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From: Glenn Petersen3/30/2017 2:29:19 PM
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Dropbox Secures $600 Million Credit Line Ahead of Expected IPO

The debt facility provides flexibility as the cloud-storage company explores a public offering as soon as this year.

by Dina Bass and Alex Barinkin
March? 30,0 2017

Dropbox Inc. is opening a $600 million credit facility from six banks led by JPMorgan Chase & Co., said people familiar with the plans, as the cloud file-sharing startup pushes toward an initial public offering as soon as this year.

The line of debt has commitments from the banks and is expected to close on Monday, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deal isn't finalized. The financial security provides Dropbox with flexibility as it deliberates an IPO.

The San Francisco-based startup has been meeting with bankers to discuss plans to list, people familiar with the talks said. While the company hasn't set specific timing, potential advisers believe it will be ready to go public by the end of this year. Dropbox and its lenders declined to comment.

Dropbox has said it's not in a hurry to go public and that the business is nearing profitability. The company is cash-flow positive, with annualized revenue of more than $1 billion, Chief Executive Officer Drew Houston said last summer. Dropbox could tap debt if it wants to expand more aggressively or make acquisitions, said one of the people. It never touched a smaller credit facility, which was expiring, the person said.

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston.
Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

After opening up in 2007, Dropbox gained a loyal following from people looking to store photos and other files in the cloud, making them available from any computer or mobile device. It rode this wave to a $10 billion valuation in early 2014, vaulting it to become one of Silicon Valley's most valuable unicorn startups. A few months later, it secured a $500 million credit facility led by JPMorgan.

Box Inc., a rival file-storage company, went public in 2015. After popping on the first day of trading, Box lost 40 percent of its market value over the course of that year. Dropbox's private investors soon began scrutinizing the startup more closely, and mutual fund backers wrote down the values of their stakes.

Dropbox has shifted to focus on selling its cloud service to larger businesses, which has helped boost revenue. It has also cut costs, partly by building data centers instead of relying on Inc.'s cloud storage. Dropbox's growth is encouraging, and its cash generation is impressive compared with most other unicorn businesses, said a banker close to the deal.

In addition to JPMorgan, participants in the new debt facility include Bank of America Corp., Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Macquarie Group Ltd. and Royal Bank of Canada, said the people. For the banks involved, taking on the risk of lending to an unprofitable private company can help them win a role underwriting an eventual IPO.

When Snap Inc. sought advisers to go public, the company placed a big consideration on which banks had been willing to extend credit in the past, according to people familiar with the matter. Aside from boutique advisory firm Allen & Co., Snap's roster of lenders claimed the main IPO underwriter spots, gaining the biggest fees and most prominent roles. Meanwhile, Bank of America declined to lend to the money-losing company and didn't have a role in Snap's listing, the people said.

Dropbox's cash flow and more predictable subscription revenue make it a less risky borrower than Snap. Dropbox's incentive for raising the new credit facility was to replace the one that's expiring and wasn't determined by IPO timing, said one person familiar with the plans. The company got better terms by setting up a new line of credit from these banks, rather than renewing the previous one, the person said.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (1375)4/27/2017 12:56:01 PM
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Dropbox Inc.'s chief executive officer said the company is now generating a profit excluding interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a key metric that investors are watching as the file-sharing software maker moves closer to becoming a public company.

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From: Glenn Petersen4/28/2017 9:15:02 AM
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AWS revenue up 42 percent to $3.66 billion in Q1 2017, operating income reaches $890 million

by Tom Krazit
on April 27, 2017 at 1:18 pm April 27, 2017 at 3:47 pm

The crown jewel of Amazon’s business, Amazon Web Services, posted a 42 percent jump in revenue during the first fiscal quarter of 2017, as it continues to set the standard for cloud computing.

For the period ending March 31st, AWS recorded revenue of $3.66 billion, up from revenue of $2.57 billion in the year-ago quarter. Operating income rose 47 percent compared to last year to reach $890 million, which provided the lion’s share of the total operating income for its parent company during the quarter.

AWS revenue growth does appear to be backing off the torrid pace it enjoyed a few years ago, but 42 percent is still pretty strong. The company announced it captured several new high-profile customers during the quarter, such as Dunkin Brands, Liberty Mutual, and IPO darling Snap, which had previously relied on Google for the bulk of its cloud infrastructure.

