Supplier Report: 1/21/2017

2017 is finally in full swing… I uncovered 7 acquisitions this week by major IT suppliers. It seems like a great time to be in the AI game, everybody wants to buy a tiny cognitive firm…

As AI profit grows, IBM is experiencing decline in their traditional sweet spots like storage. Blue’s cloud profits are also increasing, but Amazon is growing exponentially faster than competitors like Google and Microsoft.

IBM and Microsoft both got victories by having certain platforms reach new levels of government certification and clearance. Take the wins where you can get them!


  • HP Enterprise just bought a $1 billion startup for $650 million

    At the time of SimpliVity’s last fundraising, in March 2015, the company had declared that it was valued at “more than $1 billion.” All in all, SimpliVity had raised $276 million from investors like Kleiner Perkins, Accel, and Waypoint Capital.

    By buying SimpliVity, HP Enterprise takes the startup’s capabilities and adds it to their own — crucial as the company moves to compete with the combined Dell EMC juggernaut, following the close of their mega-merger. Dell EMC, for its part, has been investing heavily in the market, and resells Nutanix hardware to its customers.
    Nutanix Evolving Beyond Dell Relationship, Says Pacific Crest

    Kurtz spoke with CFO Duston Williams and also chief marking officer Howard Ting, along with a group of investors, and came away with the impression that the company is taking steps that could offset some of its reliance on privately held Dell, which sells Nutanix equipment and has made up 10% of sales.

  • Microsoft acquires Simplygon to boost 3D innovation

    This is part of Microsoft’s “3D for everyone” strategy that will be the focus in the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update. According to Tsunoda, Simplygon, a company with reputable expertise in 3D, could help Microsoft simplify the process of capturing creating, and sharing 3D information. Microsoft’s new online creator community,, and the new Paint 3D application codenamed “Beihai” will be complemented by Simplygon technology.

    Among the most important new features implemented into the Windows 10 Creators Update is a wide range of 3D capabilities that cater to creative types, according to Digital Trends. In the next version of Windows 10, in fact, 3D will take a central role, with the ability to scan objects and import them into the new Paint 3D app as 3D objects. It will also be possible to share these objects to the new Remix 3D community sharing site and interact with them using Windows Holographic and HoloLens.

  • Salesforce’s Quip acquires startup Unity&Variety

    Quip, the productivity platform that Salesforce acquired last year, announced its Friday that the firm Unity&Variety will be joining its team.

    The small Unity&Variety design team — which includes Joey Flynn, Drew Hamlin and Andy Chung — will help Quip “build the next generation of productivity tools,” Quip announced via Twitter. They’ll work on adding creative and visual elements to Quip, according to Salesforce. Has produced at least one public app, the game Pinchworm.

  • Why Salesforce Acquired Twin Prime

    Salesforce (CRM) continued its buyout spree in December 2016 with its acquisition of Twin Prime, a startup focused on ML (machine learning) that facilitates enhanced performance of mobile apps. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

  • Microsoft just bought an AI startup that can outperform Facebook and Google (Thanks JD!)

    The Verge covered Maluuba in the summer of 2016, when the startup shared the results of an AI system that could read and comprehend text with near human capability, outperforming similar systems shown off by Google and Facebook. Along with acquiring the company, Microsoft has also established closer ties with Yoshua Bengio, a pioneer in the field of deep learning who served as an advisor to Maluuba, and will now become and advisor to Microsoft’s AI division.

  • Google acquires Fabric developer platform and team from Twitter

    Google is taking over Twitter’s mobile app developer platform Fabric, as well as its Crashlytics crash reporting system, Answers mobile app analytics, Digits SMS login system and FastLane development automation system. Twitter launched Fabric as a modular SDK in 2014 to allow developers to pick and choose different tools to improve their apps, and it now serves apps reaching 2.5 billion users built by 580,000 developers.
    Twitter is definitely trying to slim down to look more attractive for acquisition.

  • Oracle Snaps Up Apiary, a Little API Company with Big Customers

    Oracle says it is buying Apiary, a company that specializes in managing and monitoring application programming interfaces, or APIs, which offer standard ways to connect software applications. Both software giants and large Fortune 500 companies are scrambling to add expertise in building, monitoring, and documenting these crucial pieces of technology.

Artificial Intelligence


  • Oracle and Google Refine Their Cloud Pitches to Take On Amazon

    Companies with consumer DNA are not used to providing in-person or telephone support simply because the economics won’t support that expense. That’s why Amazon had to re-boot to approach these sorts of businesses by, for example, cultivating relationships with big systems integrators like Cap Gemini and Accenture that have worked with big businesses for decades.

