; San Francisco)

Next 2016: Google's cloud platform strategy. (March 23 - 24; San Francisco)

Microsoft Build: Microsoft's premier developer conference. (March 30 - April 1; San Francisco)

Microsoft Envision: Where business meets possibility. (April 4 - 7; New Orleans)

EMC World: What's next for digital business. (May 2 - 5; Las Vegas)

The Marketing Nation Summit. Marketo's annual conference. (May 9 - 12; Las Vegas)

Salesforce Connections. Cloud marketing trends. (May 10 - 12; Atlanta)

Knowledge 16: ServiceNow's annual service management conference. (May 15 - 20; Las Vegas)

Fortune Brainstorm E: The intersection of technology, energy, and sustainable business. (May 16 - 17; Carlsbad, California)

SAPPHIRE Now: SAP's annual conference. (May 17 - 19; Orlando, Florida)

Google I/O (registration link coming soon): For creative software coders. (May 18 - 20; Mountain View, Calif.)

MuleSoft Connect: Enable your digital transformation. (May 21 - 25; San Francisco)

Inforum: Infor’s annual user conference. (July 10 – 13; New York)

Fortune Brainstorm Tech: The world's top tech and media thinkers, operators, entrepreneurs, innovators, and influencers. (July 11 - 13; Aspen, Colorado)

Sage Summit. For fast-growth businesses. (July 25 - 28; Chicago)

Microsoft Ignite: Product roadmaps and innovation. (Sept. 26 - 30; Atlanta)

OracleWorld. The future of the cloud is now. (Sept. 18 - 22, San Francisco)

Dreamforce: The Salesforce ecosystem gathers. (Oct. 4 - 7; San Francisco)


This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy:

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