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Christa Quarles, the former CEO of OpenTable, has been named CEO of Corel, the Canadian software company whose best-known brand might be the long ago word-processing program WordPerfect.
It’s okay if you have only a foggy recollection of Corel. It’s a good example of how tough it is to kill a software company. Over the years it has gone public and private twice. It has done multiple acquisitions to try to bulk up. And now it is owned by private-equity shop KKR, which bought it last year from another PE firm, as PE firms are wont to do.
It isn’t okay if you don’t know Quarles. She ran OpenTable, which is part of Booking.com. She did a stint at NextDoor, had a run at Disney (which bought the gaming company where she was chief financial officer at the time), and back in the day she was a research analyst. Oh, and last year, when we still gathered in person for events, she was the non-editorial co-chair of Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo.
Quarles, who is 46, says she sees an almost “patriotic” opportunity to sell to the types of small businesses and “pro-sumer” customers that are Corel’s base. “We did this at OpenTable too,” she says. The company owns a handful of products that compete comfortably against or adjacent to software giants. CorelDraw is a less-famous alternative to the Adobe Creative Suite. MindManager does data visualization and project management. Parallels is a program that lets Mac and Chromebook users run Windows if they must.
The new CEO has a mandate to make acquisitions. She says she’ll focus on ensuring the company’s offerings fit together as a platform and building on the desktop collaboration trend. KKR brought her in, and John Park, the lead investor on the deal, envisions Quarles overseeing “bigger and bolder deals.” Already, he says, the company has played runner-up on transactions that were many times its previous deal size.
On a personal note, I’m in the unusual position of writing about an executive I’ve been able to watch in action as a high-value member of a team I help lead. Quarles has one of the highest signal-to-noise ratios I’ve ever seen, equally passionate about her dog as she is about the latest buzz in business.
Good luck, Christa.
This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Aaron Pressman.
Fortunately, you're here to make sure that doesn't happen. "We are going to be here for hours," U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers noted as she heard arguments from Epic Games and Apple on Monday over whether to issue a temporary injunction to put Fortnite back in the iOS app store. "There is no right to make billions of dollars," Rogers added later, criticizing Epic for sneaking a version of the game into the app store that used its own payments system. Meanwhile, Google announced some new rules for its Android app store, saying it would make it easier for alternate app stores to run on the platform while cracking down on non-standard payments systems.
Today I feel I've sprung a leak. A former finance manager in Amazon's tax department was building spreadsheets, calculating taxes, and, oh, tipping off members of her family to Amazon's earnings results. Laksha Bohra and her family agreed to repay $1.5 million of illegal gains plus interest and a penalty of $1.1 million. Speaking of catching crooks, the Internal Revenue Service suspects people are avoiding taxes by transacting in cryptocurrencies. So next year's Form 1040 will have a prominent new question: At any time during 2020 did you receive, sell, send, exchange or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?
There is no bottom, chapter 4,874. The U.K.'s Channel 4 got a hold of a database from Cambridge Analytica that the Trump campaign used to target Facebook ads in 2016. The database reveals that the campaign disproportionately categorized Black voters with the label "deterrence" and showed them ads to discourage them from voting.
Gone phishing. Hospital chain Universal Health Services was hit with a massive cyberattack that forced its computers offline. Staff had to take notes on paper and could not access electronic records. Elsewhere, hackers released personal information about students in Clark County, Nevada, including addresses and social security numbers. The district reportedly refused to pay a ransom after hackers penetrated its servers.
Know when to fold 'em. In gadget land, Lenovo's folding laptop, dubbed the Thinkpad X1 Fold, is now available for preorder starting at $2,500. The device has a 13-inch screen that folds down the middle and a removable Bluetooth keyboard. Also, Google offered EU antitrust regulators additional (though undisclosed) concessions to get approval for its Fitbit acquisition. The EU is scheduled to decide on the deal by year-end.
King of IPO island. On the stock market, it will be another busy week of initial public offerings, including Asana and Palantir. Cybersecurity firm McAfee, sold by Intel to private equity in 2016, filed to go public, too. The company had a net income of $31 million on revenue of $1.4 billion in the first half of the year.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Some entries in the category of "food for thought" provide more mental sustenance than others. Author Nicholas Carr's essay will definitely get your brain engaged. Just think about the title: What is it like to be a smartphone?
What is it like to be a smartphone? In all the chatter about the future of artificial intelligence, the question has been glossed over or, worse, treated as settled. The longstanding assumption, a reflection of the anthropomorphic romanticism of computer scientists, science fiction writers, and internet entrepreneurs, has been that a self-aware computer would have a mind, and hence a consciousness, similar to our own. We, supreme programmers, would create machine consciousness in our own image. The assumption is absurd.
ON THE MOVE
Former AT&T exec and now-former Synchronoss Technologies CEO Glenn Lurie resigned after allegations of personal misconduct. Chief commercial officer Jeff Miller was named interim CEO while the board conducts a search...Morgan Beller, who helped create the Libra digital currency, has left Facebook and joined venture capital firm NFX as a general partner...Lyft rehired longtime Google exec Nilka Thomas as its chief people officer. After 13 years at Google, Thomas worked at Lyft for two years before jumping to SeatGeek in February, but now she is back... Digital currency exchange Coinbase hired Shilpa Dhar as VP of product from Venmo, where she had the same title. Coinbase also nabbed Ravi Byakod from Adobe as VP of engineering and Google's Frank Yoo as VP of design and research.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Amazon Prime Day set to span two days in October as dress rehearsal for holiday season By Phil Wahba
Why the former CEO of Xerox turned her attention to corporate diversity—and how she thinks business is failing By McKenna Moore
Why an Olympic gold medalist and former NFL player cofounded a subscription coffee brand By Rachel King
Clean tech is getting a fresh slate in 2020 By Lucinda Shen
BP is laying out its vision for a low-carbon future. Investors are skeptical By Katherine Dunn
Plastic-eating ‘Pac-men’: Researchers say enzyme cocktail could revolutionize recycling By David Meyer
Nearly 100,000 establishments that temporarily shut down due to the pandemic are now out of business By Anne Sraders and Lance Lambert
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BEFORE YOU GO
Whether the new home-security drone from Amazon's Ring unit turns out to be great or not, it's certainly livened up the gadget conversation. Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler solicited nicknames for the drone on Twitter and got back quite a few suggestions. I liked iNarc and Elf on a Shelf but those LoTR fanboys at Palantir probably prefer Fly of Sauron.