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Berkshire Hathaway will invest in cloud computing firm Snowflake

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As Snowflake prepares to go public with its upcoming IPO, Warren Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway has revealed its pans to invest more than $750 million in to the cloud computing firm.

As first reported by The Financial Times, the firm's updated IPO filing valued the company at $23.7bn and Berkshire Hathaway plans to buy $250m in shares directly from the company at the time of its IPO. At the same time though, Buffett's holding company will also buy another block of shares worth more than $320m from one of Snowflake's investors.

Snowflake, which calls itself “The Cloud Data Platform”, aims to change the way that businesses approach data lakes, analytics and data warehousing. The company was started back in 2012 and it already has some big name customers that use its cloud data services including Sony, Adobe, Capital One and others.

Through its IPO, Snowflake expects to raise $3.24bn by pricing shares at $75 to $85 each. The investment and blessing by Warren Buffett will likely help increase the company's share price though.

Snowflake IPO

The fact that Warren Buffett plans to invest in Snowflake is quite surprising as he rarely invests in the enterprise technology market. The last time he did so was back in November of 2011 when Berkshire Hathaway purchased a 5.4 percent stake in IBM for over $10bn. Unfortunately for Buffett, this investment didn't pay off and he ended up selling his stake in IBM in 2018 in order to make a much bigger investment in Apple.

According to IPO documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Snowflake aims to pioneer an ecosystem in which customers and partners “can break down data silos and derive value from rapidly growing data sets in secure, governed and compliant ways”. Essentially the firm wants to help businesses get the most value from the data they already store in data lakes and warehouses.

Despite Snowflake's ambitious plans for the future, the company still operates at a loss and in this year alone, its net loss until the end of July was $171.3m while last year the firm had a net loss of $348.5m. Despite these losses, sales are growing and Snowflake's sales reached $242m during the first half of this year which is almost more than the $265m in sales it brought in last year.

Snowflake's IPO is set to take place either at the end of September or during October and we'll just have to wait and see whether Buffett's investment in the cloud computing company pays off.



10 Sep 2020



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  • The best cheap Chromebook prices and deals in October 2021

    Cheap Chromebook deals can save you even more cash on already-affordable machines. Often that means you'll be able to pick up a budget device for under $200 / £200, though sales can offer bigger discounts on more mid-range models. At these prices, though, it's easy to get tripped up with a super-cheap machine that, in reality, doesn't offer great value for money. 

    That's where we come in. We're rounding up all the best cheap Chromebook deals right here and also showing you which ones are worth their salt. We're running through all their key specs, how you should expect to use these machines, and who should take advantage of the great Chromebook prices on offer. 

    We're also bringing you the lowest prices from all around the web, which means you can easily pick up the best Chromebook deal around without having to crawl through every retailer site. That should make things especially easy once the deluge of tech deals arrives for Black Friday 2021.

    So, whether you're looking for an everyday machine for browsing the web (in which case aim to spend between $200 and $350), or something with more power for a streamlined, browser based approach to work (which might set you back $400 and up), we're showing you just which models fit the bill perfectly. We're also tracking all the best cheap laptop deals and sales right here on TechRadar if you do want to run Windows.

    Plus, you may find additional savings up for grabs over the coming weeks in the best Black Friday Chromebook deals.

    Today's best cheap Chromebook deals in the US

    Lenovo 14-inch Chromebook: $239 $159 at Walmart
    Save $80
    – The 32GB hard drive in this cheap Lenovo Chromebook means you'll be best utilising the extra storage from the cloud and microSD card slot for most of your files. The MediaTek processor is an unusual step away from mainstays Intel and AMD that you would see in more premium models. However, you do get 4GB RAM and up to 10 hours of battery life with this Chromebook making it great value for money for a basic machine.

    HP 14-inch Chromebook: $309.99 $174.99 at Amazon
    Save $135
    – For slightly more than our cheapest pick you can bump up to a Intel Celeron N4000 processor that will be more capable of multitasking and more demanding jobs. Apart from that the spec is much the same with 4GB RAM and a 32GB eMMC hard drive, which is about what you expect for the price. There's also a healthy 13.5 hours battery life that makes it a great pick for students.

