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Microsoft, Adobe Team Up On Data Sharing Deal

March 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft Corp and Adobe Systems Inc have decided to team up to make their respective sales and marketing software products more potent competitors to Salesforce.com Inc and Oracle Corp offerings.

On the eve of San Jose, California-based Adobe’s annual user conference, the company said that it will work with Microsoft to create a shared data format between Adobe’s marketing software suite, which the company is re-naming its Experience Cloud, and Microsoft’s sales software, called Dynamics, allowing the software systems to work together seamlessly.

“It’s going to enable to customers to go beyond the current (software) silos they have to navigate today,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise division at Microsoft.

For Adobe, best known among consumers for its Photoshop digital imaging and Acrobat PDF software, the partnership builds on a deal it struck with Microsoft last fall to use its Azure cloud computing services.

Adobe has been pushing into business-to-business marketing software since it purchased Omniture Inc, a firm that helps website owners track their traffic, for $1.8 billion in 2009. Software that companies use to run digital marketing and advertising campaigns represented about $1.2 billion of Adobe’s $4.6 billion in revenue last year.

For its part, Microsoft has been trying to expand Dynamics, its software system for sales people. Teaming with Adobe helps it compete more strongly against Salesforce and Oracle, which both offer a combination of sales and marketing software.

Melissa Webster, an analyst with IDC, said that sharing data between systems to ensure customers get a smooth experience will be “an important battleground” in business-to-business software.

If customers have spent a lot of money with a business, they expect the business to remember who they are and don’t like it when they have to constantly re-enter their name and information, she said.

“Every time a company says with its body language ‘Who are you, again?’ it eats into their brand equity a little bit,” she said.

Seagate 12TB Drive Focuses On TDMR

March 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

According to senior executives familiar with Seagate’s research and development plans, the company plans to fine-tune the next three years of its HDD developments using shingled magnetic recording (SMR), two-dimensional magnetic recording (TDMR), and heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR).

Back in July, the company announced a new line of Barracuda Guardian Series drives with up to 10TB of capacity for desktops, network-attached storage and surveillance systems. The drives offer sustained data rates up to 210MB/s. These drives are filled with helium to reduce platter thickness, motor power and flutter, and also use colossal magnetoresistive (CMR) heads versus shingled magnetic recording (SMR).

The need for higher capacity drives, especially for lots of unstructured data in server environments, have produced a need to develop more efficient drive recording technologies. Perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) was introduced in 2005 and brought needed areal density decreases. Then in 2013, Seagate began shipping the first shingled magnetic recording (SMR) drives that increased overall disk capacity by about 25 percent over non-shingled storage. The company is now confirming plans to release nearline HDDs with 12TB capacity within the coming weeks or months. Market watchers expect that once SMR-based technology begins to mature, the drives will be able to replace PMR-based drives most frequently and at capacities of almost double what PMR has been able to provide. According to company executives, 18TB SMR drives are currently in development and are expected to make an arrival in 2018.

Another technology currently under development, two-dimensional magnetic recording (TDMR), will also help the company increase areal density by around 5 to 10 percent. As tracks get narrower, an effect called magnetic inter-track interference (ITI) makes it increasingly hard for heads to perform read operations. TDMR uses two or more heads to read data from several earby tracks at the same time, improving the overall signal-to-noise ratio delivered to the controller. By using an array of readers per head, there should also be a noticeable performance improvement for HDDs, even if not quite on the same level as SSDs. With TDMR, however, the array of heads increases bandwidth requirements for the controller along with the amount of information it needs to process, so these platforms may initially come at a slight cost premium. Seagate plans to have some of the first drives introduced next quarter.

Now that PMR technology has gone through several generations, there is only so much room left in bits per square inch before a new read-write head technology must be developed to accommodate smaller surface areas. Seagate describes SMR as a stop gap recording technology, where reads can be made smaller, but write heads cannot. The downside is that if data has to be rewritten, then track blocks have to be reconstructed, which takes time and lengthens disk write performance.