    Now Google must do the same. When it comes to big customers, Driscoll said: “Sometimes you need to take a client to dinner and talk to them—especially when they’re spending a few million dollars a year with you.”

  • Microsoft cloud gets Pentagon’s top security rating

    The Pentagon has given the highest security rating for unclassified data to Microsoft’s federal cloud offerings, Azure Government and a Defense Department-specific iteration of Office 365. The Microsoft services were granted Level 5 provisional authority to operate certification.

    According to Microsoft, the rating makes it the first and only cloud provider that can offer a complete DOD cloud solution that is approved at that security level for controlled unclassified information (CUI).

  • IBM Analytics: A Unique Positioning within the Cloud Computing Industry

    IBM’s strength lies in its relationships with the largest companies in the world, most of whom are already its clients. IBM also knows that the bulk of these companies will prefer the hybrid cloud model so they retain a greater measure of control over their data; in addition, there are those who will not move out of their private clouds.

    In order to leverage that strength, IBM Analytics has decided to take the deployment-agnostic route for its analytics business. That way, they don’t rub their existing clients the wrong way, but are also there to support those clients who are seriously looking at public cloud as an option.

  • Why IaaS Growth is Critical to Cloud Computing

    The first wave of cloud growth came from basic software applications moving to the cloud. The second, and larger wave will come from things like AI-based applications, the globally connected Internet of Things, cloud gaming, virtual reality and other forward technologies.

    And to support that kind of environment, IaaS must necessarily continue to grow at the current pace, or faster. The more we move into cloud the more cloud we need – to move into! SaaS proliferation supported by IaaS expansion is the engine for cloud growth – this year and for the next several years.

  • IBM Re-Ups with U.S. Army for $62M Cloud Deal

    According to the Army, the project required Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Impact Level 5 (IL-5) Provisional Authorization to manage controlled, unclassified information. IBM is the only company to be authorized by DISA at IL-5 to run Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions on government premises. IBM announced the accreditation in February which included a condition limiting the initial number of tenants in the cloud; according to today’s announcement, that condition was removed in September.


  • 50TB hand made storage array (10 gb/s write speeds )
  • IBM is letting storage hardware revenues slip gently off into the night

    IBM’s results announcement material said that storage HW revenues were down 10 per cent on the year. Our calculation is that they are thus $718.2m, compared to $768m a year ago. In the fourth 2010 quarter Big Blue’s storage hardware revenues were $1.2bn; six years later they are $718m, a 40.2 per cent drop.


  • Oracle’s Strategy to Hit $10 Billion in SaaS Revenues

    For a lot of enterprises, a single-vendor solution for SaaS products is preferable, and that’s how Oracle wants to position itself. Microsoft is taking baby steps towards that same goal as well as it uses its strength in one SaaS area (Office 365) to strengthen another (Dynamics 365.) Both companies know that the head-on approach to taking on a segment leader like Salesforce is not the best solution.

  • Proposed CEO of the Enlarged Micro Focus Group

    The Board is now pleased to announce that Chris Hsu, currently Chief Operating Officer of HPE and Executive Vice President of HPE Software, will become CEO of the Enlarged Group following completion of the transaction. This appoinment will further strengthen the Board and Executive management of the Enlarged Group. As part of its succession plan the Board was fortunate to have multiple internal candidates that were well qualified for the role.


  • Oracle latest tech firm sued by Department of Labor

    The legal complaint asks the court to order the cancellation of all of Oracle’s federal contracts unless it prohibits discriminatory hiring practices and makes up for lost compensation and employment benefits to those affected.

    “The complaint is politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit,” Deborah Hellinger, a spokeswoman for Oracle, said in a statement provided to CNNMoney. “Oracle values diversity and inclusion, and is a responsible equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.”

  • Adobe and Salesforce among best US workplaces in the technology sector

    The rankings are based on employee feedback about how frequently they experience behaviors that create a great workplace, taking into consideration factors such as the quality of the employee benefits programme, support for a work-life balance, transparency of communication, degree of collaboration, and the opportunity for professional development. The rankings also take into account whether these experiences are consistent regardless of gender, race, ethnicity and job role.

  • Salesforce Is Opening an Innovation Hub Near Amazon and Microsoft

    Salesforce announced plans for this expansion in October 2015, and still plans to double its local workforce in the new neighborhood to nearly 500 people. The new Bellevue Salesforce Engineering and Innovation Hub will even include “dedicated mindfulness areas.”

