HPE had a crazy week where they finally cast off their software division, they purchased a cloud migration company, and saw their stock jump in value. As all of these good things occured, Meg Whiteman announced another simplification of HPE’s strategy called HPE Next. So I am not the one to say it, many IT journalists highlighted that’s what the last two years were supposed to be.
IBM is making smart moves as they committed to spending $240M with MIT on AI projects over the next decade. Big Blue also secured the US Army for another 33 months on their secure cloud platform.
Locally, Microsoft announced they are closing their Philadelphia Reactor office after 16 months. Philly might have a shot at a massive rebound as Amazon is looking for a city to create a 2nd HQ.
HPE Shopping Spree Continues With Purchase of This Cloud Specialist
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise said Tuesday that it will acquire Cloud Technology Partners, a Boston-based company that helps business customers plan and build cloud computing capabilities.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Seven-year-old CTP works with businesses to determine which cloud technology—be it from Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Google, or the non-vendor aligned OpenStack—is best for the customer’s needs. It then helps corporate customers plan out how they will run their information technology on that cloud (or clouds, if spread out across multiple vendors).
Hewlett Packard Enterprise to complete software spin-off
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE.N) completed the spin-off of much of its software business early on Friday, closing the door on the disastrous 2011 acquisition of British firm Autonomy and narrowing the company’s focus to data center hardware and software.
The enterprise software businesses, which include the widely used ArcSight security platform, have been merged with Micro Focus International Plc (MCRO.L), a British software company. HPE was formed when the company once known as Hewlett-Packard split into HPE and HP Inc in November 2015.
Juicero shut down after launching just 16 months prior. The company managed to raise more than $118 million from prominent VCs like Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins and even Campbell Soup Company.
Yet the company suffered greatly from a Bloomberg article that revealed the company’s proprietary juice packs did not require the $400 machine and could be squeezed by hand. Raised $118.5 million in 4 Rounds from 17 Investors.
Amazon is looking for a 2nd headquarter city, a ‘full equal to Seattle’
At full-capacity, the site would be expected to be of similar, or even bigger, size to the Seattle operation, which today is a major cornerstone of Seattle’s business life, employing 40,000 people, covering 8.1 million square feet with 33 buildings including 24 restaurants. HQ2, as Amazon is calling the new headquarters, is expected to employ 50,000 and will get $5 billion in investment, the company said.
“We expect HQ2 [the name Amazon is using] to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a statement. “Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. We’re excited to find a second home.”
Clark definitely plans to go whale hunting to regain Symantec’s long-lost security position. Symantec expects to grow 3 percent to 5 percent in 2018. Compare that to Splunk, which projects to grow upwards of 20 percent this year and generate $1.2 billion revenues, up from $950 million last year, and it’s not hard to see why Clark is interested.
Oracle adds new AI, data tools for harnessing connected devices
The Digital Twin capability is rolling out alongside new AI features designed to ease the task of analyzing operational data. Oracle executive Bhagat Nainani told VentureBeat that they provide drag-and-drop controls, which should help accommodate regular business workers. Users can harness the tools to look for operational anomalies and predict potential technical problems in advance.
These features are joined by several offerings that focus on more specialized tasks. The first is Digital Thread, a framework that Oracle has built to simplify the flow of operational data among a company’s backend systems. The rest are prepackaged solutions that apply existing IoT Cloud services to automating field support, fleet management and factory work.
IBM and MIT pen 10-year, $240M AI research partnership
IBM and MIT came together today to sign a 10-year, $240 million partnership agreement that establishes the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab at the prestigious Cambridge, MA academic institution.
The lab will be co-chaired by Dario Gil, IBM Research VP of AI and Anantha P. Chandrakasan, dean of MIT’s School of Engineering.
Big Blue intends to invest $240 million into the lab where IBM researchers and MIT students and faculty will work side by side to conduct advanced AI research. As to what happens to the IP that the partnership produces, the sides were a bit murky about that.
Army Re-Ups with IBM for $135 Million in Cloud Services
The 33-month, $135 million contract represents a successful re-compete of work that LOGSA signed with IBM in September 2012. Under that managed services agreement, the Army pays only for cloud services that it actually consumes. The efficiencies created by this arrangement have enabled the Army to avoid about $15 million per year in operational costs – a significant yield for the Army and taxpayers.
Oracle cuts hundreds of hardware jobs in Silicon Valley amid cloud push
Oracle Corp. is cutting 983 jobs, mostly in its hardware division in Santa Clara, the Mercury News reported, citing filings with the state labor department. The cuts come as Oracle is adding thousands of jobs globally in its cloud computing division and follow hardware layoffs earlier this year.
The Redwood City-based company is cutting 615 jobs in its hardware division in Santa Clara and the rest in its Solaris operating system division, the Mercury News reported. Oracle declined to comment on the layoffs to the publication.