    HP x360 14-inch 2-in-1 Chromebook: $379 $338 at Walmart
    Save $41 -
    While it's not as large a saving as other models listed this week, this $338 price tag on the HP x360 Chromebook is the best on the web right now. You're picking up an Intel Pentium N5000 processor with 128GB of storage here. That's plenty of power and space for a range of apps, and with a 2-in-1 convertible design you're getting excellent functionality for your cash as well.

    Samsung Galaxy 13.3-inch 2-in-1 4K Chromebook $999.99 $699.99 at Amazon
    Save $300
    – If you'd prefer a more premium model that'll handle just about any work tasks with ease then you can't get much better than this Samsung Galaxy 4K Chromebook while it's been given its biggest discount yet at Amazon. It comes with a powerful Intel i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage – all very top-end specs at this price point. Plus, the added 2-in-1 functionality is a nice touch to round out a lengthy feature list at a surprisingly low price while there's a $300 reduction.

    Today's best cheap Chromebook deals in the UK

    Asus C223NA 11-inch Chromebook: £229.99 £179 at Amazon
    Save $50
    – If small and mighty is what you're looking for in a Chromebook then this Asus C223NA packs decent performance into its tiny frame for very little money. We've seen it fall a little lower to the £150 mark in the last month but this is still a great price for a very basic Chromebook that includes an Intel Celeron N3350 processor, 4GB RAM and 32GB hard drive.

    Asus C523NA 15.6-inch Chromebook: £299.99 £229 at Amazon
    Save £70 -
    If you're looking for a full-sized machine, this Asus C523NA is just scraping that £200 price bracket this week as well. You're getting an Intel Celeron N3350 processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage. That's perfect for everyday use, but the larger display will also help you keep track of multiple windows on the same screen as well.

    Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 13.3-inch 2-in-1 Chromebook + backpack and mouse: £548 £429 at Currys
    Save £119 -
    Currys itself currently has the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook on the shelves for £519, which means this £429 on a backpack and mouse bundle is looking even better this week. There's a 10th generation i3 processor inside, with 4GB RAM and 128GB of SSD storage - excellent specs for a convertible Chromebook with fantastic functionality.

    The best Chromebook deals and sales

    best cheap Chromebook price and deals

    (Image credit: HP)

    HP Chromebook 14

    A perfectly balanced Chromebook - the top choice for most

    CPU: Intel Celeron N4000 Series / AMD A4 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 14-inch, HD (1,366 x 768) BrightView | Storage: 16GB – 32GB eMMC

    Excellent keyboard, trackpad
    Crisp, vivid screen
    Slower than some rivals
    Average battery life

    This is where you should begin your search for a Chromebook. At 14 inches in screen size and inside an robust frame, the HP Chromebook 14 offers a fine middle ground for the indecisive shopper. With standardized parts inside, this Chromebook can do essentially all its closest rivals can and then some, with its microSD card reader and slew of ports – unlike similarly-priced, tinier Chromebooks. 

    Plus, you'll find a fantastic tactile keyboard and vivid display on here as well - which is surprising as these are usually the first corners to be cut when manufacturers are trying to bring the price down this low. We see Chromebook deals regularly including this model as well, so you'll find an excellent price if you're shopping at the right time. 

    Read our full review: HP Chromebook 14

    The cheap Lenovo Duet Chromebook in laptop mode

    (Image credit: Lenovo)

    Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

    Perfectly balanced 2-in-1 Chromebook for students

    CPU: MediaTek Helio P60T | Graphics: ARM G72 MP3 800GHz | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 10.1-inch FHD (1920 x 1200) Touchscreen | Storage: 64GB-128GB eMCP

    Lightweight and portable
    Excellent battery life
    Impressive value for money
    Clunky keyboard and trackpad

    With the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet, you'll be getting a Chromebook that strikes a perfect balance between the portability of a tablet and the functionality of a laptop, all for a terrific bargain price.

