Microsoft invests $5 billion in new IoT strategy

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microsoft announce $ 5 billion iot investment over next four years

Microsoft has outlined plans to make a substantial investment in IoT technology, setting aside $ 5 billion to grow its partner ecosystem, develop a more intelligent edge environment, and build on existing products and services.

In a move similar to Dell’s in New York last October, Microsoft will be revamping its IoT strategy over the next four years. Although the software giant has been invested in the space for years, booming adoption and exponential growth – long predicted by analysts – means that, in its own words, Microsoft is “just getting started.”

In a company blog post outlining the move, Julia White, CVP of Microsoft Azure, set out how fresh investment and R&D will make Microsoft ideally positioned to work with customers of all sizes and industries. “Our goal is to give every customer the ability to transform their businesses, and the world at large, with connected solutions,” she wrote.

Read more: VMware partners with Axis, Wipro on new IoT edge range

Investing at the edge

The $ 5 billion investment will be spread across IoT security, building tools and services for the IoT and the edge computing environment, and in continued growth within Microsoft’s partner ecosystem.

“Today, we’re planning to dedicate even more resources to research and innovation in IoT and what is ultimately evolving to be the new intelligent edge,” wrote White.

“With our IoT platform spanning cloud, OS, and devices, we are uniquely positioned to simplify the IoT journey, so any customer – regardless of size, technical expertise, budget, industry, or other factors – can create trusted, connected solutions that improve business and customer experiences, as well as the daily lives of people all over the world.”

Read more: An inside view of start-up factory Dell Technologies Capital

Developing a partner ecosystem

Like Dell, Microsoft acknowledges the importance of a partner ecosystem in delivering products and support to clients with differing needs.

“We’re also getting a look into how both customers and partners overcome the specific challenges of building an IoT solution that harnesses massive amounts of data. Whether they’re building products that transform the home, office, or factory floor, one thing remains clear: IoT is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary effort that spans cloud development, machine learning, AI, security, and privacy.”

Microsoft’s Azure IoT suite allows companies to develop their own use cases and experiment with connected technologies. The platform was bolstered by the launch of Azure IoT Edge last year.

Microsoft’s partner network already includes technology specialists Cisco and Hitachi and management consultants PwC and EY. It’s likely that the company’s VC arm, Microsoft Ventures, will also make further investments in the IoT space as part of the new strategy – a further echo of Dell’s recent moves.

“Today’s announcement is big – for us and for the future of IoT and the intelligent edge,” concluded White. “It positions us to support customers as they develop new and increasingly sophisticated IoT solutions, which few could have imagined just a few years ago. We can’t wait to see what comes from our customers and partners next, and we’ll have more to share throughout the year.”

Read more: HCL opens Microsoft Cortana AI Lab for Azure development

Internet of Business says

When Dell EMC launched its own IoT strategy last October in New York, it stressed a number of things: the critical role of the intelligent edge and the distributed core, the boom in connected-device uptake, and the need for investment in both the partner landscape and innovative startups. Less than six months later, Microsoft has announced a similar move – but with five times greater investment.

Alongside the growth of AI – which Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, and Apple are all pouring resources into – we can see that IoT systems are moving into the core to the new enterprise computing landscape, on both the software and hardware side of the industry.

The post Microsoft invests $ 5 billion in new IoT strategy appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Domo, the once secretive $2 billion software company led by Josh James, is moving to go public

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Domo CEO Josh James

The Utah darling held its IPO kickoff meeting last week.

The business software company Domo, last valued at over $ 2 billion, is moving to go public, Recode has learned.

Domo last week held its “organizational meeting,” which generally serves as the formal kickoff in advance of an IPO filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to sources. The company is pursuing a confidential filing with the SEC; it isn’t clear if the company has already filed or instead will do so within the next few weeks.

The filing would be the latest IPO in a flurry of listings, especially in the enterprise sector. And it would offer a payday to the cross section of venture funds that have financed the eight-year-old company’s growth, like GGV Capital, TPG and Benchmark.

It would also be a substantial exit for the so-called Silicon Slopes region of Utah: Domo, led by prominent entrepreneur Josh James, is based in a suburb of Salt Lake City. James is well known as the co-founder of Omniture, an analytics company that was sold to Adobe for almost $ 2 billion.

Domo declined to comment.

Domo has long teased an IPO — James told Recode as early as April 2015 that his company would be ready to go public in the next six months. And a company could always back off after the so-called org meeting or even after the filing, but this is a definite step in the IPO planning process.

