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Data Sheet—Friday, July 29, 2016


That’s the sound of the enormous pile of mobile ad revenue that Alphabet, Google’s parent company, dropped like a hot mic Thursday in its quarterly earnings report. The company’s core business is far from dead, it will have you know, and is growing mightily as the Mountain View, Calif.-based steamship turns toward mobile devices. “Mobile is the engine that drives everything,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said with Zuckerbergian flair.

Except for Ye Olde Moonshotte Factory, that is.

Alphabet has long been known for its starry-eyed R&D efforts, from self-driving cars to Internet balloons to augmented reality. In the old days, the company would deny high-flying ideas only if it had to—say, if the project violated the laws of physics. No longer. The Alphabet of today has learned that it’s gotta be not just bad and bold but also a bit wiser in terms of how it burns moonshot money. Or as my colleague Erin Griffith put it: “How many companies can get away with spending $859 million to produce just $185 million in revenue?”


Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will a profitable moonshot factory be. But if Alphabet fails, CFO Ruth Porat won’t be to blame. If there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that she gives losses a bad name.

Oh, and one more thing: In our haste to lead Thursday’s newsletter with the Oracle-NetSuite deal, we got a little trigger-happy. Our apologies for the double send and the incorrect purchase price in the first edition.

Have a great weekend.

Andrew Nusca is deputy digital editor at Fortune. Reach him via email.



Amazon logs most profitable quarter yet. Its net income for the second quarter was $857 million, up 800% from the same period in 2015. The e-commerce giant’s cloud results were also stunning: Amazon Web Services reached $2.89 billion in sales, up 58%. (Fortune, Fortune)

Microsoft lowers the ax. Again. The software giant is eliminating another 2,850 positions, mainly in its smartphone hardware division and global sales group. That brings total job cuts planned for the 2017 fiscal year to 4,700 so far. (Fortune)

The taxman cometh for Facebook. The social media company could owe $3 billion to $5 billion because of how it transferred certain assets to its Irish subsidiary back in 2013. (Wall Street Journal)

Is this mining’s future? Natural resources company BHP Billiton is testing a fleet of oil-seeking, ore-sniffing drones that can build 3D maps of its operations. It’s also using sensors and robotics technologies to test the quality of what’s being removed from the ground. The initiative has saved $500 million at just one site. (Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg)

Walgreens pulls plug on and The drug retailer bought both online properties for $429 million back in 2011. The plan is to double down on the investment needed to improve the e-commerce capabilities of its own website.  (Wall Street Journal)


Meet the rock star marketing Apple’s pop culture initiatives. Ghana-born Bozoma Saint John started her career at Spike Lee’s ad agency and joined the tech giant via its Beats acquisition in May 2014. (Fortune)

Apple hires BlackBerry exec for car project. The company apparently hired Dan Dodge, the founder of software company QNX, earlier this year for Project Titan. Dodge has decades of experience in apps and operating systems for entertainment, navigation and connected devices. (Bloomberg)

Cloud company adds trio of business software veterans. Saba, which sells apps for recruiting and employee training, this month hired a chief financial officer, a chief strategy officer, and a vice president of information security. Their resumes include a who’s-who list of software companies: McAfee, NetApp, Mercury Interactive, Marketo, Verisign, and Plantium Software. The company’s 2,200 customers include Aflac and Stryker. (Saba)


Big data firm Talend starts trading today. The software company priced its initial public offering at $18, above its original anticipations. (Fortune)

Share this newsletter: editions.


How Apple Could Copy Samsung to Revive iPhone Sales, by Aaron Pressman

Amazon’s Alexa Can Now Unlock Your Front Door, by Leena Rao

Uber Now Lets Businesses Book Rides for Their Customers, by Kia Kokalitcheva

This App Keeps Teams Honest About Meeting Deadlines, by Heather Clancy

Why Amazon Continues to Dominate in the Cloud Storage Wars, by Barb Darrow



Here’s what it takes to build a mobile app. Planet of the Apps will go behind-the-scenes with several different teams of app developers—with filming scheduled for late this year. Apple is a co-producer of the series. (Fortune)


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

Intel Developer Forum: The bounds of technology. (Aug. 16-18; San Francisco)

VMworld: Software-defined data centers and cloud computing strategies. (Aug. 28-Sept. 1; Las Vegas)

SAP SuccessConnect: The evolution of HR software. (Aug. 29-31; Las Vegas)

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.