Category Archives: Supplier Report

Supplier Report: 11/3/2017

Masayoshi Son and John Legere are still playing this whole “will they or won’t they” merger game with TMobile and Sprint. Earlier this week it was off and now parties are coming back to the table.

Amazon also had some drama this week due to news breaking that a British public servant may have influenced the decision to purchase AWS services before taking a lucrative job with the company.

HPE is leaving their historic offices in Palo Alto and downsizing to an Aruba office in Santa Clara.  HP, who once employed over 100,000 employees in the area, has reduced staff to approximately 45,000 globally due to restructuring and asset sell-offs.

Acquisitions

  • Sprint owner SoftBank may be calling off T-Mobile merger

    According to Nikkei, SoftBank and T-Mobile’s owner Deutsche Telekom had reached a broad agreement to integrate the two major US carriers, but couldn’t work out an ownership ratio that satisfied both companies.

    Nikkei’s sources indicate that SoftBank board members decided to call the talks off on Monday, after a Friday meeting where executives determined “the company would not give up control.” SoftBank is reportedly expected to propose to Deutsche Telekom on Tuesday that they end negotiations.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/30/sprint-owner-softbank-may-be-calling-off-t-mobile-merger/
    Update: T-Mobile, Sprint Working to Salvage Merger

    T-Mobile made a revised offer, which Sprint is considering, some of the people said. Terms of the new offer were unclear. The two sides could reach a deal within weeks, the people said, but the two companies could still fail to agree on deal terms.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/t-mobile-sprint-working-to-salvage-merger-1509658235

Artificial Intelligence

  • IBM Watson digs deep on data to pave the way for enterprise AI apps

    By 2018, nearly 75% of developers will build AI functionality into their apps, according to an IDC report. However, this requires wading through increasingly complex data that lives in different places, and must be continually and securely ingested, according to an IBM press release.

    In response to this challenge, Watson will now include data cataloging and data refining, to improve data visibility and better enforce data security policies so that users can more easily share information across public and private cloud environments.

    In addition to the Watson news, IBM also announced plans to extend its Unified Governance Platform with new capabilities, to help companies prepare for increasing governance and regulatory requirements, such as GDPR. They include the ability to have a single view of the Unified Governance Catalog for both structured and unstructured information. It also modified the look of its Datastage Designer with a cognitive design that can recognize and suggest usage patterns, to speed the development of data integration flows.

    https://www.techrepublic.com/article/ibm-watson-digs-deep-on-data-to-pave-the-way-for-enterprise-ai-apps/

Cloud

  • IBM kills Bluemix, a year after killing SoftLayer

    On Tuesday this week the company changed it again, announcing that “Bluemix is now IBM Cloud”.

    The company’s rationale is that “we are merging the Bluemix brand with IBM Cloud brand since they’ve grown to be synonymous.”

    Everything IBM does in the cloud comes under the new brand: Watson, PaaS, SaaS – the works.

    There’s not much more to the change than branding: the company promises all the stuff currently labelled “Bluemix” will keep running.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/11/02/ibm_renames_bluemix_ibm_cloud/

  • Protecting our Google Docs and Drive Users

    On Tuesday, October 31, we mistakenly blocked access to some of our users’ files, including Google Docs. This was due to a short-lived bug that incorrectly flagged some files as violating our terms of service (TOS). The blocking raised questions in the community and we would like to address those questions here.

    Tuesday’s bug caused the Google Docs and Drive services to misinterpret the response from these protection systems and erroneously mark some files as TOS violations, thus causing access denials for users of those files. As soon as our teams identified the problem, we removed the bug and worked to restore access to all affected files.

    https://www.blog.google/products/docs/protecting-our-google-docs-and-drive-users/

  • Microsoft, Oracle, IBM look to lure cloud services customers with new pay structure

    Traditionally, companies would ink large software deals based on factors such as the number of a customer’s devices – and not actual subsequent use of the products.The cloud business is a crucial growth area for the traditional enterprise technology pioneers, battling against rivals Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google. The public cloud services global market is likely to increase more than 18 percent to $260.2 billion this year and almost double to $411 billion in 2020, according to Gartner Inc Microsoft, for example, said last week it had generated $20.4 billion in commercial cloud revenue on an annualized basis.

    Tying usage to sales incentives should help keep customers on board when it’s time to agree to a new contract, said Stephen White, an analyst with Gartner. “The behaviors of the salespeople need to be more in tune with what a customer actually is going to need and use,” White said. “It certainly makes the renewal discussion easier.”Oracle and IBM declined to comment. Previously, Microsoft had been bundling cloud services, such as Azure for storing and running data and cloud applications, with many of its multiyear deals. Althoff said the shift in pay incentives is a significant change.

    http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/microsoft-oracle-ibm-look-to-enhance-cloud-services-customers-with-new-pay-structure-4919296/

Datacenter

  • Microsoft Turns up the Heat on Oracle, Amazon, and IBM Databases

    While transitioning database platforms is still a significant task to undertake and the cost can still be high even if the tool is free, Microsoft knows that as companies look to move away from on-premises to cloud services, that’s a natural time to consider migrating. By offering this tool now, as more companies work to plan out the future (or lack of future) for their own local metal, the offer may entice some to leave their old db tech behind.

    Microsoft has become much more aggressive in this space in the past few years as the company looks to position its technology, both software and hardware (Azure) ahead of legacy competitors like Oracle and IBM. The reason for this is that they are trying to catch up to the next generation of service providers, like Amazon, and by using their own tools and tech as a leverage, it’s fostering the growth of Azure.

    https://www.petri.com/microsoft-turns-heat-oracle-amazon-ibm-databases

  • HPE to move HQ from Palo Alto to Santa Clara as it consolidates Silicon Valley footprint

    After two years of massive restructuring and staff reductions, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is selling its headquarters on land it has owned in Palo Alto, California since 1957, the company announced on Thursday.

    The headquarters will move to nearby Santa Clara, at a new 23,000 square-foot office complex originally built to house Aruba, a company acquired by HPE in 2015. Some of the staff will also move to existing offices in San Jose and Milpitas.

    HPE wouldn’t disclose how many people work in Silicon Valley, but the company has around 45,000 employees globally.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/hpe-selling-palo-alto-headquarters-move-santa-clara-2017-11

    Make sure you update those purchase orders!

Other

  • The continuous flow of execs between AWS, Microsoft, IBM and government

    According to a report in the Times today, the Home Office’s former chief digital officer, Norman Driskell, took a job with Amazon Web Services (AWS) without gaining the necessary approvals first – a trend that has been highlighted by the National Audit Office in recent months as a concern.

    Driskell oversaw multimillion pound contracts with AWS during his time at the Home Office and has also set up one of Europe’s largest AWS user groups in his spare time, before taking up the job as a public sector lead with the cloud hosting giant.

    https://diginomica.com/2017/10/30/continuing-flow-execs-aws-microsoft-ibm-government/
    A senior civil servant with a £130,000 salary reportedly breached transparency rules when he quit and joined Amazon

    The Home Office reportedly paid the US firm £1.2 million in the 18 months prior to Driskell’s departure, which happened in November 2016. In February 2017, just three months later, the Home Office awarded AWS a two-year contract worth £4.8 million, according to The Times.