This is where heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) comes into play, as it allows the drive heads to be made smaller to match the read tracks. A new and more stable recording medium is used that allows for writing on materials with higher coercivity and smaller grain size.

While PMR drives have an areal density of a few hundred gigabits per square inch, HAMR drives will be capable of delivering 5TB per square inch. As of 2016, no hard drives on the market were using HAMR, but Seagate expects the first 16TB HAMR HDDs to make an arrival in 2018 at the earliest.

Courtesy-Fud

Porsche Turns To Digital Services For Possible Revenue Bump

March 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Porsche will invest hundreds of millions  in digital services to generate profits needed to offset an expected decline in car sales in the coming years, its finance chief said on Friday.

Growing demand for ride-hailing and car-sharing will make the part-time use of vehicles, including Porsches, as convenient as ownership in seven to 10 years and that could dent new car sales, Porsche CFO Lutz Meschke said.

“To compensate for this decline, we have no choice but to develop new business models in the digital world to be able to keep growing,” Meschke said at a news conference to present Porsche results.

Porsche said on Friday it planned to spend 200 million to 300 million euros per year developing its digital businesses, services such as software designed to route drivers to free parking spaces.

Last year, Porsche set up a related division near Stuttgart with dozens of staff that will eventually employ about 500 workers globally by adding outlets in overseas markets.

Meschke said new mobility services would contribute a significant double-digit percentage share of revenue in the coming years. In 2016, the German sports-car maker’s overall revenue rose 4 percent to 22.3 billion euros ($24 billion).

Stuttgart-based Porsche, Volkswagen’s (VW) second-biggest earnings contributor behind Audi, expects operating profit in 2017 to match last year’s record 3.9 billion euros, with sales and revenue both seen rising moderately.

Separately, Porsche said it was targeting 100 million euros of annual cost savings from 2018 by deepening cooperation with fellow VW luxury brands Bentley and Bugatti, including platform-sharing, the carmaker said.

Apple Tied With Samsung For Top Smartphone Ranking

March 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

The iPhone 6 has sold so well that Apple caught up to and tied Samsung for the top position in the smartphone market in the fourth quarter, closing the gap with its South Korean competitor.

Both Apple and Samsung shipped 74.5 million smartphones during the period, each claiming close to 20 percent share of the market, research firm Strategy Analytics said Wednesday.

It’s a big change from a year ago, when Apple’s iPhone 5s only helped the company gain a 17.6 percent share of the market, as opposed to Samsung’s near 30 percent share.

The data from Strategy Analytics comes a few days after Apple reported huge profits of $18 billion made in last year’s fourth quarter, from record sales of its new smartphone.

“Demand for iPhone has been staggering, shattering our high expectation,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an earnings call.

He added that the smaller iPhone 6 was the better selling of the two models, but that some markets preferred the bigger iPhone 6 Plus. Although the U.S. still remains the company’s largest market, China was another major contributor to the phone’s sales in the quarter, with sales in the market up by over 100 percent year over year.

Samsung isn’t faring as well in the smartphone market. It is losing market share at the high-end to the iPhone 6, and at the mid-tier and low-end range to products from Chinese vendors Huawei and Xiaomi.

“Samsung may soon have to consider taking over rivals, such as Blackberry, in order to revitalize growth this year,” Strategy Analytics said in a statement. But for the whole year 2014, Samsung still remained the top smartphone vendor, with a 24.7 percent share, followed by Apple, which had a 15 percent share.

Trailing far behind the two players is third place Lenovo, which acquired Motorola Mobility from Google last year. By buying the U.S. handset maker, Lenovo’s market share in the fourth quarter reached 6.5 percent.

Huawei was in fourth place during the quarter, with a 6.3 percent share.

Overall, the world’s smartphone market grew 31 percent during the period, with shipments reaching a record 380.1 million units.

Does The iPad Have A Rocky Road Ahead?

March 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Those responsible for inflicting the iPad on the world are experiencing a rather large slice of karma, thanks mostly to their dependence on the fruity tax-dodging cargo cult.

According to Digitimes, the first-quarter 2017 results of iPad supply chain manufacturers are not that good. Touch panel makers TPK Holding and General Interface Solution (GIS), are hanging in the balance and they are really hoping that Apple is going release its new iPad Pro lineup soon.

