Snowflake Shares Surge After Record-Breaking IPO

Snowflake, a cloud-based data-warehousing platform founded in 2012, now holds the record for the largest software IPO in history. From my perspective, Snowflake’s debut this week on the New York Stock Exchange is a sure sign that tech remains a powerful driver of the broader economy.

“Shares of Snowflake, a cloud data warehousing firm that has the backing of Salesforce (CRM) and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB), more than doubled on their first day of trading in the biggest software IPO ever,” writes Paul R. La Monica of CNN Business.

By the end of Wednesday, “Snowflake was worth $70.4 billion at the end of trading, more than five times its $12.4 billion valuation in February.” writes Jessica Bursztynsky of CNBC. “The company raised more $3 billion based on its opening price, the most ever for a software company. The stock trades under the symbol SNOW.”

The successful IPO also demonstrates the value of patience and focus, even in a fast-paced and often turbulent industry.

“Investors had anticipated a blockbuster opening for the company, which is generating over $500 million in annualized revenue and grew over 130% in the first half of 2020. The stock received a vote of confidence last week, when Snowflake revealed in a filing that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Salesforce each agreed to buy $250 million of stock at the IPO price in a concurrent private placement. Berkshire Hathaway also agreed to buy 4.04 million shares in a secondary transaction,” Bursztynsky writes.


TikTok Apparently Okays Revised Deal; Trump Will Review Agreement

It seems that TikTok’s owner has accepted a modified deal that would allow it to operate in the U.S., despite concerns over data privacy and security.

“The Treasury Department, which leads a group reviewing the deal for national security purposes, provided TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, with revisions to its proposal on Wednesday, one of the people said. Some of the revisions were intended to address how TikTok’s data and source code would be handled and secured, one of the people said. The two sides have agreed in principle, but are still discussing some technical details, the other person said,” according to an updated report in The New York Times. “The exact ownership structure of TikTok under the proposed deal is unclear. President Trump and some members of his administration have said ByteDance cannot retain a majority stake in TikTok if their concerns are to be satisfied.”

The U.S. had ordered ByteDance to divest most of its ownership in the popular brand. “Software company Oracle beat out a competing proposal from Microsoft to keep TikTok alive, but its offer would not be an outright acquisition,” writes Bobby Allyn of NPR.

Several prominent GOP lawmakers have expressed opposition to the deal as it currently stands, citing ongoing and unresolved security issues.


New Apple Watch Incorporates Multiple Health and Safety Features

Apple’s new watch Series 6 watch includes new sensors that enable wearers to test their health, share watch faces, manage how their children use their watches and set up location alerts.

“The Series 6 model maintains the same overall design introduced with the Apple Watch Series 4 and continued with the Series 5, but it adds a variety of new sensors to allow for things like blood oxygen monitoring and better sleep tracking,” writes Dan Seifert of The Verge. “Apple says the Series 6 can measure blood oxygen levels in about 15 seconds, using both red and infrared light. The company says it’s partnering with health networks to start large-scale studies using the new blood oxygen measurement feature, including testing to see if it can detect if a person is infected with COVID-19.”


Facebook Promotes Smart Eye Gear

Facebook hopes to have many of us wearing smart eyeglasses next year as it doubles down on its investments in augmented reality products.

“The company has partnered with EssilorLuxottica, which owns eyewear brands including Ray-Ban, to support different designs and styles for the upcoming glasses. The glasses will bear the Ray-Ban brand,” writes Queenie Wong of CNET. “Facebook also unveiled a new version of its Oculus Quest VR headset with an upgraded processor and higher-resolution display. The new headset, called the Oculus Quest 2, has a price tag of $299, which is $100 cheaper than its predecessor.”