The org meeting typically begins a one- to two-month process that includes the drafting of the paperwork that is filed with the SEC. The company’s leadership, its board, lawyers, bankers and financial advisers gather to chart how and when exactly the company will file and sell itself to Wall Street. A company though isn’t bound to file, and could eventually delay the listing, back off altogether or get acquired at the last minute.

The company hired banks to advise their IPO as far back as April 2016, but its momentum toward a public offering had stalled. Domo raised another round of financing in early 2017, pushing back the IPO as part of an attempt, as James said at the time, to remain private as long as humanly possible.

After somehow operating in stealth for almost five years, Domo emerged in 2015 with a $ 2 billion valuation. The company offers to businesses a portal that visualizes company and customer data — a live view of all sorts of things a CEO might need to know about his or her company in one software platform. Competitors include the still-private Looker and the now-public Tableau Software.

Domo’s IPO would be the latest high-profile listing at a time when private companies apparently feel the public markets will be friendly to startups. Spotify and Dropbox shares have begun trading over just the last few weeks, and a pair of other cloud-based companies, Zscaler and Zuora, have filed to follow suit this spring.

Advising Domo’s offering are Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. The banks declined to comment.

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Microsoft plans to invest $5 billion into the IoT

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Microsoft has announced it will be investing $ 5 billion into the IoT over the span of the next four years.

The goal of the investment, according to the firm, is “to give every customer the ability to transform their businesses, and the world at large, with connected solutions.”

If you’re reading this, you’ll know the IoT will have a huge impact on almost every facet of our lives — much like computers have. Microsoft’s goal for the IoT even harks some resemblance to company founder Bill Gates’ mission statement to put "a computer on every desk and in every home."

Global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney predicts the IoT will lead to a $ 1.9 trillion productivity increase and $ 177 billion in reduced costs by 2020. This will be driven by connected improvements to cities, homes, vehicles, utilities, manufacturing, and just about every other aspect of our lives you can think of.

The $ 5 billion investment announced today will help to ensure Microsoft continues to deliver for its customers’ needs.

Microsoft already has a range of IoT solutions available including, of course, a dedicated version of its operating system for use on low-powered devices — aptly called Windows 10 IoT.

Along with its operating system, Microsoft also has a cloud offering to control, secure, and manage IoT devices. To complete the end-to-end solution, Microsoft also offers analytics and specific applications for businesses looking to take intelligent actions based on IoT data.

Julia White, CVP of Microsoft Azure, wrote in a blog post:

"We are committed to helping customers bring their vision to life across every industry. Today’s announcement is big—for us and for the future of IoT and the intelligent edge. It positions us to support customers as they develop new and increasingly sophisticated IoT solutions, which few could have imagined just a few years ago. We can’t wait to see what comes from our customers and partners next, and we’ll have more to share throughout the year."

Companies like Steelcase, Kohler, Chevron, United Technologies, and Johnson Controls currently make use of Microsoft’s IoT platform.

What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s IoT investment? Let us know in the comments.

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Zuckerberg: Most of Facebook’s 2 billion users should assume their data has been compromised

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today revealed that all of its 2.2 billion users should assume their public data has been compromised by third-party scrapers. The source of this vulnerability is Facebook’s search function, which allows anyone to look up users via their email address or phone numbers. Users have to opt into it, via an option that lets their names come up in searches. The security settings have this option on by default. In a blog post from CTO Mike Schroepfer, Facebook hinted at the scope of the problem: However, malicious actors have also abused these features to scrape public…

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CEO of Mt. Gox doesn’t want the leftover billion dollars worth of BTC

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Four years ago Mark Karpeles became one of the most controversial figures in the fledgling cryptocurrency space after his exchange, Mt. Gox, abruptly went down along with 850,000 Bitcoin. Now the controversial Mt. Gox CEO is back to apologize for his mistakes. In a Reddit AMA session, Karpeles took a moment to address some of the criticism aimed at him and the way he handled the Mt. Gox bankruptcy. Here are some of the more interesting things he had to say: I did my best trying to grow the ecosystem by running the biggest exchange at the time. It had…

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At $27 billion, Spotify is the seventh-most-valuable internet company to go public in the U.S.

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It’s up there with Google, if you don’t adjust for inflation.

Spotify’s public offering is not only notable because of its uncommon choice to list its shares directly on the stock market. The stock, which began trading today, also ranks among the most valuable internet companies to list in the U.S.

