Rackspace Joins List of Tech Companies to Become Private

Today's topics include Rackspace's decision to take the cloud services company private, the U.S. Trade Representative's backing of ITC's import ban on Arista Networks productions, Microsoft's update for Power BI, which provides better analytics options, and Apple's plan to develop a content creation app for social media.

Cloud-services provider Rackspace is the latest IT company to abandon the spotlight as a publicly traded corporation for the relative quiet and serenity of private ownership. The San Antonio, Texas-based company was acquired Aug. 26 by Apollo Global Management for $4.3 billion or $32 per share. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter, the company said.

Rackspace provides hybrid cloud-based services that enable businesses to run their workloads in a public or private cloud. Its competitors include Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and a number of others.

Arista Networks didn't find any relief this week from another U.S. regulator over a federal ruling this summer that the company infringed on three Cisco Systems patents and banned Arista from importing the offending products.

The U.S. Trade Representative ruled that the order issued in February by a single International Trade Commission (ITC) administrative judge and upheld by the full commission in June would go into effect Aug. 23, despite Arista's disagreement with the ITC's findings and decisions. The order bans Arista from importing the infringing product to the United States and requires Arista to end all actions that violate the Cisco patents.

Instead of digging into menus in search of the right tools and options, Microsoft wants users of its Power BI Desktop software to explore their business data and unearth insights faster by grouping the application's analytics capabilities into a single, easy-to-find place.

"With this release, we have added a new analytics pane, which will be the new central location for all analytical features," wrote Microsoft Program Manager Amanda Cofsky in a blog post detailing the August 2016 Power BI Desktop update. The August update also includes several features that enable new ways to view data in the Power BI's Report View.

A young mobile audience is enamored with Snapchat, WeChat and Instagram. And Apple, associated with an older, higher-income crowd, wants a piece of that. As a result, Apple is working on a video-sharing application that will incorporate on-screen stickers and animated effects to enable users to share their video creations across numerous social networks or with contacts, Bloomberg reported Aug. 25.

"The early plans are part of a newly directed focus to integrate social networking applications within Apple's mobile products and are a response to the success of social media-focused companies, such as Facebook Inc. and Snapchat Inc.," said the report, citing people familiar with Apple's plans.

The report also noted that the app will, like Instagram, shoot images in a square shape and enable users to shoot, edit and upload photos in less than a minute.

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