    Under the new contract, the Home Office will reportedly move immigration data from a remote provider to an “in-house AWS solution.”

    http://www.businessinsider.com/chief-digital-officer-ignored-rules-quit-government-joined-amazozn-2017-10

  • IBM Elects Two New Members to Its Board of Directors

    Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: “Joe Swedish and Rick Waddell are distinguished leaders in their fields, and we are delighted to add their insights and leadership to the IBM board. Mr. Swedish brings experience as a transformational leader in health care in both the payer and provider space, and Mr. Waddell’s experience enhances the strong financial services expertise on the board. Their perspectives on contemporary business issues and their experience running data-intensive enterprises will be an asset to IBM and to our shareholders.”

    http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171031005218/en/Intnl-Bus.-Mach-UK-Regulatory-Announcement-IBM

  • SoftBank, Facebook, and Amazon commit to 8,700-mile transpacific subsea cable system

    Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank is joining forces with Facebook, Amazon, and a number of other technology companies to build a new 14,000 km (8,700 mile) transpacific subsea cable connecting Asia with North America.

    The Jupiter cable system will have two landing points in Japan — at Shima in the Mie prefecture and at Maruyama in the Chiba prefecture — as well as one at Daet in the Philippines and one near Los Angeles in the U.S.

    https://venturebeat.com/2017/10/30/softbank-facebook-and-amazon-commit-to-8700-mile-transpacific-internet-cable/

  • Amazon’s HQ2 could go to Washington D.C., where it has over 500 job openings, says analyst

    While it remains unclear what city Amazon will pick, analysts at Baird Equity Research believe Washington D.C. has one major edge over others: current number of job openings.

    As of last Friday, Washington D.C. had 531 corporate jobs available, the most after Seattle and the San Francisco-Bay Area. If you exclude West Coast cities, and use current job openings density as an important measure for Amazon’s HQ2 criteria, Washington D.C. would be a front-runner to win the bid, Baird Equity Research wrote in a note Monday.

    “We view this as relevant to the HQ2 search, as Amazon might prioritize locations based on already having a sizable non-fulfillment workforce,” the note said.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/30/amazon-hq2-washington-dc-possible-given-job-openings.html

  • Just Think: What Amazon Could Do to the Pharmacy Business

    Noticing that an Amazon customer seems to be taking an awful lot of medication to lose weight, the company might pitch fitness machines or online yoga classes. But it could also provide entertainment suggestions—free with that Prime account—that would go nicely with the state of your health. If Amazon can tell from all that Xanax you’re ordering that you seem to be having a hard time, it might recommend video offerings like “Love, Actually” or “8 Hours: Ocean Lights & Whale Songs.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/just-think-what-amazon-could-do-to-the-pharmacy-business-1509639035

Photo: Joey Kyber

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Supplier Report: 10/27/2017

Cisco is all over the news this week: they spent at least $2B on two companies (terms were not disclosed on the Perspica deal) and they entered into a partnership with Google on cloud and network services.

Companies looking to expand their AI programs are finding an unexpected barrier… a complete lack of available talent.  Due to this shortage, those people in the AI field are commanding massive salaries.

Softbank is advancing their goal of buying all the things.

Acquisitions

  • WeWork acquires Flatiron School

    Flatiron School is a coding education platform that offers both online and offline classes to folks who want a career in the world of tech. The coding academy was launched in 2012 and has raised more than $14 million since inception, according to Crunchbase.

    The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/23/wework-acquires-flatiron-school/?ncid=rss

  • Cisco snaps up streaming-data startup Perspica (terms not disclosed)

    One of the reasons it was attracted to Perspica is because of the company’s ability to monitor data in real-time, Cisco says. Being able to process data as it’s created or very soon afterwards can speed the time that end users are able to gain insights from the data, the company says. “Perspica is known for its stream-based processing with the unique ability to apply machine learning to data as it comes in instead of waiting until it’s neatly stored,” says Bhaskar Sunkara, VP of Engineering at AppDynamics.

    https://www.networkworld.com/article/3234329/lan-wan/cisco-snaps-up-streaming-data-startup-perspica.html

  • Cisco scoops up BroadSoft for $1.9 billion to boost communications tools portfolioa

    The purchase gives Cisco a new way to sell its communications tools as it shifts its focus from a pure networking hardware company to one focused on software and services delivered in the cloud. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of an announcement last week that it intended to purchase Perspica and fold the engineering team into AppDynamics, a company it purchased earlier this year for $3.7 billion. If you’re thinking, this is an acquisitive company, you’re right. It just purchased its 200th company.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/23/cisco-scoops-up-broadsoft-for-1-9-billion-to-boost-communications-tools-portfolio/?ncid=rss

  • When $100BN is not enough… Softbank is planning Vision Fund sequels

    In comments to Nikkei, Son did set out his expectations for the funds’ size and likely investment reach over the next decade.

    “We are creating a mechanism to increase our funding ability from 10 trillion yen to 20 trillion yen to 100 trillion yen,” he said, adding that, all told, the funds “will probably have invested in at least 1,000 companies within 10 years”.

    According to Nikkei, all the Vision Funds are expected to chiefly target unicorns — aka tech startups that haven’t gone public yet but have an estimated valuation above $1BN.

    The average scale of investment by the funds is likely to reach about $888 million, it said.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/20/when-100bn-is-not-enough-softbank-is-planning-vision-fund-sequels/?ncid=rss

Artificial Intelligence

  • Tech Giants Are Paying Huge Salaries for Scarce A.I. Talent

    Tech’s biggest companies are placing huge bets on artificial intelligence, banking on things ranging from face-scanning smartphones and conversational coffee-table gadgets to computerized health care and autonomous vehicles. As they chase this future, they are doling out salaries that are startling even in an industry that has never been shy about lavishing a fortune on its top talent.

    Typical A.I. specialists, including both Ph.D.s fresh out of school and people with less education and just a few years of experience, can be paid from $300,000 to $500,000 a year or more in salary and company stock, according to nine people who work for major tech companies or have entertained job offers from them. All of them requested anonymity because they did not want to damage their professional prospects.

    Well-known names in the A.I. field have received compensation in salary and shares in a company’s stock that total single- or double-digit millions over a four- or five-year period. And at some point they renew or negotiate a new contract, much like a professional athlete.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/22/technology/artificial-intelligence-experts-salaries.html

Cloud

  • Amazon’s $18 billion cloud business continues to crush Microsoft and Google

    Amazon Web Services reported $4.6 billion in revenue for the quarter. AWS has already brought in $12.3 billion in 2017 so far, with a quarter left to go.

    With sales growing quickly and projected to jump again next quarter, AWS is expected to hit $18 billion in revenue for the full year. As a bonus, it’s already the single most profitable part of Amazon’s business.

    Microsoft doesn’t disclose the revenue it generates from Azure, its product that competes directly with AWS. However, it did say Azure’s sales grew 90% from the same period last year.

    Google Cloud is the biggest cipher of the three, in terms of financial performance. Instead of breaking out the amount of revenue it generates from its cloud business, Google lumps together its cloud sales with the revenue it generates from the Google Play app store and from its hardware business. That combined category posted $3.4 billion in revenue last quarter.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-web-services-is-battling-microsoft-azure-and-google-cloud-2017-10

  • Google and Cisco Strike Cloud Partnership

    Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., is contributing cloud-development expertise and tools that run on the Google Cloud Platform, a suite of services for the cloud including computing, storage, databases and analytics. Cisco is bringing networking, security and infrastructure technologies to the mix. Both companies are using open-source technologies to give customers more flexibility.

    “It really does help companies avoid lock-in,” Cisco Chief Executive Chuck Robbins said in an interview.

