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Data Sheet—Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Do you ever have days where nothing feels quite right, where down is up and up is down and everything else feels like it’s going sideways?

Consider some of the news of the day:

* Atlassian, a collaboration software company that’s worth $5.5 billion and has perhaps $700 million in unprofitable annualized revenue, is buying Trello. That young company, which Forbes reported last year had annual-ish sales of $10 million, fetched $425 million from Atlassian. That’s a very good outcome for the venture capitalists who put a total of $10 million into Trello as well as for its employees. (Trello makes an online task-assignment program; Fortune uses it.) Can that crazy valuation ever work out for Atlassian? The price tag calls to mind the $400 million Apple paid for NeXT two decades ago. That was money well-spent. In other words, crazier things have happened.

* Speaking of Apple, it celebrated the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the iPhone Monday with an anniversary website. Jon Steinberg, a smart guy who runs a newfangled video news network with a silly name, pointed out to me that Steve Jobs was relentlessly forward-looking and would have scoffed at Apple’s nostalgia. I told him to cut Apple some slack considering its accomplishment. But maybe he’s right. (Cheddar TV, by the way, is pretty cool. I appeared on it Monday via Skype via my iPhone. How crazy is that?)

* Speaking of silly names, Yahoo says its post-Verizon-sale stub will be known as Altaba, a mashup of “alternative” and “Alibaba,” the Chinese Internet company that makes up the bulk of its valuation. Altaba seems to be competing with tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing) for worst corporate name ever. As a security with two assets, however (the other is Yahoo Japan), at least Altaba isn’t a real company.

* And speaking of Alibaba, its founder, Jack Ma, visited President-elect Donald Trump Monday in New York. The incoming president has been projecting toughness with China lately, prompting the Chinese state-owned media to suggest he lay off the tweeting. Trump proclaimed Ma a “great entrepreneur.”

Have a sane day.

Adam Lashinsky


Ford wants to get a fully self-driving vehicle on the road within five years. The autonomous model CEO Mark Fields envisions would have neither a steering wheel nor a gas pedal. (Fortune)

This isn’t just window-dressing by Alibaba. The e-commerce giant is paying $2.6 billion to help take Chinese department store Intime Retail private. Like its U.S. rival Amazon, the company is investing heavily to create a larger physical store and distribution network presence. (Fortune, Wall Street Journal)

Elie Wiesel’s son is now leading tech strategy for Goldman Sachs. Computer engineer Elisha Wiesel previously was chief risk officer for the Wall Street giant’s powerful securities division. He’ll oversee the bank’s technology investments and the coders who write the algorithms for Goldman’s software. (Wall Street Journal)

Blockchain’s credibility grows on Wall Street. Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, which plays a role in recording and reporting nearly every stock and bond trade in the United States, is moving one of its central database onto the emerging distributed ledger technology. (New York Times)

VMware rival Citrix snaps up Windows app management company. The enterprise software giant is paying an undisclosed sum for Unidesk, which has about 1,300 customers. The two companies already have many mutual accounts, including the likes of Kawasaki Motors, especially among insurance companies, health care organizations, and higher education. (Fortune)

Alphabet may sell its satellite imaging business. Google paid $500 million for Skybox, now part of its parent company’s Terra Bella division, just three years ago to advance its plan to become a global Internet access provider. Now, Bloomberg reports Alphabet is considering a sale to satellite imaging startup Planet. (Bloomberg)

Verizon kills all subsidized phone deals. It’s the last major wireless carrier to stop giving people the option of subsidizing the cost of handset upgrades with a two-year service contract. It stopped doing so for new accounts about 18 months ago; the latest move hits current customers. (Fortune)

Tech giants recover from Trump slump. Shares in the so-called FANG stocks—Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google—have all recovered the extensive losses (and then some) that they suffered after Donald Trump was elected last November. (Fortune)


IMAX CEO talks virtual reality and his plan for high-tech arcades. The big-screen theater giant opened its first VR hub this month in Los Angeles. People will pay $10 to strap on a VR headset inside one of 15 soundproof rooms to experience either VR video games or films for roughly seven minutes.

The VR arcade in Los Angeles is one of six VR hubs that IMAX will debut worldwide this year. In this edited interview with Fortune, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond discusses what IMAX hopes to learn from its new entertainment centers, and whether the emerging VR technology is ready for primetime.


Apple, Facebook, and Google Top Greenpeace Energy Report Card, by Barb Darrow

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to Quit Board After Acquisition, by Verne Kopytoff

IDEO Investor Kyu Buys BEworks, a Behavioral Economics Firm, by Andrew Nusca

Holiday Season Sales Grew 8 Times Faster Online Than in Stores, by Phil Wahba

Business Lessons from the iPhone’s First Decade, by Aaron Pressman

Here Are the Three iPads That Could Debut Next Quarter, by Lucinda Shen

Amazon Echo’s Alexa Went Dollhouse Crazy, by Robert Hackett

7 Tech Companies Join Effort to Recruit Moms Who’ve Left the Workplace, by Claire Zillman


Google has a new plan for helping museum curators. Forget those audio headphones. Google is working on an interactive system that uses augmented reality headsets to overlay images, graphics and other information onto real world exhibits, creating a Pokémon Go-like experience for visitors. (Fortune)

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.
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