It had been expected that Apple is planning three new tablets for 2017, an entry-level 9.7-inch iPad, a 10.5-inch iPad, and an upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Vendors need at least one of the two large-size tablets, 10.5-inch iPad or the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, to be released in the first quarter of 2017 along with the entry-level 9.7-inch iPad, otherwise they might be facing a cash crisis.

However, Apple, with its usual caring and sharing attitude to suppliers and consumers alike, seems to be planning to release the two large-size models in May-June, which will mean that first quarter sales of supply chain makers are going to be pants.

TPK is expected to see its revenues drop within a range of 10 percent in the first quarter of 2017. But the company is still likely to post growth for the first half of the year thanks to follow-up orders for the new iPad Pro lineup, commented the sources.

GIS is expected to see its revenue decline over 35 percent in the first quarter from the $963.28 million of a quarter earlier.

The hope is that orders from Apple as well as non-Apple handset, tablet and notebook clients will help GIS boost sales for the second quarter and eventually for the first half of the year.

But there are indications that iPad sales will continue to fall. Optimistic analysts say that shipments of iPad devices are expected to reach 40 million units in 2017, down slightly from a year earlier. Even if these figures are correct, then a few suppliers will be regretting their dependence on Jobs’ Mob.

Courtesy-Fud

SoundCloud Seeks New Subscribers With New Budget Plan

March 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Music-streaming service SoundCloud rolled out a new budget subscription package on Tuesday, seeking to lure more listeners into paying subscribers and undercutting rivals Apple and Spotify.

The $4.99 per-month offer will give subscribers access to 120 million music tracks without having to listen to ads. Its $9.99 premium subscription, rebranded as SoundCloud Go+, offers 150 million tracks, with new features to be announced this year.

“Users have even more freedom to choose the features and content they want, at the price that fits their budget,” said Alex Ljung, chief executive of Berlin-based SoundCloud.

The new service is immediately available in the United States, Britain, Ireland, France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Germany.

SoundCloud, which was launched in 2008, has about 175 million listeners but has never said how many are paying subscribers. It raised $100 million last June from a group of investors including Twitter, valuing the company at roughly $700 million, according to Re/code.

Apple, which charges $9.99 a month for its music-streaming service, has about 20 million subscribers, and Spotify has over 40 million.

SoundCloud is popular among music artists but has been less successful than its rivals at striking licensing deals on favorable terms. It lost two senior executives this month and is seeking to raise new funding.

Facebook VR Ambitions Threatened By Fight With ZeniMax Media

March 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc’s big ambitions in the ever expanding virtual reality industry could be threatened by a court order that would prevent it from using critical software code another company is laying claims to, according to legal and industry experts.

Video game publisher ZeniMax Media Inc has requested that a Dallas federal judge issue an order barring Facebook unit Oculus from using or distributing the disputed code, part of the software development kit that Oculus provides to outside companies creating games for its Rift VR headset.

A decision is likely a few months away, but intellectual property lawyers said ZeniMax has a decent chance of getting the order, which would mean Facebook faces a tough choice between paying a possibly hefty settlement or fighting on at risk of jeopardizing its position in the sector.

For now, Facebook is fighting on. Oculus spokeswoman Tera Randall said last Thursday the company would challenge a $500 million jury verdict on Feb. 1 against Oculus and its co-founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe for infringing ZeniMax’s copyrighted code and violating a non-disclosure agreement.

Randall said Oculus would possibly file an appeal that would “allow us to put this litigation behind us.”

An injunction would require Oculus, which Facebook acquired for $3 billion in 2014, to stop distributing the code to developers or selling those games that use it.

Such a court order “would put a huge stumbling block in front” of Oculus, said Stephanie Llamas, an analyst with gaming market research firm SuperData. It would offer the company’s rivals in the new market, which include HTC, Sony Corp, Alphabet Inc and others an “important opportunity for them to become first movers.”

