5 Tech Observations: 22 January 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news updates, insights, gossip, chatter and views to start your day for Thursday, January 22, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 12 items.

12. Wireless Price War: Google is gearing up to sell wireless service directly to consumers. The move, which involves partnerships with Sprint and T-Mobile, could pressure wireless providers to cut prices and bolster performance. It's unclear if or when Google will launch business-focused wireless plans. Before you celebrate keep in mind that Google's existing wired broadband business -- called Google Fiber -- has not expanded as quickly as initially planned. 

11. Mobile Price War: Yes, Windows 10 will be free to many customers -- costing Microsoft as much as $500 million in its first year of sales, The Wall Street Journal estimates. The move strives to help Windows 10 compete across all desktop and mobile platforms -- especially against Android and Apple iOS on tablet-like devices...

10. Very Big Deal?: Microsoft also announced HoloLens -- a headset that blends reality with 3-D holograms (virtual reality). Must pundits call that "augmented reality." Why should I.T. entrepreneurs care? The answer is predictable: A HoloLens software development kit is on the way. Microsoft shows potential HoloLens use cases on its website. Wired went hands-on with HoloLens and calls the prototype "amazing." The New York Times calls it a "sensational vision of the PC's future." Must pundits expect a showdown to eventually emerge between HoloLens, Facebook's Oculus Rift project and Google's big Magic Leap investment.

9. Disrupter Gets Disrupted: eBay is cutting 2,400 jobs -- more proof that boom-and-bust business life cycles are getting shorter in the digital age.

8. Oracle vs Cisco: Larry Ellison apparently is targeting Cisco Systems as Oracle launches a new round of converged infrastructure to battle Cisco's Unified Compute System. Somewhere, Cisco CEO John Chambers is smiling -- because Ellison essentially is the latest person to validate Cisco's efforts in the data center. Not that Oracle's Engineered Systems should be underestimated.

7. Accelerate Your Business: How? If you're an I.T. entrepreneur, perhaps you should work with an Accelerator -- an organization that invests in your business and also provides hands-on guidance and training through intense workshops and more. Techstars President David Brown described the accelerator model -- and its benefits to startups -- in our latest podcast.

6. Best Wishes: To Work Market co-founder and former CEO Jeff Leventhal. One of our earliest podcast guests, Leventhal exited the company recently. Market chatter suggests Work Market attracted potential suitors, but instead decided to raise $20 million in new venture capital. The inflection point allowed Leventhal to exit as CEO while remaining on the board. Former HP Senior VP Stephen DeWitt is now CEO. Earlier, DeWitt was CEO of Cobalt Networks.

5. Cloud Management Dollars: CloudHealth, a Boston-based cloud management startup, has raised $12 million to hire about 30 new employees -- doubling headcount to 60 people. The company's platform helps customers to optimize the costs, performance and security of their cloud infrastructure -- a familiar theme in funding circles these days.

4. Box IPO: We're standing by to watch initial trading and investor reaction today.

3. Hadoop Reality Check: Hortonworks, the fast-growing provider of Apache Hadoop platforms, will announce Q4 results on February 24. The results will offer a timely reality check for Hadoop overall and its progress as a big data platform.

2. What Makes An Entrepreneur?: Forbes got several entrepreneurs to answer that question. My spin: An aspiring entrepreneur is someone who's willing to work without a salary to chase her or his business dreams. A successful entrepreneur eventually transforms that dream journey into positive cash flow. 

1. Bots Go Mobile: You likely know that bot networks infiltrate PCs and servers, and then launch coordinated attacks against additional systems. Distil Networks, a startup backed by Techstars, is helping customers to mitigate the bot threat today -- while also working on a few mobile surprises down the road. We'll share details in our next podcast, featuring Distil CEO Rami Essaid.

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