Bigger is better in the tech industry. Manhandling rivals and getting customers to spend more is easier for behemoth companies.
Or at least that’s the argument until business slows down and then, suddenly, CEOs praise the benefits of small. Being nimble, focused, and innovative is easier for slimmer companies, they say.
The latest tech executive to preach small is Meg Whitman, CEO of business technology giant Hewlett Packard Enterprise. This week, she announced that her struggling company would unload its software business in a nearly $9 billion deal with U.K. software developer Micro Focus.
Of course, HPE’s forerunner, Hewlett-Packard, had spent a more than decade and billions of dollars bulking itself up through acquisitions under a series of leaders who insisted that big was beautiful. Now, under Whitman, the company is on a diet that has also included offloading its tech services business earlier this year after splitting with its sister company, HP Inc.
Will the machinations revive HPE? Who knows.
Dell Technologies, led by Michael Dell, is taking the polar opposite path from HPE. On Wednesday, it closed a $63 billion acquisition of business technology giant EMC that is intended to turn the combined companies into more of a one-stop shop for corporate customers.
I have no idea whether Dell’s plan will succeed either.
But what’s certain with both Dell and HPE—or any company in the big-small spin cycle—is that the armies of investment bankers and business consultants involved will cash in. Oh, and don’t forget the multimillion-dollar year-end bonuses for the executives who heed their advice.
BITS AND BYTES
Another “unicorn” software company files to go public. Coupa, which sells expense management systems and competes with the likes of Oracle and SAP, seeks to raise $75 million in an initial public offering. Founded by two former Oracle execs 10 years ago, the company’s $80 million round in June 2015 pushed its valuation over $1 billion. (Coupa)
Republicans move to block Internet handoff. Four leaders of Congressional committees that oversee regulations and management of Internet services oppose the plan to transfer day-to-day operations to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (aka ICANN) on Oct. 1. They argue that it could allow foreign governments to expand censorship. (Wall Street Journal)
Iconiq Capital starts division to invest in data centers. The wealth management company, which advises clients like LinkedIn chairman Reid Hoffman and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, has registered a subsidiary that will invest both directly in facilities and in real estate investment trusts. (Bloomberg)
Expect big job cuts at the new Dell. The company plans to eliminate between 2,000 and 3,000 redundant positions, mainly in administrative functions and across its supply chain operations, reports Bloomberg. The combined company hopes to cut costs by around $1.7 billion over the next 18 months. (Bloomberg)
Google buys Apigee in play for corporate customers. The Internet services giant will pay $625 million for the software company, which specializes in application programming interfaces. The technology is crucial for linking together software applications and services. APIs are the glue, for example, that help a mobile app “talk” to a retailer’s e-commerce systems. (Fortune, Wall Street Journal)
Macy’s will host an Apple store. The new location will be inside the retailer’s iconic location at Herald Square in New York. Macy’s will also sell the Apple Watch at more than 180 stores by the holiday season. (Fortune)
Here’s Michael Dell’s strategy for challenging Amazon’s cloud dominance. Like IBM, Microsoft, and other legacy tech companies, Dell Technologies is banking that most corporate customers will want a “hybrid IT” model. That means they’ll keep running applications and storing some data in their own data centers or perhaps a “private cloud” dedicated to their own usage, while they run others in a public cloud such as those sold by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Google that amass tons of servers, storage, and networking for use by many customers. With the EMC acquisition now complete, Dell is moving quickly to prove that argument.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Google’s DeepMind Claims Massive Progress in Synthesized Speech,
by David Meyer
Meet the First Ever U.S. Cyber Chief, by Robert Hackett
How Apple’s Headphone Jack Change Could Affect Square, by Leena Rao
ONE MORE THING
FAA advises Galaxy 7 owners to leave them off. It’s not an outright ban, but the aviation agency has asked passengers not to charge the smartphones on planes—or turn them on—until Samsung can address fire safety risks with its massive recall. (Reuters)
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Women in Product: A gathering of experienced female product managers. (Sept. 13; Menlo Park, Calif.)
GitHub Universe: For people building the future of software. (Sept. 13-15; San Francisco)
Oracle OpenWorld: The future of the cloud is now. (Sept. 18-22; San Francisco)
IBM Edge: Out-think the status quo. (Sept. 19-22; Las Vegas)
Hosting and Cloud Transformation: 451 Research’s annual summit. (Sept. 19-22; Las Vegas)
Gigaom Change: 7 transformational technologies. (Sept. 21-23; Austin)
Lesbians Who Tech + Allies Summit: Exploring solutions for ad, health, and finance technology. (Sept. 22-25; New York)
Workday Rising: Talent management in the cloud. (Sept. 26-29; Chicago)
Microsoft Ignite: Product road maps and innovation. (Sept. 26-30; Atlanta)
Adapt or Die: Apigee’s #DigitalKnowHow world tour. (Sept. 27; San Francisco)
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.)
Virtuous Circle: The future of the Internet ecosystem. (Oct. 10-11; Menlo Park, 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)
QuickBooks Connect: Intuit’s third annual customer and developer conference. (Oct. 24-26; San Jose, Calif.)
World of Watson: The power of data, analytics, and cognitive. (Oct. 24-27; Las Vegas)
AI World: Business applications for artificial intelligence. (Nov. 7-9; San Francisco)
TBM Conference: Manage the business of IT. (Nov. 7-10; San Diego)
DevOps Enterprise Summit: Develop and deploy software faster. (Nov. 7-9; San Francisco)
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.