IT security professionals had a rough week due to the proliferation of the WannaCry ransomware virus. The virus locked the IT systems of several corporations and hospitals over the weekend.
IBMers also had another rough week. Even more employees are being asked to abandon work from home and come back into the office. IBM also announced that they are sun-setting their procurement platform Emptoris and moving customers over to rival Ariba.
Ariba owner SAP recently announced compatibility with the big three cloud providers AWS, Google, and Azure… which should give those migrating customers more options.
Apple acquires AI company Lattice Data, a specialist in unstructured ‘dark data’, for $200M
Specifically, Apple has picked up Lattice Data, a company that applies an AI enabled inference engine to take unstructured, “dark” data and turn it into structured (and more usable) information. We’ve heard from a single source that Apple has paid a price of around $200 million.
The deal was closed a couple of weeks ago, the source said, and about 20 engineers have joined the larger company.
SAP Cloud now compatible with AWS, Google and Azure
With this announcement, SAP has positioned itself as the first end-to-end digital enterprise platform to allow customers to choose between the major infrastructure-as-a-service providers. SAP will provide full multi-cloud support for the cloud platform, and all cloud actions can be controlled by the client through a simple, unified command center.
Customers may select infrastructure powered by SAP, or by Amazon Web Services. Microsoft Azure is currently available as a public preview and Google Cloud Platform as a demo showcase, and all may be managed using the new SAP Cloud Platform cockpit.
This is 90 minutes, but they go into real details about the platform
IBM builds its most powerful universal quantum computing processors
Launched in March 2017, IBM Q is an industry-first initiative to build commercially available universal quantum computing systems for business and science applications. IBM Q systems and services will be delivered via the IBM Cloud platform. IBM first opened public access to its quantum processors one year ago, to serve as an enablement tool for scientific research, a resource for university classrooms, and a catalyst of enthusiasm for the field. To date users have run more than 300,000 quantum experiments on the IBM Cloud.
With the introduction of two new processors today for IBM Q, the company is building the foundation for solving practical problems in business and science that are intractable even with today’s most powerful classical computing systems.
Cosmos DB launches Microsoft Azure databases at Oracle
For those lost on the type of cloud computing tasks that Azure handles: Microsoft Azure is not your typical cloud computing service that allows you to directly upload your selfies and work on documents. Cosmos DB is designed for “planet-scale” applications, giving developers fine control over the replication policies and reliability.
Cloud-computing providers like Microsoft and Amazon often use examples like Black Friday to pitch their services.
SAP Ariba and IBM Join Forces to Transform Procurement with SAP Leonardo and Watson
“We’ve built a cognitive procurement platform trained specifically to understand procurement transactions and unstructured data such as weather, non-standard part numbers in contracts and complex pricing structures,” said Jesus Mantas, General Manager, Cognitive Process Transformation, IBM Global Business Services. “By combining the power of IBM Watson on the IBM Cloud with SAP Ariba, we are leaping existing procurement benchmarks and delivering unprecedented value to our joint clients.”
Rather than tossing barbs at IBM in this final chapter as we slowly bury Emptoris over the coming years — or complain about what did and did not work in earlier Emptoris releases — we should remember everything the firm did to lead the technology charge for procurement. It’s easy to forget that Emptoris got its start back when FreeMarkets was still running auctions over a dedicated IP network and Ariba was still proving out the market opportunity for its operational resource management solution (ORMS).
Oracle crushed in defeat as Java world votes ‘No’ to modular overhaul
The database goliath has lost a Java Community public-review ballot by 13 to 10 that was to have approved its Java Platform Module System (JPMS) specification as a final draft. Executive Committee members ignored dire warnings from Oracle spec lead Mark Reinhold in an open letter where he claimed that a “no” vote would not only delay Java 9 but also be a “vote against the Java Community Process itself”.
The JSR, number 376, needed a two-thirds majority to pass.
In that bluntly worded letter, Oracle’s Java platform chief also chastised IBM and Red Hat for suggesting that they might vote against JPMS.
Microsoft Guns for Oracle Customers with Database Migration Service
In a blog post, Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie, executive vice president in the cloud and enterprise group, said the new service “seamlessly migrates third-party and SQL Server databases into Azure SQL Database with near-zero application downtime.”
The Azure database migration service sounds like a similar play by Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2015, which saw companies move 1,000 databases over to AWS in week one, according to Business Insider. Not all of these were Oracle customers.
But as the database leader in customer-run data centers, Oracle is most at risk from the new Microsoft offerings, Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with the research firm Moor Insights & Strategy, told Fox Business.
The ongoing layoffs by the leading IT companies in India is continuing, in fact on an increasing note with IBM joining the league newly. In a major development, sources close to IBM disclosed that the company may release at least 5,000 employees over the next few quarters.
“The process has already started. Managers have been asked to identify under performers,” says a person close to the development.
“This is factually incorrect. We are not going to comment further on rumours and speculation. Re-skilling and rebalancing is an ongoing process as we accelerate the benefits of cognitive and cloud technologies for clients around the world,” a spokesperson for IBM told ET.