Its closing market value today was about $ 27 billion, according to Dealogic, putting it ahead of Twitter and Groupon, but behind Alibaba, Facebook, Snap and Google following their first trading days. That’s despite a stock price decline of about 11 percent today.

Spotify is also the most valuable tech IPO since Snap went public last year, closing its first day at nearly $ 29 billion. Spotify had the 25th-biggest first-day closing market cap out of companies in all sectors, according to Dealogic’s data, which goes back to 1995 and is not adjusted for inflation.


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Spotify Valued at $29.5 Billion as Stock Begins Trading at $165.90 Per Share

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Spotify, Apple Music’s main competitor, this morning opened on the New York Stock Exchange at $165.90 per share, valuing the company at $29.5 billion.

When Spotify filed to go public in February, CNBC estimated the company’s valuation at ~$23 billion based on private trades that had reached as high as $132.50. Spotify used the $132 per share figure as its reference price, which would have given the company a $23.5 billion valuation.


As noted by TechCrunch, Spotify is not selling its shares on the stock market and is not raising money today. Its direct listing is instead a collection of transactions from existing shareholders selling shares to stock market investors.

Spotify employees are allowed to sell their shares right away, unlike with a traditional IPO, which could lead to volatility in the coming weeks.

As of December 31, 2017, Spotify had 159 million active monthly users and 71 million premium subscribers, which Spotify says is “double the scale” of Apple Music. Apple as of February boasted 36 million paying subscribers.

In an appearance on CBS This Morning, Spotify cofounder and CEO Daniel Ek today discussed the company’s public offering and a recent report from The Wall Street Journal suggesting Apple Music is on track to overtake Spotify in U.S. subscribers.

In response, Ek said that because Spotify is twice the size as Apple Music, the company “still has some room.” Ek said that he’s “very happy” with the growth that Spotify is seeing. The music industry, he says, is too big for Spotify alone.

“What we’ve found is that when we’ve got competition, it actually grows the market because more people are now talking about streaming. It’s easy to forget that just three years ago, even in the U.S., streaming wasn’t a thing,” he said.

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Spotify stock reference price set at $132 a share, placing company valuation at $23.5 billion

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Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, went public this morning, trading under ticker name SPOT, with the New York Stock Market setting its reference price at $ 132 a share. That puts the company value at $ 23.5 billion, and is on target with what CNBC reported last month when shares were traded on private markets were for as high as $ 132.50 a share. Spotify’s last valuation was at $ 8.4 billion when it raised a financing round of $ 400 million back in 2015.

Sweden-based Spotify is available in 61 countries with an overall user base that includes ad-supported free listeners of 159 million, and 70 million paying users as of January 2018. The company was founded in 2006 by Martin Lorentzon and Daniel Ek, who remains its current…

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Telegram has raised a total of $1.7 billion from its two pre-ICO sales

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In February, secure messaging service Telegram launched a presale for its cryptocurency prior to an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), raising $ 850 million from 81 investors, and later that month, The Verge learned that it was launching a second private presale, in which it aimed to double that amount. Bloomberg Technology reports that the company did just that, and has raised a total of $ 1.7 billion in March between the two sales.

In a filing to the Securities and Exchanges Commission, Telegram says that it raised an additional $ 850 million from 94 investors in the second sale, bringing the total amount to $ 1.7 billion. It also says that it might “pursue one or more subsequent offerings” beyond these first two sales.

The company is…

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China looked at investing in SoftBank’s $100 billion tech fund

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The Vision Fund has ratcheted back some of its ambitions in China due to political considerations.

The Chinese government had talks about possibly financing the world’s most ambitious investment project, SoftBank’s $ 100 billion bet on the future of technology known as the Vision Fund.

China’s largest sovereign wealth fund, the China Investment Corporation, last year spoke with the Vision Fund about making an investment, according to five people with knowledge of or briefed on the conversations. A contribution from CIC, which has $ 800 billion to invest, would have been very politically controversial, but it would also supply the Vision Fund, led by CEO Masayoshi Son, with a steady spring of capital for future versions of SoftBank’s project.

Sources differ on how serious the talks became, but a contribution has yet to materialize, leading many to believe that the chance of an investment at this point in this fund is unlikely. China could still strike a deal that would allow SoftBank to invest alongside it, these sources say, though SoftBank is said to be discouraged by the political and regulatory risks that would come with accepting Chinese investors into their fund.

