5 Technology Observations: 8 July 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news insights, updates, observations and plenty more to start your day for Wednesday, July 8, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves nine items to sip on.

9. Upcoming Podcasts: I've posted a teaser alert here, outlining our next guests and some tips if you'd like to nominate someone to appear on the weekly program.

8. Hardware Shrinkage: Gartner is cutting its forecast for PC and smartphone sales this year, and overall revenues -- at $606 billion -- will be down for the first time since 2010. The culprits: Falling smartphone prices, fewer first-time buyers in China, weaker demand for tablets, and Microsoft's Windows 10 launch -- which will cause enterprises to take a cautious approach to PC migrations and purchases, Gartner indicated.

7. Market Shakeout?: EMC is selling off most of Syncplicity -- a potential alternative to Box and Dropbox -- to investment firm Skyview Capital LLC. Why the move? Pundits have been impressed with Box's recent relationship with IBM. Plus, upstarts like eFolder's Anchor offering have caught on in the SMB market. But even some giants like Dropbox have been struggling to differentiate their offerings as "free cloud storage" becomes the norm. And EMC -- a high-margin enterprise player -- isn't exactly used to slim-margin software platforms... Syncplicity focuses on the enterprise space, but the consumerization of IT means there's no avoiding Box in that space... Still, it sounds like EMC will maintain some financial interest in Syncplicity...

6. What If: A talented group of people in Southern California got together to change a certain piece of the IT security market? Quite a few well-known names from the SMB IT community are involved. Details are expected in August. In the meantime, I think i've kept this teaser vague enough to avoid certain Google alert triggers...

5. Generation X in the Boardroom: Amid the rush to cover Millennial issues in the workplace, plenty of pundits failed to notice that Generation X leaders are grabbing seats in corporate boardrooms. Still, many Baby Boomers aren't heading off to retirement in a quiet manner. Instead, Boomers are now entrepreneurs -- though that initial wave now seems to be slowing a bit. All this generational talk got me thinking... Hmmm...

4. OpenStack Appliances: Want to accelerate the deployment of OpenStack clouds in corporate data centers? So does Mirantis, which has launched a certified OpenStack appliance program. Smart. But should major server makers have easy-to-activate OpenStack appliances front-and-center in their data center offerings? A few certainly do. But I sense that the overall market still craves far less complexity.

3. Finding Big Data Talent: The name to know is Paul Groce, who recently rejoined Heidrick & Struggles -- the executive search firm. Groce will help companies to find top technology talent, with an emphasis on CIOs, CTOs and big data experts -- including Chief Data Officers. Expect more coverage about Groce's move over on Information Management.

2. Amazon Web Services: Keep a close eye on Amazon's cloud moves over the next 24 to 48 hours... Just sayin'. And maybe I'll be saying more by Thursday afternoon...

1. Gotta Run: After Nines Inc.'s team has alleged meetings in a few prime locations today.  Hmmm... Stay tuned.