Dell Technologies Announces Multi-Year Agreement with GE
Dell Technologies announces that GE, the world’s largest digital industrial company, has signed a multi-year commitment to use Dell Inc. infrastructure and end-user computing solutions to support GE’s ongoing digital transformation efforts. Under the agreement, Dell Inc. becomes the primary IT infrastructure supplier for GE. The deal is one of the largest non-government contracts in Dell Technologies, Dell or EMC history.
GE will use Dell EMC servers, storage, backup and related professional services, enabling the company to enhance the reliability and efficiency of its IT infrastructure with automated and flash-optimized solutions. In addition, GE will use Dell client solutions and peripherals to drive workforce transformation and an improved end-user experience for GE employees worldwide.
Follow-up: Yes, Google Uses Its Power to Quash Ideas It Doesn’t Like—I Know Because It Happened to Me
After the meeting, I approached Google’s public relations team as a reporter, told them I’d been in the meeting, and asked if I understood correctly. The press office confirmed it, though they preferred to say the Plus button “influences the ranking.” They didn’t deny what their sales people told me: If you don’t feature the +1 button, your stories will be harder to find with Google.
With that, I published a story headlined, “Stick Google Plus Buttons On Your Pages, Or Your Search Traffic Suffers,” that included bits of conversation from the meeting.
Google never challenged the accuracy of the reporting. Instead, a Google spokesperson told me that I needed to unpublish the story because the meeting had been confidential, and the information discussed there had been subject to a non-disclosure agreement between Google and Forbes. (I had signed no such agreement, hadn’t been told the meeting was confidential, and had identified myself as a journalist.)
It escalated quickly from there. I was told by my higher-ups at Forbes that Google representatives called them saying that the article was problematic and had to come down. The implication was that it might have consequences for Forbes, a troubling possibility given how much traffic came through Google searches and Google News.
Wells Fargo Admits To Nearly Twice As Many Possible Fake Accounts — 3.5 Million
On Thursday, the bank acknowledged it had created more bogus customer accounts than previously estimated. An outside review discovered that 1.4 million more potentially unauthorized accounts were opened between January 2009 and September 2016.
That brings the total to 3.5 million potentially fake accounts — two-thirds more than the 2.1 million the bank had previously acknowledged.
Should Procurement Be Negotiating Harder With Oracle?
But as a procurement person, of course we were drawn to the size of Ms Wilson’s bonus. So just short of 10% of the value of the deal went straight into the pockets of the Oracle sales person. Now we don’t begrudge Ms Wilson her reward and reading some of the details (fascinating for anyone interested in employment law, software or sales commissions) we tend to agree with her case. We also resisted the temptation to stalk her through LinkedIn and ask for a loan.
However, just think about those amounts as a procurement person. If Wilson had merely received her basic salary, and Pearson had negotiated well, the firm might have got another million dollars on their bottom line that year and Oracle could still have made the same profit. With a typical company P/E ratio of 15, that gives a shareholder value of some $13 million that Pearson lost by failing to drive Oracle down by that $800K on the price.
Microsoft closes Philly ‘Reactor’ for innovators after just 15 months
The Microsoft Reactor Philadelphia — one of only three in the nation — hosted about 100 programs with 3,200 participants over its 15-month existence. Its departure is a setback for a city seeking to modernize its economy with a vibrant high-tech sector.
Microsoft spokesman Curtis Lee said Friday that the Reactor will close because of a corporate restructuring, but the company will remain active with the Science Center and its partners, promoting skills for women and minorities and supporting entrepreneurs and tech companies in Philadelphia.The Reactor programs in New York and San Francisco will continue unchanged, Lee said.
Google’s main mission statement has been “don’t be evil”, but is that still the case? Last month, I covered that Google has been caught funding pro-google studies (via universities and other research firms) and not disclosing that fact. This week Google had someone fired from a think tank they funded for supporting the EU’s stance that Google is a monopoly.
Apple is getting more daring… they announced a new application development deal with Accenture (where does that leave IBM?) and CEO Tim Cook has been taking some swipes at the US government regarding economic growth.
Observation: I want to point out a quirky trend in this week’s news: Almost all of the news feed items about Dell are about golf and all of the HPE news was about Meg Whitman not getting the Uber job (hundreds of articles for both). Why aren’t these companies generating any other news and controlling their own narratives?
Shark-detecting drones to patrol Australian beaches
Drones equipped with a shark detection system powered by artificial intelligence will start patrolling some Australian beaches from next month in a bid to improve safety.
The battery-powered drones will provide a live-video feed to a drone operator who then uses the shark-spotting software to identify sharks in real time and with more accuracy than the human eye.
Studies have shown that people have a 20-30 percent accuracy rate when interpreting data from aerial images to detect shark activity. Detection software can boost that rate to 90 percent, said Dr Nabin Sharma, a research associate at the University of Technology Sydney’s School of Software.
