Faddish mobile apps and instant 20-something billionaires have become the public face of Silicon Valley’s latest boom. But some in the tech industry have ambitious ideas that could have a far more profound impact on the world.
In the latest Weekend FT magazine, we report on some of the ideas that will shape the future. Also: our take on life on the front lines of the tech boom, including what it’s really like to run a start-up (hint: it’s not all stock options and free food).
IBM and Twitter executives were not short of extravagant claims on Wednesday as they announced a partnership to apply data from the network to real-time business decisions.
For example: “It’s no longer social data, it’s world data.” Also: “People talk about the internet of things, but we’ve already instrumented the human race.” Read more
The announcement of a new Windows isn’t what it used to be – even when you skip past little-loved 9 (a number which didn’t test well with focus groups, apparently) and jump straight to Windows 10.
But converging the different Windows operating systems on a single core, with distinct user interfaces suited to each type of device, is still an important step forward for Microsoft. It also represents the sort of evolution that might, in time, allow the Windows 8 debacle to fade into history. Read more
Ray Ozzie, the man who once filled Bill Gates’ very big shoes as chief software architect at Microsoft, is back.
His latest start-up – a voice-powered collaboration tool for workers – looks like a not-so-subtle snub of his former employer. It is, he says, what Skype (now owned by Microsoft) might have become, had it not given up on “innovation in depth”. Read more
CEOs love talking about the need for focus. But they’re not so good at picking things they’re not going to do as a result.
Satya Nadella has made a start. Five months after moving into the top job, he has finally admitted that the Xbox is not a core part of Microsoft’s business. What he hasn’t said yet is what he’s going to do with it. Read more
Until now, Facebook has struggled – and failed – to strike the right note in response to the disquiet over its deliberate alteration of users’ moods for a research study.
On Wednesday it got another chance, as Senator Mark Warner wrote to the Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate. What Facebook came up with in response still didn’t classify as an actual apology, but at least the company no longer sounded so bemused by all the fuss. Read more
Venture capitalists are lining up to back bitcoin start-ups. On Monday, Xapo bagged some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names for its latest $20m round: Greylock’s Reid Hoffman and Index Ventures’ Mike Volpi, not to mention personal money from Max Levchin, Yuri Milner and Jerry Yang.
But all of this VC activity raises an interesting question. If these investors truly believe the crypto-currency will one day support a significant new financial services industry, why not just buy the currency and hold it? Read more
Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com chief
Salesforce.com, the company that did more than any other to invent the software-as-a-service industry, is reaching a turning point.
After years of rapid growth, it has a pressing need for the more evolved infrastructure, processes and rounded management team of the large company it has become. And with growth starting to slow, it is coming closer to a seminal moment: when investors will start expecting it to report real profits, and not just on a pro-forma basis. The appointment of a new chief financial officer on Monday is the latest sign that is preparing for the changes. Read more
The US Supreme Court has rejected Google’s bid to limit the legal fall-out from the StreetView spying case.
In the process, it has also delivered its second decision in a week that interprets how the country’s privacy laws should apply when it comes to new technologies. Both times, it has come down on the side of stronger legal protections for the individual. Read more
Is Oculus, the virtual reality company being acquired by Facebook, going to make its own headsets? Or is it going to rely on some of the world’s biggest consumer technology companies to develop products using its software, turning it into the Android of VR?
Yes to both. Read more