    What impresses most of all is the substantial battery life – the Lenovo Duet was able to last upwards of 22 hours in our testing. That'll get you through a full day of bouncing between lectures, speeding through some work and the odd bit of fun on the side – and then still have some juice leftover.

    There are questions about the finicky nature of the keyboard and the trackpad, but these can be easily remedied with a separate keyboard and mouse of your own. Looking past that, it's a great bit of kit if you're a student on a budget, especially when you compare it to similar models that sport a FHD touchscreen and up to 128GB of storage for all your files.

    Read our full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

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    (Image credit: Dell)

    Dell Chromebook 11

    A smaller model perfect for kids

    CPU: Intel Celeron N2840 - N4020 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 11.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) touchscreen | Storage: 16GB SSD

    Rugged design
    180-degree barrel hinge
    Touchscreen not standard
    Small keyboard

    It’s almost as if Dell hand-crafted this Chromebook to get work done in the classroom. It’s got an indicator light on the lid that teachers can use as if the student raised his or her hand to answer (or ask) a question. And, it’s rubberized in many places to better survive drops and dents. It’s an awfully mobile laptop, too, making it sensible for work at almost any class level, or if you just want a lightweight web browser and email machine. In the education sector, a Chromebook price can be one of the most important factors so you'll be safe in the knowledge that this Dell 11 is efficient as well. 

    Chromebook deals on this model usually pitch it at the same price as the HP 14 and Acer 15, however if you're looking for a kids laptop for school you'll want to take a look at this sturdy contender. 

    Read our full review: Dell Chromebook 11

    best cheap Chromebook price and deals

    (Image credit: Acer)

    Acer Chromebook 15

    The cheapest 15-inch laptop you’ll find - great for work

    CPU: Intel Celeron – Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics – HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 2GB – 4GB | Screen: 15.6-inch HD (1,366 x 768) – FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 16GB – 32GB SSD

    Large, FHD screen
    Lots of RAM
    Roomy keyboard
    Could fit more ports

    While it sits at the same price point as the smaller 14-inch HP and 11-inch Dell above, this Acer Chromebook offers up a full-sized 15.6-inch display. That's a big deal if you're looking to get more done that as you'll easily be able to view multiple windows at the same time. You're also getting the option of slightly beefier components here, though not at entry level. 

    So, if you're going to get a lot of work done on your new Chromebook, this might be the model to go for. There's plenty of room to breathe in the design and a little more power under the hood as well. 

    It doesn’t do much that’s exclusive to its larger size so much that it simply does those things more. For many, that’s a selling point worth trying to find the best deal over, and this just so happens to be the best one.

    Read our full review: Acer Chromebook 15

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    (Image credit: Acer)

    Acer Chromebook 14

    A good looking Chromebook with style

    CPU: Intel Celeron N3160 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 400 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS | Storage: 32GB SSD

    Gorgeous looks
    Solid keyboard and touchpad
    Flaky HD video playback

    Acer tends to run the show in our Chromebook roundups, and for good reason: it makes great Chromebooks. If you want the look and near-feel of a MacBook Air, but with the Chromebook price tag this is the model for you. The 14 looks and feels like Apple’s famous notebook on the outside, but of course can’t truly feel like using one with how little it costs. 

    Read our full review: Acer Chromebook 14 

    cheap Chromebook deals sales

    (Image credit: Asus)

    Asus Chromebook Flip C434

    Flexible yet powerful

    CPU: Intel Core m3-8100Y - 8th gen i5 | RAM: 4GB - 8GB | Storage: 32GB - 128GB eMMC | Display: 14-inch, 1080p touch screen | Dimensions: 12.6 x 8 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3.1 pounds

    Streamlined, premium looking design
    Excellent display
    Impressive battery life