How Google and Microsoft Use AI to Turn Your Clicks Into Ad Dollars
Google couldn’t make anyone available for interview before publication. Microsoft tells WIRED that it constantly tests new machine learning technologies in its advertising system. “Online advertising is perhaps by far the most lucrative application of AI [and] machine learning in the industry,” says John Cosley, director of marketing for Microsoft search advertising. Bing recently started using new deep learning algorithms to better understand the meaning of search queries and find relevant ads, he says.
Research papers on using deep learning for ads may undersell both its true power and the challenge of tapping into it. Companies carefully scrub publications to avoid disclosing corporate secrets. And researchers tend to describe simplified versions of the problems faced by engineers who must target and serve ads at huge scale and speed, says Suju Rajan, head of research at computational advertising company Criteo. The company has released anonymized logs of millions of ad clicks that Google and others have used in papers on improving click predictions.
VMware is hedging its bets with its AWS partnership plus true private cloud
“Fast forward to today. It’s growing at 10 to 12 percent a year; license is up 13 percent; it’s throwing off operating cash flow at $3 billion a year,” Vellante said. “Wall Street’s talking about VMware now being an undervalued stock.”
Does this signal a shift in customer mindset? Do they want to bring the cloud operating model on-premises instead of migrating their businesses to cloud? VMware appears to think so.
Amazon Has A Major Expense Storm Coming Its Way, Even If You Can’t Really See It
…Effectively all of the servers used to run Amazon’s entire business, which have a three-year useful life, will never be counted as an expense when determining the reported operating cash flow number. The Capital Leases will never factor into their definition of free cash flow, since the original transaction is recorded under the Supplemental Cash Flow information and the payments on the Capital Leases are included in the Financing section of the Cash Flow Statement. The debt associated with purchasing the assets is never disclosed as a separate line item on the Balance Sheet, but rather buried in Other Liabilities and a footnote.
Oracle to Hire 5K Executives for Cloud Operations in 2017
Moreover, Oracle has introduced a number of cloud services like the retail merchandising solution , security solution over the last few quarters that have helped it to gain customers.
However, with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) still being one of the weaklings in the portfolio, the company is expected to spend more on it. This might affect gross margin in the near term. Nevertheless, the company anticipates SaaS gross margin to eventually rise to 80% in the long haul, thereby leading to an improvement in the bottom line.
IBM talks about alphas instead of betas in storage
So… Cisco probably spent a good sum of money to make a commercial with Peter Dinklage (from Game of Thrones)
In a blog post, Cisco CMO Karen Walker writes, “Peter Dinklage is the perfect messenger because of his global fame and ability to speak in a bold, intelligent, and captivating way. As he wanders through the streets of London, you hang on to each of his words as he describes just how simple–and monumental–the new network is.”
Apple takes another step into Microsoft’s core territory with Accenture deal
For Apple, the partnership is part of a continued push to win over business clients and try to knock Microsoft from its long-held throne as the default operating system in the corporate world. To that end, Apple has established partnerships with IBM, Cisco, Deloitte and SAP aimed at moving more business applications over to iOS devices and making them easier to use in corporate settings.
The engineering teams will focus on apps that are used by front-line workers and consumers, such as apps that run on iPads for the lobbies of retail banks, where a teller and a customer might both interact with the app.
Together with its partners, IBM will identify and prioritize new areas where blockchain can benefit food ecosystems and inform new IBM solutions. This work will draw on multiple IBM pilots and production networks in related areas that successfully demonstrate ways in which blockchain can positively impact global food traceability.
The tech giant says that parallel trials with Walmart in China and the US have demonstrated that blockchain can be used to track a product from the farm through every stage of the supply chain, right to the retail shelf, in seconds instead of days or weeks. The trials also demonstrated that stakeholders throughout the global food supply chain view food safety as a collaborative issue, rather than a competitive one and are willing to work together to improve the food system for everyone.
Tim Cook: Since the government isn’t doing it, Apple has a “moral responsibility to help grow the economy”
“The reality is that government, for a long period of time, has for whatever set of reasons become less functional and isn’t working at the speed that it once was. And so it does fall, I think, not just on business but on all other areas of society to step up.”
Google Critic Ousted From Think Tank Funded by the Tech Giant
“Google is very aggressive in throwing its money around Washington and Brussels, and then pulling the strings,” Mr. Lynn said. “People are so afraid of Google now.”
Google rejected any suggestion that it played a role in New America’s split with Open Markets. Riva Sciuto, a Google spokeswoman, pointed out that the company supports a wide range of think tanks and other nonprofits focused on information access and internet regulation. “We don’t agree with every group 100 percent of the time, and while we sometimes respectfully disagree, we respect each group’s independence, personnel decisions and policy perspectives.”
New America’s executive vice president, Tyra Mariani, said it was “a mutual decision for Barry to spin out his Open Markets program,” and that the move was not in any way influenced by Google or Mr. Schmidt.
Warren Buffett says the future belongs to new age Apple, not to doyen of past IBM
Warren Buffett had previously voiced a preference to avoid investing in technology stocks, but began building a stake in Apple in 2016. CNBC had earlier reported that the Oracle of Omaha added nearly 76 million more shares in January. The iconic investor had said back then, “Apple strikes me as having quite a sticky product, and an enormously useful product to people that use it.”
