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Data Sheet—Monday, February 6, 2017

Good morning. If, like me, you’re still on a high from the adrenaline rush of Sunday night’s thrilling Super Bowl finish, perhaps you’ll appreciate a look back at some of last week’s most extraordinary stories. For journalists—tech, business, political, and otherwise—we live in a time of abundance. There’s so much to cover and only so much time to cover it.

* If you want to read more about Apple’s skeptics-defying quarterly results from last week, I highly encourage you dig into this excellent report from Jean-Louis Gassée, one of the most perceptive Apple observers in the land. Gassée and I share an unwillingness to count Apple out. We discuss this from time to time, especially when the news looks bleakest for Apple, where Gassée once was an executive. Gassée writes more powerfully about Apple’s willingness and ability to play the long game, which is truly unique among publicly traded companies. By the by, he also took note, as Fortune’s Aaron Pressman did, of the juxtaposition of CEO Tim Cook’s boilerplate recitation of a willingness to do large acquisitions with Cook’s hint that Apple will produce original entertainment content on a grander scale.

* Amazon reported earnings last week, a non-trivial statement for Amazon, which over the years more often loses money than makes it. The profit was Amazon’s seventh in a row. Talk about a company playing the long game: Amazon also has begun work on a $1.5 billion air cargo hub in Kentucky. (I loved the company several-second-long Echo ads during the Super Bowl.)

* Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, pulled out of the president’s business advisory council, which met on Friday. This is the second time in recent months that Kalanick, known for his stubbornness, has capitulated on something big, the previous being Uber’s abandonment of its China business. Uber is said to have lost 200,000 customers protesting Kalanick’s council membership and its reaction to a temporary taxi boycott of New York’s JFK airport at the height of the travel ban crisis. My take: Kalanick quit the council because Uber employees, not customers, were so upset. This one’s far from over.

Adam Lashinsky


Nearly 100 tech firms agree: Trump’s immigration ban is bad for business. The group, which filed a legal brief opposing the restrictions on Sunday, includes a veritable who’s who of the industry—Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Intel, and Microsoft. But there are no signatures from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Oracle, or Tesla. Amazon moved earlier to support the Washington state legal challenge, which resulted in a judge’s temporary order to halt the ban over the weekend. (Reuters, New York Times)

Samsung is getting rid of its corporate strategy office. The group came under scrutiny as part of the national corruption scandal surrounding President Park Geun-hye. Investigators are still investigating the roles of top Samsung officials, including vice chairman Jay Y. Lee and strategy head Choi Gee-sung. (Reuters)

The new FCC head is moving quickly against net neutrality. Chairman Ajit Pai last Friday withdrew an agency report that criticized AT&T and Verizon for favoring their own video services over those offered by rivals, by not counting the usage against monthly data caps—a practice known as zero rating. He also moved to slow down the expansion of a program that provides federal subsidies for low-income families to receive broadband Internet access. (Fortune, New York Times)

It’s official: Google is selling its satellite division to Planet Labs. The Internet giant bought into the business back in 2014 for $500 million. Terms of the sale weren’t disclosed, but the deal includes a multi-year contract under which Google will receive satellite imagery. (Fortune)

Is Jawbone preparing another strategic pivot? The company, which got its start in headsets but has been trying to make its name with fitness wearables, now hopes to make its mark in the medical devices business, reports TechCrunch. That metamorphosis may be tied to another funding round. (TechCrunch, Forbes)

Uber hires NASA engineer to head its ‘flying cars’ project. At the Langley Research Center, Mark Moore conducted extensive research into electric vehicles that are capable of vertical takeoffs and landings. Bloomberg reports that he’s now leading Uber Elevate, the ride-hailing startup’s aviation research initiative. (Bloomberg)


Why Rumors of T-Mobile Buying Dish Network Are Heating Up, by Aaron Pressman

Security Startup StackPath Buys Again, by Barb Darrow

Apple Could Purge Tens of Thousands of Old iOS Apps, by David Z. Morris

Amazon Alexa Will Take Over Your Phone and Your Office Next, by Barb Darrow

Snap’s IPO May Be the Most Expensive One Ever, by Lucinda Shen

Girls Who Code CEO Wants You to Fight Trump’s Immigration Ban, by Erika Fry


Wondering about those drones in Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl half-time show? The “Shooting Stars” are part of a fleet concept envisioned by Intel and centrally controlled via special software. But that death-defying opening sequence wasn’t actually live. (TechCrunch, The Verge)

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.
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