Data Sheet—Friday, August 5, 2016

August 5, 2016, 12:32 PM UTC

Behold the power of the cumulonimbus cloud. These gigantic and towering clouds can dominate the sky, hurl golf-ball-sized hail down to the ground, and, under certain conditions, spawn violent thunderstorms and severe tornadoes. Their presence signals a possible mega-storm that could disrupt your life.

If you were to apply the cumulonimbus metaphor to business technology, Amazon would be it. Once again on Thursday, Gartner crowned Amazon Web Services king of cloud computing, the business of renting computing capacity and storage to companies on an on-demand basis.

Amazon delivers “many times the aggregate size of all other providers in the market,” the research firm said. It also dominates when it comes to holding corporate customer data, Gartner said in another report, storing almost double the combined amount of customer data of the next seven cloud providers on the analyst firm’s list.

It’s been this way practically since AWS debuted almost a decade ago. And judging by Amazon’s past earnings reports, its cloud business just seems to be getting bigger.

Companies like Hewlett Packard Enterprise and EMC have seen AWS disrupt their hardware businesses and are undergoing radical transformations to better compete. On Thursday, Dow Jones reported that cloud provider Rackspace may be sold to private equity firms, another sign of how hard it is to compete with a giant.

In nature, clouds come and go, but conditions must be just right for powerful new cumulonimbus clouds to form. Microsoft seems to be rising, according to Gartner, and Google is trying to grow, although it appears to have some problems selling to business customers.

But for now, Amazon shows no sign of drifting away.

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



Apple spares no expense with new bug bounty. It will pay up to $200,000 to techies who find flaws in the firmware controlling its systems and smaller amounts for pointing out other vulnerabilities. (Reuters, New York Times)

Facebook tackles clickbait. The social media company revised its news-feed algorithms to reduce the prominence of stories that use misleading headlines to get readers to click on them. It wants to help people find more “genuine” posts. (Fortune)

New chip cards may not be as secure as you think. An analysis by point-of-sale tech company NCR suggests the devices can be fooled by reprogramming the magnetic stripe. (CNN Money)

Mixed signals from two big cybersecurity companies. Symantec, which is downplaying its personal computer business and pushing into higher-end accounts, is projecting revenue of almost $1 billion for its next quarter. That's far more than anticipated. FireEye isn't so lucky. Slow growth for its incident-response services business will force the layoff of almost 12% of its employees. (Reuters, Fortune)

LinkedIn records largest loss as a public company. It lost almost $120 million in its second quarter, one of the last ones it will report as an independent company. In June, Microsoft launched a $26.2 billion takeover, which should be complete before year end. The transaction itself will cost LinkedIn about $100 million. (Wall Street Journal)

Disney isn't happy with wearable toys sales. Prices for its Playmation product line, based on Marvel superheroes, are being heavily discounted after failing to meet internal projections. What's next? Watch for Disney to experiment with augmented reality software, such as the kind that's behind Pokémon Go. (Wall Street Journal)

Pinterest gets ready for its closeup. The social network's members are "pinning" more videos than ever to their boards—there was a 60% surge in this activity over the past 12 months. Pinterest will accommodate with platform changes due later this year, with a special emphasis on how-to videos. (Fortune)


Johnson & Johnson just hired a Dropbox exec. The pharmaceutical giant recruited the cloud software company's business development chief, Marc Leibowitz, who will help it forge closer relationships with technology companies. (Recode)


Why 160-year-old tech innovator Western Union is embracing the cloudWestern Union was one of the first businesses to invest in communications satellites when it helped NASA launch the now-retired Westar 1 in 1974, which it used to send telegrams and mailgrams around the world. Now the 160-something-year-old money transfer company is looking toward a different sort of cloud. Here's the rationale behind new relationships with file-sharing company Box and document management specialist Conga.


Why SoftBank Will Have to Keep Its Job Promises in the ARM Takeover, by David Meyer

This Software Is So Sleazy, Google Calls It 'Ooze', by Robert Hackett

Why GameStop Is Spending Even More on Wireless Push, by Aaron Pressman 

How the Tech Behind Bitcoin Could Revolutionize Wall Street, by Lisa Eadicicco/Time

Why Smartphones Are Bringing Down Internet of Things Forecasts, by David Meyer


Your spreadsheet, now available in virtual reality. Startup Envelop is testing how VR headsets could be used to interact with traditional (aka boring) business documents, including the ones used for crunching financial forecasts. (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 16Explore 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)

Atlassian Summit: Tips and training for developers and project managers. (Oct. 10-13; San Jose, Calif.)

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.

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