May 30 2014   5:31PM GMT

Apple-Beats deal, Google, put spotlight on IT talent, diversity

Fran Sales Fran Sales Profile: Fran Sales

CIO innovation
IT talent
Wearable devices

If there’s one thing CIOs should take away from this week’s technology acquisition news, cutting-edge technology — while certainly key — is only one piece of the IT puzzle. As this week’s Searchlight underscores, finding the right talent to leverage these technologies is crucial to IT success.

First up: Apple’s $3 billion buyout of Beats earlier this week. You’re probably thinking, headphones! Speakers! But while it is hardware that first comes to mind — and Apple’s headphones certainly aren’t anything to boast about — it’s the Beats Music streaming-music service, and particularly its innovative architects, that Apple was after. As Apple CEO Tim Cook put it, “Beats provides us a head start. They provide us with incredible people that don’t grow on trees. They’re creative souls, kindred spirits,” referring to Beats Music’s legendary co-founders (and now-Apple execs) Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

The integration of Beats’ music subscription model into the tech giant’s business (which already has 800 million customers) could really push the previously absent Apple into the forefront of the burgeoning music streaming space (and make Spotify squirm). Beats’ speaker and headphone business was only icing on the cake. (Or maybe more than icing: With Apple’s tech chops and Beats’ creative brand, perhaps wearable computing — and going toe-to-toe against Google Glass — is next.)

Speaking of Google, that tech heavyweight is also discovering the value of staff diversity — by disclosing its lack thereof. The company published its first internal diversity report, revealing a workforce that’s 70% male and 61% Caucasian. Talk about untapped talent. The technology industry’s lack of diversity, the longstanding butt of many jokes, is no laughing matter, but at least it sounds like Google’s willing to take the next step.

“We’re the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be, and that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution,” wrote Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of People Operations, in a blog post.

In other tech news: what Google’s purchase of Nest means for privacy; China threatens another blow in its hacking feud with the U.S.; and youngsters (future innovators?) come up with brilliant ideas to conquer global waste.

Get up to speed on the latest tech news at this week’s Searchlight!

wikimedia, children, kids, image, youngsters, kindergarten

Talent of the future! [Source: Wikimedia Commons]

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