ET quotes a source saying IBM had handed over pink slips to 200 employees in a business unit last year.
Hospitals Across England Infected With Ransomware, Leaving Patients Without Care
In a statement, NHS Digital said it believed the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor, a Trojan virus that employs AES-128 encryption to render files inaccessible.
The BBC reports the attack struck hospitals in London, Blackburn, Cumbria, Hertfordshire, and Nottingham. Phone systems in certain areas also appear to be down.
Without computer access, many healthcare providers are resorting to pen and pads to keep track of their patients. A physician in Liverpool told the Guardian that his unit manually severed its connection to the broader NHS system in an attempt to stave off the infection. “[N]o computers means no records, no prescriptions, no results,” he said.
If you think you might be vulnerable to WannaCry, or you don’t remember installing any updates over the past month, your first step is to address that issue immediately. As Sean Dillon, the RiskSense security analyst who reverse engineered DoublePulsar, told ThreatPost: “This is the most critical Windows patch since [Conficker],” which is one the largest similar infections to date.
Despite having been patch nearly a decade ago, the Conficker worm is still in circulation. “I find it everywhere,” says Dillon, adding that WannaCry, too, “is going to be on networks for years.”
“This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem,” Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, wrote in the wake of the “WannaCry” computer virus attack, which crippled computers worldwide.
He compared it to the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. “And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today — nation-state action and organized criminal action,” he added.
You can shout “Alexa, call grandma” and your grandmother will appear on the screen of the device. You know that if your grandmother is not at home she won’t even get notified, so it won’t feel like you’re interrupting something.
More importantly, everyone will be able to use the device, young kids and elderly people included. It’s much easier to buy an Echo Show and give it to the grandparents than explaining to them how to use a smartphone if they aren’t using one already. The Echo Show will be at the center of the living room or kitchen. It’s going to bring the family together and people are going to love this thing.
IBM, a Pioneer of Remote Work, Calls Workers Back to the Office
The company won’t say how many of its 380,000 employees are affected by the policy change, which so far has been rolled out to its Watson division, software development, digital marketing, and design—divisions that employ tens of thousands of workers.
It’s not about where people work. Where people work isn’t as important as how or why they work. Remember from Daniel Pink’s research on Motivation 2.0 that autonomy is one of three main drivers for people, along with purpose and mastery. If employees don’t feel their autonomous needs are being met, then off to another job they go.
AT&T needs all the support they can get after having 5G bandwidth company Straight Path ripped right from their grasp by competitor Verizon.
Oracle isn’t having a great week either as Microsoft announced a new database platform designed “for the future”.
Will the tech acquisition spree continue?
But there was some disappointment with cross-border acquisitions. “Deal activity from Asian-Pacific investors declined notably in Q1 2017, illustrating uncertainty in American markets due to the new administration,” according to the PwC report. A recent survey by law firm Morrison & Foerster similarly found that “M&A between the two largest economies in the world, the U.S. and China, is expected to be particularly difficult in the coming years.”
The challenge with Chinese buyers stems from a “a combination of uncertainty introduced by Trump’s policies and restrictions imposed by Chinese authorities on outflow of capital from China,” said Robert Townsend, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Global M&A Practice Group. But ample technology deal activity in the U.S. is expected to continue.
Verizon reportedly wins bidding war for Straight Path with $3.1 billion offer
AT&T announced last month that it had agreed to buy Straight Path for $1.6 billion, but after Verizon placed a bid for nearly double that amount on Monday, AT&T declined to match it, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The telecoms are interested in Straight Path because the Virginia-based company holds valuable spectrum licenses that will play an important role in laying the groundwork for 5G services. Straight Path began reviewing “strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value” (i.e. searching for a buyer) in January after it was fined $100 million by the Federal Communications Commission for failing to deploy the wireless services required by its spectrum licenses, a practice called “spectrum squatting.”
Cisco acquires conversational AI startup MindMeld for $125 million
This morning Cisco announced that it is buying MindMeld for $125 million. Founded in 2011, MindMeld helps businesses to build conversational interfaces with cloud-based services.
MindMeld, originally called Expect Labs, was launched on the stage of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012. At that time the startup wanted to build an iPad app that could listen in on your conversations and provide relevant contextual information. Since then the company has expanded its offerings to include a suite of APIs for parsing, reasoning about and generating language.
A.I. is in a ‘golden age’ and solving problems that were once in the realm of sci-fi, Jeff Bezos says
At Amazon, Bezos said that “cool” developments like Alexa and its Prime Air delivery drones use “tremendous amounts” of AI. But machine learning is being deployed across the company.
“I would say, a lot of the value that we’re getting from machine learning is actually happening kind of beneath the surface. It is things like improved search results, improved product recommendations for customers, improved forecasting for inventory management, and literally hundreds of other things beneath the surface,” Bezos said.