In comparison, Berkshire Hathaway sold off nearly 33% of its total holdings in IBM in the first and second quarters of 2017. At the end of 2016, Berkshire Hathaway had 81 million shares of IBM. In may this year, he told the channel, “I don’t value IBM the same way that I did six years ago when I started buying. I’ve revalued it somewhat downward.”
SoftBank acted on investment rumors by pumping $4B into office sharing company WeWorks. As SoftBank invests, Cisco made their 5th acquisition this year. Cisco purchased software company Springpath for $320M.
Amazon and Microsoft are currently tied for #1 in cloud performance according to Gartner, Oracle and IBM weren’t even in the conversation. Google also performed well in Gartner’s study and the company announced a discounted price tier for their cloud network services.
Blockchain was a popular topic this week as companies are figuring out more ways to use it outside of crypto-currency (supply chain being one very popular target).
SoftBank Finalizes $4.4 Billion WeWork Investment
The funding, which comes from SoftBank as well as its $93 billion technology-focused Vision Fund, is an audacious bet on WeWork’s burgeoning strategy to rent out chunks of office within a larger communal space, pitched with a hip, millennial-conscious vibe. It is one of the largest single slugs of capital ever in a venture-backed startup, according to Dow Jones VentureSource, and brings WeWork’s valuation to about $20 billion, making it the fourth-most valuable startup in the U.S. behind ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc., home-rental site Airbnb Inc. and rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
SoftBank also took two board seats at the seven-year-old company, suggesting an unusually large level of control for a late-stage investor.
Cisco to acquire key software partner Springpath for $320M
Three months after picking up artificial intelligence startup MindMeld Inc. for $125 million, Cisco Systems Inc. has inked another nine-figure acquisition.
The networking giant plans to shell out $320 million to buy Springpath Inc., a firm that develops software for hyperconverged systems. It’s Cisco’s fifth acquisition of the year, and arguably the least surprising. Rumors about the deal have been making rounds since 2015, which is when the two companies first crossed paths.
As part of a wide-ranging interview, TheStreet recently had a chance to talk with Cisco’s CEO about the company’s M&A strategy and what kinds of companies it could be targeting next. Robbins pointed to Cisco’s previously stated “build, buy, partner, invest and co-develop” M&A strategy. Cisco has been known to acquire companies to seize their emerging technology, rather than build it itself, like its $3.7 billion purchase of AppDynamics Inc. in March. AppDynamics creates software that helps companies monitor how their applications and websites are running to prevent them from crashing.
Looking forward, Robbins said Cisco plans to keep being opportunistic when it comes to M&A, by using the same “build, buy, partner” approach it always has.
“[We] intend to continue to use smart M&A as a way to seize market transactions in new markets as well as extend our leadership in our current business,” Robbins said. “Our M&A approach will strive to remain balanced — maintaining discipline in light of market conditions while making key strategic moves that cement Cisco’s competitive differentiation for the future.”
How Artificial Intelligence Could Change the Asset-Management Game
As leagues look to leverage their vast video archives to create new revenue streams, AI has become a key tool in efforts to properly digitize and log this content. NASCAR Productions, for example, owns one of the largest sports archives in the world, with 500,000 hours of content and 3 million assets. However, that content has only 9.5 million metadata tags – far short of what’s required to efficiently search, find, and monetize the assets effectively. As a result, NASCAR is actively ramping up its AI efforts in hopes that it will improve on the time-consuming and inefficient human-powered tagging process.
“The reason we are looking at [AI] is that humans are highly inefficient,” said Chris Witmayer, director, broadcast, production and new media technology, NASCAR Productions. “We have found that humans are 4-to-1 on the efficiency scale. For every hour of footage, it takes a human about four hours to enter metadata. We need to find a way to do this because, although we have an entire archive that goes back to the 1930s, we can’t actually find anything efficiently. If you can’t find anything, you can’t sell it, and you can’t make money. So this is big for us.”
IBM, JDRF to unravel Type 1 diabetes risk factors with machine learning
IBM scientists still use machine learning algorithms to analyze at least three datasets, according to a statement. Specifically, they are looking to pinpoint patterns that could lead to new ways of preventing or delaying Type 1 diabetes in children. Using previously collected data from global research projects, they will create a “foundational set of features” that is common to all of the data sets.
“The models that will be produced will quantify the risk for T1D from the combined data set using this foundational set of features,” IBM said in the statement.
AWS, Azure tie for top spot in 2017 Gartner ranking
This year, there was no one winner. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure tied for first place, both garnering a score of 94%. Google Cloud Platform followed with 80%.
Each provider rose in the ranking from 2016 — AWS is up from 92% and Azure from 88%. The increases reflect an enormous amount of innovation from the vendors, Khnaser said, especially Microsoft. “Microsoft has had a long way to go to catch up.”
