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Data Sheet—Thursday, August 25, 2016

Aug. 24 may have seemed like just another day to you, but for the Apple faithful—and they are legion—it was a momentous one indeed. Why? Because Wednesday was the fifth anniversary of the day that Tim Cook took over as CEO of Apple from founder Steve Jobs.

So has he measured up to the example set by the great man? That’s an easy one: No, he hasn’t. How could any mortal produce as much value and as many groundbreaking products as Steve Jobs did, or change the nature of Apple the way he did? It’s virtually impossible, especially in only five years.

Not only that, but taking over a massive, globe-spanning enterprise that is already the world’s most valuable public company is very different from trying to re-engineer a failing PC maker.

Some complain that Cook hasn’t really done much that is innovative—but how much innovation does Apple really need? Sure, a new product that could produce another multibillion-dollar line of business would be nice. But keeping revenue stable isn’t too shabby either, as far as many shareholders are concerned.

The hard part is that realistically there is nowhere for Apple to go now but down, just like when Jobs took over there was nowhere for it to go but up (or out of business altogether). How much bigger could a $600 billion company with 110,000 employees possibly get?

So happy anniversary, Tim! Enjoy the cake—and the $100 million or so in options. And if you have a multibillion-dollar idea lying around, now would be a great time to mention it.

Mathew Ingram is a senior writer at Fortune. Reach him via email.
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Watch out, Snapchat. Apple is getting more serious about social networking and a new video sharing and editing app is part of that strategy, reports Bloomberg. The new software—tentatively due next year—will likely work hand-in-hand with existing messaging and social media platforms such as Twitter. (Bloomberg)

HP scores with gamers. As anticipated, the personal computer and printer company recorded a 4% revenue decline for the quarter ended July 31, generating $11.9 billion for the period. Its high-end PC business was basically flat, helped by video game enthusiasts. HP Inc. hasn’t managed an increase since it split from the former Hewlett-Packard last year. The company warns to expect more of the same in the fourth quarter. (Fortune)

Google takes on pop-ups. After Jan. 10, 2017, the Internet search giant will send less traffic to mobile websites that make use of interstitials, which are advertisements that take over the user’s screen when they visit. (Bloomberg)

Workday beats revenue projections, but struggles with rising expenses. Achieving profitability is a top goal of the cloud software company under relatively new CFO Robynne Sisco, but Workday’s net loss for its second quarter was bigger than anticipated. For the current one, it forecasts revenue of $398 million to $400 million, slightly lower than hoped. (Wall Street Journal, Fortune)

Best Buy thinks virtual reality isn’t just for early adopters. The retailer will sell Facebook Oculus Rift headsets in 500 stores for the holiday shopping season. Plus, it’s prepping traveling demos to help Sony launch PlayStation VR. (Bloomberg)

For SAP, this investment is a matter of taste. The business software giant is backing a data analytics startup called Vivanda, started by a former executive of spice maker McCormick & Co. Vivanda’s software could help food companies personalize flavors of foods and beverages for specific consumers. (Baltimore Sun, ZDNet)

BlackBerry dodges lawsuit over stock price. A U.S. appeals judge confirmed the dismissal of a shareholder complaint that accused the mobile company of fraudulently inflating its stock price by being overly optimistic about prospects for the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone, launched in 2013. (Reuters)




New Relic’s latest defense against downtime. Companies are always fighting to prevent technical glitches like sloppy coding and data center snafus from taking their critical software and websites offline.

Keeping tabs on all these potentially costly behind-the-scenes interruptions usually requires paying for multiple monitoring services that provide various dashboards to track the problems.

Software company New Relic is trying to simplify the process by making it possible to monitor corporate technology infrastructure problems in one place and make it easier for managers to identify the source. Here are more details.


Why Tesla’s New Battery Pack Is Important, by Katie Fehrenbacher

The Reason So Many Women Leave Engineering Has Nothing to Do With Kids, by Valentina Zarya

The Man Who Sold Silicon Valley on Giving, by Peter Elkind

What Workday’s New CFO Says About the Quest for Profitability,
by Heather Clancy

Amazon Launches Program for Donating Kindles and Tablets,
by Leena Rao


HP thwarts screen snoops. Some of HP Inc.’s latest notebooks come with a built-in privacy called Sure View—activated with one button—that you can use to prevent people from peeking at what you’re typing. (Ars Technica)

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.

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