Buffett says IBM’s Watson will have greatest value when it replaces human labor
“I would think the biggest value will come in when it actually replaces human labor, and machines don’t come round annually and ask for higher wages, and they don’t need health care, and maybe a little maintenance,” Buffett said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“It should replace people in a big way, unless some other products do the same thing,” he said, noting Watson’s potential for reading X-rays faster and better than humans.
Monthly job creation has averaged 185,000 this year, more than double what the U.S. can sustain given its demographics. This has driven unemployment down to 4.4%, a 10-year low and below most estimates of “full employment.” Growing labor shortages have boosted the typical worker’s annual wage gain to more than 3% now from 2% in 2012, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
If automation were rapidly displacing workers, the productivity of the remaining workers ought to be growing rapidly. Instead, growth in productivity—worker output per hour—has been dismal in almost every sector, including manufacturing.
All of that adds up to a database of 5 billion consumer profiles, fed by 15 million data sources. Not every profile corresponds to a unique person — people can have multiple profiles — but Oracle has information on billions of people, according to Eric Roza, the vice president of Data Cloud. Using data science techniques, Oracle works to match activity from one browser to others, so companies can make sure the same ads get shown to people on their smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Oracle sees Data Cloud as a key part of its future. The service is being used to help advertisers and publishers better target ads, and it’s attractive to businesses because it’s not tied to a major advertising platform like Google’s or Facebook’s.
With Cosmos DB, Microsoft wants to build one database to rule them all
Cosmos DB is, in Shukla’s words, “a major leap forward” from what DocumentDB was able to offer. DocumentDB only offered a subset of the capabilities of what is now Cosmos DB. While DocumentDB was essentially a store for JSON data, Cosmos DB goes much further. It extends the idea of an index-free database system and adds support for various new data types that allows Cosmos DB enough flexibility to work as a graph database or key-value database, for example. And for those who are looking to store more traditional columnar relational data, Cosmos DB will also offer support for those.
According to Oracle, Pai’s plan to remove broadband providers from the FCC’s regulatory jurisdiction “will eliminate unnecessary burdens on, and competitive imbalances for, ISPs internet service providers while enhancing the consumer experience and driving investment.”
Telecom companies, which have long opposed the rules, are urging Pai to roll them back, the report said.
CEO Whitman: HPE ready to move past ‘executional challenges’, refocus on growth
She said the company would not be targeting specifically to make up for the revenue, but would instead focus on growing its footprint in edge and IoT, for instance, as well as through strategic acquisitions.
In addition to the company’s recent buys, which included Nimble Storage, Niara, and Cloud Cruiser, she added that HPE would continue to look for potential acquisitions, including in the Asia-Pacific region, to further drive its strategy around edge and hybrid IT.
Jim Cramer Talks IBM’s Future As Buffett Cuts His Stake
Perhaps most important, Cramer believes that so long IBM had the “blessing” of its biggest shareholder in Buffett then the company had time to spur the necessary changes to move the company forward.
But after Buffett cut his stake he is no longer IBM’s shareholder and that title goes to the index fund Vanguard. As such, IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty may not be as “protected as she tries to get the job done.” But on the other hand, Cramer thinks that Rometty could “feel liberated” to go out and acquire a cloud-based company that “would change the company’s complexion overnight.”
Big blue is having a week. They started with some positive news announcing the acquisition of Verizon’s remaining cloud business, bolstering their customer base. IBM is ending the week on bad news with the announcement that Warren Buffett is selling off 1/3 of his investments in the company.
In an oddly parallel announcement, Oracle announced a strategic partnership with Verizon’s competitor AT&T. The agreement mandates that AT&T say nice things about Oracle in the press… and they have “global access” to Oracle’s cloud offerings.
There were also some industry articles questioning how to best position a company for A.I. use and implementation.
Cisco scoops up San Jose software-defined networking startup for $610M (Viptela)
The 170-person company provides a cloud-based to manage wide-area networks that are spread over large geographies or multiple sites.
“Together, Cisco and Viptela will be able to deliver next-generation SD-WAN solutions to best serve all size and scale of customer needs, while accelerating Cisco’s transition to a recurring, software-based business model,” Rob Salvagno, Cisco’s lead executive for M&A, said in a blog post.
That still leaves a lot to play around with. Net of debt, Apple now sits on $158.3 billion. That would be enough to buy Netflix or Tesla with suitable takeout premiums, to address some of the more recent fantasy matchups. Disney, alas, is currently valued at $181 billion. It is worth reminding that Apple has never done a deal for more than $3 billion, and that was for a nascent music service that also sold overpriced headphones.
IBM to snap up remnants of Verizon’s cloud business
Verizon Enterprise Solutions on Tuesday said it had reached a deal for IBM to buy its cloud and managed hosting services. It has not revealed the value of the sale, but says it and IBM will be working on “strategic initiatives involving networking and cloud services”.
The sale to IBM marks the end of Verizon’s venture into the cloud infrastructure business, and allows it to focus on reselling datacenter services in conjunction with its own managed network, security, and communications services.