Sales of the Rift itself would not be barred, but Llamas, said a lack of available titles could hinder Facebook’s offering relative to HTC’s Vive headset and Sony’s Playstation VR.

That market is relatively small at the moment – sales of VR hardware and software totaled $2.7 billion in 2016 – and mainly limited to gaming. But Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has predicted the technology “will become a part of daily life for billions of people,” revolutionizing social media, entertainment and medicine.

SuperData says the VR market will be worth $37 billion by 2020. Likewise, investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald last year issued a report predicting VR would account for 10 percent of Facebook revenue in four years’ time.

Is The U.S. Tech Industry Headed In A Downward Spin?

February 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Layoffs at computer, electronics, and telecommunications companies rose by 21 percent last year.

Beancounters at the global outplacement outfit Challenger, Gray & Christmas said that more than 96,017 US jobs were cut in 2016, compared to 79,315 the prior year.

Tech layoffs accounted for 18 percent of the total 526,915 US job cuts announced in 2016.

Of the 2016 total, some 66,821of the layoffs came from computer companies, up seven percent year over year.

Challenger attributed much of that increase to cuts made by Dell which merged with EMC. In preparation for that combination, layoffs were instituted across EMC and its constituent companies, including VMware.

But Dell was not entirely to blame Intel, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft all saw the mighty HR axeman coming down the corridors.

For example, Chipzilla’s move to axe 12,000 people or 11 percent of its workforce—was made because the company has struggled in the mobile device market.

John Challenger, chief executive of the outplacement firm added that the networking giant Cisco cut 5,500 jobs or 7 per cent of its headcount to better compete with cloud competitors like Amazon Web Services.

It does not look like things are going to get much better either. The industry is gutting itself as companies shift focus to cloud-based computing and mobile systems, Challenger warned.

Courtesy-Fud

Toshiba Wants Nearly $9B For Memory Chip Business

February 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Japan’s Toshiba Corp wished to receive at least 1 trillion yen ($8.8 billion) by selling most of its flash memory chip business, seeking to create a buffer for any fresh financial problems, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The beleaguered conglomerate was pressured to abandon an initial plan to sell just under 20 percent by its main creditor banks which are worried about potential writedowns that may come on top of $6.3 billion hit to its U.S. nuclear unit, financial sources also said.

Toshiba said last week it is now prepared to sell a majority stake or even all of its chip business, the world’s biggest NAND chip producer after Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, also rocked by the emergence of fresh problems at its Westinghouse unit that have delayed the release of earnings.

The company has not decided on the size of the stake to be sold, preferring to focus on the amount that can be raised but would like to retain a one-third holding as that would give it a degree of control over the business, the source with direct knowledge said.

Its willingness to relinquish so much of the unit underscores not only the depths of its financial woes but also resignation on the part of management to becoming a much smaller company.

The sale “is the best and the only way Toshiba can raise a large amount of funds and wipe out concerns about its credit risk,” said the source, adding that the sale should be completed by the end of March next year.

It wants to restart the sale process as soon as possible and may sell to multiple buyers rather than one bidder with interest already received from investment funds, other chipmakers and client companies, he also said.

A separate person with knowledge of the matter said Toshiba will outline terms of the sale by the end of February, conduct a first round of bids in March and aim to have chosen a preferred bidder or bidders by the end of May. The person also said Toshiba valued the chips business at around 1.5 trillion yen.

A Toshiba spokeswoman said the company cannot comment on the specifics of the sale process. Sources declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Snapchat Wants In On Hardware Development Too

February 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Snap Inc hit the roads of London on Monday promoting its initial public offering with a daring proposition: that it can build hot-selling hardware gadgets and ad-friendly software features fast enough to stay one step ahead of Facebook.

No longer just a purveyor of a smartphone app for disappearing messages, Snap has hired hundreds of hardware engineers, built a secretive product development lab and scoured the landscape for acquisitions as it pursues its newly stated ambition to be “a camera company.”

These efforts, which are aimed at developing hardware and so-called augmented reality technologies, are central to the strategy of a company that is seeking a valuation of up to $22 billion in its early March IPO despite heavy losses and the specter of stiff competition for advertising dollars with a far-larger Facebook.

