5 Technology Observations: 12 March 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs and greetings from Orlando, Fla. Here are five technology news insights, updates, rumors, gossip, and warm thoughts to start your day for Thursday, March 12, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 13 items.

13. Boxed In?: Box's quarterly revenue results, announced yesterday, reveal slowing growth and growing financial losses -- not exactly a winning formal on Wall Street. Still, Q4 revenue did jump 61 percent to $62.6 million -- impressive, but not as fast as Wall Street wanted. And oh those financial losses: Q4 net loss was nearly $53 million. Despite Box's positive spin on the situation, shares fell nearly 13 percent in after-hours trading. There's also a part of the story most Wall Street pundits are missing: Box has emerging, nimble rivals that know how to reach small businesses far more effectively -- using guerrilla marketing tactics in key IT communities that larger players often overlook. Chief among them: eFolder.

12. Even Giants Go Dark: Apple's app stores (iTunes, iBooks, iOS, Mac apps) are back online now but suffered a half-day outage yesterday. (See system status page for latest performance info.) For cloud skeptics who point to reliability problems, I offer the following reply: Thousands of on-premises servers and PCs surely went dark yesterday. And again today. And again tomorrow. We just don't hear about the outages because they are isolated events -- scattered across thousands of companies, rather than massive community-facing services.

11. Identity Theft of a Different Kind: It's bad enough when your personal identity gets stolen. But what if your entire business suffered from identity theft online? It's happening... as some companies are finding their domains lifted -- killing legitimate ecommerce businesses and customer support services along the way. The biggest victims: Small businesses.

Will April 2015 look like April 1985?

Will April 2015 look like April 1985?

10. Me In April: Spotted this item on Facebook... So, if I buy a Trans Am, an Apple Watch and some hair plugs in April, does that make me Michael Knight? 

9. Facebook is Disrupting Hardware: It's the story that keeps growing louder. Facebook's open source initiatives in the data center are starting to disrupt the traditional network and server markets. Known as the Open Compute Project, new Facebook milestones arrived yesterday. The big question: Can giants like Cisco, HP, IBM, EMC and Oracle continue to innovate ahead of the Open Compute Project curve -- and perhaps even leverage some of Facebook's work along the way.

8. Thank You: To Shannon Kohn Mayer for that shout out on Twitter. After Nines Inc. notices, and cares... and continues to brainstorm some big potential plans to keep folks coming back for more. Stay tuned.

7. No Surprise Here: Microsoft and Cisco are partnering to promote converged data center hardware and software to cloud providers and telecom companies. Poke around Cisco and you'll find numerous executives who focus on the Microsoft ISV relationship, and vice versa when you visit Microsoft.

6. Hadoop in the Cloud: The global market for Hadoop as a Service (HDaaS) will generate a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 85 percent through 2019, according to ReportsnReports.com. Of course, small markets by their very nature can show big percentage growth rates. But this seems like the next logical cloud growth story -- especially since big data applications lean so heavily on Hadoop.

5. Birthdays: Our best to Carolyn AprilAdam Famularo and Bob Vogel today. Thanks for all of the briefings, insights and guidance over the years. Hmmm... Birthday celebrations. Stay tuned. Amy Katz may be putting aside After Nines Inc. budget for cake. Lots of cake...

4. Missing A Friend: Gigaom was one of my daily reads each morning. And now it's gone. I already miss it. A lot.

3. Need Funding?: Before you write a business plan and pursue seed, angel or venture capital money -- listen to Podcast Episode 25 with Ampdesk CEO Alex Rowland.

2. Fresh Funding: Tech companies raising money include...

  • Bento Labs (San Francisco), which develops a custom Android smartphone user interface, raised $2 million from First Round Capital and Google Ventures, among others.
  • Checkfront (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), which develops cloud-based booking solutions, raised $1 million in seed funding from multiple backers.
  • SignalFX (San Mateo, Calif.), focused on cloud application monitoring, has emerged from stealth mode. The company has raised $28.5 million in total during its two rounds of funding (March 2013 and January 2015). Side note: Is the cloud-based IT monitoring market nearing a shakeout? 
  • SurveyPal (San Francisco), which appears to be a SurveyMonkey rival, has raised $1 million in seed money from multiple investors.

1. Greetings From Orlando: Can't really say why I'm here. But the skies are blue, and if you look out toward the horizon the future looks bright. Ideas are percolating and software development continues. Stay tuned.

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