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Good morning, and welcome back from a beautiful spring weekend, at least here in the Northeast.
AstraZeneca‘s chief technology officer, Angela Yochem, argues that technology leaders are often in the best position to make connections between technology and the business “that may not be obvious to anyone else.”
Yochem tells CIO Journal the strategic review she’s been tasked with undertaking goes beyond technology and will address critical business issues that have put the pharmaceutical giant back on its heels. “My remit is within technology, but in order to do that job effectively, I have to be very deep in how the business runs, and I have a responsibility to engage at that level,” Yochem says. “You can’t be a senior leader at a company and sit on things that you see that can make a difference.”
She’s already been given the go-ahead to change how software is implemented and organized at AstraZeneca, having won approval for the project from senior management by explaining how the reorganization will enable the company to change its business model, rather than talking about technological “philosophy.” next on her agenda: eradicating silos resulting from a regional organizational structure and poorly integrated acquisitions, in order to make AstraZeneca a preferred partner in an evolving ecosystem.
U.S. Airways CIO is ready for his big moment. “The two things we were looking for is efficiency and a pleasant customer experience,” says U.S. Airways CIO Brad Jensen, who implemented cloud-based voice-recognition technology to accomplish both those goals. He won’t comment on the possible acquisition by U.S. Airways of a bankrupt American Airlines, but having spent 16 years managing scheduling systems at American, he knows that company’s technology well. He’s also a strategic thinker who helped improve customer service while bringing jobs back to the U.S. — improving the company’s brand in the process.
Why the cloud is replacing traditional outsourcing. CIOs who have outsourced significant portions of their IT environment are finding it difficult to achieve all the benefits they had anticipated — in part because managing infrastructure and systems through a third-party vendor can be more challenging than expected. some smart CIOs are bringing pieces of outsourced systems back in-house and then migrating them to the cloud, giving them the freedom to change how their organizations do business, writes Ernst & Young analyst David Nichols in a guest column.
John Dick named Towers Watson CIO. He succeeds the retiring Tony Candito at professional-services firm Towers Watson. Dick admitted to being “pretty upset” that he had been asked to leave Western Union, where he served a four-year stint as CIO, but as CIO Journal reported in late April, he was relieved at the prospect of joining “another really great company.”
The education of Mark Zuckerberg. Investors wonder whether the “hoodied man-child of Facebook,” Mark Zuckerberg, is “grown up enough to lead a public corporation that is more valuable than McDonald’s or Goldman Sachs.” Self-aware enough to know his limitations, Zuckerberg surrounds himself with mentors and tutors to fill in his leadership gaps, report the NYT’s Nicole Perlroth and Nick Bilton. But the deal he made to acquire Instagram, where he dealt one-on-one with his counterpart, Kevin Systrom while lawyers sat inside watching “Game of Thrones,” illustrates that Zuckerberg also likes to do things his own way.
Facebook’s purchases may hint at future. Facebook tends to be tight-lipped about its plans, but the company’s string of acquisitions may reveal shifts in strategy or a new feature of the service. for example, the company’s recent purchase of Tagtile, a customer loyalty service, suggests that it is gearing up for a move into coupon deals, an area in which Google, Amazon, eBay and Foursquare have begun to dabble. The company also makes acquisitions to lure talent it covets, reports the NYT’s Jenna Wortham.
Apple ready to tell Google to take the ‘iWay’. Apple is preparing to dump Google‘s mapping technology with the next major update of its iOS mobile operating system, sources tell AllThingD’s Jon Paczkowski. it will use technology from acquisitions of three mapping companies made from 2009 to 2011, including two 3-D mapping companies.
Google looks to beef up social. Google is in talks to buy social tools company Meebo, AllThingsD’s Liz Ganne reports. The price for the company would be about $100 million.
Oracle fights for its future. Oracle‘s lawsuit against Google is less about recovering licensing fees for use of the Java code as it is about controlling the future of mobile computing, reports the NYT’s Quentin Hardy. Android is the most popular operating system for smartphones in the world, and is used in an increasing number of computing devices like tablets. if Oracle can exert control over Java, an important component of Android, it can keep a hand on the market for business-ready mobile computing.
Senate to look into Microsoft browser accusations. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will look into accusations by Mozilla, which makes the Firefox browser, that Microsoft is stifling competition by refusing to allow rival browsers such as Firefox and Chrome to function on tablets running on its forthcoming Windows 8 operating system, reports Computerworld’s Gregg Keiser.
Behind the federal big data move. The U.S. government is in the midst of a big, big data project involving an alphabet soup of agencies–HHS/NIH, DOE, DARPA, etc.– each pledging $200 million to improve tools and techniques for generating discoveries from huge volumes of data. One recent success is the posting of the world’s largest set of data on human genetic variation by the NIH on the Amazon Web Services cloud. Reuven Cohen of Forbes writes that the Big Data Research and Development project is part of a larger strategy to reduce the number of data centers run by the government and generate billions in savings.
California mine set for rare earths mineral dig. When China began restricting rare earth exports in 2010, electronic firms dependent on the elements to make their devices called for new digs world-wide. One such dig, located in California, is expected to begin soon after meeting the state’s strict mining and environmental policies. “in five years there will be rare earths produced all over the world and China will lose its edge,” mining analyst John Kaiser, editor of Kaiser Research Online, tells Wired’s Danielle Venton. China currently controls 95% of the market thanks in part to the country’s lax environmental standards.
