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Data Sheet—Friday, February 19, 2016

A decade ago I saw Al Gore give his now-famous talk on climate change, the lecture that became the film “An Inconvenient Truth,” at Stanford University. As I watched the politician-turned-VC-turned-environmental-activist wax eloquent and passionately argue his thesis, I had an epiphany. If only that man—the funny, emotional, persuasive, comfortable-in-his-own-skin Al Gore—had run for president, he’d be in the White House.

A Gore presidency wasn’t to be, of course. Gore instead went on to wear many hats, including helping lead a nation and the international community toward consensus on climate change. That same man turned up Wednesday night in Vancouver at TED, the conference populated by people just like Gore: intelligent, curious, caring, and overwhelmingly wealthy.

Gore displayed the fiery and utterly sincere rhetoric that was so missing in his doomed 2000 presidential campaign. He provided an update on his now famous lecture. TED itself reviewed the talk, in which Gore asked and answered three questions in the affirmative: Must we change? Can we change? Will we change?

Gore offered three increasingly optimistic truths to prove his point. Still inconveniently, 85% of all energy in the world comes from fossil fuels, he said. And yet, the private sector makes two-thirds of new investments in alternative energy, and government action such as the recent COP21 climate talks in Paris shows that global citizens are getting with the program.

It can be hard to find the practical outcomes from talkfests like TED. Yet it took a still committed statesman—who reminded an adoring audience that he is done with politics—to prove that the right message, delivered well, can still change the world.

This is my last dispatch from TED, an exhilarating smorgasbord of ideas and experiences. Look for more targeted tech-industry news next week, and have a wonderful weekend.

Adam Lashinsky
@adamlashinsky
adam_lashinsky@fortune.com

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BITS AND BYTES

Qualcomm finally reaches patent accord with Lenovo. The deal calls for the big Chinese smartphone and personal computer company to pay royalties on handsets that use 3G and 4G wireless features. Qualcomm has negotiated similar arrangements with more than 80 companies over the past year. Lenovo was the last holdout among China’s five biggest smartphone makers. (Wall Street Journal)

Why IBM is dropping $2.6 billion on Truven Health. With its planned acquisition of Truven Health, IBM will add “200 million lives” to its data trove. “Lives” is a term typically used in the healthcare business for a data asset or record. In the past year, IBM has invested more than $4 billion in health-related technology and data providers. The company’s stock leapt 5% Thursday on the news, one of its biggest stock moves in five years. (FortuneWall Street Journal)

Facebook considers plan to sell advertising in Messenger. The social networking company already encourages businesses to use its chat service as a customer service conduit. The new strategy would allow marketers to display advertisements to consumers that have initiated a chat thread with their company, reports TechCrunch. (TechCrunch)

Google ramps up in Singapore. The Internet company is hiring engineering in the city-state at a furious pace to tap into a fast-growing audience in Asia. Its mission: “get closer to the next billion users coming online.” (Re/code)

Twitter has more Japanese fans than Facebook. Jack Dorsey’s social media company doesn’t usually break out country-specific numbers, but it’s making an exception for Japan—where it now has more than 35 million monthly active users. That’s 10 million more than Facebook claims. Twitter’s user base in Japan started growing rapidly after many citizens started using it as a news source after the devastating tsunami five years ago. (Wall Street Journal)

THE DOWNLOAD

Why Apple is so adamant about protecting digital privacy. You can add Twitter and Facebook—plus Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak—to the list of tech giants flocking to support Apple in its fight against a court order that demands it hack into a mass shooter’s iPhone. On Tuesday, a California judged ordered Apple to assist the investigation into the San Bernardino shooting by helping the FBI unlock and access the iPhone belonging to one of the shooters.

Apple CEO Tim Cook soon after issued a public statement outlining not only the company’s inability to do so without building firmware to hack the phone but also its stance against building a “backdoor” into its products for governments to exploit.

Cook remains steadfast in his dedication to protecting digital privacy. There’s a lot at stake: Fortune just placed Apple at the top of its Most Admired Companies list for the ninth consecutive year. Will Cook’s conviction backfire?

More Fortune coverage about this developing situation:

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

New Qualtrics survey tool marries customer, employee feedback
by Heather Clancy

PayPal’s app gets a facelift by Leena Rao

Twitter fixes bug exposing emails, phone numbers by Don Reisinger

Apple apologizes, releases update to fix broken iPhones by Jason Cipriana

Walmart loses ground to Amazon in e-commerce battle by Phil Wahba

Facebook opens up Instant Articles program by Claire Groden

Hollywood hospital pays off hackers by Jonathan Vanian

ONE MORE THING

The dangers of texting while walking. The number of serious pedestrian incidents caused by people looking at their smartphones instead of the sidewalk or crosswalk is skyrocketing. (Fortune, Wall Street Journal)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

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

Social Media Week: Reimagine human connectivity. (Feb. 22 – 26; New York)

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)

Adobe Summit 2016: Digital strategies. (March 20 – 14; Las Vegas)

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)

Qlik Qonnections: Business intelligence trends. (May 1 – 4; Orlando, Florida)

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)

Coupa Inspire: Rethink the possible. (May 10 – 12; San Francisco)

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)

Gartner Digital Marketing: How to move from vision to execution. (May 17 – 19; San Diego)

Gartner Supply Chain Executive: Creating a value chain. (May 17 – 19; Phoenix)

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)

MongoDB World: For giant ideas. (June 28 – 29; New York)

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)

Workday Rising: Talent management in the cloud. (Sept. 26 – 29; 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.
@greentechlady
heather@heatherclancy.com