Kevin McLaughlin, The Information

Kevin McLaughlin

The Information

San Francisco, CA, United States

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Recent articles by Kevin:

CEOs Want AI, but Deals Are Getting Stuck

In the early days of cloud computing, Amazon Web Services and other providers of cloud-based servers and storage struggled to grow because IT departments of large companies took a long time to approve such purchases. Now, those bureaucratic barriers are being exacerbated by macroeconomic ... → Read More

Microsoft Cloud Computing System Suffering From Global Shortage

In March 2020, Microsoft’s Azure cloud buckled under the strain of companies around the world shifting to remote work, causing service outages and forcing some customers to wait to launch and update applications. Microsoft put a positive spin on the situation, characterizing it as a temporary ... → Read More

While Battling Musk, Twitter CEO Agrawal Shows Decisive Side

Years before Elon Musk set his sights on Twitter, Parag Agrawal, a senior engineering executive at the social media company, was asked in an all-hands meeting what his hobbies were. He nervously replied that he enjoyed growing plants in water, without soil. Now, as the brazen Tesla and SpaceX ... → Read More

Accel Leads $50 Million Funding of Cybersecurity Startup Veza at $500 Million Valuation

Accel has led a $50 million funding round for cybersecurity startup Veza at a valuation of around $500 million, CEO and co-founder Tarun Thakur said in an exclusive interview. The deal underscores how some young startups in hot sectors are still garnering generous valuations despite little ... → Read More

Salesforce’s Taylor Will Report to Benioff, Despite Co-CEO Title

Bret Taylor is co-CEO of Salesforce in name only, it turns out. The Information has learned that in his new role Taylor will continue to report to Marc Benioff, who is ostensibly his equal as co-CEO. The reporting arrangement, outlined in a Slack message Benioff sent to employees on Wednesday, ... → Read More

At Salesforce, a CEO Shift from Benioff to Taylor Draws Near

What will Salesforce look like when its co-founder and CEO, Marc Benioff, finally passes the baton to someone else? The tech industry may get to find out sooner rather than later. In recent months, the company’s No. 2 executive, Bret Taylor, has confided to people close to him that he expects to ... → Read More

Bret Taylor Faces His Biggest Test at Salesforce

Five years ago, Salesforce paid $750 million to buy a startup called Quip that made an internet-based word processor and spreadsheet app meant to give Microsoft’s competing Office products a run for their money. That didn’t happen, but Salesforce did get a valuable asset out of the deal: Bret ... → Read More

Apple’s Spending on Google Cloud Storage On Track to Soar 50% This Year

Apple executives have taken swipes at Google in the past over its privacy practices. But the iPhone maker trusts Google enough so that over the past year it has dramatically increased the amount of Apple user data it stores in Google’s cloud, according to a person with direct knowledge of the ... → Read More

A Former AWS Executive Helps Smartsheet Grow Up

When Gene Farrell left Amazon Web Services four years ago to join a company called Smartsheet, his former employer sued Farrell for violating his noncompete agreement. Apparently, the hard feelings didn’t last: Amazon is in talks with Smartsheet to officially sanction the company’s workplace ... → Read More

How Amazon’s Jassy Is Already Warming Up for CEO Job

Last week, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos finally revealed when he’ll pass the CEO baton to his hand-picked successor, Andy Jassy: July 5. But Jassy has spent months getting ready for the moment. Since Amazon announced the change in February, Jassy has begun quietly pitching in on efforts that would ... → Read More

Amazon, Microsoft and Google Pursue $1 Billion Cloud Deal With Boeing

The biggest cloud computing companies—Amazon, Microsoft and Google—often pull out all the stops to land long-term contracts with marquee corporate customers. The latest prize all three are pursuing, according to four people with knowledge of the matter, is a multiyear deal to provide cloud ... → Read More

At Booming Google, Search Chief Gives More Love to Product Managers

Even as Google’s business booms and hiring accelerates, senior leaders have made changes to the unit housing its biggest moneymakers—web search and advertising. For instance, the sales team for Google Maps is being moved from Prabhakar Raghavan’s 20,000-person search, mapsand ads product group ... → Read More

Slack’s Investigation Into Executive Highlights Diversity Challenges

Earlier this week, Slack revealed that underrepresented minorities have begun leaving the company at higher rates than in the past, disclosing the trend as part of a broader report about the diversity of its workforce. It’s a particularly sensitive issue for Slack’s CEO, Stewart Butterfield, who ... → Read More

Conflict Over IPO, Sales Led to CEO Ouster at DataRobot

Jeremy Achin had had enough of the questions about an initial public offering. Late last year, Achin—then the CEO of DataRobot, a nine-year-old artificial intelligence startup valued at nearly $3 billion by blue-chip investors—presided over a virtual company meeting in which he responded ... → Read More

Amazon Steps Up Silicon Ambitions With New Networking Chip

Over the past several years, Amazon has designed its own silicon chips to speed up the performance of servers in its cloud data centers and the artificial intelligence services it sells to customers. Now, in a big step toward seizing control over a key component in its technologies, Amazon is ... → Read More

Google Cloud Caps Sales Commissions as Losses Mount

Last year, Google lost $5.6 billion on its cloud computing business—real money even for one of the most wildly profitable companies on the planet. Now it’s taking a new approach that could help it stem a bit of that flood of red ink. Thomas Kurian, chief of Google’s cloud computing unit, ... → Read More

Twitter CTO: ‘We Need to Do Better’

For a tech company, Twitter has often had a surprisingly difficult relationship with technology. Twitter outages were once so common that the Fail Whale—the marine mammal–themed error message its users received when Twitter went down—became fodder for countless tech industry jokes. More ... → Read More

Zoom Executives Have Discussed an Expansion Into Contact Center Market

Zoom Video Communications’ pockets are full of cash after a $2 billion secondary offering of its shares last month. But where will it spend the money? One possibility: an acquisition of one or more companies in the contact center market, a fast-growing software business that helps companies ... → Read More

Cloud Startup Aviatrix Raises Round at Valuation Over $700 Million

A startup that helps companies avoid networking foul-ups when they run applications in the cloud is grabbing attention from investors. The startup, Aviatrix, recently closed $75 million in Series D financing in a round led by a new investor, General Catalyst. The funding values Aviatrix at more ... → Read More

Sales of Amazon Call Center Service Increased 150% in 2020

A few years ago, Amazon released a cloud service that used some of the same software smarts behind Alexa—its voice assistant—to automate customer service call centers for other companies. Amazon’s senior leaders were so bullish on the service, called Amazon Connect, that they made an internal ... → Read More