  • A new CEO for DocuSign

    Effective this week, Daniel Springer is taking the reigns and former CEO Keith Krach is moving to a chairman role.

    With a reported valuation of more than $3 billion, 14-year-old DocuSign is said to be scaling, with speculation that it’s nearing its long-awaited IPO. Though he couldn’t comment on timing, Springer happens to have experience with IPOs — he brought Responsys public in 2011 and later helped it get acquired by Oracle.

  • IBM: Revenues Will Grow In 2017

    To revamp growth, the company has invested over $30 billion in five key growth areas: Analytics, Cloud, Mobile, Security and Social. These areas offer incredible potential that is beginning to be captured. From today’s earnings’ release, we can see that year over year, Analytics grew 9% to $19.5 billion, Cloud 35% to $13.7 billion, Mobile 35% to $4.1 billion and Security 14% to $2 billion (Social, though, fell by 10% to $1 billion). Revenues generated by these areas have grown to $32.8 billion and now represent 41% of the company’s total revenues. Such growth is impressive considering that, in 2010, strategic imperatives represented only 13% of total revenues. Growth is slowing down because the segments are becoming larger, but these growth rates are still more appropriate for a tech start-up rather than for a giant like IBM.

Photo: Josh Willink

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SourceCast: Episode 56: Clouds Cast Shadows

The cloud has made IT deployment as simple as a few clicks. How can IT security, management, and sourcing departments stay ahead of eager users going rouge?

Photo: Konstantin Stupak

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News You Can Use: 1/18/2017

  • What’s Adding To Supply Chain Risk? 3 IT Trends To Watch Out For

    This report mentioned the threat of “data overload” specifically in the context of health care, stating that it will be a “challenge for providers.” This is because the overwhelming bulk of data will create new and excessive amounts of work for industries to contend with.

    According to this report, the answer lies in customized alerts and filtering to help distinguish important data at any given time. It might work slightly differently, but the same principle could extend outward to other industries later on, with further devices connecting to the internet throughout the supply chain.

  • Four Moves You Might Not Realize Make You Look Unprofessional in an Interview

    You Don’t Finish Your Homework
    But, cautions Adrian J. Hopkins, a Muse career coach, this isn’t homework you can half-ass. It’s not enough to spew off a couple of “top-line company facts.” If you want the job and wish to avoid looking unprofessional in any way, shape, or form, you’re going to have to “go above and beyond a basic understanding of the company.” Let the interviewer know how you plan to grow with the company and get him thinking that he can’t “believe” he hadn’t the good fortune of meeting you sooner.

  • Christopher Kai: “Catapult Your Career Opportunities
  • 5 Steps to Organizing Your Life and Doing Great Things This Year

    Let it all go
    “Think of new goals, new expectations and new ways to achieve them,” he says.

    If you don’t have one already, buy a paper shredder and start shredding the piles around you that are just taking up space. Scan the files that are truly needed.

    “If you are realistic and hard on yourself, the ratio of what to shred to what to scan will be 10 to one,” Klosky says.

  • Driverless Trucks, Robots and Chatbots Could Reshape the Supply Chain

    More than half of supply chain companies have so-called innovation centers to help test out new concepts. Of those, 20 percent have achieved a return on their investment, while half expect a payoff in the next two years.

    Robots are also on the rise, even though less than a quarter of organizations currently use them in their work, researchers found.

    Propelled by algorithms that allow them to accomplish more complex tasks, robots can help companies improve efficiency, cut costs, keep pace with competitors and limit errors, according to respondents.

Photo: Joshua Ness

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Supplier Report: 1/14/2017

AI, speech recognition, and cognitive computing are emerging as the hot terms in 2017 for both enterprise and the public. As these technologies truly become common, how do IT departments keep up when buying IT is becoming simultaneously easier and more complicated at the same time?

What happens to the companies this new technology is displacing? Dell/EMC announced another round of (expected) job eliminations and more are expected to follow.  Fitbit snapped up another smartwatch company to retire.  The remaining scraps of Yahoo are renaming and becoming a holding company.


  • Atlassian acquires Trello for $425M

    Trello launched in the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield in 2011 and in 2014, it was spun out of Fog Creek Software as a stand-alone company. With Trello, Atlassian is acquiring one of the fastest growing project management services. It now has about 19 million users and just under 100 employees, all of which will join Atlassian. After it was spun out of Fog Creek, Trello raised $10.3 million from BoxGroup, Index Ventures, Spark Capital and others.

