5 Technology Observations: 15 April 2015

Good mid-morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology observations, insights, news leaks, rumors and gossip to keep your day humming along for April 15, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 10 items.

10. This Could Be Serious: The European Union has filed formal anti-trust charges against Google, and a separate probe involving Android is now under way. Google denies any wrongdoing. To me, it feels a lot like the 1990s -- when the US government put the squeeze on Microsoft's desktop dominance. With or without government pressure, free and open markets usually provide the corrective actions that regulators can't apply themselves. A case in point: Microsoft was so busy trying to defend its Windows desktop monopoly that the company largely missed the smartphone and tablet waves. The same will eventually happen to Google, as an unforeseen market shift eventually upends the company's Internet dominance... with our without EU regulator pressures.

10. Deadly Discussions?: Yahoo is in talks to buy Foursquare, according to TechCrunch. While I'm not all that interested in the potential deal, I just had to mention it because acquired technologies often die under Yahoo's ownership. Still, Yahoo built its reputation for faulty M&A long before current CEO Marissa Mayer arrived. And more recent buyouts like Tumblr continue to deliver new innovations...

9. Still Under 40: Speaking of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, her bio says she'll turn 40 on May 30. Wish I had been that smart while still in my 30s. And surely, my IQ has dropped a few points while I march through my 40s. 

8. What Happened to SImple?: Steve Jobs had an infamous focus on simplicity. A case in point: dividing the overall IT market into a four-sector grid: Consumer high end, consumer low end, business high end, business low end. Now along comes Apple Watch -- which has 38 different models from which to choose. If you're feeling a little confused about all the designs and pricing levels, VentureBeat lists Apple Watch models and pricing levels on a single webpage.

7. Rise of the Sharing Economy: How can you compete with AirBnB, Uber, Lyft, and other "sharing economy" companies that may disrupt your traditional business? PricewaterhouseCoopers has some interesting thoughts on the topic. Hmmm... If only After Nines Inc. could apply those lessons to its, ahem, own business. Stick around and maybe I'll do a screen share with you late this year...

6. Bye Bye B2B Sales Pros: Roughly 1 million US-based B2B salespeople will lose their jobs to self-service eCommerce by 2020, Forrester Research predicts. You already know the story: Adapt or die. But how can your sales pros adapt? Forrester offers some interesting guidance

5. Smart Career Move: Yesterday, we mentioned that Docker's valuation has hit about $1 billion. Now comes word that Docker raised $95 million in Series D funding. Anybody else think former Red Hat Partner Guru Roger Egan -- one of Docker's earliest employees -- saw the potential Docker wave building long before the rest of us?

4. (Nearly) Done Deal): Nokia, as expected, has agreed to buy Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion. As I mentioned yesterday, the big winner will be... Cisco Systems -- which will surely capitalize as Nokia, Alcatel and Lucent get bogged down in integration issues rather than customer-focused innovations.

3. Double-Shot: I've heard Pink Floyd's Echoes -- all 24 minutes of it -- twice today via two separate streaming music services. The song always seems to come up while I'm reclined -- in a dentist's chair. For the best version of the tune, check out David Gilmour Live in Gdansk. Speaking of which... here's the video -- featuring the late Richard Wright:

2. Fresh Funding: Tech startups that just raised money include:

  • Arcadia (Burlington, Mass.), which offers electronic health record (EHR) data aggregation and analytics tools, raised $13 million in funding; multiple backers were involved.
  • Skyport Systems (Mountain View, Calif.), focused on cyber security, just raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Index Ventures.

1. Thank you: To my business partner, Amy Katz. I always file my personal taxes on time. But that wouldn't be possible if our corporate finances and corporate taxes weren't in great shape. And they always are -- long before filing deadlines arrive. That's why Amy essentially wears our CFO hat in addition to her CEO hat. As for me, I keep making up titles (Content Czar? Seriously?) as a stop-gap to fill the time between now... and whatever's next from After Nines Inc.

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