Microsoft Announces Major Update To Dynamics CRM Coming In Q4

Sales person giving client his card. Microsoft began what promises to be a long road to the fourth quarter release of its Dynamics CRM product today. The product has been completely redesigned, with the on-prem and cloud versions receiving major upgrades. It’s worth noting that while this is a major release announcement, the company has been making ongoing updates to the cloud version of the product. This announcement is… Read More

Google Compute Engine launches Preemptible VMs out of beta

Urs Hölzle, Google's senior vice president for technical infrastructure, speaks at the Google Cloud Platform Live event in San Francisco on March 25, 2014.

Google today is announcing the general availability of Preemptible virtual machines (VMs), a type of cloud infrastructure from the Google Compute Engine public cloud. These new VMs cost less than the Google cloud’s other available VMs, but they can be suddenly shut down by Google if and when the company needs the extra computing power.

Google first introduced Preemptible VMs in May. The chief executive of one startup, Descartes Labs, called them “a game changer” when Google first announced Preemptible VMs.

Now Google’s service level agreement backs up these new cloud resources. That makes it yet another service on the Google Cloud Platform that’s ready for startups and larger companies to feel comfortable using regularly.


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Google regularly introduces features to make its public cloud as appealing as possible. Other recent releases include Cloud Source Repositories.

The idea of providing cloud resources at prices that are lower than usual thanks to the potential for interruptions isn’t new in public cloud. Amazon Web Services, the market leader, offers Spot Instances, which engineers can bid on; when prices exceed bids, the cloud resources stop working. Google’s Preemptible VMs, by contrast, have stable prices for specific flavors of VMs.

This type of cloud infrastructure might not be the best fit for every single application, given that they can cease to work at times. There’s a set pool of Preemptible VMs available from Google, and when everyone else is using them, that could mean you can’t. That means applications should be fault-tolerant in order to withstand downtime.

Still, Google has already found interest in Preemptible VMs for many kinds of computing work.

“During our beta, many customers both big and small have used Preemptible VMs to realize savings for themselves — in the areas of genomics and pharmaceuticals, financial modeling and simulation, rendering, media transcoding, manufacturing design, big data, and web crawling to name a few,” Google Compute Engine senior product manager Paul Nash wrote in a blog post on the news.

Learn more about Google’s Preemptible VMs here.

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Microsoft confirms it has acquired cloud security platform Adallom

Microsoft Gareth Rushgrove Flickr

Microsoft has announced its latest acquisition, this time snapping up cloud security platform Adallom for an undisclosed sum.

This confirmation comes some two months after rumors first emerged of a potential $320 million deal between the two companies.

Developing, refresh


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GoPro starts limited access program for $15,000 Odyssey 16-camera rig for 360-degree 3D videos

The GoPro Odyssey rig.

GoPro today announced a limited access program for Odyssey, the 16-camera rig that the company showed off at the Google I/O developer conference in May. Now people interested in making 360-degree 3D videos with the system can sign up to make a purchase.

The full set includes 15 Hero4 Black cameras with special firmware, syncing cables, a case, a microphone, warranty, and support. The price: $15,000.

GoPro will start shipping these packages in November, initially in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan, and Brazil, according to a statement. Those interested in participating in the limited access program can sign up here.


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Here’s a new video from GoPro showing off the type of video you can create with Odyssey:

The rig relies on Jump, a technology that Google has developed to seamlessly knit together the footage from each of the 16 cameras. Odyssey is the first hardware product to use Jump, whose videos people will be able to play back on YouTube, Googler Clay Bavor said onstage at Google I/O.

So it’s a fairly significant rollout, not only for publicly traded GoPro but also for Google, which is keen to see great virtual reality content arrive for viewing in its Google Cardboard headset.

This type of equipment could become more and more common for companies in the business of making immersive video. In July, just two months after GoPro debuted Odyssey, Nokia introduced its own virtual reality camera, Ozo, which features eight shutter sensors.

The GoPro Odyssey rig at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco on May 28.

Above: The GoPro Odyssey rig at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco on May 28.

Image Credit: Jordan Novet/VentureBeat

The price tag for the Odyssey might seem a bit high considering that 16 GoPro Hero4 Black cameras cost around $8,000. One reason the price is so high, GoPro said, is that you never have to worry about the cameras running out of battery power. “Odyssey can be plugged into the wall,” the company said in the statement.

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Docker hires former Twitter executive Mike Gupta as its new CFO

At the Docker office in San Francisco in March 2015.

Docker, the startup that has popularized Linux containers for packaging up and running application code, is announcing today that it has hired Mike Gupta as its new chief financial officer (CFO). Gupta comes to Docker from Twitter, where he was most recently head of strategic investments and before that the social networking company’s CFO.

Gupta led Twitter through its 2013 initial public offering (IPO). Earlier in his career, Gupta was treasurer at Zynga during its IPO and prior to that he spent several years in financial roles at Yahoo. He replaces Eric Bardin, who has been Docker’s CFO since 2010. Bardin will be now work as Docker’s senior vice president of finance and business operations.

Gupta’s arrival at Docker is, at the very least, symbolic.


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Docker’s open-source container software has become popular among programmers and operations people for building, deploying, and updating applications; the startup has picked up partnerships with Microsoft and other software vendors; it has rolled out a plentitude of new software tooling; and Docker has had no problem bringing in venture capital funding, having raised a $95 million round earlier this year. But the company is perceived to be early in the process of bringing in vast sums of revenue, despite its billion-dollar valuation. So a new CFO with experience taking prominent tech companies public should be a sign that Docker is serious about getting big when it comes to money.