It is a big gamble and the odds against Snap are long.

There is little precedent for a company with its roots in software and social networking succeeding in the notoriously difficult consumer hardware business. Few U.S. firms aside from Apple have made big profits on hardware, and camera and wearable gadget makers have much lower valuations than Snap is seeking. Once-hot camera start-up GoPro  is a cautionary tale: its stock sits 61 percent below its 2014 IPO price.

More broadly, creating new products and features that have mass-market appeal and cannot be readily mimicked is a huge challenge, analysts say.

“It’s worrisome,” said Paul Meeks, chief investment officer at Sloy, Dahl & Holst, which manages more than $1 billion in assets. “Snapchat is going to have to continue to be really innovative and distinctive. It’s going to be very tough to trump Facebook.”

Snap declined to comment for this story.

Snap first signaled its new focus with the September reveal of Spectacles, funky sunglasses with an embedded video camera for posting to the Snapchat app. The company spent $184 million on research and development last year, nearly half its revenue.

 

Verizon Reportedly Gets Discount On Yahoo Acquisition

February 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Verizon Communications Inc  is close to an updated deal to purchase Yahoo Inc’s core internet business for $250 million to $350 million less than the original agreed price of $4.83 billion, according to a source briefed on the matter.

Since last year, Verizon had been trying to persuade Yahoo to amend the terms of the acquisition agreement to reflect the economic damage from two cyber attacks. A source told Reuters that the deal, which could come as soon as this week, will entail Verizon and Yahoo sharing the liability from potential lawsuits related to the data breaches.

Another person familiar with the situation said the price cut was likely to be around $250 million, a figure that Bloomberg reported earlier on Wednesday.

A representative from Verizon declined to comment. Yahoo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Maybe this isn’t quite as much of a discount as initially thought, but it’s at least something,” said Dave Heger, senior equity analyst at Edward Jones.

Verizon hopes to combine Yahoo’s search, email and messenger assets, as well as advertising technology tools, with its AOL unit, which Verizon bought in 2015 for $4.4 billion. Verizon has been looking to mobile video and advertising for new sources of revenue outside an oversaturated wireless market.

But Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo has been under scrutiny by federal investigators and lawmakers since disclosing the largest known data breach in history in December, months after disclosing a separate hack.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a probe into whether Yahoo should have disclosed the breaches, which occurred in 2013 and 2014, sooner, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal last month.

On Wednesday, Yahoo sent a warning to users whose accounts may have been accessed by intruders between 2015 and 2016, as part of a data security issue related to the breach it disclosed in December. A person familiar with the matter said notifications have gone out to a mostly final list of users.

Facebook Launches App For Smart TVs

February 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Facebook Inc is launching an app for smart TVs that will aid the social network’s users in being able to view its videos on a larger screens.

The app will roll out soon from app stores for Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV and Amazon Fire TV, the company said in a blogpost on Tuesday.

The blogpost also said users can scroll through their news feed and simultaneously watch videos on their timeline.

 Sound also fades in and out as one scrolls through videos in news feed now. Videos in news feed have previously played silently — one needed to tap on a video to hear its sound.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Facebook was creating an app for TV set-top boxes that would bring the company closer to live video and video advertisements.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg during a post-earnings call said this month that the company expected a major ramp-up in hiring and other spending during 2017 as it invests in video and other priorities.

The company last year expanded its live video product, Facebook Live – a potential threat to broadcast television.

T-Mobile Riding High, Adds Customers And Beats Revenue Forecast

February 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

T-Mobile US Inc, the No.3 U.S. wireless carrier, has reported higher-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit as its promotional offers aided in adding new customers.

T-Mobile had a number of promotional offers in the fourth quarter, including a free iPhone 7 offer with eligible trade-in around Black Friday.

Riding on the success of these offers, the company gained market share from rivals Verizon Communications Inc, AT&T Inc and Sprint Corp in an oversaturated U.S. wireless market.

T-Mobile said in January that it added 933,000 postpaid phone subscribers, or those who pay monthly bills, on a net basis, in the three months ended Dec. 31.

