5 Technology Observations: 16 April 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news updates, insights, confessions of a former blogger (not really) and plenty more to start your day for Thursday, April 16, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 10 items...

10. Off-Screen Scuffle: In the 1990s, Microsoft essentially blocked PC makers from placing third-party icons on the Windows 95 desktop. Fast forward two decades, and Microsoft can't even get its own icons placed on a smartphone screen. Indeed, Verizon has declined to pre-install Microsoft Skype, OneNote and OneDrive on Samsung's new S6 smartphone. AT&T, meanwhile, has declined to pre-install OneDrive on the S6. 

9. Yet Another Bubble Warning: Surely, you've heard the chatter: Tech startup valuations have grown too high too rapidly, and we're in another bubble -- some pundits claim. But what about "startups" with Billion Dollar Valuations? Are they, in particular, at risk of a downward correction? The Motley Fool takes a long look at the potential Technology Venture Capital Bubble. The upshot? A few experts say it's an isolated bubble. But is anything really isolated anymore -- especially when so many startups are leveraging third-party cloud services, etc.?

8. Cybersecurity Settlement: Target, the big retailer, has reached a $19 million data breach settlement with MasterCard. Translation: Target will reimburse banks associated with MasterCard about $19 million to cover costs to reissue cards after the 2013 Target hack. Roughly 40 million credit cards were compromised by that breach. Target says the breach cost the company about $162 million in expenses -- not to mention brand damage, lost customers and executive fallout.

7. Oracle and Samsung?: Imagine a world where Oracle's database and business applications were easily accessed from Samsung mobile devices. Sounds smart. But sometimes, partnerships don't workout as planned. Some pundits say the mobile B2B alliance between Samsung and Oracle is weakening. Not smart, considering Oracle rival SAP has a pretty strong mobile database strategy leveraging Sybase...

6. Data Dream Team: Wunderman, the global digital marketing agency, appears to be building a big data dream team. Gary S. Laben recently became Wunderman's first chief data officer. And now, CRM analytics expert Yannis Kotziagklaouridis has joined as global chief analytics officer -- reporting to Laben and KBM Group President William J. Bukart. What's the big deal? Consider this: Roughly 61 percent of CIOs want to hire chief data officers within the next 12 months -- in a quest to more effectively gather, manage, protect and monetize data.

5. Big Data Dashboard: Think Big, a Teradata company, has introduced a Dashboard Engine for Hadoop -- allowing customers to quickly access and report on big data in Hadoop-based data lakes. Within the next two years, I suspect every major application or app will have some form of built-in reporting or analytics... 

4. HP's Brand: Once Hewlett-Packard breaks into two companies later this year, the Hewlett Packard Enterprise business will leverage a rather simple logo -- minus the hyphen. Three examples of the logo are below. How remarkably... plain. Take a closer look and I suspect Hewlett Packard Enterprise wants its logo to communicate "building blocks for enterprise IT hardware, software and services." Those are my words in quotes, not HP's. 

3. Sometime Today, In A City Not So Far Away: The next Star Wars Episode VII trailer likely debuts today at 1pm ET/10am PT during a Star Wars Celebration panel in Anaheim, Calif. Yes, it will be live streamed. Forgive me if I put a corporate conference call on mute for about 3 minutes somewhere around that time...

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

  • RetailNext (San Jose, Calif.), focused on in-store retail analytics, raised $125 million led by Activant Capital Group.
  • TouchBistro (New York), which develops an iPad point of sale app for restaurants, raised $6 million in Series A funding from multiple backers.
  • Vlocity (San Francisco), focused on vertical market cloud applications, raised $42.8 million in funding led by Salesforce Ventures.

1. Want to Meet?: I'll be at New York TechDay on April 23 in Manhattan. It will likely be one the largest gatherings of tech startups and investors -- attracting 13,000 or more people. If you'd like to potentially meet, send me an email: Joe@AfterNines.com.

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