Twitter Cuts Staff, Oracle vs. Google, More News


PHOTO: Esther Vargas

Twitter is cutting 9 percent of its staff and its video app, Vine.

The San Francisco social media company released its third-quarter earnings yesterday. 

In a letter to shareholders (PDF), Twitter said it will cut 9 percent of its global workforce — about 350 positions. Twitter ended the quarter with 3,910 employees.

The cuts are supposed to improve efficiency and improve profitability. 

“The restructuring allows us to continue to fully fund our highest priorities, while eliminating investment in non-core areas and driving greater efficiency. Over time, we will look to invest in additional areas, as justified by expected returns and business results,” company officials wrote.

Total revenue reached $616 million for the third quarter, up 8 percent year-over-year (YoY) and above Twitter’s previously forecasted range of $590 million to $610 million. Total advertising revenue of $545 million grew 6 percent YoY. Total monthly active users grew to 317 million.

The Vine departure will be sad for the fans of those six-second, repeating videos.

Rus Yusupov founded the company with Dom Hofmann and Colin Kroll in June 2012. It was sold to Twitter for a reported $30 million a few months later.

It’s a sale now Yusupov apparently regrets, evidenced by a viral Tweet today:

In an announcement about its discontinuation, the Vine team said millions of people have turned to Vine “to laugh at loops and see creativity unfold.”

“We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made,” officials said. “You will be notified before we make any changes to the app or website.

And speaking of Twitter, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff this week confired he’s no longer looking to buy the micro-blogging platform. As we earlier surmised, Benioff was feeling pressure from investors. He  explained, “We’ve never had a deal leak before. We don’t really understand that dynamic. We had to stop (considering buying Twitter) because I’m running the business in partnership with my shareholders.” Benioff made the comments at WSJDLive in Laguna Beach, Calif. this week, an invitation-only conference where CEOs, founders, pioneers and investors explore a wide range of tech-related issues.

In other technology news…

Oracle Appeals Google Copyright Case

Oracle is appealing a May ruling in favor of Google in a copyright and patent lawsuit case.

Oracle, as expected, filed this week in federal appeals court (PDF).

The two companies have been entangled in the lawsuit over JavaScript and API issues since 2010. Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems and acquired the rights to Java in 2010. Oracle claimed Google infringed copyrights and patents by using the Java-based API technology in building out its Android operating system.

Oracle lost the case, but kept parts of it alive on appeal. Its latest defeat came in May, when a jury ruled Google’s use of the APIs was on fair use. This week’s appeal gives the suit new life.

Dataiku Raises $14M

Dataiku, a predictive analytics software vendor, closed a $14 million Series A round of funding led by FirstMark Capital.

Dataiku expects to accelerate its commercial efforts in the United States, Europe and Asia. According to company officials, Dataiku saw 300 percent growth in 2016, doubling its teams in Europe and in the United States. It also landed customers including NPR, L’Oreal, Hostelworld, Bechtel and other Fortune 1000 companies.

“As the big data market reaches early maturity, the time has come for a platform that makes everything and everyone work together, whether it is Hadoop, machine learning, data scientists or data analysts, and that is exactly what Dataiku offers”, Matt Turck, managing director at FirstMark Capital, said in a statement.

In August, the company released its latest software update: it became Spark Native by supporting programming language Scala (in addition to Python, R, Pig, Hive, SQL and more), Dataiku 3.1 also announced the full integration of five visual machine learning backends (H2O Sparkling Water, Spark MLlib, Scikit-Learn, XGBoost and Vertica ML).

Evergage Supports Mobile

Somerville, Mass.-based personalization provider Evergage updated Evergage for Mobile Apps to include support for Android operating systems and native in-app messaging capabilities.

Evergage for Mobile Apps tracks the behaviors and actions of mobile app users as well as data from the website, web applications and other channels, including third-party systems such as CRM and email marketing solutions.

“By tracking and examining a user’s demographic details, history and in-app behaviors in real time — we’re talking milliseconds — Evergage for Mobile Apps helps marketers engage visitors in the moment, as their interest is piqued, with the most relevant and personalized experiences,” Karl Wirth, co-founder and CEO of Evergage, said in a statement.

“By extending support to Android operating systems, marketers can bring real one-to-one personalization to more mobile apps, making multichannel personalization a greater reality.”

Andrew Moore Joins Splice Board

Andrew Moore
Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore, the dean of the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science, is joining the board of Splice Machine, which provides open-source SQL RDBMS powered by Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark.

Before CMU, Moore was vice president of engineering at Google, where he headed the retail segment, Google Shopping.

“In my years at Google I often wondered how great it would be if other fields of endeavor would have equal access to big data infrastructure as we had to support advertising,” Moore said.

“What excites me about Splice Machine is that it enables artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data management at price points that make it accessible to governments, education and companies of all sizes and industries. And its support for standard interfaces, programming languages and SQL make it accessible to a much larger audience, so companies do not have to hire expensive specialists to gain the benefits.”

DMA Rebrands

Goodbye, Direct Marketing Association. Hello, Data & Marketing Association.

The DMA is rebranding and repositioning — just in time for its 100th anniversary today.

“This is a fascinating time for the advertising and marketing industry, as the ability to leverage the power and insights of data has become ubiquitous to companies large and small,” Tom Benton, DMA’s CEO, said.

“These steps reaffirm that DMA represents the entire marketing ecosystem of brand marketers, agencies, media companies, data companies and tech companies and is uniquely positioned to protect marketers’ ability to access, exchange and refine data to improve lives and to grow the US economy.”

DMA also elected of new officers and board members. Michael McLaren, executive global group director at Merkle, is now chairman. Jennifer Barrett Glasgow, global privacy officer emeritus at Acxiom, is vice chair. Steve Wagner, group president, marketing services, Experian, is secretary and Steve Froehlich, senior vice president, national direct marketing, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is treasurer.

Three new data and marketing industry executives were elected to the DMA Board: Kevin Akeroyd, CEO, Cision; Luci Rainey, senior vice president, consumer marketing, Comcast; and Cory Treffiletti, vice president of marketing and partner solutions, Oracle Data Cloud.

Oracle Updates Marketing Cloud

Oracle introduced data management platform updates within the Oracle Marketing Cloud this week. Through the updates and a new Audience Builder tool user interface, the company said users will be able to:

  • Understand audience composition by device and environment
  • Identify the devices driving conversions to modify campaign strategies, focus conversion points and eliminate wasted impression
  • Personalize campaigns against the source ID for relevant retargeting and prospecting
  • Activate first- and third-party audiences on channels against their mobile ad IDs based on behaviors like mobile app installs


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