Data Sheet—Friday, March 11, 2016


As I looked around the room at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech walk-up dinner Wednesday night, I saw about 10 Silicon Valley executives who could have been our keynote interview, the seat occupied by Steve Ballmer. In fact, many have been on our stage over the years. We pride ourselves on convening a unique group of like-minded people who have much to learn from each other and the humility to know that.

Your regular host Heather Clancy is away on vacation. This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Robert Hackett.

Indeed, curation is the name of the game these days. It was one of the favorite words of Steve Jobs, who saw himself as a curator of consumer-technology ideas, features, and concepts. Anyone can throw a dinner party. Not anyone can organize a meal with people who will mesh in a unique and wonderful way.

Wednesday I reported to you some of my takeaways from my interview with Ballmer, the tech CEO turned sports-team owner. Like many of the Fortune staff, I spent my Thursday traveling, so I’ll limit my further takeaway for this Friday to one more: Times may have peaked in Silicon Valley, but absolutely no one is ready to wave the white flag. The room I saw in San Francisco was a vibrant, A-list crowd hungry to do business, to justify their companies’ valuations, to figure out the edge that will help them win.

Our main Brainstorm Tech event, which will be held July 11-13 in Aspen, Colo., is by invitation only. While I can’t invite every reader of Data Sheet, you are welcome to apply. And even if you can’t come I’ll make the same request of you we made of our guests Wednesday night: Please send me your ideas for what we should brainstorm about in July: people, panels, themes, controversies, and so on. My colleagues and I absolutely will give your ideas careful consideration.

And perhaps I’ll see you in Aspen. Have a great weekend.

Adam Lashinsky

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Save the date. Apple has confirmed the date of its next product event: March 21 at 1 p.m. ET. The affair is set one day prior to a showdown with the FBI in federal court over access to an encrypted iPhone. Rumor has it the company plans to debut a 4-inch iPhone, new Apple Watch bands, and a new iPad. (Fortune, Fortune)

DOJ fires back at Apple. In the latest court document filed in the case of Apple vs. the FBI, the Justice Department has called Apple's rhetoric false. The department said that the tech giant "deliberately raised the technological barriers" to prevent it from being able to help the FBI unlock a phone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), former presidential candidate and a noted anti-terror hawk, has switched to supporting Apple in the battle. (Fortune, Fortune)

Investigating Google's driverless car crash. Auto safety regulators are seeking more information about a collision last month involving one of the company's autonomous vehicles and a municipal bus. Google also appears to be readying tests for its self-driving autos globally, next in the U.K. In other news, Toyota boosted its self-driving car research team by 16 and GM said it is buying an autonomous tech firm. (Fortune, Fortune, Fortune, Wall Street Journal)

Typo stops bank heist. Hackers attempted to steal nearly $1 billion in a scam involving the Bangladesh central bank and the New York Federal Reserve Bank. A misspelled word—"fandation," instead of "foundation"—made one of the routing banks, Deutsche Bank, suspicious of a transaction. The fraudsters still made off with about $80 million. (Fortune)

Napster founder shares video streaming idea. Sean Parker, founder of the music-sharing service Napster, is working on a project called Screening Room that would allow subscribers to view films on the day of their theater release from the comfort of their own homes. In his tentative plan, movies would cost $50 to watch on a $150 set-top box. (Fortune)

Ex-Apple exec joins hedge fund giant. Jon Rubinstein, an adviser to the late Steve Jobs and integral member of the iMac and iPod teams, plans to join Bridgewater Associates as co-CEO in May, according to a letter reviewed by Reuters. Present co-CEO Greg Jensen will vacate the role while remaining on as co-chief investment officer. Eileen Murray, Jensen's counterpart as co-CEO, will continue in that post. (Fortune)

FCC proposes privacy plan. Tom Wheeler, head of the Federal Communications Commission, has released a consumer privacy proposal that would require broadband providers to get people's consent before collecting their data. The plan will go up for vote on March 31. (Fortune)

Yahoo CEO’s fate uncertain. Marissa Mayer, who has headed the tech and media company since 2012, told PBS’s Charlie Rose in an interview that she would “love to” keep her job. Mayer has been attempting to execute a turnaround for the firm while under pressure from activist investor Starboard Value. Yahoo also recently appointed two additional people to its board of directors. (Fortune, Fortune)


Fortune's Jonathan Vanian explains how a Microsoft chat bot captured the hearts of millions in China.

Right now in China, a 17-year old girl named Xiaoice spends her days chatting with 15 million of her 40 million followers on the Chinese social network Weibo.

Xiaoice is so popular, the Chinese television station Dragon TV decided she would be perfect as a weather reporter for its news broadcast. People just can’t seem to get enough of her.

But Xiaoice is not your typical teenage girl, who as luck would have it became an Internet celebrity with a giant social network following overnight. Xiaoice is actually an artificial-intelligence-powered chat bot that started off as an experiment in Microsoft’s research department. Read the rest on


Americans Think Robots Will Take Lots of Jobs—But Not Their Own by Claire Zillman

How Salesforce and Microsoft Are Making Your Inbox Smarter by Don Reisinger

California Bill Would Allow Uber, Lyft Drivers to Negotiate as a Group by Katy Steinmetz

Video Game System Sales Tank in February by Chris Morris

This Is Why Shares of Box Are Climbing Today by Lucinda Shen

Sonos' Plan to Make Its Music Players Much Smarter by Robert Hackett

The Google Brain Is Killing It at Go by Hilary Brueck

Swatch Group Plays It Cautious on Smartwatch Technology by David Meyer

Slovakia Takes First Step to Build a Hyperloop in Europe by Kirsten Korosec

Japanese Game Giant Colopl Opens American VR Studio by John Gaudiosi

Jack Dorsey's Salary at Square Is Now $2.75 by Leena Rao


Your iPhone doesn't have to be this slow. An exploitable glitch in Apple's iOS9 software improves phone performance; follow these quick steps to make your apps load faster. (Fortune)


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)

DocuSign Momentum’16: Imagine what you can do. (April 5-7; San Francisco)

Zuora Subscribed: Turn customers into subscribers. (April 12-13; San Francisco)

Apttus Accelerate: Innovation in the sales process. (April 12-14; San Francisco)

Qlik Qonnections: Business intelligence trends. (May 1-4; Orlando)

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)

Knowledge16: 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, Calif.)

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

Gartner Digital Marketing: How to move from vision to execution. (May 1 -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, Colo.)

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)

Oracle OpenWorld. The future of the cloud is now. (Sept. 18-22; San Francisco)

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

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