Tag Archive for IPO

Is Toshiba Screwed?

http://www.toshiba.com/tai/The tortuous auction of Toshiba’s coveted NAND chip fab has finally started to wrap up. You would think that after over nine months of bidding and 2 trillion yen ($17.7 billion) the victors would like to gloat. A win of that size would be celebrated, but nooo….

The winning partners lead by venture capitalist Bain Capital and Apple can’t even agree on when to hold a presser to announce their purchase. The consortium had planned a presser for 09-28-2017, which was abruptly cancelled just minutes before it was due to begin according to reports. Reuters reports that “…the consortium could not form a consensus on whether to brief media.”

PangeaOne wrinkle may be that Apple (AAPL) has demanded new terms on its chip supply for the new iPhones. In addition to Apple, Bain’s consortium “Pangea” includes Japan’s Hoya Corporation, South Korea’s SK Hynix, and U.S. investors Kingston Technology (KINS), Seagate Technology (STX) and Dell Technologies Capital.- all of which want access to NAND technology.

Under the deal, Toshiba will have 40.2 percent of voting rights in the chip unit and Hoya will own 9.9 percent. The four U.S. tech firms will not have voting rights.

Western DigitalBesides internal strife, the sale also faces legal challenges from Western Digital (WDC), Toshiba’s chip venture partner and rejected suitor, which is seeking an injunction to block any deal that does not have its consent.

Western Digital, one of world’s leading makers of hard disk drives, paid some $16 billion last year to acquire SanDisk, Toshiba’s chip joint venture partner since 2000. It sees chips as a key pillar of growth and is desperate to keep the business out of the hands of rival chip makers.

Bain has also announced that it plans to take Pangea public by 2020.

Dropbox Warms Up to Corp IT for IPO

Dropbox Wams up to Corp IT for IPOIn preparation for its IPO, Dropbox is warming up to corporate customers reports InfoSecurity. the general consensus about Dropbox within business is that it is an excellent service, but lacks security. Data breaches,a lack of visibility into and control over how stored and shared files are used make the app seem insecure to many corporate users. GigaOM points out that large companies, including IBM (IBM), forbid its use. One of the criticisms, InfoSecurity cites is that employees leaving the company (either through termination or leaving to join a competitor) will automatically take any potentially sensitive files stored in their Dropbox accounts when they leave the company.

DropboxThe new Dropbox Team (the corporate multi-user offering) dashboard seeks to make that more attractive. This paid-for service costs $795 per year for 5 users plus $125 for each additional user. The new dashboard provides the team leader with greater visibility and control over which members can access individual files, and what they can do with those files. In particular, if a team member leaves the company or just the team, access to the stored files can be immediately blocked.

These new features do not prevent an employee opening a separate personal account and using that to exfiltrate sensitive files, but InfoSecurity claims they make it more likely that it would be a planned (and probably illegal) act. However, the greater part of the shadow IT use of Dropbox is likely to occur simply because staff are seeking to make their jobs easier and more efficient. By providing an official Dropbox Team account, the need to do that becomes less pressing – and Dropbox will benefit from increased income while business benefits from increased control.

two-factor authenticationA second new security feature within the new dashboard is the ability for the team leader to insist on and ensure the use of two-factor authentication by the team members. Optional two-factor authentication was announced by Dropbox last July. It followed the breach involving users’ re-used passwords. “Our investigation found that usernames and passwords recently stolen from other websites were used to sign in to a small number of Dropbox accounts,” announced the company at the time. Two-factor authentication can solve this issue, and the team leader can now insist upon it, and ensure that individual team members do not subsequently turn it off.

It is possible that this improvement to the corporate Dropbox may be the start of preparation for a Dropbox IPO. IDC estimates that the enterprise file-sharing market will be worth $20 billion by 2015, and Dropbox is currently valued at around $4 billion.

Begging“Over 2 million businesses have people inside them using Dropbox. It’s already pervasive, we just want to make it easier for IT to say yes to those people asking for Dropbox,” Sujay Jaswa, VP of business development for Dropbox said in an interview with GigaOM.

Among business accounts, GigaOM says Google (GOOG) is getting traction with the Google AppsGoogle Drive combo and Microsoft (MSFT) integrates SkyDrive storage with Office and Windows 8. Box, the company most associated with Dropbox-of-the-Enterprise, touts its support of all client devices, but targets larger companies incluing Netflix, Dow Chemical and Procter & Gamble.


Other competitors in the Dropbox-of-the-Enterprise niche are Accellion’s kitedrive, Egnyte, GroupLogic’s activEcho, SurDoc and ownCloud. Still, it’s hard not to see all these rivals battling it out for the same paying business customers down the road.

At $125 per seat it seems awfully expensive, is it good enough for corporate IT to warm up to Dropbox in time to save its IPO?



