Welcome to Trending, the weekly newsletter highlighting the best of BI Prime's tech coverage. This is Alexei Oreskovic, Business Insider's West Coast Bureau Chief and Global Tech Editor. I've got lots of great stuff to share this week. And remember, if you're not already subscribed to the newsletter, you can sign up here.
This week: How Google's smartwatch dreams shattered
Steve Jobs famously called Google's Android mobile software a rip-off of Apple's iPhone. Even though Google's Android was basically a me-too product that came out more than a year after the iPhone, it went on to dominate the market by providing an operating system — Android — that Samsung, LG and every other hardware maker could use to create their own smartphones.
When it comes to smartwatches, the situation is almost exactly reversed. Google released its Android Wear software for smartwatches a year before the Apple Watch came out. But today, the Apple Watch is the Number One player, with 37% of the market, while Google's smartwatch software languishes with a paltry 6% of the market.
It's a surprising turn of events, and Nick Bastone's in-depth report about Google's smartwatch saga shows how the company misjudged and mishandled the biggest new tech product to emerge since the smartphone. A much-speculated about Google-designed smartwatch was in fact ready to go back in 2016, but fell victim to an internal reorg and shifting priorities. As Apple Watch continues to gain momentum, Google's software-only strategy looks increasingly out of sync with today's smartwatch market. But a Google-designed hardware watch is unlikely to come anytime soon, Nick reports. And until it does, Google's smartwatch business is effectively stalled.
Read the full story here:
The Pixel watch that never was: An inside look at how Google's smartwatch efforts beat Apple to the punch, but then broke down and never recovered
Bulking up for the Cloud Wars
One business where Google is making big strides is in the cloud, and Rosalie Chan's list of the power players at Google Cloud is a must-read.
Google's cloud business may still be playing catch up to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, but new boss Thomas Kurian is not the kind of guy who likes to be in third place. The Google Cloud business is now on an $8 billion annual run rate, and Kurian is on a hiring spree, beefing up the ranks with executive and programming talent.
As Rosalie has previously reported, Google is also revamping its compensation and sales structure, as Kurian and team charge forward.
Read the full story here:
Here are 12 of the most important executives leading Google Cloud as it takes on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure
When it comes to diversity, Google suffers from many of the same problems as other Silicon Valley companies, where minorities and women are underrepresented in the programming ranks and in leadership roles.
This lack of diversity is pernicious on many levels, especially as important, society-changing technologies like artificial intelligence are being developed that are susceptible to the bias of their creators. As Melia Russell reports, the lack of diversity in tech can also feed on itself, through everyday interactions that can make underrepresented groups feel like outsiders. Consider for example, the standard practice of checking employee badges on Silicon Valley's open campuses.
As a sidenote, I want to welcome Melia back to Business Insider for her second tour of duty! She's covering VCs, startups and the various issues affecting the tech workforce these days. So stay tuned for more great stories.
Read the full story here:
A Google engineering director who is black said he would be accosted less at work if he dressed like a janitor
Other recent tech highlights:
- Instagram is warning users of popular social-media-management tools like Buffer and Hootsuite that their accounts have been 'compromised'
- Safra Catz has long been Oracle's secret weapon, and analysts say that it's her time to shine as sole CEO: 'This will test her, but she will prevail'
- Automation is coming for venture capital, and one young VC firm is betting its homegrown tech gives it an edge over Sand Hill Road's slow-to-adapt legacy investors
- Venture investors still aren't sure what to make of SoftBank's $100 billion Vision Fund. Depending on who you ask, they're either rooting for it, or gleeful that it's struggling with WeWork and Uber.
And more from across the BI newsroom:
- Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman doesn't think a recession is coming — here's why he's optimistic even as economists worry
- Now WeWork wants to be a manufacturer. The coworking company is opening a 200,000-square-foot New Jersey plant to make its signature aluminum and glass walls.
- Internal memo from McDonald's new ad agency reveals why the world's biggest fast-food chain bucked industry trends to reshape its marketing strategy
- The 20 CMOs to watch in 2019
Thanks for reading. And as always, I'm eager for your feedback, thoughts, and tips — you can email me at [email protected]
See you next week,