The Morning Download: Google’s Legal Victory Over Oracle Preserves Open Use of APIs That Knit Apps Together

Good morning. Google's victory in a long-running legal battle against Oracle Inc. preserves the open use of application programming interfaces, a critical element of the modern software ecosystem that allows one app to connect to another. The six-year-old case revolves around the ways in which Alphabet Inc.'s Google unit used Oracle APIs for Java software, used in many apps that run on Google's Android operating system, which powers most of the world's mobile phones, the WSJ's Jack Nicas reports.

"Google and others in Silicon Valley said an Oracle victory in the case would have stifled software innovation by discouraging programmers from using APIs," the WSJ reports. "That would make software development harder and could render some apps inoperable, they said." Uri Sarid, chief technology officer of MuleSoft Inc., which helps firms build APIs, told the WSJ that APIs help programs reach broader audiences and "there's a chilling effect if your building block can't talk to mine."

Oracle said the verdict hurts innovation by weakening intellectual-property protections for software and discouraging tech companies from investing. Oracle, which had sought as much as $9 billion in the licensing case, said it would appeal the federal jury's ruling.

Facebook searches for a new CIO. Facebook Inc. CIO Tim Campus, who announced last month that he was leaving at the end of the year to start a new company, says that the company is looking for his replacement. The company is seeking someone who has strong technical leadership, can innovate in research and development of new enterprise systems and deliver exceptional service quality to a global workforce, he tells CIO Journal.

Barclays Nabs New CIO from J.P. Morgan. Mark Ashton-Rigby, a veteran IT manager in the financial-services sector, will lead efforts at Barclays PLC to develop a "cost-effective overall technology platform and infrastructure," according to a spokeswoman. Mr. Ashton-Rigby leaves J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. after working there for three years, initially as head of banking technology. He became investment banking CIO last September.

SECURITY AND PRIVACY

North Korea Linked to Bank Attacks. Security researchers have tied several online breaches at Asian banks to North Korea, the NYT's Dealbook reports. "Symantec said that in three recent attacks, the thieves used a rare piece of code that had been seen in only two previous cases — the hacking attack on Sony Pictures in 2014 and attacks on banks and media companies in South Korea the year before," the NYT says.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Facebook and Microsoft to build fiber optic cable across Atlantic. Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have teamed up to build the highest capacity link across the Atlantic, a new fiber optic cable more than 4,000 miles long, linking Virginia and Spain. The project is the latest in a string of big-budget Internet infrastructure projects Web companies have pursued to gain more control over their data, the WSJ's Drew Fitzgerald reports. Microsoft and Facebook have previously invested in other trans-ocean cables, as has Alphabet Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.

MORE TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Intel bolsters IoT market move with computer vision acquisition. Intel Corp. said it is acquiring a Russian company called Itseez that has developed software and services for driver-assistance systems to help warn of possible collisions, improve driver awareness and simplify driving, the WSJ's Don Clark reports.

Major U.S. government study on rats finds a link between cellphones and cancer. While not all biological effects observed in animals necessarily apply to humans, the National Toxicology Program's multiyear , peer-reviewed $25 million study is one of the biggest and most comprehensive experiment into health effects from cellphones, the WSJ's Ryan Knutson reports. The study found "low incidences" of two types of tumors in male rats that were exposed to the type of radio frequencies that are commonly emitted by cellphones. The Federal Communications Commission, which administers safety guidelines for U.S. cellphone use, has been briefed on the findings.

Lenovo CEO: Underestimated difficulties of Motorola integration. The Chinese PC maker underestimated how difficult it would be to integrate its 2014 $2.91 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility's handset business, Lenovo Group Ltd. Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing explained to the WSJ's Wayne Ma and Anjie Zheng in an interview Thursday.  "We are definitely facing some challenges" in the mobile-phone business, he said, after Lenovo reported its first annual loss in six years. Lenovo said the company's world-wide smartphone shipments fell 13% in its fiscal year ended in March due to weaker demand in China and the U.S.

Phone scam 'onslaught' has authorities scrambling. Authorities are fighting a scourge of phone crime enabled by cheap technology that blasts out nefarious calls and hides wrongdoers' whereabouts, the WSJ's Jennifer Levitz.  The surge in voice-over-Internet protocol technology, which allows computer-based calls, set the stage about a decade ago, but the rise in Internet access globally means anyone almost anywhere can run a phone scam. Complaints to the Federal Trade Commission about unwanted calls hit a record 1.7 million in the first four months of 2016, up 41% from the year-earlier period. Lawmakers and advocacy groups are pressuring phone carriers to do more to block robocalls, many of which target the elderly.

India sets sourcing requirments with Apple. India's finance ministry says that if Apple Inc. wants to open retail stores in the country, it needs to comply with local sourcing requirements, the WSJ's Rajesh Roy and Newley Purnell report. The company still has less than a 3% share of the country's smartphone market with its products sold through a network of Indian-owned distribution companies and retailers. India requires single-brand retailers that are more than 51% foreign-owned to buy at least 30% of their manufacturing materials from Indian vendors, preferably from small and medium-size enterprises

Intel Capital restructuring, won't sell portfolio. Intel Capital, the venture capital arm of Silicon Valley chip maker Intel Corp., is restructuring to streamline its investment process and give startups wider exposure to Intel's business units, and departures are expected, Intel Capital President Wendell Brooks tells the Journal's Deborah Gage. Intel Capital is one of the largest corporate investment arms in the world. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested about $11.7 billion in 1,445 companies in 57 countries, the company said.