LinkedIn Pulls A Facebook

LinkedIn Pulls A FacebookLinkedIn made me get out of my Bach Seat and jump up and down this morning, LinkedIn (LNKD) pulled a Facebook and made a sneaky change to the terms of service that made user’s names and photographs available to advertisers if they want to use them.

Thankfully BrandImpact tells how to maintain your privacy.

  1. LinkedIn logoClick on your name on your LinkedIn homepage in the upper right corner. From the drop-down menu, select “Settings.”
  2. In the “Settings” page, select “Account.”
  3. In the column next to “Account,” click “Manage Social Advertising.”
  4. Uncheck the box next to “LinkedIn may use my name, photo in social advertising.”
  5. Now check the new default settings under “E-mail Preferences” and “Groups, Companies & Applications.” Make sure to opt out of “Data Sharing with 3rd-party applications” as well.

In the face of negative user reaction and a growing media firestorm, LinkedIn has decided to make a change in the policy. That’s a step in the right direction. I have written about social networking’s assault on privacy here, here and here.


Even though LinkedIn has backtracked on this it still irks me. I believe that most people on LinkedIn are working on their professional brand and do not want to be associated with ads. Facebook is for kids who don’t care, LinkedIn was for professionals. This seems like LinkedIn is wasting the goodwill they’ve built up over the years as it tries to justify its $9 billion IPO valuation. This is not a good sign for LinkedIn, I doubt they can beat Facebook in the teenie-bopper social network segment.

What do you think?

Are you concerned about your privacy on Facebook?

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Ralph Bach has been in IT for a while and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

LinkedIn Lacks Real-Time Backups

The LinkedIn IPO filings revealed some interesting facts. Mashable has a nice summary of  LinkedIn’s SEC S-1 form. The business networking site announced that it plans to raise at least $175 million in the initial public offering. According to the forms, LinkedIn earned $161.4 million in revenue from January 2010 to September 2010. The revenue came  from three products:

  • Job listings – 41%
  • Advertising – 32%
  • Premium subscriptions 27%.

One thing that Data Center Knowledge found in the IPO was that LinkedIn does not have a real-time backup data center. The article says that a failure of its primary data center would knock its LinkedIn.com site offline.

“We recently implemented a disaster recovery program, which allows us to move production to a back-up data center in the event of a catastrophe. Although this program is functional, it does not yet provide a real-time back-up data center, so if our primary data center shuts down, there will be a period of time that the website will remain shut down while the transition to the back-up data center takes place” LinkedIn said on page 14 of the SEC filing.  The company says some of its key infrastructure is located in San Francisco and southern California, which are both prone to earthquakes. “Despite any precautions we may take, the occurrence of a natural disaster or other unanticipated problems at our hosting facilities could result in lengthy interruptions in our services,” the company said.

The business networking site has taken steps to protect its user data. Data Center Knowledge reported in 2008 that LinkedIn was deploying equipment to support a business continuity program in an Equinix (EQIX) data center in Chicago. The company said it already housed equipment in Equinix data centers in California. In December 2010, LinkedIn opened a new data center in Los Angeles, saying that the expansion would give “an additional, more robust data center that not only helps us handle the increasing traffic load on our servers, but to also provide more redundancy in case of an emergency.”

Data Center Knowledge summarizes that LinkedIn has its data backed up to a remote data center using a “cold ” or “warm” backup configuration. These approaches don’t provide an instant rollover in the event of a major downtime event, but allow a site owner to redeploy the site from the most recent backup. Servers in the backup data center are typically configured with the required software and applications, so they’re ready to be deployed as needed. LinkedIn didn’t indicate how long it might be offline in the event of a data center failure.

Backup RecoveryThe Data Center Knowledge article points out that larger Internet companies like Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Yahoo (YHOO) and Facebook have multiple data centers and can use their network to quickly shift workloads between different facilities. LinkedIn’s infrastructure has not yet reached that scale. The article suggests that  LinkedIn has not arranged for a real-time backup setup because of the challenges it presents for database-driven sites.  The article uses Facebook’s experience when the social networker added its first East coast data center in Virginia. The Facebook engineering team found that setting up a second site serving real-time data created “two main application level challenges: cache consistency and traffic routing,” according to a blog entry by Facebook’s Jason Sobel.


I have been on LinkedIn for quite while and never gave their DRP a second thought. Maybe because I didn’t need the job networking connections until recently. Seems to me that if LinkedIn wants to compete with Facebook, and grow the paid portions of the site, they need to have the 24x7x365 availability. Hopefully that is in the development pipeline after they raise their $175 million in the IPO.

Is a real-time backup data center a must have for LinkedIn to continue to grow?

Have you had a real success with landing your next gig with LinkedIn? Facebook?