    Mr. Robbins is counting on new cloud services to help turn around Cisco by moving further away from its legacy hardware. Cisco’s customers are increasingly using cloud services instead of investing in hardware for their own data centers.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-and-cisco-strike-cloud-partnership-1508932804

Datacenter

  • HPE Is Exiting the Cloud Server Business

    Hewlett-Packard Enterprise is getting out of the cloud server business. That means it will no longer sell low-end “commodity” servers to large cloud computing customers like Microsoft.

    It has proven to be an exceedingly tough business for traditional hardware makers because while they may sell huge volumes of cloud servers, profits are slim to none. The target customers are companies like Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, or Google, each of which can (and do) negotiate huge discounts. Insult to injury, most of these cloud companies go directly to contract manufacturers in Taiwan or China to have servers built to their specifications at low cost. They don’t need or want to pay for name-brand servers

    http://fortune.com/2017/10/19/hpe-cloud-servers/

  • Michael Dell on cloud infrastructure:

    Wow… Mike says Boomerang kind of weird…
  • The heart of “The Cloud” is in Virginia

    This data center is in Loudoun County, Virginia. Buddy Rizer, the county’s head of business development, helped turn Loudoun County into the largest concentration of data centers in the world — 10 million square feet in 70 enormous buildings.

    According to Rizer, 70 percent of all web traffic from the world, on a daily basis, passes through a Loudoun County data center.

    AWS is growing at 40 percent a year, and Loudoun County can’t build data centers fast enough. Buddy Rizer says that seven new ones are under construction right now. A new RagingWire data center will add another two million square feet of data center space.

    And even though it will be nearly two years until construction is completed, the space is already 100 percent leased. “It’s not getting ahead; we’re just barely keeping up,” Rizer said. “There’s no empty space in our data centers. By and large they are all 100% filled.”

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cloud-computing-loudoun-county-virginia/

Software/SaaS

  • SAP earnings fall short on slower cloud and business software growth

    “Overall it was not a good quarter,” said Andrew Bartels, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc. “The growth was not as strong as in previous quarters,” particularly in North America.

    One culprit was the source of strong growth in previous quarters: its business network group, which includes acquired businesses such as Ariba Inc., Concur Technologies Inc., Fieldglass Inc. and SuccessFactors Inc. Bartels noted that SAP had been depending on that growth to the extent that “success may have bred some complacency” in applications such as Ariba, which is said is “not really best-in-class in its category anymore.” That may have allowed competitors to gain some ground, he said.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/10/19/sap-earnings-fall-short-slower-cloud-business-software-growth/

  • Tech IPO Trends Worked In Mongo DB’s Favor, But Could Work Against Stitch Fix

    On Oct. 19, MongoDB Inc. (MDB) joined the ranks of fast-growing, money-losing, enterprise software names to see a strong 2017 debut. After pricing its 8 million-share offering at $24 (above an elevated $20 to $22 range), shares opened at $33 and as of the Oct. 20 close are at $30.68, up 28%. That leaves the company valued at $1.85 billion after accounting for outstanding stock options and warrants, or about 15 times trailing sales.

    MongoDB sells on-premise and cloud versions of a popular open-source database under the same name, while leading the community responsible for developing the database. Thanks partly to its popularity among developers, startups and big-name Internet companies, it’s arguably the most popular NoSQL database on the market.

    Also:

    Many other companies, including Cisco, SAP, Verizon, Adobe and Intuit, have embraced MongoDB, which it should be noted is often run on major third-party cloud platforms. The company claimed 4,300 clients as of the end of July, including over half the Fortune 100. With the help of 1,100 customer adds, revenue (mostly from software subscriptions) rose 51% annually to $68 million during the 6 months ending in July. Net loss — the result of big sales and R&D investments — rose fractionally to $45.8 million, or $36.4 million excluding stock expenses.

    https://realmoney.thestreet.com/articles/10/20/2017/tech-ipo-trends-worked-mongo-dbs-favor-could-work-against-stitch-fix

  • Oracle Joins The Blockchain Party

    Oracle’s Blockchain Cloud Service is a new solution that will be included in the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) family of offerings. The service is claimed to be based on a comprehensive distributed ledger platform which will create opportunities for businesses to enhance their processes by several means.

    First of all, the solution will support deploying and running smart contracts. A smart contract is an automated contract which does not require a middleman, and where the terms and conditions are written as a code. This type of technology is being increasingly adopted by the financial sector, especially in securities trading, where smart contracts can cut costs and save time and money. For instance, Bank of America (BAC) revealed earlier this year a new platform based on Etherium for automating the process of creating a standby letter of credit.

    https://seekingalpha.com/article/4115483-oracle-joins-blockchain-party

Security

  • New Ransomware ‘Bad Rabbit’ Spreading Quickly Through Russia and Ukraine

    The malware, dubbed Bad Rabbit, has hit three Russian media outlets, including the news agency Interfax, according to Russian security firm Group-IB. Once it infects a computer, Bad Rabbit displays a message in red letters on a black background, an aesthetic used in the massive NotPetya ransomware outbreak.

    The ransom message asks victims to log into a Tor hidden service website to make the payment of 0.05 Bitcoin, valued at around $282 at the time of writing. The site also displays a countdown of a little bit over 40 hours before the price of decryption goes up.

    A researcher from Proofpoint said that Bad Rabbit spread via a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. Researchers from Kaspersky Lab confirmed this, and added that the malware dropper—the file that launches the malware—was distributed via booby-trapped legitimate sites, “all of which were news or media website.”

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/59yb4q/bad-rabbit-petya-ransomware-russia-ukraine

  • How I Socially Engineer Myself Into High Security Facilities

    We became best buds. I was given complete and unaccompanied access to the facility where I stayed for several hours.

    I gained network access and stole several thousands of dollars in physical primitives by picking my way through cheap locks (credit to Deviant Ollam for the rad lockpicking animations.)

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/qv34zb/how-i-socially-engineer-myself-into-high-security-facilities

Other

  • Amazon Says 238 Places Want to Host Its New Headquarters

    Opening a second, equal headquarters is believed by management experts to be an unprecedented move by an American corporation, and it presents unique cultural challenges for the company.

    While Amazon continues to grow in Seattle, experts say it would be difficult for the company to essentially double its footprint there. In addition, hiring thousands more software developers will almost certainly be cheaper and easier in a different city, they say.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-says-238-places-want-to-host-its-new-headquarters-1508772669?mg=prod/accounts-wsj

  • Bitcoin breaks above $6,000, and $100 billion in value for the first time in its history

    The cryptocurrency hit an all-time high of $6,147.07 just a day after pushing through the $6,000 mark, according to data from industry website CoinDesk.

    Much of the rise can be attributed to another upcoming split in bitcoin known as a “fork”. This will lead to the creation of a new cryptocurrency called bitcoin gold. Holders of bitcoin will get some bitcoin gold when it is issued, essentially giving them free money.

    But Alex Sunnarborg, founding partner of cryptocurrency fund Tetras Capital, told CNBC on Friday that bitcoin investors were betting on bitcoin holding its status despite the split. Bitcoin already underwent a fork in August when a new cryptocurrency called bitcoin cash was created. Despite this, bitcoin has continued to perform strongly.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/21/bitcoin-price-6100-new-record-high.html

  • Cortana Gets A Speaker Of Its Own

    Aside from the fact that it works best with Microsoft’s own services and doesn’t support others, Cortana’s biggest limitation is that it can only support one account at this time. Calendar information, reminders, and to-dos will all be pulled from the account the Invoke was set up with, which makes it difficult to use as a shared device for those functions. Both Alexa and Google’s Assistant have added features that attempt to identify the person making the voice request and serve up personalized information to them. And while the Invoke does sound good on its own, it can’t be paired in stereo or be used in a multi-room system, like Google, Amazon, or Sonos speakers can.

    https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/20/16505468/harman-kardon-invoke-cortana-microsoft-smart-speaker-review
    I hate to say it, but I called it.

