Seven things PR pros need to know on Tuesday, 10.21.2014

Omnicom PR revenue up 2.5% in Q3; Microsoft offers free cloud-computing software to Ebola researchers; Staples investigates potential data breach

1. Omnicom Group reported Tuesday morning that its PR agencies achieved 2.5% organic revenue growth in the third quarter, compared with Q3 2013. Overall revenue was up 6.5% organically in the period to $3.75 billion, including an 8.9% increase in North America. Omnicom owns and operates FleishmanHillard, Porter Novelli, and Ketchum, among others.

2. Apple reported a 13% year-over-year jump in revenue for the fourth quarter to $42.1 billion, exceeding analyst expectations. The company, which released its latest earnings after the markets closed on Monday, sold 39.3 million iPhones during the period, a 16% increase year-over-year. Apple’s iPad sales, on the other hand, dropped 13% this quarter, selling 12.32 million units.

3. In an effort to help end the spread of Ebola, Microsoft will provide free cloud-computing and research applications to medical researchers working on the virus. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is expected to make a formal announcement about the program after making a comment about it during a presentation in San Francisco on Monday.

This wouldn’t be the first time Microsoft offered its Azure cloud platform to the research community for free. Last year, the company gave 100 grants to university researchers.

4. Staples is investigating a potential data breach, making it the latest retailer to be hacked after a string of cyberattacks over the last year. The office-supply chain said in a statement that it is looking into "a potential issue involving credit card data and has contacted law enforcement," according to media reports.

Earlier this month, Dairy Queen announced that a security breach this summer affected nearly 400 stores, giving hackers access to customers’ personal information. Some other retail victims of recent cyberattacks include Target, Home Depot, and JPMorgan.

5. Nielsen and Adobe have teamed up to measure how people are consuming content on television and digital platforms, such as smartphones and tablets. Through the measurement system, the companies will help media organizations, marketers, and publishers "better understand the value of their audiences," said Jeremy Helfand, VP of video solutions at Adobe.

6. Although Chipotle beat expectations in its Q3 earnings, with revenue rising 31% in the period to $1.08 billion, the fast-casual restaurant chain anticipates a slowdown in sales growth next year.

7. Christophe de Margerie, the 63-year-old CEO of French energy company Total, died on Tuesday when his private airplane was struck by a snowplow at Moscow airport. According to Russian investigators, the driver of the snowplow was drunk at the time of the incident. Earlier this month, Total launched a global marketing campaign named Committed to Better Energy to increase brand awareness.

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