The agreement gives AT&T global access to Oracle’s cloud portfolio offerings both in the public cloud and on AT&T’s Integrated Cloud. This includes Oracle’s IaaS, PaaS, Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) which will help increase productivity, reduce IT costs and enable AT&T to gain new flexibility in how it implements SaaS applications across its global enterprise. AT&T has also agreed to implement Oracle’s Field Service Cloud (OFSC) to further optimize its scheduling and dispatching for its more than 70,000 field technicians. With OFSC, for example, AT&T will combine its existing machine learning and big data capabilities with Oracle’s technology to increase the productivity, on-time arrivals and job duration accuracy of AT&T’s field technicians.
CEOs rate productivity ‘very low’ from emerging tech
Of those four GPTs, only 2% of the 388 CEOs and senior executives in the survey listed IoT as their top enabling technology for improving productivity, while just 1% of respondents each picked blockchain, 3D printing and A.I. Older and existing technology fared better, with ERP at 10%, following by cloud (7%), analytics (7%), CRM (4%), mobile (3%) and marketing tools (3%). “We notice very low mentions for the four potential breakthrough GPTs,” Raskino noted.
Can Ansible be the automation platform for the enterprise? Red Hat thinks so
Ansible was founded to provide a new way to think about managing systems and applications that better fit this new world. Historically, management vendors and home-grown scripting solutions were created to manage stacks of software on servers. In contrast, Ansible was created to orchestrate multi-tier applications across clouds. From configuration to deployment to zero-downtime rolling upgrades, Ansible is a single framework that can fully automate today’s modern enteprise apps.
How Echo Look could feed Amazon’s big data fueled fashion ambitions
Buying clothes is a recurring need; both a practical necessity and a way to keep up with changes in style and taste. Like buying groceries, it’s a type of shopping without end. Which is why Amazon is fixated on both spaces. “In order to be a $200bn company we’ve got to learn how to sell clothes and food,” Jeff Bezos said as long ago as a decade — displaying the long term thinking that has enabled the ecommerce giant to slow-grow its business over more than 20 years from an upstart online bookseller into today’s sprawling digital marketplace whose upwardly thrusting arrow declaims its mission to deliver everything.
Should your next big hire be a chief A.I. officer?
“A.I. is still immature and evolving quickly, so it is unreasonable to expect everyone in the C-suite to understand it completely,” wrote Andrew Ng, a renowned A.I. scientist, in an article posted in November in the Harvard Business Review. “But if your industry generates a large amount of data, there is a good chance that A.I. can be used to transform that data into value. To the majority of companies that have data but lack deep A.I. knowledge, I recommend hiring a chief A.I. officer or a VP of A.I.”
Google says it doesn’t need to get into a cloud price war with Amazon, Microsoft to win
“We don’t need to compete on price to be honest. We definitely compete on value more than price … but if you look at the products, (they) are hard to compare side by side,” Shaukat told CNBC.
“We believe that our pricing models are much more friendly. So just simply by adopting the more flexible pricing models we have, things like billing by the minute rather than the hour, we think we can save a typical company 20 to 30 percent without having a unit price different to the competition.”
Why the Red Hat-Amazon partnership is a big deal in the cloud
Here are the key details: Red Hat announced native access to Amazon Web Services products in its Red Hat OpenShift product. OpenShift is the company’s platform as a service (PaaS) application development software, and it’s also the company’s main tool for helping enterprises deploy application containers, including those from Docker.
Deeper integration between OpenShift and AWS means that OpenShift users can access services such as Amazon Aurora, the company’s cloud-based database, the Amazon RedShift data warehouse product and other cloud-based AWS services directly through OpenShift.
Surface sales sag and Windows Phones fade, as Microsoft’s hardware business takes a hit
Microsoft’s hardware woes contrast sharply with the welfare of the company as a whole, as Microsoft’s cloud services bolstered the bottom line. Microsoft reported profits of $4.8 billion on $22.1 billion in revenue, up 28 percent and 8 percent, respectively, from a year ago. “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft. While the company has repeatedly insisted Windows Phone isn’t dead, however, the slow fade of its own phones doesn’t help the platform’s prospects.
Windows 10 S laptops won’t let you switch from Edge or Bing
When Microsoft revealed the details of Windows 10 S on Tuesday, it sounded awfully similar to the beleaguered Windows RT. But it looks like there’s a little Windows 8.1 with Bing in there too: Microsoft will not allow Windows 10 S device owners to change the default web browser or the default search engine, as first spotted by The Verge.
That means Microsoft Edge and Bing are the inescapable defaults for Windows 10 S, a stripped-down version of Windows 10 that only allows programs to be downloaded and installed from the Windows Store.
The product, which consists of Dell EMC PowerEdge servers and Dell EMC Networking, “delivers a consistent experience across Azure public cloud and private with Azure Stack”, according to the vendor.
It added that the platform also offers a “consistent programming surface between Azure and Azure Stack” so that organisations can create and share traditional and cloud-native applications securely in private and public clouds.
