Biz Break: Apple iPads get a seat in MLB’s dugout

Top Of The Order: 

Touch ‘Em All: Around the Bay Area, the majority of sports fans right now are fixated on the Golden State Warriors’ pursuit of the record for wins in an NBA regular season, with a smattering of attention being paid to whether Colin Kaepernick will still be with the 49ers by the time tax day rolls around. With that kind of action going on, one might be forgiven if they didn’t realize that the new Major League Baseball season starts in a matter of days.

And when it does, Apple will be in all 30 team dugouts.

On Wednesday, MLB announced a deal that will put iPad Pro tablets into the hands of baseball managers and coaches for use during games. And, no, it’s not so that Bruce Bochy or Bob Melvin can stream the upcoming season of Netflix’s “Orange Is The New Black” while trying to decide if they should pull off the hit-and-run play.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pros will come pre-loaded with a custom software program called “MLB Dugout” that is supposed to let team managers watch videos of past games and get information on pitcher-hitter matchups, player statistics and other information. No details are known about how much the deal is worth. Still, it’s hard to imagine one of the iPads lasting too long in the hands of someone like former manager Lou Piniella, who was known to throw an on-field tantrum from time to time.

The use of Apple’s iPads by MLB teams follows on the heels of a similar arrangement between the National Football League and Microsoft, in which NFL teams use Surface tablets on the sideline for in-game management and decision making.

Middle Innings:

And Speaking Of Microsoft…: The world’s largest software company kicked off its annual Build conference in San Francisco Wednesday, and it goes without saying that Windows remained a big topic among the event’s attendees.

Microsoft executive Terry Myerson said that in the eight months since the company released Windows 10, the operating system has 270 million active users. Microsoft was hoping for a strong acceptance of Windows 10 after Windows 8 was met with mixed to outright negative sentiment from many users. Microsoft didn’t say how many Windows 10 users are on smartphones as opposed to desktop and laptop computers, but the company has its sights set on 1 billion devices in the coming years.

Will You Take $900 For It?: The first Oculus Rift VR headsets were delivered to customers earlier this week, and in the spirit of trying to make a buck, the first Oculus Right VR headsets have begun showing up on eBay and Craigslist for more than $1,000. The Rift retails at $599.

What Would Gen. Sherman Do?: Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is the world’s busiest. Needless to say, there are a lot of travelers who arrive in the muggy Georgia heat and need a ride to Buckhead or Peachtree St. where they can cool down with an ice cold Coke, or something stronger. And needless to day, Uber wants some of that airport traveler action.

On Wednesday, dozens of Uber drivers showed up at Atlanta’s city hall to voice their opinions at a meeting where Uber is angling to get the right to operate its ride-sharing service at the city’s airport. One of the issues is the airport’s proposal that Uber drivers need to have background criminal checks done with fingerprints if they want to work Hartsfield-Jackson’s terminals.

The Atlanta city council was slated to hear public comments on the matter. The airport doesn’t think Uber services are currently legal to operate at the airport and wants the background checks done for the safety of passengers. Uber claims that the fingerprint requirements will keep it from operating at the airport. In fact, Uber says that no such regulations prevent its drivers from working at the airport, and as such, the airport ban on ride-sharing services isn’t strongly enforced.

Bottom Of The Lineup:

Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Wednesday…

Movin’ On Up: Gains came from Nanometrics, GoPro, Yelp, SolarCity and 8×8.

In The Red: Decliners included chip-equipment maker FormFactor, which fell more than 7 percent after the company gave a weak quarterly forecast late Tuesday. Gigamon, Medivation, Jive Software and Wageworks also retreated.

The SV150 Index of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies rose 3 points to 1,617.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index rose almost 23 points to close at 4,869.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average added 83 points to reach 17,716

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index tacked on almost 9 points to end the day at 2,063.

Quote Of The Day: “You have to learn how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” — Lou Piniella.

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Photo: Apple Sr. Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller introduces the new iPad Pro during a media event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino March 21. Major League Baseball will provide team managers and coaches with iPad Pros in the dugouts this season. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)


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