  • What’s HPE Next? Now it’s unemployment for ‘thousands’ of staff

    The cuts were expected, but still cast a pall over the enterprise IT giant. In June, we revealed the existence of the HPE Next project: a radical three-year plan to overhaul HPE’s processes and investments, and optimize its people and overheads to make itself relevant again.

    And by optimize, it means it will cut or move positions to low-wage places to save the biz a pretty penny. In September, it emerged the axe was being sharpened for 5,000 of its 50,000 workforce, or one in ten.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/10/24/whats_hpe_next_an_unemployment_claim_for_thousands_of_workers_today/

Photo: Nicolas Picard

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Supplier Report: 10/20/2017

Google is getting called out for their acquisition practices. Some politicians and journalist think the company set back AI several years by aqui-hiring key talent in the field and holding them back with their business practices.

The big security news this week is that WiFi, specifically WPA2 protocols, have a vulnerability that can be exploited.  This vulnerability impacts both routers and devices.  Check all of your WiFi enabled devices for updates.

IBM made news this week by stopping the profit bleeding (they didn’t make their numbers, but they beat expectations)… the street rewarded the company with an almost 9% stock value increase.  No sarcasm here… it is nice to see IBM get a win after so many months of reporting bad news.

Acquisitions

  • DXC to Merge US Public Sector Business With Vencore, KeyPoint; Mac Curtis to Lead Combined Firm

    DXC Technology has agreed to merge its U.S. public sector business with Vencore and KeyPoint Government Solutions to establish a “top five” independent, publicly traded contractor within the government information technology services sector.

    All three companies expect to complete the merger by the end of March 2018, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, DXC said Wednesday.

    The combined company is expected to have more than 14,000 employees and generate approximately $4.3 billion in annual revenue with a focus on cybersecurity, big data analytics, systems engineering, enterprise IT and cloud engineering services.

    https://www.govconwire.com/2017/10/dxc-to-merge-us-public-sector-business-with-vencore-keypoint-mac-curtis-to-lead-combined-firm/

  • Infinidat raises $95m, becoming latest Israeli ‘unicorn’

    Last week, Herzliya and Waltham, Massachusetts-based Infinidat announced it had closed a $95 million Series C financing round, led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing with participation from existing investor TPG Growth.

    The latest round brings the total raised by the company to $325 million. Infinidat is valued at $1.6 billion, making it the latest Israeli “unicorn” – a private startup with a valuation of $1 billion or more (although the company was claiming a billion-dollar valuation two years ago already).

    https://www.israel21c.org/infinidat-raises-95m-becoming-latest-israeli-unicorn/

Artificial Intelligence

  • Companies Leave Bean Counting to the Robots

    Roberta doesn’t have a last name, a face, or arms. She is the first piece of robotic software to work in the Norwegian company’s treasury department, part of Statoil’s push toward automation, robotics and artificial intelligence, said Mr. Kjøllesdal, acting head of internal treasury.

    Finance executives at companies including Nokia Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Orange SA are developing their own Robertas. Two thirds of large global companies expect to automate some or most of their finance-department tasks over the next two to three years, according to new research by The Hackett Group Inc. Hackett’s report is based on benchmark and performance studies at hundreds of large global companies.

    But finance executives aren’t turning to robots just for savings. Automation can cut error rates by up to 66%, according to the Hackett report. It would also facilitate more analysis and smarter decisions by allowing employees to reduce the time spent on data collection by 24%.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/companies-leave-bean-counting-to-the-robots-1508407203

  • Google pledges $1 billion to prepare workers for automation

    While the initiative’s offerings are for US residents, Google has also pledged $1 billion in grants to non-profits that also aim to help people prepare for the changing nature of work in an increasingly high-tech world. The big G isn’t the only tech giant aiming to prevent massive job losses brought about by automation and technology in general. In Michigan, Facebook also pledged $25.5 million in training the state’s workers for high-tech jobs.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/13/grow-with-google/

  • Google Has Made a Mess of Robotics

    None of the acquired companies have robots in use beyond the offices of Google’s now-parent company, Alphabet Inc. At least three key robotics chiefs who joined in that 2013 wave left the company in the last few months, and, because four years is the typical vesting period for Google stock options, they probably won’t be the last. At this point, Myers says, the exodus counts as a win for robotics, since many of the brightest minds in the field have essentially spent the past few years trapped in a time capsule. Ultimately, Google’s run on roboticists “held the industry back more than moving it forward,” she says. Alexa Dennett, a spokeswoman for Alphabet’s skunk works, X, says its robotics projects will likely take at least five more years to come to market because substantial technological advances take time.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-12/google-has-made-a-mess-of-robotics

Datacenter/Desktop

  • Samsung’s phone-as-desktop concept now runs Linux

    Samsung’s DeX is a clever way to turn your phone into a desktop computer. However, there’s one overriding problem: you probably don’t have a good reason to use it instead of a PC. And Samsung is trying to fix that. It’s unveiling Linux on Galaxy, an app-based offering that (surprise) lets you run Linux distributions on your phone. Ostensibly, it’s aimed at developers who want to bring their work environment with them wherever they go. You could dock at a remote office knowing that your setup will be the same as usual.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/19/samsung-introduces-linux-on-galaxy/

Software/SaaS

  • IBM is using the blockchain to speed up and simplify cross-border payments

    The computing giant has teamed up with blockchain startup Stellar and payment company Kickex to launch a cross-border payment system for banks which uses the blockchain to “reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers.”

    Currently, international transactions take days, if not weeks, to be completed. Frustration with that has seen services like TransferWise rise, but, great as they are, they remain solutions for savvy consumers or small businesses rather than all.

    A blockchain solution for banks addresses the root cause, and it could minimize the potential for errors thanks to the ledger-based system while also providing transparency and flexibility to banks.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/16/ibm-cross-border-payments-blockchain/?ncid=rss

Security

  • Severe flaw in WPA2 protocol leaves Wi-Fi traffic open to eavesdropping

    The proof-of-concept exploit is called KRACK, short for Key Reinstallation Attacks. The research has been a closely guarded secret for weeks ahead of a coordinated disclosure that’s scheduled for 8am Monday, East Coast time. A website disclosing the vulnerability said it affects the core WPA2 protocol itself and is effective against devices running the Android, Linux, Apple, Windows, and OpenBSD operating systems, as well as MediaTek Linksys, and other types of devices. The site warned attackers can exploit it to decrypt a wealth of sensitive data that’s normally encrypted by the nearly ubiquitous Wi-Fi encryption protocol.

    The site went on to warn that visiting only HTTPS-protected Web pages wasn’t automatically a remedy for the risk.

