5 Technology Observations: 24 March 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news updates, insights, and chatter to start your day for Tuesday, March 24, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves nine items.

9. Android Cousin?: Twitter is pumping venture capital into Cyanogen, which develops an Android variant that competes with Google's industry standard version. Total funding at Cyanogen now tops $110 million.

8. Let's Catch Up Mid-Day: I'm set to co-anchor Tech News Today with Mike Elgan at 1pm ET/10am PT today. Tune into the live conversation or catch the recorded show at your convenience.

7. If You Can't Beat Them: Microsoft lost the mobile operating system wars to Apple iOS and Android. To regain some credibility, Microsoft continues to shift the battle to the application level -- where some Microsoft Apps (Office, OneDrive, Skype) will now be preinstalled on selected Android devices from Samsung, Dell and several other device makers. Let's hope the focus remains high-value apps rather than crapware and bloatware.

6. Selling Their Souls?: Facebook may host some publishers' news sites. In return, the media companies will give up some control over their readership, the New York Times reports. My spin? Never give up control of the reader. Never. Reach is worthless if you don't control the customer relationship.

5. Missing the Bigger Story: Lots of pundits mention that Dell has hired former AMD CEO Rory Read. But most folks fail to mention that Read previously was president of Lenovo. And Lenovo, more than any other PC vendor, has successfully navigated the shift to mobile and multi-screen computing. 

4. Road Trip: A few folks have asked "when?" The answer will likely involve May. Stay tuned.

3. Fresh Funding: Startups raising money include...

  • Day1 Solutions (Mclean, Va.), focused on cloud services for government customers, has raised $2 million in seed funding.
  • Localytics (Boston, Mass.), which develops analytics and marketing software for mobile apps, has raised $35 million in Series D funding. Sapphire Ventures led the round. ESPN, eBay, Fox and The New York Times leverage the analytics tools.
  • PageCloud (Ottawa), which offers a website creation app, raised $2.2 million in seed funding from multiple investors. 
  • Skycure (Israel), a mobile enterprise security company for Android and iOS, has raised $8 million -- bringing total funding to $11 million so far. Multiple investors participated in this round.
  • The Loadown (New York), which makes tools for mobile app pricing and real-time sales, has raised seed money from IGA Works. The sum was not disclosed.

2. Join Us Tonight: Microsoft Chairman John Thompson (formerly CEO of Symantec) has invested in Rubrik, a cloud backup startup. We've got the details, and plenty more, in tonight's podcast (Episode 27). Join us at 9:01 p.m. ET for our conversation with Bipul Sinha, CEO of Rubrik -- which emerged from stealth mode with $10 million in Series A funding today.

1. Another Cloud Backup Startup: Yup, Rubrik is another cloud backup startup. But CEO Bipul Sinha insists the company has a unique approach -- a very consumer-like, ease-of-use model that's similar to Apple Time Machine -- but for the enterprise data protection market. Again, get the details during tonight's podcast at 9:01 p.m. ET.

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