    Looking to spend a little more to pick up a suite of extra features? The Asus Chromebook Flip offers up an excellent 2-in-1 laptop design that can easily switch into more of a tablet experience for an MSRP of between $400 and $600. That puts it firmly in the mid-range category of Chromebook deals, sitting above the everyday offers in both price and features but well below the Google Pixelbook Go prices below. 

    best cheap Chromebook price and deals

    (Image credit: Google)

    Google Pixelbook Go

    An affordable Google laptop with the specs of something much more

    CPU: Intel Core 8th Gen m3 - i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) - 4K UHD (3840x2160) | Storage: 64GB – 256GB SSD

    12 hour battery life 
    Smooth design 
    Portable high performance computing
    Pricey for the Chromebook market

    The Google Pixelbook Go is one of the most well known premium Chromebooks out there. It does have the price tag to match, but it's nowhere near the $1,000/£1,000 tag on its predecessor. The 8th generation of processors to choose from and the substantial SSD sizes on offer mean you'll be zipping through tasks on an ultra portable laptop with a great full HD screen. 

    Plus, the Go can manage all that and still stay alive for 12 hours at a time, which is pretty good going when you consider the power stored inside this sleek shell. It might not be the cheap and cheerful machine you were expecting to pick up, but it's certainly worth a look if you're going to be using your Chromebook for anything strenuous. 

    Today's best Chromebook deals

    You'll find all the latest Chromebook deals on the models listed above right here. Our price comparison chart below brings together all the cheapest prices from around the web so you always know you're getting the best discounts. 

    What makes a good Chromebook price?

    The cheapest Chromebooks can sometimes be guilty of skimping on their specs. To find the best Chromebook price, therefore, it's important to keep your needs in mind when it comes to processor quality and storage solutions. There are definitely deals that take both power and cost efficiency into account, so it's important to keep an eye out for anything with an SSD capable of storing and managing updates (if you're not running ChromeOS) and RAM above the 2GB baseline that often appears in searches. 

    What to look for in cheap Chromebook deals

    The cheapest Chromebook deals are already pretty good for the price, and tend to be aimed at those who don't want to blow all their cash on a single gadget purchase. You're not picking up bags of storage at the lowest end of the price spectrum, but with Chrome OS removing the need for updates (these laptops don't run on Windows), you won't need as much space as you would on a conventional laptop. Plus, everything will run through your web browser on a Chromebook, which means you need even less storage.

    The models above all carry decent processors for the cash, so you'll be sorted for an acceptable speed considering how little you're spending on your laptop here. However, it's worth checking out display quality and keyboard textures, as this is where manufacturers tend to cut corners in order to squeeze into these cheap Chromebook prices. 

    TechRadar is scouring every retailer and rounding up all the top deals over the Black Friday period, and we’ve put all the best Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals in easy-to-navigate articles to help you find the bargains you’re looking for.

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  • Five ways to drive business impact from big data

    Big data has been a favorite business buzzwords for many years and while the popularity of the term skyrocketed, some were already tired of it by 2014, like Deloitte who insisted the term should simply not be used anymore. Yet, behind the buzzword lies extreme business potential that many companies are only starting to unlock.

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    Gediminas Rickevičius is Director of Strategic Partnerships at Oxylabs.

    Big data describes large, complex datasets, usually coming from a variety of sources. A decade ago, most of them were internal data sources: CRMs, website browsing activity, billing and accounting system logs. Nowadays, data science is increasingly dependent on external or alternative sources of data - they provide additional information that couldn’t have been obtained internally.

    The pandemic has earned big data the role as one of the key drivers of recovery and growth in many industries. According to Oxylabs’ recent market survey of the UK finance industry, the majority of surveyed companies have either increased their data department budgets in the past year (38%), or are planning to (43%). These trends are being replicated in other industries. Thus, while other business areas are dealing with budget cuts, spending on big data soars as it is seen as critical for staying ahead of the competition.

    Speaking of the competition, it will become increasingly difficult for those who haven’t yet employed big data in their business operations. Thus, if you are among those still hesitating, here are 5 reasons you should start using it now.