Google made an even greater jump, from 70% in 2016. But as the providers improve and reach something akin to parity on essential cloud capabilities, the ranking means less than in years past for a number of reasons, Khnaser said. Most companies are at a point now where, in addition to using the top contenders, they are also using their competitors to extend their cloud footprints and mitigate risk. Indeed, companies are hiring cloud providers not in the ranking at all, such as Oracle, IBM SoftLayer and China’s Alibaba Cloud — as they should.
Google offers cheaper network pricing tier for its cloud
The Network Service Tiers, released today in early “alpha” test mode, provide the capability of Google’s cloud computing customers to choose the existing “Premium Tier,” which uses Google’s own global network employed for Gmail, search and YouTube, and a new Standard Tier, which leverages the broader Internet more economically.
Google said it’s the first major public cloud provider to allow customers to customize their cloud network. Although cloud computing’s appeal is partly the ability to buy levels of computing and storage on demand, generally providers haven’t offered the same kind of flexibility on network access.
Lenovo Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing said a sustained rise in the cost of memory chips hurt profitability across all of the company’s major business lines. He said the duration of the price increases—lasting in some cases more than a year—is unprecedented.
“We have never seen this situation in the past,” Mr. Yang said in an interview. “Many materials costs, like memory, have increased for a couple of quarters, or even for over more than a year. That’s a significant impact on the industry’s profitability.”
Walmart and 9 Food Giants Team Up on IBM Blockchain Plans
The coalition includes retailers and food companies such as Unilever (UL, +0.83%), Nestlé, and Dole (DOLE). They will be aiming to use blockchains, a technology that made its name as the basis of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, to maintain secure digital records and improve the traceability of their foodstuffs, like chicken, chocolate, and bananas.
These companies see blockchains as an opportunity to revamp their data management processes across a complex network that includes farmers, brokers, distributors, processors, retailers, regulators, and consumers. One potential benefit: investigations into food-borne illnesses to take weeks (see this summer’s fatal Salmonella outbreak linked to papayas), but a blockchain-based system has the ability to reduce that time to seconds.
Oracle Plans To Move Java EE To Open Source Community
Oracle feels that moving Java EE to an open source foundation may be beneficial in long-term as it will help the implementation adopt more agile process. Moreover, it can also help change its governance and introduce flexible licensing.
“We plan on exploring this possibility with the community, our licensees and several candidate foundations to see if we can move Java EE forward in this direction,” Oracle writes in its blog post.
These concerns regarding Java EE aren’t completely invalid. The Java EE community has expressed concern in the past and blamed Oracle for neglecting the open source implementation.
Apple to build Iowa data center, get $207.8 million in incentives
Apple Inc will build a $1.375 billion data center in Waukee, Iowa, Apple and state officials said on Thursday, with $207.8 million in incentives approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Waukee city council.
Apple will purchase 2,000 acres (8.09 square km) of land in Waukee, about 20 miles (32 km) west of Des Moines, to build two data centers. The company will receive a $19.65 million investment tax credit for creating 50 jobs.
Apple said the project will generate more than 550 jobs in construction and operations, but did not specify how many of those jobs would be long-term positions.
Uber Wins Ruling on ’Terms of Service’ Agreements (this impacts more than just ride sharing)
The case strikes at a fact of everyday life for users of websites and mobile phones, who come across these agreements before being allowed to use a site or app for the first time. There typically is no means for customers to strike out certain provisions or reject the terms outright and still hope to use the service.
Circuit Judge Denny Chin overturned a district-court ruling that found Uber’s terms of service were difficult for customers to access, and therefore couldn’t be enforced because customers didn’t always know what they were agreeing to. New Uber customers agree to terms that include resolving disputes through arbitration when they click to register for the mobile app—even though the full list of provisions is only available on a separate Uber website.
Infosys CEO resigns after long-running feud with founders
The tussle between Infosys and its founders began in February after founder and former chairman Narayana Murthy accused the company of corporate governance lapses.
The Infosys board has denied the allegations repeatedly and on Friday blamed Sikka’s resignation on Murthy’s “continuous assault”, describing the billionaire’s latest salvo questioning the integrity of the directors and management as the final nail in the coffin.
The board said Murthy’s campaign had undermined Sikka’s efforts to transform the business and it had no intention of asking him to play a formal role in the governance of the firm.
Uber’s Kalanick Fires Back at Investor in Legal Battle
In a filing to the Delaware Chancery Court late Thursday, Travis Kalanick reiterated his call for the Benchmark legal dispute to be settled in arbitration, according to the terms of the voting agreement at the center of the case. Arbitration also would keep the deliberations private.
Benchmark, which holds one Uber board seat, alleged in a suit filed a week earlier that Mr. Kalanick defrauded Uber’s board by keeping secret questionable business practices. Benchmark is seeking in its suit to oust Mr. Kalanick from the board and free up three board seats he effectively controls.
I have been making jokes for weeks that companies haven’t been making acquisitions, and this week we saw Google announce the purchase of two companies, Microsoft picking up one, and Workday snagging a company founded by former Google employees.
