5 Tech Observations to Start Your Day 120114

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. For our U.S. readers, welcome back from the Thanksgiving holiday. Here are five technology news nuggets, blogs, gossip, chatter and more for Monday, Dec. 1, 2014.

Actually, today's update involves eight items.

8. Password Management Revisited: Intel has acquired PasswordBox -- an identity management cloud platform that has generated 14 million downloads. Basically, PasswordBox is a password management system. Watch for PasswordBox to integrate with the Intel Security business (formerly McAfee). Also of note: Intel started pushing a single sign on (SSO) cloud technology back in 2012. I'm curious to know what ever happened to that offering, and what the potential implication is now that PasswordBox is arriving.

7. Coming Into Focus: Intel also scored a wearable computing deal, becoming a chip supplier for Google Glass -- and pushing aside Texas Instruments along the way. True confession: I purchased Glass last year... and I'm less than impressed. 

6. Google Apps Security: The search giant is taking new steps to secure Google Apps for Work, including a new Devices and Activity dashboard -- which shows IT managers which devices are accessing specific apps. The dashboard also points out suspicious activity.

5. Coming This Week?: Is the long-rumored Datto-Backupify cloud backup M&A deal going to happen this week? I have no idea. Back in November, I heard the deal was set to become official the first week of December. But my sources have gone silent since that time...

4. Taking Flight -- Late: Go Pro is developing a line of consumer drones. Alas, they won't arrive until sometime in 2015 -- long after the current holiday season wraps up. In the meantime, I lean on Directive's Chris Chase each time I'm trying to figure out drone technology.

3. Silence Is Deafening: During a typical holiday weekend, some tech companies reach out to each other and quietly negotiate M&A deals -- while most of the media is offline on vacation. But the M&A front was unusually silent in recent days -- aside from that Intel-PasswordBox deal mentioned above. That suggests to me that startup valuations are getting pretty lofty.

2. Countdown Starts: I hate to sound like an Apple Fanboy, but I suspect I'll be among the first Apple Watch buyers when the smartwatch arrives in 2015. Details about Apple Watch continue to leak out onto the web. And yes, I've been telling I.T. entrepreneurs to check out the WatchKit SDK to see how you can potentially write business alerts apps for the watch.

1. Microsoft Myths: Microsoft apparently is distancing itself from former CEO Steve Ballmer, especially as current CEO Satya Nadella hits his stride with a mobile-first, cloud-first strategy, according to USA Today and The Motley Fool. My spin: Ballmer doesn't get enough credit for Microsoft's cloud momentum. He essentially bet the company on Azure and Office 365, killing on-premises products like Windows Small Business Server along the way. Nadella has essentially fine-tuned Ballmer's strategy in some very important ways -- open sourcing more products and finally delivering Office for iOS for free. Ballmer had his faults, but let's not pretend that he somehow didn't embrace the cloud. In reality, Ballmer gave the cloud a bear hug -- and Microsoft never let go.

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