New tech spenders scoop up firms. Facebook, Groupon and Zynga have been snapping up companies at a record pace, lifting start-up valuations and hopes for technology entrepreneurs looking to cash out, reports the Journal’s Shayndi Raice. The rapid-fire acquisition pace and the swelling deal prices are rippling across Silicon Valley, boosting the expectations of many entrepreneurs and investors that lucrative payouts will continue. “The effect has been throwing a match into an already very heated venture environment,” said Patricia Nakache, a partner at venture-capital firm Trinity Ventures, which invested in travel start-up Uptake that Groupon acquired in February for an undisclosed sum. “it is leading in the short term to an even more frothy investment environment.”
Kickstarter bug exposed projects. A security lapse at Kickstarter.com, the popular crowd-funding website, exposed more than 70,000 project ideas that weren’t ready to be viewed, the WSJ reports. The exposed information didn’t include credit-card numbers or other sensitive personal details, but it could make users more wary of Kickstarter’s data practices and lower their expectations of privacy on the site, which helps people raise money for projects such as filming a documentary or creating a new videogame.
Infineon CEO steps down. Infineon Technologies, Europe’s second-largest semiconductor maker, said CEO Peter Bauer will step down because of “severely worsening” osteoporosis, and appointed a board member as successor. The supervisory board accepted the 51-year-old executive’s resignation and named Reinhard Ploss, the management board member responsible for production, development, technology and personnel as CEO from Oct. 1, reports Bloomberg’s Ken Wong.
Iran curbs use of foreign e-mail service providers. in a widely expected move, Iran’s telecommunications ministry has barred domestic banks, insurance firms and telephone operators from using foreign-sourced emails such as gmail, Yahoo, MSN or Hotmail, to communicate with clients, reports Agence France Presse. Iran has announced that as of May a national information network will be used to replace the Internet in the daily management of the administration of state entities, the banking system and public enterprises.
LightSquared edges toward bankruptcy. Hedge-fund manager Philip Falcone’s LightSquared venture is preparing for a potential Chapter 11 filing. LightSquared and its lenders still have until 5 p.m. today to reach a deal, but the two sides are still far apart so chances are slim, the WSJ says. The key sticking point is that Falcone couldn’t agree with lenders “on how to cede ownership stakes in the wireless venture to them over time.”
EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW
European debt crisis: what you need to know. Greek leaders convene again today to try to form a coalition government after failing over the weekend. Speculation is growing about a possible Greek exit from the euro. And it’s not just coming from analysts. “I guess an amicable divorce – if that was ever needed – would be possible, but I would still regret it,” Luc Coene, central bank governor of Belgium, told the FT. And austerity took another hit over the weekend when Angela Merkel’s party suffered a bruising defeat in a regional election.
Slow growth and contagion worry economists. Economists expect slow growth and high unemployment this year, according to the latest WSJ Forecasting Survey. Contagion from Europe was the biggest potential pitfall cited by more than half the respondents. Meanwhile, 21 economists said Europe has engaged in too much fiscal austerity, while 14 said governments haven’t gone far enough and eight said it was about right. “Recent austerity is like throwing paupers into debtors’ prison and wondering why they can’t pay off their debts,” said Nicholas S. Perna of Perna Associates.
Corporate shake-up: J.P. Morgan edition. CEO Dimon is desperately trying to salvage the bank’s reputation — as well as his own, and his tight grip on the company. three executives are expected to resign for their roles in the massive losses at the firm, the WSJ reports. Ina Drew, who runs the risk-management group tied to the losses, was once considered one of the best managers of balance sheet risks, Reuters notes. She earned more than $15 million in each of the last two years. Now she’s out the door. Joining her will be Achilles Macris, who was in charge of the London-based operation that placed the questionable trades; and trader Javier Martin-Artajo.
WSJ headline we would have voted three months ago least likely to see: Pressure Builds on Dimon. The outspoken CEO went on Meet the Press offering more mea culpas. “we made a terrible, egregious mistake. There’s almost no excuse for it.” Dimon said he did not know the extent of the problem when he said in April that the trading concerns were a “tempest in a teapot.”
Dimon will face a barrage of questions from shareholders on Tuesday, and a previously scheduled vote on a measure calling for the bank to adopt an independent chairman. He will also face questions from the SEC and Congress. And in the end, a more damaging loss than the $2 billion may prove to be the bank’s sway in Washington.
Corporate shake-up: Yahoo edition. Scott Thompson told the company’s board and several colleagues that he has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer before resigning as Yahoo CEO over the weekend, the Journal’s Amir Efrati reports. “Thompson told one colleague that he didn’t want to publicly discuss the cancer diagnosis because he wanted to keep personal details private, this person said. He told the colleague he is beginning the treatment process for the cancer.”
Yahoo bypassed CFO Tim Morse and named Ross Levinsohn, the executive in charge of its media websites, as interim CEO, but it could turn into a permanent position, the WSJ says. it was a big win for Dan Loeb and third Point. Yahoo is giving the hedge fund three board seats to end the proxy fight. Loeb will join the board along with restructuring specialist Harry Wilson and media-company consultant Michael J. Wolf.