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Data Sheet—Friday, July 22, 2016

Tesla CEO Elon Musk shook up the tech, energy, and auto industries this week by revealing an ambitious roadmap for his company’s future. One of his most audacious plans would convert self-driving cars into autonomous Uber rides, so to speak, that can haul people around town when their owners aren’t using them.

It’s a wild idea, for sure. But Musk isn’t the only one dreaming of turning people’s cars into self-driving taxis when they aren’t otherwise in use.

Andrew Ng, the head of artificial intelligence for Chinese search giant Baidu, told Fortune that several big auto makers as well as AI researchers have been brainstorming this idea for a while. Ng said he recently chatted with the CEO of a leading automotive supplier trying to help carmakers achieve this vision, but he wouldn’t name names.

Like Google, Baidu has big plans for self-driving cars. In June, it said that it planned to roll the cars out by 2021, although it doesn’t want to become an automobile manufacturer. Rather, it wants to build the software brains that power the vehicles and let others handle the dirty business of building the cars. Baidu is an investor in Uber, by the way.

Just because companies are discussing plans to turn your car into a taxi, don’t expect it to become reality anytime soon. Aside from technology improvements, Ng believes much work remains to improve city infrastructure so that it can communicate with autonomous vehicles for safe navigation.

In other words, self-driving cars can’t do it all on their own.

Jonathan Vanian is a writer at Fortune. Reach him via email.



Cloud computing’s big, disruptive, multiple-hundred-billion-dollar impact. Another day, another report about how cloud computing will upend the way businesses buy and use technology. This time out, market research firm Gartner said $111 billion worth of IT spending will shift to cloud this year, and that number will almost double to $216 billion by 2020. Read more about what that means.


Samsung countersues Huawei over patents. The two smartphone giants are fighting over intellectual property in the U.S. and China after failing to negotiate a cross-licensing agreement. (Reuters)

AMD reports first profit in two years. It benefitted from strong interest in its graphics chips and processors for video game consoles. (Wall Street Journal)

Pandora may wish it accepted that takeover offer. The streaming music service isn’t losing as much money as feared, but revenue growth is stagnating and subscriber numbers are in decline. That sent its stock down more than 6.3% in after-hours trading. It’s off 13% for the year after takeover talks fizzled. (Fortune, Wall Street Journal)

AT&T and Verizon cut costs by mimicking cloud data centers. On behalf of their largest customers, both carriers are moving to lower-cost, more generic hardware and implementing new features as needed via software. (Fortune)

Salesforce is buying a data center equipment company. It’s paying an undisclosed sum for Coolan, a startup founded by the same engineer who designed Facebook’s super-efficient computer servers. (Computerworld)

Apple Watch sales plummet. The company shipped 1.6 million units in the second quarter, a 55% decline over the previous year. It seems would-be buyers are waiting for the next edition. Samsung, apparently, is picking up the slack. (Fortune)

Peter Thiel endorses Donald Trump. On a night that also featured the candidate’s acceptance speech, the openly gay billionaire investor told that the Republican National Convention that “fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline.” (Fortune, Recode)


Is tech services firm Presidio prepping for an IPO? The company, which was bought by private equity firm Apollo less than two years ago, is interviewing bankers next week, reports The Wall Street Journal. Presidio specializes videoconferencing technologies and data storage networks. The offering would value it at around $2 billion. (Wall Street Journal)

Share this newsletter: editions.


Intel and Qualcomm Are Prepping for a Looming iPhone Chip Battle, by Aaron Pressman

Facebook’s Solar-Powered Drone Reaches Big Milestoneby Jonathan Vanian

Workday Buys Big Data Specialist Platfora to Strengthen Cloud Financial Apps, by Heather Clancy

These Charts Show Pokémon Go’s Ridiculous Growth, by Anne VanderMey

Can Anonymous Apps Succeed and Avoid User Harassment and Abuse? by Kia Kokalitcheva

The Quest to Make Desk Phones Obsolete, by Heather Clancy


RIP, VCR. Japan’s Funai Corp., the last-known manufacturer of videocassette recorders, plans to cease production at the end of the month. (Fortune)


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

Gartner Catalyst: Takeaways for technical professionals. (Aug. 15-18; San Diego)

Oktane 16: Explore the role identity plays in connecting people and technology. (Aug. 29-31; Las Vegas)

BoxWorks: Box’s annual customer conference. (Sept. 6-8; San Francisco)

Women in Product: A gathering of experienced female product managers. (Sept. 13; Menlo Park, Calif.)

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

Gigaom Change: 7 transformational technologies. (Sept. 21-23; Austin)

Workday Rising: Talent management in the cloud. (Sept. 26-29; Chicago)

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

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

Gartner Symposium/ITexpo: A gathering of CIOs and senior IT leaders.  (Oct. 16-20; Orlando, Fla.)

DellWorld: Dell’s annual global customer conference. (Oct. 18-20; Austin, Texas)

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: The world’s largest gathering of women technologists. (Oct. 19-21; Houston)

TBM Conference: Manage the business of IT. (Nov. 7-10; San Diego)

Drone World Expo: Commercial apps for unmanned aircraft. (Nov. 15-16; San Jose, Calif.)

AWS re:Invent: Amazon’s annual cloud conference. (Nov. 28-Dec. 2; Las Vegas)


This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.