“Cloud is an operating model, not a place, and adopting a hybrid model has become the clear choice,” said Peter Cutts, senior VP, of hybrid cloud platforms at Dell EMC.
Tableau subscription pricing – a proxy for software acquisition
The problem for buyers comes in determining how many licenses to buy. Tableau, like many other vendors, operates a ‘land and expand’ strategy where it gets into a department with a handful of licenses and then seeks to grow that out into the enterprise. It’s a legitimate model but one that Tableau struggled to scale in large enterprise, where the influence of IT is much more important and where Tableau has sometimes come unstuck.
Shots fired: IBM and Red Hat vote “no” on Project Jigsaw, may cause delays for Java 9
IBM and Red Hat are just two members of the 25-member Java Community Process Executive Committee. This committee approves all the new Java standards, including major Java versions. These proposals require a 2/3 majority to be passed. Right now, IBM and Red Hat are alone in their public disagreement, but they’re probably not the only ones. Jigsaw’s proposed changes to the Java ecosystem are controversial, to say the least.
Not making it on to the Gartner Magic Quadrant is a very big deal for a software company. That is why software companies pay ridiculous amounts of money to get on (and stay on) the Quadrant. And the fact that Gartner Group accepts money from the companies that are being evaluated, makes their independence very much open to question. And yet, even people like me, who have serious doubts about Gartner’s legitimacy are influenced by the Magic Quadrant more than we would like to admit.
IBM Report Highlights Blockchain’s Value in Healthcare
According to the researchers, blockchain technology offers the industry ” long data” versus “big data ,” that is, data that reaches as far back in time as possible. The potential could capture a patient’s full health history, including every vital sign ever recorded and medicine ever taken.
Massive Oracle sales re-org to accelerate cloud cash drive
The re-org has been described as Oracle’s biggest for a decade. From the start of June there will be one account manager for each of Oracle’s Pillar products – database, middleware, BI and hardware. Pillar sales engineers are, as a result, being chopped and will be replaced by a breed of Oracle employee currently in short supply – enterprise cloud architects.
The exact size of the cuts is uncertain, but one report has Oracle preparing to cut up to two-thirds of its current sales force as soon as this summer. Oracle has a total head count of 136,000.
Best be Nimble, best be quick. You’re out of a job at HPE
HPE bought Nimble for $1.2bn in March, and a fairly obvious way of making synergies in the acquisition playbook is to absorb Nimble’s engineering organization into its own, but use its existing back office, sales and marketing functions to handle the Nimble products. Then you can lay off unwanted staff and save cost. And lo, it is so.
We’re hearing laid-off execs may get up to a year’s salary plus immediate vesting of some portion their stock options. Folks in the trenches may just get standard redundancy terms. Before it was swallowed by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Nimble employed roughly 1,100 people.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Cuts IBM Stake by About a Third
Mr. Buffett told CNBC that IBM Chief Executive Ginni Rometty met with him ”a few weeks ago” and asked him about reports that he was selling IBM stock. Mr. Buffett said he confirmed the selling but didn’t provide the rationale or the details.
Berkshire first bought IBM in 2011. Mr. Buffett had avoided technology stocks for years, saying he didn’t understand them. After Berkshire’s IBM stake was first revealed, Mr. Buffett told The Wall Street Journal that IBM “fits all my principles…it’s something we expect to own indefinitely.”
Cloud is the major theme of the week. IaaS leader Amazon had excellent stock performance this quarter thanks to their AWS offering. While AWS maintains the top position, they have a target on their back…
Google cloud lead Dianne Green believes Google will overtake AWS in 5 years – Oracle also thinks they will overtake AWS. Speaking of “big red”, they are quietly introducing AI elements into their services, which is a surprise considering Ellison’s previous comments on the topic.
Spotify is purchasing a blockchain startup that is demonstrating a very interesting use case for the technology outside of bitcoin.
Spotify acquires blockchain startup Mediachain to solve music’s attribution problem
Spotify has acquired the Brooklyn-based blockchain startup Mediachain Labs, whose team will join the company’s office in New York where they will work on developing better technology for connecting artists and other rights holders with the tracks hosted on Spotify’s service. Prior to its acquisition, the startup had developed several technologies that could aid in these efforts, including a decentralized, peer-to-peer database to connect applications with media and the information about it, as well as an attribution engine for creators, and a cryptocurrency that rewards creators for their work.
Amazon Strategy Teardown: Building New Business Pillars In AI, Next-Gen Logistics, And Enterprise Cloud Apps
Amazon’s lack of recent interest in high-flying, aka expensive, startups might be due to a culture of conservative investment. For example, Nat Burgess, a mergers-and-acquisitions specialist at TechStrat remarked that Amazon had a good business case for acquiring Twilio to strengthen AWS’ offerings, but likely balked when Twilio went public at a valuation that was 16x revenue. On Amazon’s general approach to M&A, Burgess also suggested that the company’s strategy hinges on fulfilling specific needs instead of wholesale buying their way into markets:
“Amazon is a conservative buyer. They think long term and they don’t get seduced by high-flying valuations….Amazon is unlikely to overpay for a high-flying, fully baked platform as the basis for the next dreamy business. They are more likely to fill gaps through smaller deals, which makes M&A less central to their strategy than it is to a company that expands to entirely new markets through acquisitions.”
