Protocol | Enterprise

C3 AI places a big bet on Google Cloud

All of C3 AI's machine-learning tools will now be available on Google Cloud, and the two companies will develop new products together and resell each other's existing products.

C3 AI CEO Tom Siebel and Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian stand on a lawn.

C3 AI CEO Tom Siebel (left) and Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian just signed an expansive partnership deal.

Photo: Google

C3 AI has signed a sweeping partnership deal with Google Cloud, the two companies plan to announce Wednesday, in what C3 AI CEO Tom Siebel called a "precedent-setting" deal.

Under the terms of the agreement, all of C3 AI's software tools for building and deploying applications around artificial intelligence models will now run on Google Cloud. The two companies will also work together to make some of Google's core cloud tools — BigQuery, Vertex AI and Google Kubernetes Engine — work more closely with C3 AI's services.

"This is a very large-scale initiative that I think will be precedent setting in the enterprise AI application space and in the hyperscaler space," Siebel told Protocol. "I believe there is no hyperscaler and no enterprise AI application company that has formed a partnership this deep, this broad and this meaningful at global scale."

Partnerships are quite common in enterprise tech; C3 AI's flagship AI Suite runs on all three major clouds, and it signed a similar partnership deal with Microsoft in 2018 that included co-development and cross-selling agreements. But according to Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian, these two companies have a lot in common.

"We recognize customers have multiple hyperscalers they work with and [there are] also multiple software companies running on us, and Tom's organization needs to continue to support multiple cloud providers," Kurian told Protocol. However, "I think we were one of the first companies to share that vision that Tom's been working on for 10-plus years and so the alignment in our understanding from a go-to-market perspective and how we talk to customers together [is] materially different."

Kurian and Siebel are two sales veterans who have been both fierce competitors and colleagues in the small world of enterprise tech. Siebel founded customer-relationship management company Siebel Systems in 1993 and sold it to Oracle in 2006. Kurian started at Oracle in 1996 and eventually worked his way up to president before leaving in 2018 to become CEO of Google Cloud the following year.

That familiarity extends lower in the executive ranks; Sam Alkharrat, president and chief revenue officer at C3 AI, worked closely with Rob Enslin, president of cloud sales at Google, at longtime Oracle rival SAP.

"We have been and we are being very careful to align the incentives of both sales organizations, so they are highly incentivized to work together," Siebel said. "We understand the way the compensation structures work and what motivates sales people."

Cloud companies are highly motivated to sell AI services because of the computational requirements involved.

Building AI models requires a lot of storage for the massive data sets needed to really unlock insights, and processing them taxes cloud servers more and more every year. Higher-level AI tools that help companies that can't afford top-tier data scientists — that is, most companies — use AI in their applications also tend to carry better margins than lower-level services like compute and storage.

Specific terms of the agreement were not released, but the companies said they had struck a "multiyear" partnership.

Power

VR pioneer The Void is plotting a comeback

Assets of the location-based VR startup have been acquired by a former investor, who plans a relaunch with key former team members.

The Void's New York outpost closed during the pandemic. Now, the company is planning a comeback under new ownership.

Photo: The Void

Location-based VR pioneer The Void may rise from the ashes next year: A former investor has acquired key assets of the defunct startup and is now looking to relaunch it with key team members, Protocol has learned. The company is said to be actively fundraising, and is getting ready to start hiring additional talent soon.

The Void's patents and trademarks were recently acquired by Hyper Reality Partners, a company headed by former OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel, who also used to be an investor in and board member of The Void. Hyper Reality Partners is actively fundraising for a relaunch of the VR startup, and is said to have raised as much as $20 million already, according to an industry insider.

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Janko Roettgers

Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.

The pandemic won't be over until the economy recovers. While cities, states and regions across the U.S. are grappling with new variants, shifting mask policies and other factors that directly impact businesses large and small, it is nevertheless time for brands and enterprises to jumpstart COVID-19 recovery strategies.

Data will undoubtedly be critical to such strategies, but there is one type of data in particular that is poised to yield greater impact than ever in the COVID-19 Recovery Era: location data.

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Michele Morelli, Foursquare
As SVP of Marketing, Michele is responsible for overseeing the brand strategy, communications, and product and performance marketing of Foursquare’s apps and enterprise products. Prior to joining Foursquare, Michele held several senior leadership positions with wide-ranging responsibilities at AOL, Toluna, Citibank and Yahoo!.
Protocol | Workplace

A new McKinsey study shows that women do more emotional labor at work

The 2021 Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey found that women are far more likely than men to help their teams manage time and work-life balance and provide emotional support.

Senior leaders who identify as women were 60% more likely to provide emotional support to their teams and 26% more likely to help team members navigate work/life challenges, according to the report.

Photo: Luis Alvarez via Getty Images

Over the last year, emotional support, time management skills and work-life balance have become drastically more important and difficult in the workplace — and women leaders were far more likely than men to step in and do that work for their teams, according to the latest iteration of McKinsey and LeanIn.org's annual Women in the Workplace report.

Senior leaders who identify as women were 60% more likely to provide emotional support to their teams, 24% more likely to ensure their teams' workload is manageable and 26% more likely to help team members navigate work/life challenges, according to the report. In addition, about one in five women senior leaders spend a substantial amount of time on DEI work that is not central to their job, compared to less than one in 10 male senior leaders.

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Anna Kramer

Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (Twitter: @ anna_c_kramer, email: akramer@protocol.com), where she writes about labor and workplace issues. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.

Amazon needs New World’s launch to be a success

New World arrives Tuesday. Whether it flops could determine the future of Amazon Games.

New World launches on Tuesday, after four delays. It could be Amazon's first big hit.

Image: Amazon

Amazon's New World launches on Tuesday, marking the end of a long and bumpy road to release day for the company's most pivotal video game release to date. There's a lot riding on New World, a massively multiplayer online game in the vein of iconic successes like Blizzard's long-running World of Warcraft and Square Enix's immensely popular Final Fantasy XIV.

If the game succeeds, New World will mark a rare success for a technology company in the gaming space. With the exception of Microsoft, which entered the console game industry nearly two decades ago, tech firms have tried time and again to use their engineering talent and resources to crack the code behind making successful video games. Almost every attempt has failed, but Amazon is the closest to having a hit on its hands. If it flops, we could see Amazon's gaming ambitions go the way of Google's.

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Nick Statt
Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.
Protocol | Enterprise

Underneath the Dreamforce pomp, Salesforce flexes its financial muscle

Last week, investors got a taste of Salesforce's post-Slack future. And despite looming risks, Wall Street appears to be buying it.

Dreamforce is a chance for customers to come together and celebrate everything Salesforce.

Photo: Salesforce

It's easy to forget that Dreamforce serves an important purpose for Salesforce beyond turning downtown San Francisco into a "Burning Man for people with jobs."

The annual conference is, of course, a chance for customers to come together and celebrate everything Salesforce in an environment that can feel like a cult gathering. In past years, attendees would stand in lines to get their own face imposed over Marc Benioff's latest book release cover or rush to take pictures with one of the multitude of dancing cartoon characters that serve as Salesforce mascots, including a literal "Customer 360" wheel.

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Joe Williams

Joe Williams is a senior reporter at Protocol covering enterprise software, including industry giants like Salesforce, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle. He previously covered emerging technology for Business Insider. Joe can be reached at JWilliams@Protocol.com. To share information confidentially, he can also be contacted on a non-work device via Signal (+1-309-265-6120) or JPW53189@protonmail.com.

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