On a conference call with reporters following the release of the results, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky acknowledged that AWS growth had dipped a bit, and said the division is still on pace to do $14 billion in annual revenue, the same number quoted last quarter. He also highlighted database growth during the quarter — a topic Amazon brought up several times last week at its AWS Summit in San Francisco — saying that over 23,000 databases had been migrated to AWS since January of last year.

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From: Glenn Petersen4/30/2017 6:53:28 PM
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Amazon’s cloud gain could be Google’s cloud loss

Google could have a harder time catching up to Amazon

by Tess Townsend
Apr 28, 2017, 7:21pm EDT

Jeff Bezos Alex Wong/Getty Images


Cloud is one of Alphabet’s fastest growing businesses. And the massive size of Amazon’s cloud offering, Amazon Web Services, and the growth of Microsoft’s own cloud business, Azure, is not good news for Google.

Despite the fact that cloud is still a relatively new industry with lots of room for growth, early entrants are more likely to dominate.

That means it’ll be that much harder for Google to catch up — or, as Google executive Diane Greene recently said, surpass big players like AWS.

One reason for this is that for every customer Amazon gains, that’s a potential addition Google has lost. Changing from one cloud provider to another is technically extremely difficult, making it a better approach to nab companies as they first buy into cloud services rather than luring them in later.

Amazon’s cloud business grew 43 percent to $3.7 billion in the first quarter. Microsoft’s Azure gained 93 percent in the same period. The company doesn’t break out revenue for Azure, but the unit was reported to make $2.7 billion in 2016.

Google also doesn’t break out cloud revenue, but what AWS makes in a quarter is easily more than Google cloud makes in a year. Also, should Amazon see any threat from Google or Microsoft, it could just as easily lower its rates and weather the losses to gain marketshare. That’s usually been CEO Jeff Bezos’ playbook.

Still, there’s a lot of room for growth in cloud. Gartner predicts that by 2020 the market will reach $383 billion. And Amazon’s growth is decelerating.

So if Google continues to gain large customers — it recently announce HSBC and SAP were using its public cloud — it can gain ground, but it’s working against a penalty for being a latecomer.

Alphabet lumps cloud revenue into Google’s other revenues, which grew 50 percent year over year, from $2 billion in the first quarter of 2016 to $3 billion in the last quarter. Hardware and software are also in that mix.

It’s not clear how much of the $3 billion is from cloud, but cloud is “one of the fastest growing businesses across Alphabet” and saw the most sizable headcount growth of all product areas, Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat said during the earnings call Thursday.

An RBC estimate put Google cloud’s annual run-rate revenue at about $1 billion as of the end of 2015. Even if revenue has grown significantly in the last year, it looks like it will continue to be dwarfed by competition unless Google ramps up its on-boarding of big new customers or makes major acquisitions.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (1101)5/1/2017 11:31:57 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
1 Recommendation   of 1482
Three years later:

Collaboration software company Jive to be acquired by Aurea for $462 million

by Ron Miller ( @ron_miller)
May, 2017

Jive, a community collaboration software company that was one of the biggest Enterprise 2.0-era success stories, going public in 2011, announced today it had agreed to be acquired by ESW Capital’s Wave Systems for $462 million. It will become part of the Aurea family of companies.

In the end, it was a kind and healthy exit for Jive shareholders. ESW paid $5.25 a share to purchase the company, representing a 20 percent increase over the average of Jive’s closing stock price for the three months ending on April 28, 2017. It had closed on Friday at $5.05 a share. Needless to say, Jive’s board jumped at the offer and voted unanimously to approve the deal.

The plan is to integrate Jive into Aurea’s customer experience management platform. The acquisition gives Aurea a tool for creating internal and customer-facing communities, a key piece in today’s customer service environment. It also gives them access to Jive’s customer base, which includes T Mobile, Schneider Electric, McAfee and EMC.

Scott Brighton, CEO of Aurea sees the community component strengthening the overall platform. “Jive, in combination with Aurea, enables us to bring customer experience and employee and customer engagement together,” he said in a statement.

Rachel Happe, principal at Community Roundtable, a firm that helps companies implement communities, wasn’t surprised by the move. “The social software market has gotten much, much bigger and Jive was facing competition from both bigger players and small niche players, without the benefits that either provide. What happens next for Jive and its customers is less clear as few details have been revealed,” she wrote in an email.