Oracle delivers artificial intelligence across its customer experience cloud
To give you a sense how broad Oracle’s customer experience offering is, the suite includes Oracle Marketing Cloud, Oracle Sales Cloud, Oracle CPQ Cloud, Oracle Commerce Cloud, Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Social Cloud. That’s a lot of clouds.
The company hopes to use its flavor of AI technology to bring a level of automation and machine learning to a set of tasks, fueled by the data its many customer experience clouds are collecting. And Oracle claims to have boatloads of data — a collection of more than 5 billion global consumer and business IDs along with more than 7.5 trillion data points collected on a monthly basis, according to the company.
Google cloud leader predicts company will overtake AWS in 5 years
On the technical side, the company is touting its artificial intelligence and machine learning competencies. On the support side, Google announced it is making its engineers available to its cloud customers as part of a new model for cloud services. It seems as each new month goes by, the company thinks of new ways to make moving to the cloud easier for the enterprise. And now, it can tout big-name customers such as Disney Interactive, Verizon, SAP and Colgate.
IBM SoftLayer plays hardball in object storage price cuts
Jean Atelsek, a 451 Digital Economics unit analyst, had a canned quote: “The big cloud providers appear to be playing an aggressive game of tit for tat, cutting object storage prices to avoid standing out as expensive. This is the first time there has been a big price war outside compute, and it reflects object storage’s move into the mainstream. While price cuts are good news for cloud buyers, they are now faced with a new level of complexity when comparing providers.”
Amazon’s Cloud Business Continues to Overshadow E-Commerce
AWS generated $3.6 billion in sales during the quarter, bringing in $890 million in operating income. That’s more than Amazon’s consolidated operating income, underscoring how important the cloud infrastructure business remains to the company’s bottom line.
IBM Opens Four New BlueMix Cloud Data Centers in U.S.
The new data centers in the U.S. will provide clients with infrastructure designed for running cognitive workloads and will offer access to IoT, blockchain, quantum and Watson services through IBM Bluemix.
The moves are part of IBM’s cloud data center expansion for 2017. IBM has invested heavily in building its global footprint during the past 12 months by tripling data center capacity in the UK, constructing the industry’s first data center in the Nordics and opening data centers in Seoul, South Korea and Chennai, India.
Overall, IBM has 55 data centers in 19 countries on six continents, including 22 in the U.S.
Google Loses Top Hardware Executive It Poached From Amazon
A Google spokeswoman confirmed Foster’s departure, but declined to comment further. At Amazon, he led development of Kindle tablets, the Echo voice-activated speaker and other devices. He was a marquee hire for Alphabet Inc.’s Google, made just as the internet search giant unfurled the first wave of its own branded devices. Foster didn’t immediately respond to a LinkedIn message seeking comment.At Google, Foster stepped into a new role, vice president of hardware product development, working on the company’s Pixel smartphone and Home speaker, an Echo competitor. His sudden exit marks a setback for Google’s gadget ambitions — the company is planning to release at least two new Pixel smartphone models this fall, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.
Micro Focus Shuffles Board In Preparation For HPE Merger
Under the merger agreement, Hewlett Packard has the right to nominate one new non-executive director to Micro Focus’s board, as well as half of the independent non-executive directors.
As a result, Silke Scheiber and Darren Roos will join the Micro Focus board from May 15 as two of the three independent non-executive directors nominated by Hewlett Packard. HP Executive Vice President John Schultz also will join as a non-executive director, but not as an independent.
Microsoft Just Made Salesforce’s Worst Nightmare Come True With LinkedIn CRM Move
Using its Dynamics 365 to offer information to salespeople, Microsoft will be providing access to data from its LinkedIn Sales Navigator, PC World reports. The two platforms will basically be syncing data, which means that anyone using Dynamics 365 will be able to get details like leads, accounts, opportunity pages, and more via the dashboard.
This is a huge deal because not only does it integrate the features of a workforce management system like Dynamics 365 with the lead generation feature of the LinkedIn Sales Navigator, it also makes the transition seamless all around. This makes Microsoft’s push
into the CRM sector much smoother, which should provide Salesforce plenty to worry about.
HPE kills off its entire OpenSDN line, pulls plug on customer demos
HPE workers have also been instructed to pretty much keep the move a secret, with no public announcements, and to simply tell customers and partners the tech giant has “discontinued development of HPE OpenSDN” if they ask what’s happening.
This is according to an internal memo seen today by The Register, which declares HPE will no longer support the networking platform it has for years pitched as a solution for ISPs and IT service providers.
All this effort, however, does raise some questions for both the company and its customers, not least being that company’s joyful rush towards becoming a leading cloud platform provider does open up debate about potentially sensitive issues such as licencing and revenues.