    “Although websites or apps may use HTTPS as an additional layer of protection, we warn that this extra protection can (still) be bypassed in a worrying number of situations,” the researchers explained. “For example, HTTPS was previously bypassed in non-browser software, in Apple’s iOS and OS X, in Android apps, in Android apps again, in banking apps, and even in VPN apps.”

    https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/10/severe-flaw-in-wpa2-protocol-leaves-wi-fi-traffic-open-to-eavesdropping/

Other

  • Foxconn Deal in Wisconsin Hits Snag Over Guarantees

    The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. delayed a vote Tuesday to give final approval to a contract that would provide the Taiwanese firm with $3 billion in economic incentives.

    On Wednesday, a Democratic state representative who opposed the deal told a local Wisconsin news organization the delay was over a “nuclear bomb” in the contract that wouldn’t sufficiently protect taxpayers in the case that Foxconn didn’t fulfill its promises, sparking concerns the deal could be in trouble.

    WEDC CEO Mark Hogan said the delay was to ensure the deal was done right. “WEDC continues to do due diligence on a complex deal,” said WEDC CEO Mark Hogan in a statement. “We will take the time necessary to ensure taxpayers are protected and Foxconn is able to create tens of thousands of family-supporting jobs in Wisconsin.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/foxconn-deal-in-wisconsin-hits-snag-over-guarantees-1508353362

  • Apple and GE announce deep partnership

    Apple and GE have committed to build a set of development tools and to develop apps together using Apple’s design sensibility and deep understanding of iOS, but the deal doesn’t stop there. Apple’s sales team will also push the GE Predix platform with its industrial customers when it makes sense, and GE has committed to standardizing on the iPhone and iPad for its 330,000 employees, while offering the Mac as a computer choice. All of this adds up to a level of cooperation we have not seen in Apple’s previous enterprise partnerships.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/18/apple-and-ge-announce-deep-partnership/?ncid=rss

  • IBM Revenue Drops Again, But Mainframe, AI Units Beat Expectations

    Revenue was down 0.4% from a year earlier to $19.15 billion, a minor slide but enough to make it the 22nd consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines.

    Still, revenue from the hardware division, which rolled out new mainframe computers over the summer, marked its first gain from a year earlier since 2015.

    Profit fell 4.5% to $2.73 billion. Margins narrowed over all and in most business units, though progressively less since the beginning of the year—a hopeful sign of stabilization.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/ibm-has-another-revenue-drop-during-its-transition-1508273024
    IBM’s stock surge is one for the history books

    The stock IBM, +8.86% rocketed $12.99, or 8.9%, Wednesday to the highest close in nearly six months, after the information technology company reported third-quarter profit and revenue the beat Wall Street expectations.

    Beating profit projections wasn’t a surprise, since IBM has now done so for 12 straight quarters, but the stock rallying after results is a relative rarity. And Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said the latest beat marks “a real inflection point,” as it came amid “low investor expectations” and helps support the belief that the gross margin trend is now rising.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ibms-stock-surge-is-one-for-the-history-books-2017-10-18

  • Samsung vice chairman quits amid leadership ‘crisis’

    Kwon has been the face of Samsung after Jay Y. Lee was arrested and eventually found guilty of bribery and embezzlement. Lee, who was sentenced to five years in prison, apparently bribed officials to ensure that the controversial merger of two Samsung-controlled companies would go smoothly in spite of shareholders’ disapproval. While he was only a vice chairman when he was arrested, Lee was considered the company’s de facto leader after his father, Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, suffered a heart attack in 2014. The younger Lee is responsible for conjuring up the company’s long-term strategic vision.

    Samsung had a great quarter, thanks mainly to the increasing demand for memory chips with large storage capacities. The mobile division’s performance also got a boost from Galaxy Note 8’s sales, but we won’t know by how much until the full earnings come out. If the conglomerate wants to top Q3’s profit, though, it has to find a way to solve the “unprecedented crisis” it’s going through.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/13/samsung-vice-chairman-quits-earnings-guidance-q3-2017/

Photo: rawpixel.com

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Supplier Report: 10/13/2017

Artificial Intelligence is all the rage… and from a business perspective, it seems that consumer goods are innovating and reaching users faster than enterprise counterparts.  Between home assistants, ear buds with live translations, and advanced facial recognition – consumers have plenty of advances, but only 20% of large business have dabbled in AI/process automation.

With the announcement that Windows Mobile is dead, Microsoft seems to be running away from the consumer market. Last week, I said Microsoft is becoming the new IBM, but how do they prevent following in IBM’s fate?

Equifax might still be having security issues while Accenture recently experienced a significant data breach (which was completely self-inflicted).

Acquisitions

  • DXC Technology To Acquire Logicalis SMC To Boost Global ServiceNow Practice

    Logicalis SMC, a service management consultancy specialist that was the first European company to become a ServiceNow Master Solutions partner, will join DXC’s ServiceNow practice within Fruition Partners, a DXC Technology company and a leading global ServiceNow platform.

    http://www.crn.com/news/channel-programs/300093636/dxc-technology-to-acquire-logicalis-smc-to-boost-global-servicenow-practice.htm

  • SoftBank Leads $164 Million Bet on Digital-Mapping Startup Mapbox

    The Japanese investor, which has stakes in many ride-hailing services, is leading a $164 million investment in Mapbox Inc., a startup that provides mapping and location-search technology to a variety of companies including Snap Inc. and General Electric Co.

    The money comes from SoftBank’s nearly $100 billion tech-focused Vision Fund as well as several venture-capital firms including Foundry Group, DFJ Growth, DBL Partners and Thrive Capital. Mapbox said it would expand its efforts into autonomous cars and augmented and virtual reality and will accelerate international expansion, including in China.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/softbank-leads-164-million-bet-on-digital-mapping-startup-mapbox-1507640404
    SoftBank is investing in Uber, their Asian competitors, telecoms like Sprint and TMobile, and now they are investing in a mapping company that will feed those other companies a needed service.

Artificial Intelligence/Robotics

  • Google’s Pixel Buds translation will change the world

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/04/google-pixel-buds-translation-change-the-world/
  • Adidas will finally start selling shoes made by its robot factory

    The robot factory Adidas built in Germany is now fully functional and ready to start making the first Speedfactory shoe that will be sold to the public. Adidas has revealed that it plans to use its Speedfactory’s robots to manufacture a series of Adidas Made For (AM4) kicks designed specifically for six of the world’s biggest metropolises.

    The AM4 models are all lightweight and designed using athlete data to conjure up the most comfortable shape and form. If you want to see what Speedfactory’s robot workers are capable of, check out Futurecraft M.F.G. — it’s the very first model out of the facility, though it was never released to the general public.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/05/adidas-speedfactory-made-for-shoes/

Cloud

  • Microsoft and AWS could be the strangest cloud bedfellows yet

    Microsoft and AWS announced they were working on a project together.

    Project Gluon is an open source, deep learning project for building, deploying and managing machine learning models. It’s worth noting that AWS and Microsoft compete fiercely in the cloud market. In fact, they each have artificial intelligence toolkits that they are trying to sell customers, yet in this instance they saw it in their mutual best interest to work together instead of competing.

    Gluon is one of the big steps ahead in taking out some of the grunt work in developing AI systems by bringing together training algorithms and neural network models, two of the key components in a deep learning system.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/12/microsoft-and-aws-could-be-the-strangest-cloud-bedfellows-yet/?ncid=rss

  • Dell outlines IoT strategy, plans to spend $1 billion on R&D over three years

    Dell Technologies launched a new Internet of things division to integrate products and services across the company, new tools to speed up implementations and plans to invest $1 billion in research and development over the next three years.

