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Data Sheet—Thursday, August 4, 2016

Walmart buying online retailer Jet.com is one of those deals that seems almost blindingly obvious. Why? Because Walmart has been trying—and mostly failing—to compete with Amazon for years, and Jet fancies itself an Amazon competitor.

But would buying Jet (assuming it actually happens) really give Walmart what it needs to succeed against its online adversary?

Not that long ago, comparing Walmart and Amazon would have seemed absurd, let alone suggesting that the former might need to be afraid of the latter. As recently as 2014, the Arkansas-based giant was worth more than twice as much as Amazon. Now, the online retailer’s market cap is almost twice that of Walmart—closing in on $400 billion—and its business is still growing rapidly.

That Walmart is even considering paying $3 billion for a year-old company is evidence enough that the company is feeling the heat. If completed, it would be the most expensive deal it has done in six years.

It’s not clear that Jet would be able to solve Walmart’s competitive problem, however. Jet has shown no evidence it can compete with Amazon except by dramatically underpricing the online giant, using strategies that will require massive amounts of funding and therefore hold little promise of ever being profitable.

For Jet, a Walmart acquisition would be a huge win, since it would save the company from ever having to prove it has a realistic chance of success. But it’s not at all obvious that it would be a win for Walmart.

Mathew Ingram is a senior writer at Fortune. Reach him via email.

BITS & BYTES

What’s behind the bond bonanza? Apple, Microsoft, and Google have helped stoke more than $28 billion in sales by tech companies this year, more than for all of 2015. One motivation: reducing the tax burden for overseas cash. (Bloomberg)

Square narrows its shortfall. The mobile payments company founded and run by Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey recorded a 41.5% increase in revenue for the second quarter, driven by growing transaction volume and deals with larger businesses. Its third quarter is looking up too. (Reuters, Bloomberg)

Tesla’s losses widen, as Elon Musk blames poor production. The automaker’s “production hell” for the first half of 2016 meant it couldn’t make electric vehicles fast enough, according to his commentary on Tesla’s second-quarter earnings call. The company lost $293.2 million, far more than anticipated. (Fortune, New York Times)

Intel recalls smartwatches. It turns out that they’re prone to overheating. There’s no word on when (or whether) there will be a replacement. (Wall Street Journal)

Ransomware attacks run rampant. New research suggests two-fifths of businesses in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Germany have been victims of security breaches where hackers demand “ransom” in exchange for stolen data. The source behind the survey is somewhat biased, but the trend is worth noting. (Fortune)

Facebook opens massive hardware research lab. The 22,000-square-foot facility will be home to engineers tinkering on everything from drones to virtual reality headsets to super-efficient servers for its data centers. (Fortune)

PEOPLE & CULTURE

Well-respected Salesforce exec defects to Amazon. Adam Bosworth’s career includes jobs at Microsoft, BEA Systems, and Google. His new title with Amazon Web Services is unclear, but he most recently was an executive vice president leading the Salesforce development agenda. (Fortune)

Apple’s leadership is just as male as ever. First the good news: During fiscal 2016, the tech giant’s diversity makeup improved by 1 percentage point among females, blacks, and Hispanics. But a whopping 62% of its managers are male. The tech giant blames, in part, its low employee retention. (Fortune, Wall Street Journal)

GoDaddy names new CFO. The cloud services company, which reduced its losses during the second quarter, tapped former First Data and Delta Airlines executive Ray Winborne as its chief financial officer. Scott Wagner, the person who previously held the post, is now president and COO. (Wall Street Journal)

Meet tech’s real unicorns. Black and Latino women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States, but stand little chance of raising money. (Uncubed)

Poor Kim Kardashian can’t buy a BlackBerry. That means they’re getting tougher for your company to find too. (Fortune)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Accompany Wants to Be Your Mobile Chief of Staff, by Leena Rao

Here’s How Much Your Social Security Number Is Worth on the Dark Web, by Don Reisinger

Why the Internet Is Failing Our Senior Citizens, by Barb Darrow

BlackBerry’s Core Apps Come to Android as a Subscription Service, by David Meyer

Apple Just Set a New Record for Its App Store, by Don Reisinger

 

ONE MORE THING

Out of this world, literally. Robotics startup Moon Express is one of several private companies racing to send a private spacecraft out of Earth’s orbit to the moon before the end of next year. It just became the first one to receive federal approval for its space mission. (Ars Technica)

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy

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