Alan Pelz-Sharpe, principal at Deep Analysis, who has been watching this space for many years sees it as a good deal for ESW and Aurea. “ESW Capital has made a good deal ensuring the long-term and profitable future of Jive. In my experience of the firm, [Jive] not only has good albeit legacy software, they do take their customers seriously and have a very engaged customer base. All in all everything a PE firm is looking for,” he told TechCrunch.

It would appear with this sale, we are seeing the official end of the Enterprise 2.0 era, which had its hey day in the 2006-2012 timeframe. Jive along with Yammer, Socialcast, Socialtext and a host of others came to prominence during this time and brought a lot of promise of changing the way businesses communicate internally and externally.

It all began in 2006 when then Harvard professor Andrew McAfee (he has since moved onto MIT), coined the term Enterprise 2.0. Instead of getting bogged down in long email threads, employees could talk directly to one another in teams and communities via a more natural communications interface. They could also create their own content with blogs, wikis and other tools instead of relying on a group of experts to publish the content for them. Eventually this would extend outside the company as well.

The era peaked when Jive went public in 2011 and Yammer was sold to Microsoft for $1.2 billion in 2012, representing two of the biggest success stories of the time.

A couple of years later Slack was released and has taken the enterprise by storm. It, along with the recent release of Workplace by Facebook and Microsoft Teams, has created a new generation of more modern tools.

Alan Lepofsky, an analyst with Constellation Research who covers collaboration and community in business sees the era ending, not so much because of the recent additions, but because the biggest companies including Microsoft, Salesforce, Cisco and IBM finally caught up with Enterprise 2.0 functionality.

“The big guys caught up and filled the gap that the original e20 vendors temporarily filled,” he said. As for Aurea, Lepofsky sees it giving them a tool to compete with Salesforce Communites in the Customer Experience space.

Perhaps it was inevitable that Jive one of the last of that original wave of companies standing would be sold. It’s actually a good match on its face — a good deal for Jive shareholders, while giving Aurea a solid tool community and collaboration for its platform.

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From: Glenn Petersen5/5/2017 10:41:26 AM
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Google Cloud growth is outpacing the company's ad business

Turns out, the company's enterprise push is working out

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From: Glenn Petersen5/14/2017 11:55:54 PM
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Nvidia announced a plan to go up against Amazon, Google and Microsoft
  • Nvidia announced the launch of a cloud service for developers to train artificial intelligence models.

  • But the company, whose stock has been on a tear this week, already sells its graphics processing units to the biggest cloud companies to do just that.

  • What it means is that Nvidia plans to directly compete with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft's Azure, and Alphabet's Google Cloud Platform.

Jordan Novet | @jordannovet
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 | 7:06 PM

Jacob Kepler | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Jen-Hsun Huang, president, chief executive officer and co-founder of Nvidia, speaks during the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wed., Jan. 5, 2011.

Nvidia, a company that sells graphics cards for computers and other devices, Wednesday announced the launch of a cloud service for developers to train artificial intelligence models.

But the company, whose stock has been on a tear this week, already sells technology to the biggest cloud companies — Amazon, Alphabet, and Microsoft — to do just that.

What it means is that Nvidia plans to directly compete with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft's Azure, and Alphabet's Google Cloud Platform — to whom it now sells its graphics processing units for their cloud services. Those cloud services, in turn, provide GPU-backed virtual machine instances that developers use to run their AI workloads.

The move could lead companies that need these services to forgo the biggest cloud companies and go directly to Nvidia. Naturally, those big cloud companies that are buying GPUs from Nvidia now aren't going to look favorably on this move, and will likely try to enhance their offerings or lower their prices.

To be clear, Nvidia isn't building a whole cloud infrastructure from scratch. Instead it will rely on public cloud providers like AWS to run its service. But Nvidia will still be competing with those providers in this very particular space.

The new service will become available in public beta in the third quarter, Nvidia said in a blog post. Pricing information is not yet available.

The Nvidia service will let developers use frameworks like CNTK (from Microsoft), MXNet (promoted by Amazon) or TensorFlow (from Alphabet) for "deep learning," a type of AI that involves training artificial neural networks on lots of data and then getting them to make decisions based on that.