As Microsoft celebrates a new acquisition, they are also dealing with the fallout of a very bad review for their new Surface laptops by Consumer Reports. Meanwhile Oracle is getting compliments on the overhaul of their sales teams to better sell cloud services.
Google acquires AIMatter, maker of the Fabby computer vision app
The search and Android giant has acquired AIMatter, a startup founded in Belarus that has built both a neural network-based AI platform and SDK to detect and process images quickly on mobile devices, and a photo and video editing app that has served as a proof-of-concept of the tech called Fabby.
We’d had wind of the deal going down as far back as May, although it only officially closed today.
Microsoft today announced that it has acquired Cycle Computing, a twelve-year-old Connecticut-based company that focuses on helping enterprises orchestrate high-performance computing jobs, large data workloads and other “big computing” jobs in the cloud. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
While Microsoft plans to use the company’s expertise to improve its Azure service for these kind of high-end workloads, Cycle Computing’s flagship CycleCloud service always supported a wide range of cloud and on-premises platforms, including AWS and the Google Cloud Platform. Microsoft notes that the Cycle Computing tech will help it improve its support for Linux-based high-performance computing workloads.
WeWork acquires Israeli startup Unomy to boost its enterprise sales efforts
Global co-working behemoth WeWork is best known for providing flexible office rentals to startups and other small businesses, but enterprise clients are becoming an increasingly large portion of its business. With that in mind, WeWork has acquired Israeli startup Unomy to help its team sell enterprise clients on the idea of opening offices in its workspaces around the world.
With plenty of new funding, WeWork has been investing heavily in opening new shared co-working spaces in places like China, Japan and Southeast Asia. In the meantime, it’s hoping to get more large businesses using its real estate.
Workday acquires the team behind Pattern, a young startup founded by ex-Googlers
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Pattern CEO Derek Draper, who announced the acquisition to his network on LinkedIn, declined to comment further. As part of this transition, Pattern ended the Pattern service late last week.
Pattern had aimed to lighten the load of managing customer relationships for salespeople and was backed by Felicis Ventures, SoftTech VC, First Round Capital, and various angel investors, who last year provided the company with $2.5 million in seed funding. (If Pattern raised subsequent funding, it never announced it.).
Why Everyone Is Hating on IBM Watson—Including the People Who Helped Make It
But the “cognitive computing” technologies under the Watson umbrella aren’t as unique as they once were. “In the data-science community the sense is that whatever Watson can do, you can probably get as freeware somewhere, or possibly build yourself with your own knowledge,” Claudia Perlich told Gizmodo, a professor and data scientist who worked at IBM Watson Research Center from 2004 to 2010 (at the same time Watson was being built), before becoming the chief scientist at Dstillery, a data-driven marketing firm (a field that IBM is also involved with). She believes a good data-science expert can create Watson-like platforms “with notably less financial commitment.”
How Watson’s AI is helping companies stay ahead of hackers and cybersecurity risks
How Oracle Engineered Its Sales Staff for the Cloud
In four years, more than 4,500 representatives have gone through the five-week Class Of program. Mr. Hurd figures that in a decade or so all of Oracle’s sales leaders will be graduates of Class Of
The program didn’t initially sit well with some Oracle veterans, who worried mentoring duties would pull them away from managing their own accounts.
“Everybody thought, ‘What the hell is this?’” said Mike Mansouri, a manager in the company’s El Segundo, Calif., office, who has worked two decades in sales, the last three years at Oracle. “I thought it would do more harm than good.”
Two years later, Mr. Mansouri said he was wrong. Recruits he managed were scooping up smaller customers, and he received commissions from deals they closed. He estimated his commission compensation has jumped 25% since the program began.
Oracle’s Hurd, AT&T’s Donovan on their massive cloud migration deal
In this case we didn’t buy what Mark was selling off the shelf. We didn’t look at where Oracle was. We looked at what we were trying to accomplish as a company, how vast the job at hand was, and then we looked at the evolution and the architecture of what Oracle was doing in their cloud strategy in order to find a territory where we could buy and they had to build. Oracle is going to address our specific need: How do you tear down a massive database and regionally distribute it so that you can be really fast in how you’re managing your IT application changes that rest on top of this data?
Surfacegate: Microsoft execs ‘misled Nadella’, claims report
Veteran Microsoft-watcher Paul Thurrott has made the sensational allegation that Microsoft’s senior management “misled” their CEO about the cause of serious launch issues with its flagship Surface Pro 4 PC.
Microsoft defended the reliability of the Surface range after Consumer Reports withdrew its Buy recommendation last week. Microsoft said return rates have fallen, and don’t resemble anything like the 25 per cent breakdown figure cited by the publication.
The launch of the Surface Pro 4 was plagued with high returns caused by thermal issues, dubbed “Surfacegate”. Our SP4 review unit was swapped out after dying, and the replacement overheated.
