Data Domain

David Gelles

The fog is finally starting to lift. That was the message from storage maker EMC as it reported second quarter earnings and for the first time this year offered guidance. Until now, EMC had declined to issue a formal outlook, saying the economic picture was too murky and tech spending remained unpredictable.

But in projecting full year earnings that beat analyst expectations, EMC signalled that the worst of the downturn was over for it, and perhaps the tech sector. “We now have better visibility and more confidence in the second half of 2009,” said chief financial officer David Goulden. Read more

David Gelles

  • Barnes & Noble unveiled its challenge to Amazon’s Kindle e-book service with an expanded online store selling more than 200,000 e-book titles for both laptop computers and mobile devices. The chain also said it would provide the e-book store for a wireless portable e-reader being developed by Plastic Logic that is scheduled for launch next year.
  • Texas Instruments, the second largest US chipmaker, reported a surge in demand for its products in the second quarter as it beat revenue and profit expectations. Following Intel’s positive outlook last week, TI gave another boost to the tech sector, forecasting solid growth in the current quarter.

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Richard Waters

  • Google’s unveiling of the new Chrome OS at least a year before consumers will actually be able to buy it brought cries of “vapourware!” from critics.  Yet the prospect of a Google PC operating system to rival Windows created an even bigger splash than the arrival of the Chrome browser last year. Fake Steve had the last laugh - while also successfully puncturing some of the hype that has already built up around the promised software.
  • With both public and private websites in the US and South Korea coming under assault in an unusually powerful cyber-attack, it was not surprising that suspicion fell on North Korea. Yet if this follows the pattern of most other attacks, the true source will never be identified.

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David Gelles

  • The Department of Justice has started an informal review of the exclusive arrangements that limit handsets such as Apple ’s iPhone to particular wireless communications companies, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • EMC upped the ante in the battle for Data Domain, offering $2.4bn, or $33.50 a share, for the innovative data storage company that had agreed to be purchased by NetApp. The bidding war, rare for the technology industry, reflects the perception that Data Domain’s technology will be especially important as the storage industry evolves.

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  • EMC continues to court Data Domain. Joe Tucci, EMC’s chief executive, today took the unusual step of writing an open letter to Data Domain employees, explaining why their company would fare better with EMC than with rival NetApp. It was an opportunity for Mr Tucci to plead his case, but of course he’s barking up the wrong tree. It is Data Domain’s board, not its employees, who will decide its fate. Data Domain has agreed to a hybrid offer of $30 a share from NetApp. EMC has in a $30 all-cash offer, which looks to be superior. Data Domain said it will respond to the EMC offer by June 16. Stay tuned.
  • Google opened up another front in its broadening war with Microsoft today as the search leader made its increasingly popular Gmail, contacts and calendar applications compatible with Microsoft’s ubiquitous Outlook system. Outlook isn’t going away any time soon, but the move by Google means that Microsoft has one more piece of turf to worry about protecting.

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  • Intel paid $884m in cash for Wind River Systems, a software company that should help the chipmaker’s push into new markets. Wind River, based in the San Francisco Bay area, represents Intel’s biggest acquisition in the four-year tenure of Paul Otellini as chief executive.
  • Data Domain said it would evaluate EMC‘s all cash $30 a share offer, a day after saying it had agreed to an offer of $30 in cash and stock from NetApp. The unusual reversal signaled potential discord within Data Domain’s management. EMC has significantly more free cash than NetApp, and is well-positioned to win the bidding war.

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The FT’s Lex column says that EMC and NetApp are right to be fighting over de-duplication company Data Domain:

The excitement is over software and hardware designed to reduce duplication. Data Domain specialises in identifying and removing multiple copies of files when a back-up copy of data is made . . . As the volume of data that companies must process explodes, Data Domain is growing fast – analysts forecast sales growth of 28 per cent this year. Read more

  • If Carol Bartz is trying to cozy up to Microsoft, she certainly wasn’t showing it on Wednesday. Speaking at a Bank of America investment conference, the Yahoo CEO dismissed the new Bing “decision engine” with faint praise and predicted that it would have no impact on Microsoft’s status as an also-ran in the search business. She also suggested that some estimates of the cost-savings from a search pact with Microsoft had been overstated, and a deal would probably save Yahoo around $500m.
  • Google and Yahoo confirmed that they were among a number of tech companies to have received information requests from the Department of Justice about hiring practices. Following the DoJ’s decision to look into possible collusion arising from overlapping board seats between Google and Apple, the regulatory review was another sign that Washington’s new trust-busters are taking unusual approaches in their scrutiny of the tech industry.

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  • Google is one of those companies that we generally refer to as a frenemy,” New York Times executive editor Bill Keller said recently. Perhaps, but today Google proved it will be no saviour to the newspaper business, either. Google chief executive Eric Schmidt told the Financial Times that the company had previously considered buying a newspaper or using its charitable arm to support news businesses seeking non-profit status, but is now unlikely to pursue either option.
  • Craigslist is on the offensive. The US-based classified-advertising website has taken legal action against the attorney-general of South Carolina, who had attacked the site over its erotic services category. The company, which came under pressure from law enforcement officials to take down the section, then did so, is seeking declaratory relief and a restraining order against Henry McMaster, who has repeatedly threatened the company and its executives with criminal charges unless it complied with the requests.

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