SoftBank declined to comment. CIC spokespeople did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund is also serious enough about China that it had been scouting last year for a new local partner to lead its investing in Chinese companies, two people familiar with the conversations tell Recode. The aim was to bolster SoftBank’s on-the-ground connections. The fund had deep recruiting conversations with at least one senior China candidate, the people said.

The moves shed light on the challenges for SoftBank in China, as well as China’s ambitions outside its borders. A deal would appeal to both sides for a few reasons, at least on paper.

To begin with, SoftBank, for all its riches, has been slow to do a final close on the Vision Fund, which currently stands at $ 92 billion, short of its $ 100 billion target. The firm originally said the fund would close by the end of 2017 but now says it will reach its financing target by this June. SoftBank has, of course, been pitching almost all the top sovereign funds as it works to close the fund.

A deal with China would also give Son a powerful ally in Beijing, where he has had at times a rocky relationship, and where he made his name with a landmark bet on Alibaba in 1999.

SoftBank failed to make headway in China when it first entered the market 18 years ago. Son made a play to invest in the country through the creation of a fund focused on early-stage investments there. But ties between SoftBank and the fund weakened as Son grew more interested in later-stage deals; the fund still exists but now has outside investors beyond SoftBank.

China could still be attractive for future Vision Funds. Saudi Arabia, which, like China, has eagerly sought to diversify its assets and invest overseas, has been expected globally to help finance SoftBank’s investments in part through the $ 1.5 trillion initial public offering of Aramco, the kingdom’s state-owned oil company.

But delays of the IPO, plus the general political upheaval in the nation, could mean that the Vision Fund needs to more aggressively court other sources of money.

What would a deal have offered the Chinese? The CIC needs places to park its cash, and there is no bigger repository than the Vision Fund. While the CIC has long been a limited partner in some of Silicon Valley’s top growth and private equity funds, the CIC’s budget means it does not have time for smaller placements of capital into smaller investment pools, like standard venture capital funds.

China’s CIC is also trying to become a big player in U.S. technology. It plans to open an office in San Francisco in order to more easily make direct investments into Silicon Valley. It is also staffing up in New York City.

But its track record in U.S. technology is considered by almost all veteran tech investors to be quite poor, mostly because it cannot get access to the best companies. That means the investments that it does make are generally in less-desirable startups. Decisionmaking within the sovereign wealth fund is also described as slow and bureaucratic.

Putting its money into SoftBank would give it access to the tech players it might not otherwise be able to reach.

Another reason why the CIC may want to work through the Vision Fund — politics. The U.S. government closely scrutinizes Chinese deals in the U.S. through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The CIC has criticized the Trump administration for what it sees as a tough, opaque crackdown, and running the deals under a SoftBank banner might solve the regulatory problem.

But the Vision Fund, according a source familiar with the fund, has ratcheted back some of its ambitions in China exactly due to CFIUS considerations. Chinese investment through a fund could still trigger government scrutiny.

The Trump administration, for instance, recently blocked the takeover bid of U.S company Qualcomm by the Singapore-based Broadcom, on national security grounds. Broadcom had already maneuvered to re-domicile in the U.S., potentially making a CFIUS review moot, but that didn’t sway the Trump administration from moving to block the deal.

These latest developments now suggest it may be too late for CIC to strike a deal with SoftBank. The Trump Administration’s tough stance toward China has scared Chinese investors trying to deploy cash in the U.S., sources say.

There is another option on the table, according to sources with knowledge of the talks. China and SoftBank could enter into what’s known as a “co-investing” relationship. Under that kind of understanding — formal or informal — CIC would be introduced to some of the best technology deals outside of China without having to pay management fees to the Vision Fund. And CIC could correspondingly help the Vision Fund hear about the best opportunities in China, where it similarly wants to do more.

CIC is said to be impressed with the prestige of the Vision Fund, according to multiple people who have spoken with the sovereign fund recently, and is attracted to the chance to tie its brand to Son much like the CIC did to Goldman Sachs. Last year, the two entities entered into a partnership for a $ 5 billion fund to invest in U.S. manufacturing. CIC also recently pulled out of an investment deal with Blackstone.

SoftBank has also been more aggressively chasing deals in China, sources say. The Vision Fund is planning to put money into at least two separate Chinese startups. Both those investments were part of the same funding rounds in which CIC also participated. It’s not known which companies received the funding, though the Vision Fund reportedly is considering an investment in Manbang Group.

Those deals drew notice because — with some notable exceptions — the Vision Fund and CIC have not historically invested in the same round of a startup, close observers of the relationship say. Going ahead with the investments is a sign of SoftBank’s renewed push into China.


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