Amazon, SoftBank Battle for One of Last Untapped Internet Markets
After failing to capture much of the market in China, Mr. Bezos is investing $5 billion to expand Amazon’s India operations. Since launching in 2013, the firm has used its technological expertise and slick advertising campaigns to pull neck-and-neck with homegrown e-commerce leader, Flipkart Group, in a country where many consumers are only now shopping online for the first time via inexpensive smartphones.
Meanwhile, Mr. Son’s conglomerate is set to inject roughly $2.5 billion into Flipkart, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday. While declining to confirm the amount, Flipkart said the investment, combined with $1.4 billion raised in April from Tencent Holdings Ltd. , eBay Inc. and Microsoft Corp. , would lift Flipkart’s cash level to more than $4 billion.
Dell Says CEO Will Continue to Advise Trump Even After Defense of Racist Rally
His words apparently had little impact on Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell Technologies. The company tells Gizmodo that Trump’s press conference changed nothing, and that Dell will continue to advise Trump as a member of the White House manufacturing council—even as #QuitTheCouncil began trending on Twitter and another of his peers abandoned the president citing personal moral obligation
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced his departure from the council on Tuesday, writing in a blog that his decision was intended to “call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing.” He added: “Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base.”
Kenneth Frazier, chief executive of the drugmaker Merck, was the first to step down on Monday. As usual, Trump responded with an angry tweet, saying Frazier would now have “more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”
IBM is making legal news this week with their attempt to block their former CIO from joining Amazon. They are also gaining headlines for a $78M ruling in favor of the State of Indiana due to IBM’s reported failure to implement a welfare privatization system.
Yet another diversity issue flared up in Silicon Valley this week and Google was at the center of this controversy. A (now former) employee posted a “manifesto” reinforcing gender stereotypes. Google was quick to address the problem, but the document has sparked semi-political conversations that will be harder to suppress.
Meanwhile, Amazon sells product under several alternative brands so you think there are more options when purchasing items from the retail giant.
Accenture Buys Digital Marketing Agency For Technical, Creative Skill Set
Accenture, aiming to enhance its creative marketing prowess and talent, has acquired Wire Stone, a 200-person Boise, Idaho marketing agency whose client list includes several big IT firms, including Microsoft, HPE and HP Inc.
The Dublin-based professional services giant said Wire Stone’s strategy, design, and technology expertise would help, particularly when it comes providing integrated campaigns, data-fueled insight and immersive digital customer experiences to big companies.
Tableau acquires ClearGraph, a startup that lets you analyze your data using natural language
Business intelligence and analytics firm Tableau today announced that it has acquired ClearGraph, a service that lets you query and visualize large amounts of business date through natural language queries (think “this week’s transactions over $500”). Tableau expects to integrate this technology with its own products as it looks to make it easier for its users to use similar queries to visualize their data.
Markets are strong, but big startup M&A deals just aren’t happening
It’s not just the unicorn space where big deals aren’t happening. So far this year, only 17 well-funded private technology companies (defined here as those that raised $20 million or more in venture investment) have gone on to be acquired for disclosed or reported valuations over $100 million. Meanwhile, in 2016, there were almost that many at valuations of $500 million or more.
“It could be happenstance, or some sectors may be running into resistance due to high multiples,” says David Blumberg, managing partner at early-stage firm Blumberg Capital. He added that acquirers may also be waiting on the sidelines to see what happens with proposed tax reforms.
A Trump administration plan to dramatically reduce taxes on repatriated earnings may be a factor in delaying M&A. Currently, big technology companies are holding hundreds of billions of dollars in overseas accounts to shelter their earnings from U.S. taxes. Apple alone is estimated to be holding on to a cash stockpile of more than $250 billion, most in non-U.S. accounts. The Trump proposal would reportedly cut public companies’ income tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent. It would also cut the tax on repatriated offshore earnings to 10 percent.
SAP Ariba adds IBM Watson technology to procurement processes
This integration is happening in three waves, Rizza said. The first wave is accelerated response, which injects real-time response mechanisms into operational data, automating data capture and analysis for outcomes like personalized alerts for an operation that requires attention. The second wave is integrating intelligence into business processes like source-to-settle; for example, automating many of the routine tasks in the process that take up a buyer’s time. The third wave will encompass the entire enterprise ERP system, as intelligence goes beyond processes like source-to-settle and is built into processes like source-to-invoice or lead-to-cash.
IBM sues to stop former executive from working at cloud computing rival
Former IBM cloud computing executive Jeff S. Smith begins a new job today at a major rival, Amazon Web Services, much to the displeasure of his former employer.
“Were he permitted to join the senior management of AWS on Aug. 7,” declared Arvind Krishna, director of research, he “would inevitably be involved in decision-making about how best to compete against IBM and would inevitably disclose or use IBM trade secrets.”
Judge Cathy Seibel issued a temporary restraining order on Aug. 1, barring Smith, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, from starting work today at Amazon Web Services. He may not solicit customers, recruit former colleagues or disclose confidential information until a full hearing is held.