    The new division within Dell Technologies will be run by VMware CTO Ray O’Farrell. His first mission will be to develop IoT products and services throughout the company and develop new technologies.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/dell-outlines-iot-strategy-plans-to-spend-1-billion-on-r-d-over-three-years/

Datacenter

  • Microsoft just purchased all of GE’s newest Irish wind farm capacity for the next 15 years

    This is a big deal on several levels. First of all, it means Microsoft will be using a clean energy source to power at least some of its cloud data centers in Ireland. That will likely result in a lower energy bill for Microsoft, while reducing the pollution related to running cloud services.

    But this could have an impact beyond the data centers as Microsoft and GE are working on a battery technology that captures excess energy from each wind turbine. If there is excess capacity captured by this method, Microsoft and GE could give it back to the Irish energy grid.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/09/microsoft-just-purchased-all-of-ges-newest-irish-wind-farm-capacity-for-the-next-15-years/?ncid=rss

Software/SaaS

  • Oracle’s Entrance: Database Giant Unveils Enterprise Blockchain Strategy

    The company wants to attract both large and small firms, but Frank Xiong, Oracle’s group vice president of Blockchain Cloud Service, argued that startups looking to test a smart contract or an application will be able to do so more cheaply using the cloud platform because pricing is based on transaction volume.

    “This will give them a very good reasonably priced way to start up their application,” he told CoinDesk. “I personally think this will be a big attraction to these startups.”

    For existing ERP customers, the platform will provide a way to connect with outside partners and customers, plugging them into internal channels and processes in a confidential and secure manner.

    https://www.coindesk.com/oracles-entrance-database-giant-unveils-enterprise-blockchain-strategy/

  • Regulate Facebook Like AIM

    Sixteen years ago, the FCC, the regulatory body responsible for things like television and radio, approved a merger between American Online and Time Warner, but with several conditions. As part of the deal, AOL was required to make its web portal compatible with other chat apps.

    The government stopped AOL from building a closed system where everyone had to use AIM, meaning it had to adopt interoperability—the ability to be compatible with other computer systems.

    The FCC required AOL to be compatible with at least one instant messaging rival immediately after the merger went through. Within six months, the FCC required AOL to make its portal compatible with at least two other rivals, or face penalties.

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mb7n7v/aim-aol-instant-messenger-regulation-facebook-ending

Security

  • Accenture left a huge trove of highly sensitive data on exposed servers

    The servers, hosted on Amazon’s S3 storage service, contained hundreds of gigabytes of data for the company’s enterprise cloud offering, which the company claims provides support to the majority of the Fortune 100.

    The data could be downloaded without a password by anyone who knew the servers’ web addresses.

    Chris Vickery, director of cyber risk research at security firm UpGuard, found the data and privately told Accenture of the exposure in mid-September. The four servers were quietly secured the next day.

    Also:

    Vickery said he also found Accenture’s master keys for its Amazon Web Service’s Key Management System (KMS), which if stolen could allow an attacker full control over the company’s encrypted data stored on Amazon’s servers.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/accenture-left-a-huge-trove-of-client-passwords-on-exposed-servers/

  • Russia Has Turned Kaspersky Software Into Tool for Spying

    The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Russian hackers used Kaspersky’s software in 2015 to target a contractor working for the National Security Agency, who had removed classified materials from his workplace and put them on his home computer, which was running the program. The hackers stole highly classified information on how the NSA conducts espionage and protects against incursions by other countries, said people familiar with the matter. An NSA spokesman didn’t comment on the security breach.

    Kaspersky Lab, founded by an engineer trained at a KGB technical school, has long insisted that it doesn’t assist the Russian government with spying on other countries. But many U.S. officials now think the evidence the U.S. has collected shows the company is a witting partner, said people familiar with the matter.

    “There is no way, based on what the software was doing, that Kaspersky couldn’t have known about this,” said a former U.S. official with knowledge of information gleaned in 2015 about how the software was used to search for American secrets. He said the nature of the software is such that it would have had to be programmed to look for specific keywords, and Kaspersky’s employees likely would have known that was happening, this former official said.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-hackers-scanned-networks-world-wide-for-secret-u-s-data-1507743874
    Also: Israeli intelligence discovered that Kaspersky was working with the Russian government. See SourceCast Episode 90 to learn more.

  • Equifax may have been hacked again

    Unfortunately, the company still seems to be lacking when it comes to security, because according to Ars Technica, it’s been hacked yet again. Independent security analyst Randy Abrams told Ars that he was redirected to hxxp:centerbluray.info and was met with a Flash download when he went to equifax.com to contest a false info on his credit report.

    The fake Flash installer apparently tricks people into downloading what Symantec identifies as Adware.Eorezo, an adware that inundates Internet Explorer with advertisements. Unfortunately, we can’t replicate the problem, but Abrams said he encountered the issue on three separate visits.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/12/equifax-hacked-again/

Other

  • Google parent Alphabet looks to restore cell service in Puerto Rico with Project Loon balloons

    Loon was developed by X, part of Alphabet’s innovation group.  It was able to help Peru earlier this year, amidst significant flooding and hopes to replicate this success. Yet before it proceeds with its plans in Puerto Rico, Loon needs to find a carrier network to partner with. Loon had already been working with Telefonica in Peru, which sped up the process.

    The Loon project consists of a network of high altitude balloons that rise like weather balloons to a height above 60,000 feet. Loon balloons are designed to “ride the wind” to get to a destination and are super-pressurized to withstand for over 100 days in the stratosphere.

    Signals are transmitted directly to LTE-enabled devices and are routed through a local carrier, and the balloons are raised and lowered to an altitude with winds blowing in the desired direction.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/07/google-parent-alphabet-looks-to-restore-cell-service-in-puerto-rico-with-project-loon-balloons/?ncid=rss

  • Amazon is on the brink of deciding if it will make a big move into selling drugs online

    The company will decide before Thanksgiving whether to move into selling prescription drugs online, according to an email from Amazon viewed by CNBC and a source familiar with the situation. If it decides to make that move, it will start expanding its senior team with drug supply chain experts.

    Amazon typically spends years researching opportunities before it telegraphs its intentions. The opportunity to sell drugs online is alluring given its market size — analysts have estimated the U.S. prescription drug market at $560 billion per year. Amazon is well aware of the complexities, say sources familiar with the company’s thinking.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/06/amazon-considering-selling-online-prescriptions-decision-coming-soon.html

  • IBM Should Cut Down On Outsourcing To India

    Outsourcing provides certain competitive advantages to early-movers – that is, to companies that adopt it first — but it isn’t proprietary. Others can adopt it, and therefore, isn’t a source of sustainable competitive advantage.

    Then there’s corporate complacency whereby leadership of these companies fails to renew the pioneering drive that characterizes market leaders.

    That’s what eventually happened in the PC industry, to companies like the old HP.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2017/10/06/ibm-should-cut-down-on-outsourcing-to-india/#57288b0e4116

  • This is not a drill: Microsoft admits Windows Phone is dead for real

    It’s time to say goodbye for real this time. Windows Phone’s death has been slow and painful, but, as CNET spotted, the head of Microsoft’s Windows division finally admitted you shouldn’t expect anything more when it comes to Windows Phone.

