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Google Cloud CEO Greene being replaced by former Oracle exec Kurian

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Earlier this year, Greene faced an internal and external outcry over a controversial Department of Defense contract — dubbed Project Maven — to analyze and interpret drone videos via AI technology. Word of the deal led several thousand employees to sign a petition urging Pichai to keep Google out of the “business of war,” while dozens resigned in protest.

In taking over for Greene, Kurian faces a significant cultural challenge that’s been a consistent source of tension at Google. It’s a consumer-focused, engineering-driven company with some of the highest profits margins in technology that’s never been able to fully embrace the realities of selling to the enterprise.

No company is more closely associated with the enterprise than Oracle, but getting thousands of engineers and sales people on board is a tall task. A year ago, Greene announced that Diane Bryant, formerly the head of Intel’s data center business and a potential CEO candidate at the chipmaker, was joining Google Cloud as its operating chief. Seven months later she was gone.

Transitioning Google Cloud after three great years

Hello All,

When I joined Google full-time to run Cloud in December 2015, I told my family and friends that it would be for two years. Now, after an unbelievably stimulating and productive three years, it’s time to turn to the passions I’ve long had around mentoring and education.

The mentoring will include investing in and helping female founder CEOs who have engineering or science backgrounds. I want to encourage every woman engineer and scientist to think in terms of building their own company someday. The world will be a better place with more female founder CEOs.

The work in education will especially be initiatives that combine technology with in-person teaching to make high-quality education that is low-cost, scalable and personalized. When bebop was purchased by Google, I committed all of my proceeds to philanthropy, it is high time to put that money to work!

Thomas Kurian, a respected technologist and executive, will be joining Google Cloud on November 26th and transitioning into the Google Cloud leadership role in early 2019. Sundar, Urs and I all interviewed Thomas, and I believe that he’ll do an amazing job helping to take Google Cloud to the next level.Thomas has 22 years of experience at Oracle; most recently he was President of Product Development.

I will continue as CEO through January, working with Thomas to ensure a smooth transition. I will remain a Director on the Alphabet board.

The Google Cloud team has accomplished amazing things over the last three years, and I’m proud to have been a part of this transformative work. We have moved Google Cloud from having only two significant customers and a collection of startups to having major Fortune 1000 enterprises betting their future on Google Cloud, something we should accept as a great compliment as well as a huge responsibility.

We’ve built a strong business together—set up by integrating sales, marketing, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Google Apps/G Suite into what is now called Google Cloud.

We established a training and professional services organization and partnering organizations. We revamped customer engineering and added a team of experts in the Office of the CTO. We also pioneered a way to help enterprises adopt AI through our Advanced Solutions Lab. We built out a full marketing organization that in just three years has received many recognitions including Cannes Lions awards. We set up our industry verticals org where we have achieved massive traction in health, financial services, retail, gaming and media, energy and manufacturing, and transportation. We set up the Cloud ML and the Cloud IoT groups. We acquired Apigee, Kaggle, qwiklabs and several great small startups. Our technology development has been recognized throughout the industry, and Google Cloud is differentiated in security, AI, open hybrid application modernization, G Suite, and many other areas. We are now recognized as a leader in 11 Gartner Magic Quadrants and Forrester Waves.

But here’s what I’m most proud of: the phenomenal team assembled and how we together have built out all of our functions for customer-facing enterprise readiness and engineering enterprise execution. When this journey started, some people would say that Google had great technology but they weren’t sure that customers would rely on Google as their enterprise partner. At our recent Google Cloud Next event in San Francisco, we had over 23,000 attendees, representing 10x growth from 2016. With nearly 300 customers speaking about how Google Cloud is helping to transform their businesses, no one was questioning our seriousness or our abilities.

The cloud space is early and there is an enormous opportunity ahead. I have loved working with everyone. I am especially grateful to all of our customers, partners, and employees for an amazing three years of getting to work with you.

—Diane

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China’s 2019 consumption growth to slow further: commerce ministry

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Consumption growth in China is likely to slow further this year, a commerce ministry official said on Tuesday, adding that slower growth last year was due to “periodic” weak car sales and housing-related spending.

However, retail sales this year would still be growing at a steady, relatively fast pace, Wang Bin, a commerce ministry official told reporters during a briefing.

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iPhone shipments in China fall 19.9 percent: IDC

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Chinese customers in an Apple store on Jan. 3, 2019, in Beijing, one day after Apple preannounced weak quarterly results that it attributed primarily to a sales slowdown in China.

Lintao Zhang | Getty Images

Chinese customers in an Apple store on Jan. 3, 2019, in Beijing, one day after Apple preannounced weak quarterly results that it attributed primarily to a sales slowdown in China.

Apple‘s iPhone shipments fell 19.9 percent during the fourth quarter in China, according to the latest figures from research firm IDC published Monday.

This was reflected in Apple’s earnings release last month, when it said it booked $13 billion in revenue from China during the quarter, down 27 percent from the year-ago quarter. Overall, Apple said iPhone revenue fell 15 percent.

Apple revised its guidance ahead of that report in early January, when it said a weakening economy in China and the strength of the U.S. dollar were to blame for weaker-than-expected iPhone revenue.

Huawei ate up Apple’s shipment losses in China, where its shipments increased 23.3 percent during the same period. Other local phone makers including Oppo and Vivo saw shipment gains of 1.5 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

“In addition to the regular performance upgrades in 2018, there is no major innovation to support users to continue to change their machines at the greatly increased price,” IDC said. “At the same time, under the impact of China’s severe macro environment and domestic brand innovation products, consumers’ increasingly harsh eyes are also the reasons for Apple’s continued decline in the domestic market.”

IDC said the iPhone’s high price specifically “led to the decline of Apple’s domestic market,” while the increased strength of Huawei’s brand and its flagship phone’s “excellent technology'” helped it continue to widen the gap over Apple. The latest iPhones start at $749 for the iPhone XR, and go all the up to $1,449 for the iPhone XS with the maximum storage option.

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US-China trade, Huawei, currencies and oil in focus

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Markets overnight on Wall Street were tepid, as investors considered the possibility of a trade deal being struck between the U.S. and China. Officials from Washington and Beijing will continue talks this week with a focus on intellectual property.

Axios reported on Sunday, citing two administration officials, that U.S. President Donald Trump’s advisors have informally discussed holding a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping next month at the Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Florida. That meeting could take place as soon as mid-March, the report said.

That report comes after Trump said last week that a meeting between him and Xi would not happen before an early March deadline. If a trade deal is not reached before the deadline, additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods will take effect. That deadline could be moved, however, a White House official told CNBC last week.

“I think the most likely scenario is a deal with no more tariffs being imposed going forward,” David Cui, head of China equity strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday.

“There’s a possibility they keep existing tariffs imposed last year for a while to monitor performance, but I think (it is) highly unlikely there will be more tariffs imposed. It’s also possible to delay the negotiation for a couple of more months to nail down some of the details. I think the least likely scenario is a … complete breakdown of the negotiation,” he added.

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