  • Amazon quietly acquired AI security startup for around $20M

    The San Diego-based startup, co-founded by a team that includes two former NSA employees, uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze user behavior around a company’s key IP to try to identify and stop targeted attacks before valuable customer data can be swiped.

    We were alerted to the acquisition by a tipster, who said the purchase price for was $19 million — a good return, considering that the startup only raised $2.3 million. The tipster also said the team’s 12 employees are relocating to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.

  • Fitbit just bought another smartwatch startup

    Fitbit can confirm it has acquired specific assets from Vector Watch, a highly respected wearables company based in Europe and known for its innovative and cross-functional approach to design and development. The deal excludes Vector Watch’s hardware products. As with our recently announced acquisition of Pebble assets, Vector brings valuable industry expertise that will help accelerate the development of new products, features and functionality. With the addition of the Vector Watch team, we are establishing a cutting-edge development center in Bucharest, Romania, further building our global engineering capabilities and expanding our presence in EMEA.

Artificial Intelligence

  • Amazon Is Building the Fourth Pillar of Its Business

    Nowhere is this emerging technology more evident than in the areas of voice recognition and natural language processing. Amazon’s contribution to the field is Alexa, its AI-driven, cloud-based, voice-activated assistant. Alexa controls a variety of Amazons products including the popular Echo smart speaker and its sibling the Echo Dot. Alexa acts as the software to the Echo hardware. This product ecosystem has a dedicated team of over 1,000 working on its development. Alexa’s home in the cloud allows it to learn continuously from all the devices it controls. The Echo and Echo Dot were among the most popular products on the Amazon website this holiday season.  Some estimates put sales of Echo products at over 5 million since their debut two years ago, and they were sold out on the website in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

    AWS is the only one of its pillars that doesn’t have parallel connections with the retail part of Amazon’s business, and will probably be the last such silo Amazon builds. All of their current efforts for the future…Alexa integrations, Amazon Go physical stores, drone deliveries with a massive “mothership” fulfillment center hovering 45,000 feet above you…all of that is designed to eventually make Amazon the largest retailer in the world by any yardstick – sales volume, number of products, earnings, profitability, memberships, etc.

  • IBM Watson: The Growth Story Finally Unfolding

    I expect that IBM’s deal with Siemens will be a game-changer for Watson. Siemens has an enviable track record of introducing new innovations to OEMs and application developers. Its MindSphere platform, which is basically a PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) for the industrial sector, is the leading platform in the world. MindSphere offers cost-effective apps to the manufacturing industries across the world to allow them to benefit from the advantages of big data and analytics. The platform consists of a variety of tool for developers for enabling them to create specialized apps for industrial use. To put it into perspective, an app can allow a company to minimize manufacturing cost by adjusting output according to current input price in an automated manner.

  • IBM’s Watson Health, Illumina team up on genomics sequencing, cancer research

    Under the partnership, Watson Genomics will be integrated into Illumina’s BaseSpace and Tumor Sequencing Process. Specifically, Watson Genomics will be available to interpret data produced by Illumina’s TruSight Tumor 170, which is a solid tumor profiling panel. The system aims to detect variants across 170 genes and looks at both RNA and DNA.


  • Big Healthcare Players Store Big Data in the Cloud

    These benefits are moot points if privacy and security are not achieved. The security of personal health information is among the biggest concern with decision-makers when it comes to adopting cloud technologies. Most large cloud vendors, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), are HIPAA compliant and understand the complexities of healthcare. They have large and talented security teams that understand the impact a breach would have on their business.

  • Unsanctioned cloud use remains a problem for enterprises

    The results show that half of all users of officially sanctioned cloud storage services like Box and Dropbox also have a personal instance of the same service. This can make detection of unauthorized copying of data more difficult.

    “Until very recently, organizations had to take an all-or-nothing approach to allowing cloud services. If they sanctioned a cloud storage service for corporate use, they also needed to accept any additional personal instances of that cloud storage service or block the service entirely,” says Sanjay Beri, founder and CEO of Netskope. “As our customers make cloud services a strategic advantage for their businesses, when it comes to governing and securing those services, they are realizing granular policies can ensure that sensitive data does not leak from the sanctioned instance of a corporate cloud service to an unsanctioned one”.

  • Microsoft drops a pay-as-you-go Azure cloud option

    Geared to organizations with at least 250 users, MPSA is Microsoft’s simplified agreement consolidating purchase of cloud services and software. The move detailed today follows on Microsoft’s decision to not proceed with its proposed Enterprise Advantage program, which was meant to allow customers to buy organization-wide on the MPSA.