    Microsoft doesn’t plan to let existing Windows Phone users down — there will be security updates. But don’t expect anything new. Joe Belfiore admitted that Microsoft isn’t working on any software or hardware update.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/09/this-is-not-a-drill-microsoft-admits-windows-phone-is-dead-for-real/?ncid=rss

  • Oracle names IBM as strategic HR BPO provider

    Without specifically mentioning it IBM also brings several additional technical benefits to the table. The first is IBM Kenexa a competitor to Oracle’s Taleo it delivers more than just applicant tracking. Possibly of greater interest though is the cognitive computing stack that IBM offers in Watson. While Oracle has just launched its augmented intelligence and machine learning capabilities IBM already has some point solutions such as IBM Watson Talent. It will be interesting to see which customers use IBM’s BPO services with Oracle HCM Cloud.

    https://www.enterprisetimes.co.uk/2017/10/11/oracle-names-ibm-as-strategic-hr-bpo-provider/

    This is really odd. Oracle has never had much of a consulting presence to speak of, but the IBM selection who has been culling their global services business and focusing on automation is very odd.

Photo: Andy Kelly

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Supplier Report: 10/6/2017

Microsoft seems to be hinting at a post-consumer product existence when they announced they were shuttering their Groove service.  It seems like Google is slipping into the current Microsoft spot with their line of consumer focused Chromebooks and smartphones, while Microsoft becomes the new IBM by servicing the enterprise?

Oracle was all over the place this week.  Larry Ellison took shots at Amazon again while announcing AI functions within their product set.  Oracle is also confident they will take the lead in the cloud by helping companies keep costs flat.  Oracle might be keeping their female employee’s salaries flat as their board is rejecting requests to undergo a gender pay study.

Apple, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft purchased companies over the last week, giving the M&A section a much needed boost.

Acquisitions

  • Apple quietly acquired computer vision startup Regaind

    This is Apple’s standard statement to confirm an acquisition. From what I understand, Apple acquired Regaind earlier this year. The company had raised a bit less than $500,000 (€400,000) from Side Capital.

    Regaind has been working on a computer vision API to analyze the content of photos. Apple added intelligent search to the Photos app on your iPhone a couple of years ago. For instance, you can search for “sunset” or “dog” to get photos of sunsets and your dog.

    In order to do this, Apple analyzes your photo library when you’re sleeping. When you plug your iPhone to a charger and you’re not using your iPhone, your device is doing some computing to figure out what’s inside your photos.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/29/apple-quietly-acquires-computer-vision-startup-regaind/

  • Toshiba Strikes $17.8 Billion Deal to Sell Semiconductor Unit

    On Thursday, the Japanese conglomerate said that it had signed an almost $17.8 billion deal to sell its memory chip business to Bain Capital and other investors. Now, the question is whether the deal can withstand the legal talons of Western Digital.

    Toshiba said in a statement that it would sell to a holding company called Pangea, which was founded explicitly for the sale. The sale, which comes after an acrimonious auction marked by confusion and reversals, could give Toshiba a booster shot to recover from billions of dollars of losses from its American nuclear power unit.

    Pangea is buying Toshiba with around $1.9 billion from Bain Capital and $240 million from Japan’s Hoya. South Korea’s SK Hynix will pay $3.50 billion while U.S. investors, including Seagate Technology, Kingston Technology, Apple, and Dell Technologies will pitch in $3.7 billion. Loans will account for another $5.3 billion of Pangea’s funding.

    http://www.electronicdesign.com/industrial-automation/toshiba-strikes-178-billion-deal-sell-semiconductor-unit

  • Amazon has acquired 3D body model startup, Body Labs, for $50M-$70M

    TechCrunch has learned that Amazon has acquired Body Labs, a company with a stated aim of creating true-to-life 3D body models to support various b2b software applications — such as virtually trying on clothes or photorealistic avatars for gaming.

    One source suggested the price-tag Amazon paid for Body Labs could be $100M+. However a second well-placed source suggested it’s closer to $70M than $100M — so we’re pegging it at between $50M and $70M.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/03/amazon-has-acquired-3d-body-model-startup-body-labs-for-50m-70m/

  • Microsoft acquires social virtual reality app AltspaceVR

    At a special event today in San Francisco, Microsoft announced that it has acquired social VR app AltspaceVR.

    The virtual reality social networking app allows users across headset and web platforms to join 3D chat rooms to play games, watch videos and attend events.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/03/microsoft-acquires-social-virtual-reality-app-altspacevr/

  • IBM Set To Acquire Sydney-Based Digital Consultancy Firm

    Computing giant International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) is set to acquire the Sydney, Australia-based digital consultancy firm, Vivant Digital. The digital consultancy firm uses technology, data and behavioral science to assist clients in coming up with a business strategy and the acquisition is thus meant to bolster IBM iX, the digital transformation agency of IBM. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close before the year ends, were not disclosed.

    The Sydney-based digital consultancy firm was started in 2008 and with a specialty in distribution industries and financial services, some of its clients include Australia Super, Qantas, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank. Currently the workforce of Vivant consists of between 50 and 70 workers who are located in both Melbourne and Sydney. Some of the employees will have be laid off though the exact number has not been determined.

    https://www.baystreet.ca/stockstowatch/2291/IBM-Set-To-Acquire-Sydney-Based-Digital-Consultancy-Firm

Artificial Intelligence

  • Oracle adds AI development service to platform offerings

    Zavery says Oracle is trying to make it easier for customers to build AI applications. “What we find with these frameworks and tooling, is that it’s not easy to set up as an integrated offering, and the evolution is happening so fast that it’s tough to keep up with what you should be using in terms of APIs around that.” The service is designed to alleviate those issues for developers.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/02/oracle-adds-ai-development-service-to-platform-offerings/?ncid=rss

Cloud

  • GE picks AWS as preferred cloud provider

    “Adopting a cloud-first strategy with AWS is helping our IT teams get out of the business of building and running data centers and refocus our resources on innovation as we undergo one of the largest and most important transformations in GE’s history,” Chris Drumgoole, GE’s CTO and Corporate VP, said in a statement. “We chose AWS as the preferred cloud provider for GE because AWS’s industry leading cloud services have allowed us to push the boundaries, think big, and deliver better outcomes for GE.”

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/ge-picks-aws-as-preferred-cloud-provider/

  • AWS fires back at Larry Ellison’s claims, saying it’s just Larry being Larry

    When Oracle chairman Larry Ellison announced his company’s new autonomous database product at the Oracle OpenWorld conference keynote, he took several minutes to disparage AWS, one of his chief rivals in the cloud market. As market leader, Amazon stands firmly in Ellison’s crosshairs, but AWS took exception to his comments, and decided to issue a public rebuke.

    “Yeah, that’s factually incorrect. With Amazon Redshift, customers can resize their clusters whenever they want, or can scale compute separately from storage by using Redshift Spectrum against their data in Amazon Simple Storage Service and pay per query for just the queries they run,” the spokesperson told TechCrunch.

    They went on to berate Ellison, saying, “But,‎ most people know already that this sounds like Larry being Larry. No facts, wild claims, and lots of bluster.”

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/02/aws-fires-back-at-larry-ellisons-claims-saying-its-just-larry-being-larry/

  • Oracle CEO Mark Hurd: IT spending is flat, and cloud is the only way out

    On top of that, Hurd (pictured) said in returning to a theme he has sounded before, Silicon Valley has contributed to IT’s difficult situation by making too many piece parts that it leaves customers to cobble together — with increasingly unsatisfactory results, such as the recent massive Equifax data breach, partly blamed on the company’s inability to patch problems in critical software quickly.

    “Tech innovation and customer adoption happening faster than IT can keep up,” he said, given that many companies still depend on 20-year-old systems and apps, requiring 80 percent of their budgets to be spent on maintaining them rather than adding more innovative technologies. “We’ve told customers to put all this complexity together. That complexity has driven to this very difficult environment to maintain and to innovate.”