Chatter around a deal between T-Mobile and Sprint Corp resurfaced in December after Masayoshi Son, whose SoftBank Group Corp is a majority shareholder in Sprint, pledged a $50 billion investment in the United States.

Asked last week about a renewed merger bid with T-Mobile, Son said he was keeping his options open about Sprint.

T-Mobile’s total revenue jumped 23.4 percent to $10.18 billion.

The company’s net income rose to $390 million, or 45 cents per share, for the quarter from $297 million, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 30 cents per share and revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

 

Twitter Growth Slump Continues, Value Slides

February 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter Inc reported its slowest quarterly revenue growth since debuting as a public the company continues to face intense competition from Snap Inc’s Snapchat and Facebook Inc’s  Instagram.

Twitter said its user base increased 4 percent to 319 million average monthly active users.

Analysts on average had expected 319.6 million monthly active users, according to market research firm FactSet StreetAccount.

Revenue rose just 1 percent to $717.2 million, missing analysts’ average estimate of $740.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The company’s adjusted profit, however, beat sharply lowered estimates.

“While revenue growth continues to lag audience growth, we are applying the same focused approach that drove audience growth to our revenue product portfolio,” Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said in a statement. “This will take time, but we’re moving fast to show results.”

Twitter’s user growth benefited from the social media frenzy that surrounded the U.S. Presidential election as well as the growing follower base of President Donald Trump.

Trump has been using Twitter to air his views, bypassing traditional media outlets.

Twitter was abuzz with takeover chatter last year involving big names such as Salesforce.com Inc and Walt Disney Co. The rumors died down due to the lack of concrete offers.

Twitter has also upgraded its offerings with several new features, including live video broadcasts from its app.

“While none of them will likely materially change Twitter’s user/usage growth, these product innovations are a positive step,” RBC Capital Markets analysts wrote in a pre-earnings note.

San Francisco-based Twitter was also hit by a string of executive departures in 2016, including in its product team, which has had three heads in less than a year.

Twitter’s net loss widened to $167.1 million, or 23 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $90.24 million, or 13 cents per share, a year earlier.

Snap Agrees To Pay Google $400M Annually For Cloud Services

February 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Over the next five years, the firm that owns Snapchat will pay Google at least $2 billion in cloud bills.

Snap has revealed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it signed a five-year contract to pay Google at least $400 million a year for cloud services. That’s a steep figure, considering that Snap made roughly $404 million last year.

In return for the massive commitment, Snap will receive reduced pricing, though it’s not clear how deep the company’s discounts will be. Sinking a bunch of money into Google Cloud makes sense, because Snapchat began its life built on top of Google’s AppEngine platform-as-a-service offering.

Furthermore, Snap’s commitment to Google is a massive vote of confidence in the latter’s cloud capabilities, at a time when there’s heavy competition in the cloud market.

Right now, Google’s cloud is an underdog compared to Microsoft and Amazon. But being tied to a rising star in the social media landscape like Snapchat could help draw other companies to at least give Google’s platform a chance.

However, the contract is not without risk. If Snap doesn’t use $400 million worth of Google Cloud services in a year, it’s still on the hook for the full value of the contract. What’s more, the company said in the filing that it uses Google for the “vast majority” of its “computing, storage, bandwidth, and other services.” If something goes wrong with Google Cloud, or if the tech titan gets out of the public cloud business, it could be bad news for Snap.

That last scenario seems highly unlikely, considering that Google continues increasing its investment in its cloud platform. Urs Hölzle, Google’s vice president of technical infrastructure, said last year that the company plans to launch new cloud data centers at the rate of roughly one each month this year.

All of this is tied to Snap’s plans to pursue an initial public offering in the near future. The filing released on Thursday is one of the company’s steps along that path. Snap’s IPO is being closely observed by the tech industry because of the company’s high-flying status.

It remains to be seen how Wall Street will receive the company, especially since it’s far from profitable and its losses have widened year over year. Plus, the deal with Google means that Snap will be saddled with hundreds of millions of dollars in liabilities for the foreseeable future.

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