    1. Competitor research

    Big data brings competitor research to another level. Competitor’s website alone can provide information on their value proposition, product assortment, pricing and so on. However, all this information is very difficult to follow manually. Automated web scraping processes come in handy in cases like these.

    Automation allows for constant monitoring of many websites at once. In ecommerce, for example, this would mean that a certain company can find out how their competitors are changing their prices, how long does it take to sell a product, which ones are the most popular and so on. Based on that information, this company can make decisions about its own assortment and pricing strategies.

    Another crucial thing to study is the SEO strategy of your competitors. Web scraping will help you find out which keywords your competitors are using, as well as which perform well and which don’t. You can use this information to optimize your SEO strategy and achieve better rankings.

    2. Precision marketing

    Data-driven marketing is more efficient, as high-quality data allows you to spot the right opportunities, personalize messages and target precisely. It can help you ensure that only relevant audiences are reached with relevant messaging.

    However, while most marketers have been using data for years, the pandemic forced many to rethink their usual strategies. Lockdowns around the world resulted in the unprecedented surge in use of digital channels, showering companies with enormous amounts of data, but not in a way they were used to. It was a challenge for the old data-modeling systems, that simply couldn’t capture the changes in customer behavior at such speed.

    This was the time when external data became extremely important. Even such factors as city-by-city lockdown rules or reopening of certain businesses, could make or break marketing efforts. McKinsey & Company calls these trends the big reset in data-driven marketing. Those companies that adapted to the new normal and retrained their data modelling algorithms have been enjoying growth, while others, left behind by the competition, will eventually have to catch up.

    3. Supply management

    Data can help you manage your supply chain in many different ways. It can help you choose the right products, develop product catalogues, forecast demand, and bring efficiency to many other processes. This is especially important for retail and ecommerce companies.

    Using automated public data collection tools, you can find out which categories and products are the most popular right now. Such factors like positive or negative online reviews, media outlets recommendations, or product sentiment will help you get a clear picture.

    Finally, data can also help you find your competitive edge. For this you would need to scrape the product catalogue of your competitors - check which products they are selling, how fast they sell out, which segments are they covering. Always look for the gaps - maybe some segment is left uncovered, which provides a great opportunity for you.

    4. Brand protection

    The internet is full of cheap counterfeit consumer goods that are copies of successful branded products. Other copyright protected content - books, music and videos are also shared illegally online, which is basically stealing revenue from the original owners. Fortunately, big data gathering solutions can help spot the occurrences when your brand name is used illegally.

    According to a 2019 OECD report, trade in fake goods stands at 3.3% of global trade. Footwear, clothing, electrical equipment, watches and even medical supplies are being “recreated” as fake cheaper versions, thus hurting the business of the original brand owners.

    Web scraping, which is used for collecting large amounts of data, can help find those fake goods online. With the relevant keywords, web scraping tools can scan marketplaces, search engines and ecommerce sites that are known for selling fake goods. Make this process an integral part of your business: yes, new fakes will continue to arise, but web scraping can help you minimize the damage.

    5. More efficient business operations

    Finally, the end result of using big data, especially if external data is incorporated into the pie, is the more efficient business processes. Data tells you where to channel your efforts for the optimal results, allowing you to reduce costs and often, resources.

    For example, analyzing countless reviews on public forums or ecommerce platforms might help identify product improvement opportunities. Combine it with consumer trends also from external data and you will be able to personalize your product for a certain audience.

    Planning and forecasting become way more efficient when a variety of data sources are used. Combining historical data with various real-time data points might help foresee future trends, bringing at least some control to the uncertain realities of the continuous pandemic.

    Data-driven is the only way forward

    A report by the MIT Sloan Management Review found that the most analytically mature organizations use a large variety of data sources. Long seen as a luxury afforded only by the largest corporations, using big data is now the new normal.

    The internet is full of public information, which can help you make more efficient decisions. Don’t miss a chance to utilize it in your daily operations and the changes in business results will speak for themselves.

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