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/10/02/oracle-ceo-mark-hurd-spending-flat-cloud-way/

Datacenter

  • Infinidat worth $1.6B after Goldman investment of $95M

    Data storage company Infinidat Inc. has raised $95 million from a growth equity wing of Goldman Sachs, indicating that the 6-year-old company continues to find traction in a market where others have stumbled recently.

    The Series C round, led by Goldman’s Private Capital Investing division, valued Infinidat at $1.6 billion, according to the company. TPG Growth, which had valued Infinidat at $1.2 billion in a $150 million round two years ago, also participated.

    https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2017/10/03/infinidat-worth-1-6b-after-goldman-investment-of.html

  • Why the Internet is worried that Microsoft’s consumer services are doomed

    It’s not an idle question. Every cancelled consumer product—the Zune music player, Windows phones, the Microsoft Band—resurfaces the same angry protest: Doesn’t Microsoft care about consumers?

    If “care” means app development, yes: Both the Zune and Groove Music Pass evolved into reasonably good services, even if few used them. If “care” refers to marketing, though, you already know the answer: In general, no. And if you follow the money—which in this case, comes mostly from Microsoft’s enterprise businesses—that’s most likely the real reason why no Microsoft consumer service can feel completely safe.

    https://www.pcworld.com/article/3230486/windows/microsoft-why-its-consumer-services-could-be-doomed.html
    Microsoft Shutters Groove Music, Will Move Users To Spotify

    Microsoft announced today that it will soon shutter both its Groove Music Pass streaming service and the ability to purchase songs and albums in the Windows Store. The biggest surprise isn’t that the service never took off, it’s that Microsoft has partnered with Spotify to move all its Groove Music Pass customers over to Spotify.

    https://tech.slashdot.org/story/17/10/02/2010241/microsoft-shutters-groove-music-will-move-users-to-spotify

Software/SaaS

  • Apple’s Global Web of R&D Labs Doubles as Poaching Operation

    Nothing unusual about that for a company that spends $11 billion a year on R&D. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll notice that many of these labs are located near companies with a strong record in mapping, augmented reality and other areas Apple is pushing into. In several cases, these companies lost employees to Apple not long after the iPhone maker came to town. Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller declined to comment.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-21/apple-s-global-web-of-r-d-labs-doubles-as-poaching-operation

  • Larry Ellison loves to rail against Amazon but this analyst says Microsoft is the real enemy

    “Microsoft is their big competitor,” says Larry Carvalho, lead analyst on platform-as-a-service at IDC.

    Amazon may be a giant in the cloud world but Microsoft is a bigger threat to the types of big business customers that Oracle depends on.

    “Oracle is about two to three years behind Microsoft,” Carvalho tells Business Insider.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-is-oracle-real-competitor-not-amazon-2017-10

  • AOL Instant Messenger to Sign Off

    AIM’s fate follows the path of other older messaging platforms that have shut down in recent years including MSN Messenger in 2014 and Yahoo Messenger last year.

    The move also offers reminder on how AOL, formerly called America Online, has struggled to turn its early internet dominance into leading the next generation of internet services. The chat platform grew from 13 million users in 1997 to 65.5 million users in 2000. It isn’t immediately clear how many users the platform has currently.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/aol-instant-messenger-to-sign-off-1507301951
    Interesting timing due to last week’s podcast.

Security

Introducing a new section on the Supplier Report (sadly there are so many incidents, that it needs its own section)…

  • Whole Foods Discloses Data Breach

    The grocery-store chain, now part of Amazon.com Inc., AMZN said its restaurants and taprooms use a separate checkout system and information of its grocery shoppers weren’t affected. Amazon transactions were also not accessed in the breach, Whole Foods said in a statement on its website.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/whole-foods-discloses-data-breach-1506636659

  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: We will regret sacrificing privacy for national security

    Microsoft has been fighting the US government since 2014, when the justice department served the company with a subpoena for emails stored in Irish servers. Microsoft has refused, arguing that permission to access data stored abroad needs to be given by the overseas government.

    Nadella said tech companies understood the need for national security, but added: “If in that context we sacrifice our enduring value around privacy, then I think as a society we will regret it.”

    He called for a “new framework of laws”, which would account for the free flow of online information across national boundaries. He said current laws were created “for a different era.”

    http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-ceo-satya-nadella-regret-sacrificing-privacy-for-security-2017-9

  • Yahoo Triples Estimate of Breached Accounts to 3 Billion

    The figure, which Verizon said was based on new information, is three times the 1 billion accounts Yahoo said were affected when it first disclosed the breach in December 2016. The new disclosure, four months after Verizon completed its acquisition of Yahoo, shows that executives are still coming to grips with the extent of the security problem in what was already the largest hacking incident in history by number of user accounts.

    A spokesman for Oath, the Verizon unit that now includes Yahoo, said the company determined within the past week that the break-in was much worse than thought, after it received new information from outside the company. He declined to elaborate on that information. Compromised customer information included usernames, passwords, and in some cases telephone numbers and dates of birth, the spokesman said.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/yahoo-triples-estimate-of-breached-accounts-to-3-billion-1507062804

Other

  • Out with the old, in with The New – outsourcing re-invented at Accenture?

    Outsourcing is rotating to The New…we are now selling more and more of those services based on automation, robotics, intelligent solutions based. We are re-inventing application services to differentiate. To some extent you can segregate the market between the players still trying to sell more harder of the legacy older classic IT, and [The New] players and we’re part of that camp. We are re-inventing this service by providing much more of the new technologies and new features to capture more growth, Our outsourcing business is double-digit and is very vibrant, [but] it’s because it does what [it does] to the New, and not because we’re trying to sell more of the legacy.

    http://diginomica.com/2017/09/29/old-new-outsourcing-re-invented-accenture/

  • I am just going to leave this one right here…
    Oracle’s board vows to fight gender pay request

    The board of directors at Redwood City-based enterprise software company Oracle says it plans to unanimously oppose a shareholder’s request for more data around gender pay equality at the company’s annual meeting in November.

    Arguing against the proposal in a regulatory filing Thursday, Oracle said 25 percent of its board members were female and that each of its 75 Oracle Women’s Leadership groups internally were led by women.

    Women make up 29 percent of Oracle’s global workforce, Pax World Mutual Funds says.

    “The business case for gender diversity is well-established; a growing body of evidence links greater board and managerial diversity with better company financial performance,” Pax World Mutual Funds wrote in its proposal. “…Research also shows that greater gender diversity brings increased innovation, better problem solving, stimulated group performance and enhanced company reputation.”

    https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2017/09/29/oracle-gender-pay-gap-data-shareholder.html

  • Amazon Must Pay $300 Million in Back Taxes, EU Says

    The European Commission, the bloc’s antitrust regulator, ordered Luxembourg to recoup €250 million ($294 million) from Amazon. The sum, identified as unpaid taxes over an eight-year period, amounts to one of the largest-ever tax recoveries under EU state-aid rules.

    The EU said Luxembourg had granted the e-commerce giant illegal state aid in the form of a 2003 sweetheart tax deal, prolonged in 2011, that illegally lowered Amazon’s tax payments to the Grand Duchy to the disadvantage of the company’s rivals.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-orders-luxembourg-to-recoup-almost-300-million-from-amazon-1507109839

Photo: Meiying Ng

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