Intel, the biggest U.S. chipmaker, has yet to introduce a similar service but could do so in the future.

Yesterday lNvidia beat analysts' estimates for quarterly earnings per share and revenue.

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From: Glenn Petersen5/21/2017 10:08:10 AM
1 Recommendation   of 1482
Cloud Computing edges Classic Empire to win 2017 Preakness Stakes

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From: Sam6/19/2017 11:10:48 PM
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Gartner confirms what we all know: AWS and Microsoft are the cloud leaders, by a fair way
Paranormal parallelogram for IaaS has Google on the same lap, IBM and Oracle trailing
19 Jun 2017 at 06:01, Simon Sharwood

Gartner has published a new magic quadrant for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) that – surprising nobody – has Amazon Web Services and Microsoft alone in the leader's quadrant and a few others thought outside of the box.

Here's the Soothsaying Square in all its glory.

Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide June 2017.
Click here to embiggen

That Oracle and IBM are rated visionaries may turn heads, as both strut like cloud leaders: Oracle regularly says its cloud is superior to Amazon's. Yet Gartner rates Oracle's cloud “a bare-bones 'minimum viable product'” that offers “only the most vitally necessary cloud IaaS compute, storage and networking capabilities.” The analyst firm also worries about the Oracle cloud's “limited operational track record” and warns that “Customers need to have a very high tolerance for risk, along with strong technical acumen.”

continues at

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To: Sam who wrote (1383)6/19/2017 11:16:14 PM
From: Sam
   of 1482
Microsoft's Azure cloud feels the pinch in price war with Amazon's AWS
Ah, the old 'Windows upsell' one-two
28 Apr 2017 at 14:07, Gavin Clarke

Analysis Sales of Surface, falling 26 per cent year-on-year, wasn't the only wrinkle in Microsoft's third-quarter trading period.

Management beat the cloud drum for Wall Street on Thursday, talking across-the-board growth.

Azure, Dynamics 365 and Office 365 commercial saw the biggest revenue growth, according to Microsoft – 93 per cent, 81 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.

Getting a more material breakdown is impossible as these are buried within bigger business units. Microsoft rarely reveals individual numbers – and when it does they are cherry-picked.

Overall, the unit responsible for Azure, Intelligent Cloud, converted that 93 per cent growth into $6.7bn revenue – up 10 per cent year-on-year.

The stable housing Office and Dynamics, Productivity and Business Process, converted the online apps' growth into overall revenue of $7.9bn, up 22 per cent.

It should be noted that Productivity and Business Process also includes the on-prem as well as the cloud, 365-branded versions of its business suites.

Intelligent Cloud includes such popular perennials as SQL Server and Windows Server.

So far, so good – but runaway sales aren't translating into runaway cash growth for Microsoft.

Income for the Azure group is more or less flat year-on-year – growing less than 1 per cent to $2.1bn.

Apps was worse for Microsoft. Income fell 6.6 per cent to $2.7bn for the Productivity and Business Process unit.

Over at Microsoft's number-one cloud competitor, Amazon, things were smaller but rosier. AWS made less than both Microsoft's units combined during the last three months – revenue of $3.6bn, up 23 per cent – but income grew, up 41 per cent to $724m.

The pair have been in an ongoing price war, which seems to be taking its toll on Microsoft.

Redmond made a round of cuts in February, hacking virtual machines and storage by up to 51 per cent. AWS had made 53 price cuts by the end of 2016.

Investors confronted Microsoft management about this during its third-quarter conference call. "To what degree do those price cuts actually affect you," asked Morgan Stanley's Keith Eric Weiss.

Top brass swerved a direct answer but made a pitch about "price competition at the lower level".

"Because we're able to continue to move people up the stack, including all the way up to the business process layer, I think you'll continue to see us be confident in our ability to move and create margin and growth," chief financial officer Amy Hood said.

It's the same play as Windows of old: pushing customers to the "premium" SKUs – the versions with the supposedly better features.

Microsoft's strategy is clear – onboard people cheaply and as they generate data and come to depend on your various cloud services, either up the prices or ensure they take on enough features that help push up the overall bill.

Whether that washes in the face of a keen price competitor such as AWS is unclear and it'll depend on whether Microsoft's customers are willing to surrender their choice on cloud infrastructure as they did, or were forced to, on PC and server infrastructure in decades past. ®

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