  • Apple, Facebook, Google Rank Highest In Greenpeace Report

    Apple’s rating earned the company a clean energy index score of 83%, followed by Facebook at 67% and Google at 56%.

    Specific to search, company scorecards show that Google received a final grade of A, followed by Bing and Yahoo with a B rating. received a C rating, followed by Naver with a C rating and Baidu, Nate, and Zum with a rating of F.

    To earn an A rating, Google received an A in renewable energy committing and siting policy, energy efficiency and mitigation, renewable procurement, and advocacy. The company earned a B rating in energy transparency.


  • All-flash storage startup Kaminario snares $75 million investment

    Kaminario made a couple of big bets when it launched back in 2010 that look pretty good today. First of all, the company decided to go with all-flash storage arrays when, Golan says, flash was running around a thousand dollars a gigabyte.

    It also made a deliberate play for the cloud market, particularly SaaS vendors, who need the kind of performance flash storage can provide. This was contrary to most storage vendors’ approach at the time, who were targeting enterprise IT.

  • Dell EMC lifts the post-acquisition axe: Swwwwwing

    Dell Technologies’ 140,000 staffers have been wincing in anticipation for the expected 2,000-3,000 layoffs after the $67bn EMC acquisition completed, and now the wait is over. The axe is swinging and heads have begun to roll.

    A person close to the events told us: “Almost 80 people have been terminated from the Hopkinton location and there is more to come.”

  • IBM: Cognitive computing needs flash arrays, mark our words (of course it does)

    IBM is putting its latest “cognitive” marketing spin on these systems, saying the microcode “is ideal for cognitive workloads requiring the highest availability and system reliability possible for mainframe and Power Systems.”

    It tells us that the arrrays are integrated with z System mainframe products through patented software that provides data protection, remote replication and optimisation for midrange and large enterprises.



  • IBM Sets New World Record With Over 8,000 Patents Granted In Just One Year

    IBM’s record setting year breaks down to more than 22 patents being granted per day in 2016. No other company was in contention to beat IBM for the most patents this year, as its nearest competitor, Samsung, earned a second place finish with 5,518 patents. After that the top 10 list is comprised of Canon (3,665), Qualcomm (2,897), Google (2,835), Intel (2,784), LG Electronics (2,428), Microsoft (2,398), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (2,288), and Sony (2,181).

  • Marissa Mayer resigning from Yahoo board as remaining company renames itself Altaba

    Only five board members will remain at Altaba: Tor Braham, Eric Brandt, Catherine Friedman, Thomas McInerney and Jeffrey Smith. The rest of Yahoo’s board, including CEO Marissa Mayer, will step down from the newly-formed company. Mayer may be tapped for a role in Yahoo’s integration at Verizon, but her position has yet to be announced.

  • Trump set to restrict program for foreign tech workers used by Microsoft

    Microsoft and other companies say the visa program is necessary, because there is not enough tech talent in the U.S. to fill jobs. Trump calls the H-1B visas “a cheap labor program.” His allies in Congress say they will introduce the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act to scrap the program, according to the Post.

    Trump’s stances on trade, foreign jobs, clean energy and immigration could present problems for the U.S. tech industry.

  • LinkedIn may move its 10,000 employees off Google Apps – and not because of Microsoft

    According to someone close to the company, this change is not being driven by demands from Microsoft that LinkedIn switch to Office 365. We hear that Google is the one that isn’t thrilled to have such a large G Suite customer owned by Microsoft. Google doesn’t want to be put in a position where it’s sharing product road map and other tidbits with a company its biggest rival, this person tells us. (Google declined to comment)

  • Ex-Autonomy CFO Pleads Not Guilty in Case Over HP Buyout

    After Sushovan Hussain entered his plea Thursday, the San Francisco federal judge overseeing the case said he wants to move toward a trial without delay. The executive traveled voluntarily from England for Thursday’s hearing and his lawyer has said he’s eager to prove his innocence.

    Prosecutors charged Hussain in November, five years after Hewlett-Packard admitted that its 2011 acquisition of Autonomy was a bust. He and Autonomy co-founder Michael Lynch face a lawsuit by Hewlett-Packard in a London court seeking $5.1 billion over allegations they made false claims about Autonomy’s performance and financial condition to boost the company’s value. Lynch wasn’t charged in the December indictment.

Photo: Kristopher Roller

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SourceCast: Episode 55: Cognitive Supply Chain

With the news of Japan replacing three dozen insurance workers with Watson AI, I am dedicating an episode to how cognitive computing could/will impact my job in strategic sourcing in the years to come.

Photo: Denys Nevozhai

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