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Data Sheet—Thursday, March 9, 2017

This morning Fortune published its annual list of the 100 best companies to work for, highly coveted recognition for employers in a daily war for talent. The full list is available for viewing here.

Technology companies fare well on the ranking but do not dominate it. True, Google is at the top, for the sixth consecutive year. I wrote the cover story the first time Google topped our list, in 2007. It had a memorable title, “Search and Enjoy.” Then, as now, Google lavished benefits on its employees, making them feel special, pampered, stimulated, well-fed—and eager to work hard. Google has perfected the art of creating a felicitous workplace that is difficult for companies without its cash flow to emulate. (It also is sweet to be a Google spouse, which I am. I was not one a decade ago when I wrote that article.)

Two other tech companies made our top 10: Salesforce.com, a marketing machine that views employee satisfaction as a point of differentiation, and Ultimate Software, a Florida maker of human resources programs. An Ultimate employee referenced the “love” they feel for one another in a survey response supporting the company’s application to Fortune.

Given the prominence of tech companies in the economy, non-tech commands more attention in the best workplaces competition. Grocer Wegmans Food Markets is a perennial on our list. Boston Consulting Group ranks No. 3, an impressive feat for a consulting firm, an industry known for its grind-it-out workload.

An interesting word comes up a lot in our introduction to the package, which was edited, by the way, by Anne VanderMey, a behind-the-scenes powerhouse at Fortune. That word is trust. Companies that trust their employees not only make for a better workplace but also do better financially than companies that don’t.

Incidentally, Data Sheet readers are invited to a panel discussion tonight at the headquarters of Fortune parent Time Inc. in lower Manhattan. Details and an opportunity to RSVP for the event are here.

Adam Lashinsky
@adamlashinsky
adam_lashinsky@fortune.com

BITS AND BYTES

Google again pledges its commitment to serving big companies. Its cloud team is bending over backward to win more business from the Fortune 500 crowd. Plus, it “has both the money, the means” to pull this off, declared executive chairman Eric Schmidt at its gathering Wednesday in San Francisco. Exhibit A: a new partnership with Rackspace, which works with rivals Microsoft and Amazon Web Services. Unfortunately, Google has a history of killing products designed for big corporates. (Fortune)

This new list could help companies with vetting tech vendors for cyber risks. The idea behind the “clearinghouse” from upstart CyberGRX is to help companies see whether their business partners—anyone from software firms to catering companies—have good security policies in place. The effort is backed by private equity firm Blackstone and informed by organizations like Aetna. (Fortune)

Facebook is upgrading its data centers and wants others to copy the blueprint. The social networking company has argued for a long time that it can control performance and costs better by assembling its own computer servers, rather than buying from companies like Hewlett Packard Enterprise or Dell Technologies. (Fortune)

It’s turning into another busy week for Uber. The head of the company’s artificial intelligence research, Gary Marcus, is leaving after just four months. The company pledged to end its “Greyball” program, an app that helped its drivers evade law enforcement officials. Meanwhile, Chinese rival Didi Chuxing is opening its lab in Silicon Valley. On a brighter note, California is greenlighting the company’s self-driving experiments, after forcing Uber to suspend them for lack of permits late last year. (Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Reuters)

THE DOWNLOAD

Intel faces big challenges in fast-growing server market. By some analysts’ accounts, Intel controls close to 99% of the market for microchips used in servers. The current domination is partly based on Intel’s innovations and savvy marketing skills, as well as on missteps by competitors.

But 2017 may be the year that competition re-emerges for Intel in the fast-growing server market from challengers like Advanced Micro Devices, Qualcomm, and Nvidia. Each is rolling out new products that could offer better performance than the market leader, particularly in hot sectors like cloud data centers and big data analytics.

The latest competitive hit to Intel came on Wednesday, as Microsoft announced a partnership to integrate server chips made by Qualcomm into servers for Microsoft’s Azure cloud service. As Fortune‘s Aaron Pressman reports, this might be the first real threat to Intel’s dominance in cloud data centers.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Self-Driving Cars Could Get Their Own Super-Fast Lane by 2050, by Aric Jenkins

Snapchat Is Bringing Back His News Show to Cover Donald Trump, by Mathew Ingram

Microsoft Slated to Debut ‘Slack Killer’ on March 14, by Jonathan Vanian

Why T-Mobile Would Rather Merge With Big Cable and Not Sprint, by Aaron Pressman

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel Will Get $822 Million for Taking the Company Public, by Lucinda Shen

ONE MORE THING

Becoming Charles Phillips. The respected CEO of business software company Infor, once considered a potential successor to long-time Oracle leader Larry Ellison, is an icon for young black tech executives. He recently spoke with Fortune about his quest to help other companies embrace diversity both strategically and organically. Here’s the short video interview.

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy
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