Cloud computing wars, tax frustrations, and chaos at HQ Trivia

Nicholas Hunt/


The cloud computing wars are heating up.

Thomas Kurian, the new CEO of Google Cloud who came from rival Oracle, already seems to be having an impact, with Googlers and startup execs telling Rosalie Chan that he’s making headway three months in to the job.

“Until now, they were losing the war,” CEO and founder Idit Levine told Chan. “The way Google is playing, they’re saying, this is the community company. They’re branding themselves better and going multi-cloud.”

He’s pushing hard to make Kubernetes, one of Google’s most popular cloud technologies, even more important to developers. Aparna Sinha, group product manager of Kubernetes and Cloud Services Platform, told Chan that Kubernetes needs to become “ubiquitous.”

And the company just made a big hire, bringing in a former SAP executive to try and win bigger customers.

Meanwhile, over at Amazon Web Services, the Aurora database product continues to grow at a rapid rate. Julie Bort talked to Debanjan Saha, the general manager who built and manages Aurora, who said it “feels great” to be taking on Oracle head-to-head in the database market.

Elsewhere, Microsoft just took an important step to take on Amazon for a crucial winner-take-all $US10 billion Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure contract with the Pentagon.Amazon was once considered a shoo-in to win the JEDI contract but after a lot of protests by the tech industry, Microsoft now has a real shot.

Meanwhile, IBM is preparing to close its $US34 billion acquisition of Red Hat, but Wall Street has “real question marks” after its “mediocre” quarter.

Lastly, Business Insider just week published a list of the 100 people transforming business. You’ll find interviews with many of those on the list – including NYSE president Stacey Cunningham, Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block, and Burger King CMO Fernando Machado – below.

What would you like this email to include? What have we missed? You can reach me at [email protected]


Quote of the week

“I think this is going to untap the market.” – Jonathan Sherman, a partner at the law firm Cassels Brock who worked on Canopy Growth’s $US3.4 billion purchase of the US marijuana cultivator Acreage Holdings, on the potential for more deals in the marijuana space.

In conversation

Finance and Investing

Blend, a start-up that’s building a ‘one-tap’ mortgage application tool, is now jumping into the auto-loan market

Start-up Blend has been working toward an ambitious goal: reducing the mortgage-application process to a single tap on a smartphone.

People frustrated with their taxes are piling a record amount of money into an exempt investment that looks unstoppable

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act touched off a rally in an often overlooked part of the market, and Wells Fargo says it’s not slowing down.

BlackRock says its Aladdin Wealth unit’s helping it ‘be part of the infrastructure,’ and it could drive even more money to the world’s largest asset manager

Individual investors are so impressed by BlackRock’s risk evaluation technology that they’re moving their money to the financial advisors who use it.

Tech, Media, Telecoms

Mistrust, secret memos, and boardroom drama – inside the chaos at HQ Trivia after its young cofounder’s sudden death

On a cold February morning in a quiet corner of HQ Trivia’s New York headquarters, one of the company’s young star managers was talking softly to one of the earliest employees.

$US9.2 billion Zoom’s second most powerful shareholder thinks CEO Eric Yuan is like Steve Jobs, but nicer

When Zoom priced its IPO on Wednesday evening, the video conferencing platform garnered a valuation of $US9.2 billion, and founding CEO Eric Yuan saw a huge windfall.

Marketers say Amazon’s advertising business is difficult to navigate. Here’s why the company thinks the “chaotic” structure actually makes sense.

Amazon is trying to challenge Facebook’s and Google’s dominance in digital advertising, introducing ad formats like video and display.

Healthcare, Retail, Transportation

A Jeff Bezos-backed startup just inked a deal with $US84 billion biotech Gilead to make drugs for a troubling and increasingly common disease

The world’s leading drug companies are racing to capitalise on the $US35 billion market for an emerging disease believed to affect 16 million Americans.

Adidas’ global creative director reveals how the brand’s new recyclable shoes could completely change the way footwear is sold

Adidas is closing the loop and creating new opportunities.

Google’s Waze wants more outdoor advertising dollars. Here are pitch decks it is using to sell itself as a complement to out-of-home ads.

Since launching its ads platform in 2012, the Google-owned navigation app Waze has run ad campaigns for several local and big-name advertisers. Now, it’s trying to become a bigger advertising platform.

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