Twitter loses two more executives. The departures of the Twitter Inc.'s global business development chief and the head of commerce global business development  come just months after a string of other management exits that included the heads of product, engineering and media, the Journal's Yoree Koh reports. The positions will be consolidated and taken over by the head of revenue in business development.

Thiel-Gawker Case Divides Silicon Valley. Some Silicon Valley insiders were quick to praise tech investor Peter Thiel efforts, confirmed this week, funding a lawsuit against Gawker Media, the WSJ's Rolfe Winkler and Jeffrey Trachtenberg report. "Click-bait journalists need to be taught lessons," said Vinod Khosla, a fellow billionaire venture capitalist, in a tweet on Thursday. Mr. Khosla's efforts to deny public access to a popular surfing beach in Northern California had been documented by Gawker's now-defunct Silicon Valley component, ValleyWag.

Twilio going for IPO despite recent woes. Amid a cool market for initial public offerings, San Francisco communications company Twilio Inc. is taking the plunge, the WSJ reports. The company on Thursday disclosed that it had filed for an initial public offering. It is the first private company valued by venture capitalists at $1 billion to file for an IPO since the data-storage hardware vendor Nutanix Inc. filed in December.

WHAT YOUR CEO IS READING

Every week, CIO Journal offers a glimpse into the mind of the CEO, whose view of technology is shaped by stories in management journals, general interest magazines and, of course, in-flight publications.

China's science revolution. In China's Guizhou Province engineers are putting the finishing touches on a 1,640-foot radio telescope, the world's largest. That the massive structure, nestled in a crater, was built in only five years highlights the country's ambition to establish itself as a scientific leader. Research and development spending in China passed Europe in 2013 and it is set to pass the U.S. by 2020, BBC reports in a multimedia report on some of the country's largest projects. "There's a feeling that in the last 100 years, we lost a lot of opportunities because we weren't doing research," Charlotte Liu, managing director in China for the science publisher, Springer Nature, tells the BBC. "And now there is this golden opportunity in terms of funding, in terms of societal recognition, of the role that can be played by science."

Work with the team you inherit. So, you're brought in from the outside to bolster a team or fix a problem; what next? For starters, figure out how to make what you have work, writes Michael D. Watkins for Harvard Business Review. He compares such a role to repairing an airplane midflight. Stability, keeping the engines on and forward progress are the goals. The future may lie in the past, he says, pointing to the "forming, storming, norming and performing" model espoused in the 1960s by Bruce Tuckman. The problem is that assumes compiling a dream team from scratch.

Cloud-based, sensor laden object promotes water-drinking. Silicon Valley is making the world a better place, harnessing the power of sensors, interactive gaming, the cloud and the insecurities of new parents adults "in the battle to get kids to imbibe enough liquids throughout the day." The $129 Gulülu water bottle hosts "multiple embedded sensors to measure not just how much water is disappearing from the bottle throughout the day," TechCrunch writes. Parents can track little Johnny's hydration efforts via iOS and Android apps. A Kickstarter campaign began this week.

Beijing's startup scene sounds intense. Recode recently gave a Silicon Valley angel investor license to write about Beijing's startup scene. While Silicon Valley is now "too perked up," in China startup work culture follows something called 9/9/6. "It means that regular work hours for most employees are from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week," the investor Cyriac Roeding writes. "In Beijing, entrepreneurship feels like a raw — and sometimes more authentic — form of Silicon Valley," he writes. "We can learn a lot from China. (Or perhaps 'relearn' might be the more appropriate term.)"

EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW

Odds against "Brexit." Investors appear to have concluded that the U.K. will vote to stay in the European Union in June, leaving them exposed to steep losses should Britain elect to leave. Opinion polls show Britain leaning toward a vote to stay in the EU in the June 23 referendum. Bookmakers have cut the odds on a vote to "leave" to 19% from 37% in April, according to Betfair Group PLC. That shift appears to have reassured investors that Britain is staying in the EU. The country's bond and stock markets have barely reacted to the possibility of a so-called Brexit. While the pound has fallen on the prospect, the currency began reversing that decline in late February.

Goldman abandons number grades. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is shaking up performance reviews for its roughly 36,500 workers. Starting next month, the Wall Street bank will no longer rate staff each on a scale of one to nine. And this fall, the firm will experiment with an online system through which employees can give and receive continuous feedback on their performance. Goldman's changes are part of a bigger shift among large companies in the way they track and grade workers' performance.

Airbnb banking on Brazil Olympics. Home-rental firm Airbnb Inc. is betting that its sponsorship of the Rio Olympics will cement its status as a mainstream lodging option in its fourth-largest market. But with less than three months to go before the Olympics, the firm's first such foray into global sports is in danger of being overshadowed by a deep economic contraction, political turmoil and a health crisis currently rocking Brazil. Airbnb says that instead of damaging its efforts here, Brazil's recession is helping the company in a city with huge accommodation problems.

Tom Loftus contributed to this article. The Morning Download comes from the editors of CIO Journal and cues up the most important news in business technology every weekday morning. Send us your tips, compliments and complaints. You can get The Morning Download emailed to you each weekday morning by clicking http://on.wsj.com/TheMorningDownloadSignup


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