Time will tell if and when that actually happens.

Docker's new chief financial officer, Mike Gupta.

Above: Docker’s new chief financial officer, Mike Gupta.

Image Credit: Screenshot

Gupta, for one, is hopeful.

“I look forward to working with the Docker team to ensure we are financially well positioned and yet nimble so that we can continue to innovate,” Gupta said in a Docker press release.

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Docker hires former Twitter executive Mike Gupta as its new CFO

At the Docker office in San Francisco in March 2015.

Docker, the startup that has popularized Linux containers for packaging up and running application code, is announcing today that it has hired Mike Gupta as its new chief financial officer (CFO). Gupta comes to Docker from Twitter, where he was most recently head of strategic investments and before that the social networking company’s CFO.

Gupta led Twitter through its 2013 initial public offering (IPO). Earlier in his career, Gupta was treasurer at Zynga during its IPO and prior to that he spent several years in financial roles at Yahoo. He replaces Eric Bardin, who has been Docker’s CFO since 2010. Bardin will be now work as Docker’s senior vice president of finance and business operations.

Gupta’s arrival at Docker is, at the very least, symbolic.


From VentureBeat
Get faster turnaround on creative, more testing, smarter improvements and better results. Learn how to apply agile marketing to your team at VB’s Agile Marketing Roadshow in SF.

Docker’s open-source container software has become popular among programmers and operations people for building, deploying, and updating applications; the startup has picked up partnerships with Microsoft and other software vendors; it has rolled out a plentitude of new software tooling; and Docker has had no problem bringing in venture capital funding, having raised a $95 million round earlier this year. But the company is perceived to be early in the process of bringing in vast sums of revenue, despite its billion-dollar valuation. So a new CFO with experience taking prominent tech companies public should be a sign that Docker is serious about getting big when it comes to money.

Time will tell if and when that actually happens.

Docker's new chief financial officer, Mike Gupta.

Above: Docker’s new chief financial officer, Mike Gupta.

Image Credit: Screenshot

Gupta, for one, is hopeful.

“I look forward to working with the Docker team to ensure we are financially well positioned and yet nimble so that we can continue to innovate,” Gupta said in a Docker press release.

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Apple keynote: Will new iPhones help prevent first ever drop in unit sales?

Apple logo

Since the release of the first iPhone back in 2007, Apple has maintained a remarkable streak. Each quarter, the company has sold more units of the iPhone than it did in the same quarter the previous year.

As the company prepares for its latest iPhone event Wednesday, some observers are wondering: Can the company keep that streak alive?

There are some analysts projecting that the company will see a year-over-year decline in quarterly unit sales during the holiday quarter (Apple’s FY2016 Q1). And others point to the first three months of 2016 (Apple’s FY2016 Q2) as the point for a possible drop.


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Why?

In some ways, the company may be a victim of its own success. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were such monster hits, and so many people upgraded, that some analysts believe the expected iPhone 6s is going to have a hard time matching that momentum. There just aren’t enough differences in design or features to generate the same enthusiasm.

There is also concern that China’s economy continues to stall, though Apple chief executive Tim Cook recently said the company is performing strongly there despite these headwinds.

Personally, I would still be a bit shocked to see an actual drop in the number of iPhones sold. In terms of units, I think there is going to be a big surge when, as expected, Apple drops the price of the iPhone 6. The company typically does this for its mid-tier phone, and the iPhone 6 will represent a huge deal that may trigger another wave of upgrades.

I still have an iPhone 5, but my wife got an iPhone 6 this summer. And while my 3-year-old iPhone 5 still works great, the quality of photos from the iPhone 6 has left me more than a little jealous.

In any case, whether growth just slows a bit, or whether actual numbers drops, it’s going to be interesting to see how Apple manages Wall Street’s expectations. The company has been here several times in recent years, its demise or decline widely feared.

And each time, it’s kept its head down and just kept moving forward. No matter how much the rest of the world may freak out, I’d expect the company to ride through this next potential rough patch with the same attitude.
Statistic: Global Apple iPhone sales from 3rd quarter 2007 to 3rd quarter 2015 (in million units) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

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A unicorn is born: BlaBlaCar may be closing France’s largest VC round at $160M

BlaBlaCar's headquarters in Paris.

Ride-sharing giant BlaBlaCar has reportedly raised $160 million, an amount that would set a new record for a French company and usher it into the increasingly less-exclusive club of tech unicorns.

TechCrunch today said that, according to its sources, Paris-based BlaBlaCar closed the round led by Insight Venture Partners at a valuation of $1.2 billion. Bloomberg had previously reported this summer that BlaBlaCar was seeking to raise a new mega-round that would value it over $1 billion.

We’ve reached out to BlaBlaCar, Insight and previous investors for comment.

If correct, the latest round comes just over a year after BlaBlaCar raised $100 million to fuel its expansion outside of Europe, where it has become hugely popular. It would also top the $115 million raised by Sigfox, a French IoT company based near Toulouse, that holds the current French VC record.

BlaBlaCar focuses on ride-sharing over longer distances between cities, rather than local short-haul rides like Uber and Lyft.

A BlaBlaCar driver who is planning a trip offers space in their car to other passengers for a fee. Because those fees technically help cover the cost of the ride the driver already plans to make, rather than generate a profit, BlaBlaCar has avoided the regulatory headaches that have confronted Uber in Europe.

BlaBlaCar has said it has no immediate plans to launch in the U.S. But the new round would likely help it continue to add new countries elsewhere.


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