Speaking to diginomica at the recent Oracle:Code developer event in London, where he was keynote speaker, Patil acknowledged that Oracle is going through a generational transformation of its own right now, and part of that process is what impact his work on the development and growth of the Oracle cloud platform and services may have on the company’s long-standing , and heavily on-premise oriented, business models.
IBM says CEO pay is $33 million; others say it is far higher (thanks SK)
It’s a hefty sum for any CEO, let alone one who’s overseen five years of falling revenue and left shareholders with a total return of less than 0.1 percent.
And the figure might understate her actual compensation — perhaps by 50 percent or more, because of the way IBM values her stock options.
According to proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services, Rometty’s 2016 package may actually exceed $50 million, based on its own estimate for the value of her options at the time they were granted.
IBM reported their 20th consecutive quarter of loss. As their stock plunged, rival Oracle announced the acquisition of 2 companies. Oracle’s recent comments in the press caught the ire of Amazon who finally pushed back on Ellison and Hurd’s comments by calling out some of “big red’s” failings.
Microsoft took a hit this week after news leaked that the NSA created security holes in their products. The company says the vulnerabilities have already been patched, but many are wondering what else the government has done.
VMware Buys Monitoring Company Wavefront
The acquisition lets VMware “leapfrog into application management of next-generation modern applications,” according to VMware Senior Vice President Ajay Singh. By “modern applications,” he’s referring to applications in containers.
Terms were not disclosed. Wavefront was certainly worth tens of millions of dollars, and VMware may have spent as much as $100 million or thereabouts, an estimate based on the amount of venture capital poured into Wavefront coupled with the startup’s recent claim of “hyper growth.” Wavefront attracted $11.5 million in venture capital in its series A in February of last year, followed quickly by a second round in October of $52 million.
Oracle buys Wercker, a Dutch startup that automates code testing and deployment
Database technology giant Oracle has announced plans to acquire Wercker, a Dutch startup that offers tools for automating the process of testing and deploying code. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded out of Amsterdam in 2012, Wercker offers developers a container-centric platform that helps automate the development of applications and microservices. It operates in a space that includes competitors such as Shippable, Codeship, CircleCI, Drone.io, and Semaphore, though Wercker cites its ability to integrate with Docker containers as one differentiator. It’s all about helping companies that are building software specifically for deployment in the cloud.
Founded in 2010, Moat helps advertisers and publishers measure whether people see and interact with online ads. The need to create what CEO Jonah Goodhart has called “the currency for digital advertising” seems increasingly important given advertiser concerns around viewability, fraud and trust, and Moat has been working with some big names, including Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Unilever on the advertiser side, as well as ESPN, Facebook and Snapchat on the publisher side.
And while Moat raised $50 million just over a year ago, the funding landscape for adtech companies hasn’t been great, leading to predictions of more acquisitions and consolidation. (Moat raised more than $67 million total from investors including SV Angel, Mayfield Fund and Insight Venture Partners).
Microsoft acquires Intentional Software to bolster its productivity apps
Interestingly, Intentional Software was originally founded by a former Microsoft employee, Charles Simonyi. At Microsoft, Simonyi oversaw the creation of Word and Excel, among others. After founding Intentional Software in 2002, Simonyi focused his efforts on making programming less complicated, eventually leading the Intentional Software team to “develop productivity scenarios for the future workforce.”
Under the terms of the deal, Simonyi will be heading back to Microsoft along with members of the Intentional Software team.
There’s already an argument that being able to interrogate an AI system about how it reached its conclusions is a fundamental legal right. Starting in the summer of 2018, the European Union may require that companies be able to give users an explanation for decisions that automated systems reach. This might be impossible, even for systems that seem relatively simple on the surface, such as the apps and websites that use deep learning to serve ads or recommend songs. The computers that run those services have programmed themselves, and they have done it in ways we cannot understand. Even the engineers who build these apps cannot fully explain their behavior.
Amazon cloud chief jabs Oracle: ‘Customers are sick of it’
Jassy was addressing a cultural shift in the way technology is bought and sold. No longer does the process involve the purchase of heavy proprietary software with multi-year contracts that include annual maintenance fees. Now, Jassy says, it’s about choice and ease of use, including letting clients turn things off if they’re not working.
He specifically went after Oracle’s core database business, saying that “over the last few decades, it has been a lonely place for customers” because of the high prices and vendor lock-in.
It has survived mass extinctions before, but there’s mounting scepticism it can thrive in the current climate. Over the past five years, the company’s shares have fallen 16% compared to a 68% increase for the S&P 500 Index.The future for IBM resides in what it calls “Strategic Imperatives.” These initiatives, which include the AI initiative Watson and cloud operations, grew 12% over the past year and now account for more than 40% of total revenue.
Ongoing opacity makes it hard to say exactly what it means, though. IBM doesn’t break out Watson’s figures, for example, because it says it’s a “golden thread” weaving throughout the company. The Cognitive Solutions arm in which Watson is housed only grew 2% over the past year. All other divisions shrank.