Apple, of course, is always loath to discuss any products it has in the works. But the company’s pipeline is a salient question for investors who may rightfully be wondering what to do with the stock once this year’s new iPhones see the light of day. Apple’s market value has surged 35% this year to $820 billion—adding $45 billion since last week’s earnings report, which all but confirmed that some new iPhones will indeed launch this quarter. And it is hard to forget that the stock has seen significant downturns twice in the past five years following big iPhone launches.
Judge: IBM Owes Indiana $78M After Failed Welfare Privatization
Now, Judge Heather Welch says IBM should pay the state $128 million in damages, and that the state still owes IBM nearly $50 million in various fees.
The Daniels administration originally hired IBM to take over digital welfare services for the state Family and Social Services Administration. The contract was terminated in 2009 after numerous problems and has been tied up in court ever since.
“Traditionally, these incentive packages, when we look back at them, tend to be expensive, inefficient and have a lot of unintended consequences,” said State Rep. Gordon Hintz, a Democrat whose district includes Oshkosh. “We all want to be seen as doing something proactive but there’s a large body of public policy research that lets you know you can’t buy sustainable economic development.”
The state assembly has already begun discussions over the bill and its committee on jobs and the economy plans to vote Monday, said House Speaker Robin Vos. The senate is beginning internal discussions and a joint committee on finance is expected to start discussions in the next two weeks. But Mr. Walker, a Republican, said he is confident the bill will be passed before Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 4.
Perhaps what Amazon is trying to do as it rapidly expands into new businesses—especially business areas where it might not have forged partnerships with well-known brands—is to give the impression to customers that there are tons of options to choose from, when in fact, they’re really just choosing between different Amazon brands. “Consumers pay a premium for a brand, that’s why they’re not store-generic,” DiMassimo suggested.
But as Amazon extends into new product lines, it risks overreaching and eroding trust. It has sold beef that’s “raised on a ranch in California” (with no more information available on its sourcing) and “96% USDA Certified” biologic detergent. In both cases it’s not entirely clear to customers that they’re buying products from Amazon, rather than companies that have made it their business to render meat or make chemical products longer than a year or two.
Some manufacturers are enforcing minimum advertised prices to make it harder for online sellers to undercut local merchants, while others give local stores first dibs on new products or funnel customers from their own websites to local outlets.
“The pendulum has swung,” said Rich Tauer, president of Quality Bicycle Products, a Bloomington, Minn., bicycle wholesaler that won’t sell to Amazon. The company’s sales representatives push brands that support local retailers by restricting advertised prices and enforcing restrictions on where products are being sold.
The 10-page Google Doc document was met with derision from a large majority of employees who saw and denounced its contents, according to the employee. But Jaana Dogan, a software engineer at Google, tweeted that some people at the company at least partially agreed with the author; one of our sources said the same (Dogan’s tweets have since been deleted). While the document itself contains the thoughts of just one Google employee, the context in which they were shared—Google is currently being investigated by the Department of Labor for its gender pay gap and Silicon Valley has been repeatedly exposed as a place that discriminates against women and people of color—as well as the private and public response from its workforce are important.
“The broader context of this is that this person is perhaps bolder than most of the people at Google who share his viewpoint—of thinking women are less qualified than men—to the point he was willing to publicly argue for it. But there are sadly more people like him,” the employee who described the document’s contents to me said.
Danielle Brown, Google’s vice president for diversity and inclusion, sent a letter to employees Saturday saying the employee’s memo “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender” and is “not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages,” according to a copy of the statement published by Motherboard, which earlier reported on the employee’s memo.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley.
James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He said he’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”
Microsoft only paid $30 million income tax last year, lowest since 2003
The Seattle Times story notes that the $30 million figure is somewhat alarming, as Microsoft paid $136 million in state and local income tax payments in 2016. According to the Tax Policy Center think tank, 44 states (and Washington, D.C.) require corporate income taxes. For companies that are headquartered out-of-state, state governments usually only tax companies for activities that occur in their particular state.
Washington state taxes corporations through its business and occupation (B&O) tax, which imposes a tax on the value of products sold in state. According to Microsoft, the $30 million figure does not include Washington’s B&O tax. The lowered payment might be due to Microsoft moving much of its operations overseas, as Microsoft reported $142 billion in overseas income as of June 30, 2017, a 15% increase over 2016.
Mobility Officially Bumped From Microsoft’s Strategy
Microsoft is making clear, however, that while it may be moving away from creating mobility, it wants to be inside that technology, pushing artificial intelligence as its next major effort.
It’s not as if Microsoft won’t have a mobile presence whatsoever, of course. The AI assistant Cortana is enabled for use on iOS and Android; the majority of enterprise business professionals use LinkedIn’s mobile app; and Skype is available just about everywhere. This certainly isn’t a death knell for the company, but as CEO Satya Nadella said in the fall of 2016, Microsoft needs to remember its roots as a platform-first company.