In reaction to Hurd’s comments, AWS VP and distinguished engineer James Hamilton said in a blog post: “Of course, I don’t believe that Oracle has, or will ever get, servers 2x faster than the big three cloud providers.
“I also would argue that ‘speeding up the database’ isn’t something Oracle is uniquely positioned to offer. All major cloud providers have deep database investments but, ignoring that, extraordinary database performance won’t change most of the factors that force successful cloud providers to offer a large multi-national data center footprint to serve the world.”
Hamilton went on to explain the need to have multiple data centers in a region for redundancy reasons – “One facility will have some very serious and difficult-to-avoid full-facility fault modes like flood and, to a lesser extent, fire. It’s absolutely necessary to have two independent facilities per region and it’s actually much more efficient and easy to manage with three.”
In the presentation to lenders on April 4, its executive chairman, Kevin Loosemore, and chief financial officer Mike Phillips said Micro Focus planned to bring profit margins at HPE Software up from 21pc to a group-wide 46pc within four years.
It said that Micro Focus revenues currently equate to $273,000 a head compared with $185,000 at HPE Software, and highlighted previous acquisitions in which the company had cut staff numbers to boost profit margins.
Slack, an Upstart in Messaging, Now Faces Giant Tech Rivals
There is no illusion within Slack that success is certain. But Stewart Butterfield, the chief executive, said small tech companies with new ideas had long defeated larger rivals that tried to copy them. Think of Apple’s beating IBM in personal computing, Google’s beating Microsoft in search and Facebook’s crushing Google in social networks.
One advantage Slack does have is focus, Mr. Butterfield maintains. Microsoft, for example, has numerous Slack-like products including Yammer, SharePoint, Skype for Business and now Teams. The executives who run those businesses within Microsoft must “compete for budget and mind share and attention,” he said, providing an opening for Slack to gain users while Microsoft managers wage internal wars.
Cybersecurity Startup Tanium Exposed California Hospital’s Network in Demos Without Permission
Tanium sells software that rapidly maps computer networks and diagnoses companies’ vulnerabilities. To drive sales, co-founder and Chief Executive Orion Hindawi designed a presentation that he said showed his company’s software running inside a client. The system in the demo belonged to El Camino Hospital, a nonprofit community hospital based in Santa Clara County, Calif. He and his staff gave the presentation hundreds of times, from at least as early as 2012 through mid-2015, according to people familiar with the matter and three demonstration videos posted online by Tanium and its resellers.
“The hospital did not authorize desktop management data or other information to be used in any product demonstration and was not previously aware of these demonstrations or videos,” El Camino Hospital said in a response to inquiries by The Wall Street Journal. “We are dismayed to learn that desktop and server management information was shared. We are thoroughly investigating this matter and take our responsibility to maintain the integrity of our systems very seriously.” The hospital said Tanium didn’t have access to any patient information, and said, “based on our review to date, patient information remains secure.”
Snowden said the NSA knew as recently as last year that their hacking methods were stolen, but accused the agency of refusing to tell software makers “how to lock the thieves out.”
“It’s not safe to run an Internet-facing Windows box right now,” a hacker who used to work in the Defense Department told Motherboard. The unnamed hacker also said, “this is the worst thing since Snowden.”
Microsoft says it is reviewing the leak and “will take the necessary actions to protect our customers.”
Microsoft says it has already patched the Windows exploits released by the Shadow Brokers group. The hacking tools, likely originating from the NSA, were released online yesterday, and Microsoft was able to test and confirm patches are already available for all currently supported versions of Windows. That does mean that older Windows XP or Windows Vista systems could still be vulnerable to three of the exploits released, but it’s unlikely that Microsoft will supply patches for these older versions of Windows as they’re already unsupported.
As a result shares plummeted in after hours trading and refused to gain ground over the course of the day dropping nearly 5%, or over $8.
As the Motley Fool noted, the miss and resulting tumble erased nearly $9 billion from IBM’s market capitalization and brought the Dow Jones Industrial Average down by 64 points.
The problem for IBM is the dwindling value of the consulting business on which it built much of its fortunes in the 90s and early 2000s.
First, the big numbers. Earnings per share were $2.38 vs. expectations of $2.35, according to Thomson Reuters. Meanwhile, revenue fell to $18.16 billion compared with the $18.39 billion that “the street” expected.
Verizon, for First Time, Loses Core Wireless Customers
The carrier posted its first-ever quarterly net loss of wireless subscribers during the first three months of 2017, showing the extent of the damage resurgent rivals T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp have inflicted on the nation’s largest carrier by subscribers.
Verizon unexpectedly brought back unlimited data plans in February, which it had stopped selling in 2011, seeking to blunt the appeal of similar offers from T-Mobile and Sprint. That offer hit financials: Verizon had a 5.1% decline in revenue in its wireless business, to $20.9 billion. Total revenue has now declined four quarters in a row.