Supplier Report: 11/19/2016


IT suppliers are looking to get more open. Microsoft not only joined Elon Musk’s OpenAI, they also join the Linux Foundation. The Linux Foundation… remember when Ballmer called linux a cancer?

But even as Microsoft and Google promote their open technology, they are targeting SaaS as the main driver for future growth. While the infrastructure may be open, their SaaS offerings will be decidedly less so. Smaller companies like Slack are promoting a more connected world, but will Microsoft shut that business model down?

And who will be the big winner in this open world of closed ecosystems?  Probably Amazon. They seem to be winning most of the hosting business (ala the $400M agreement with SalesForce).


  • Samsung is buying Harman for $8B to further its connected car push

    Terms of the deal will see Samsung pay $112.00 per share. That’s a healthy premium on Harman’s current share price of $87.65, and it gives the deal a total value of approximately $8 billion. The transaction is expected to close by mid-2017, at which time Harman will become a standalone subsidiary of Samsung. Dinesh Paliwal will continue to lead the firm as its Chairman, President and CEO, both Harman and Samsung said.

  • Verizon buys LQD WiFi to expand its IoT strategy into “smart cities”

    Verizon today has made another acquisition to build out its IoT business: the carrier has purchased LQD WiFi, a developer of outdoor interactive displays that provide WiFi connectivity along with news, emergency alerts and community information. They also act as sensors collecting crowd, weather and other data.

  • Ex-Autonomy CFO Indicted For Alleged Fraud In H.P. Acquisition

    A federal grand jury in San Francisco has indicted the former chief financial officer of a British software maker on charges he engaged in fraud to artificially increase the company’s share price and make it attractive to Hewlett-Packard.

    The grand jury indicted former Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain on Thursday on wire fraud and conspiracy charges.

    Hussain’s attorney, John Keker, said his client defrauded no one and acted at all times with the highest standards of honesty and competence.
    I honestly did not expect anything like this to happen.

  • Is Netflix Disney’s next big buy and is Reed Hastings its next CEO?

    And, despite its rosy Q3 numbers, Netflix ultimately needs a buyer.  As I recently wrote, Netflix faces fundamental long-term existential business challenges of its own.  Its singular content-focused subscription-based business model can’t compete with the complex multi-faceted, multi revenue-streamed business models of AT&T, Amazon, YouTube (Google), Verizon, Apple and Amazon.

  • HPE Eyeing Purchase of SimpliVity (HPE)

    Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE), is rumored to have its eye on leading hyperconvergence infrastructure (HCI) vendor SimpliVity. The Westborough, Mass.-based niche market leader is estimated to go for $3.8 billion to $3.9 billion, reports the Register. The rumored price stands at quadruple the company’s valuation in its latest series of funding in March 2015.

  • AOL lays off 500 employees as Verizon-Yahoo acquisition looms

    The cuts, which Armstrong said would consolidate recent AOL acquisitions, presage the type of staffing changes that could affect Yahoo in early 2017 as Verizon closes its $4.8 billion acquisition of the Silicon Valley icon.

Artificial Intelligence

  • Microsoft teams up with Elon Musk’s OpenAI project (thanks JD!)

    OpenAI will also make Microsoft Azure its preferred cloud platform, in part because of its existing support for AI workloads with the help of Azure Batch and Azure Machine Learning, as well as Microsoft’s work on its recently rebranded Cognitive Toolkit. Microsoft also offers developers access to a high-powered GPU-centric virtual machine for these kind of machine learning workloads. These N-Series machines are still in beta, but OpenAI has been an early adopter of them and Microsoft  says they will become generally available in December.

  • MIT students and others teaching IBM Watson about cybersecurity

    Several universities involved with that project began having students train the system within the past several weeks, explained IBM Watson’s Jeb Linton, chief security architect.

    “We’re ramping up from the phase where we have a little over 30 people selecting documents and annotating documents, to the phase where we’re… a much larger group by bringing in these college students,” Linton explained.

    “It’s very much an interactive process. You put the machine-learning process into Watson and see what you get from it. I wouldn’t say anything has really surprised us so far,” Linton said. “We added in a level of complexity a few months ago that was a little less than optimal, and we trimmed some of that complexity back out.”

  • IBM’s Watson would do a better job at being a bank teller than most current staff

    Watson can take all of a bank’s rules and regulations and data about customer’s requirements and behaviours and provide an intelligent interface for customers to get things done with the confidence that Watson understood what the customer wanted and also understood what the bank could provide to satisfy those requirements.

    Not surprisingly however, banks worldwide are not investing in innovations like cognitive computing. Innovation is often lumped in the general IT budget and often forms a tiny part of that spend. By viewing it in the same category as buying computers or complying with regulatory requirements, the overall value and benefit is much harder to see.


  • Microsoft, Amazon turn to wind energy to power cloud data centers

    Microsoft is also pushing for more renewable energy sources. Referring to the new agreement, Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said “these agreements represent progress toward our goal of improving the energy mix at our data centers.”
    Microsoft now runs one data center entirely on wind power

    Microsoft has a stated goal of using 50 percent renewable energy in its data centers across the U.S. by 2018, and it just took a big step forward in that plan, purchasing additional 237 megawatts of wind energy capacity.

    In the process, this helps allow its Cheyenne, Wyoming, data center run entirely on wind power and brings the company’s total wind capacity to 500 megawatts across the U.S.

  • Google’s cloud GPU undercuts, outperforms AWS, Microsoft

    Google’s plan to stand apart from the competition is to be more granular. Amazon’s machine-learning-oriented GPU instances are rented by the hour and come in a discrete instance type. Google, however, is planning to allow users to “attach up to 8 GPU dies to any non-shared-core machine,” regardless of instance type.

    Even more critical, Google’s GPU pricing will follow its existing model: by the minute, same as Google’s VMs. This isn’t about consistency alone; it also reflects how GPU-powered machine learning is actually used. If a machine learning application employs only GPUs for training, it makes sense to be able to toggle off the GPU when it’s not needed instead of changing instance types.


  • Dell EMC unveils new additions to its all-flash portfolio

    The deployment of the new Data Domain Cloud Tier software within Data Domain, according to Dell EMC, increases the total volume of data that can be managed through a single appliance by 200 percent, with a maximum logical capacity of 150PB. Data Domain Cloud Tier establishes Data Domain as the only protection storage to natively tier de-duplicated data to public, private, or hybrid clouds for long-term retention, including Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage and Virtustream Storage Cloud.

  • NetApp tops 2Q profit forecasts

    On a per-share basis, the Sunnyvale, California-based company said it had net income of 38 cents. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 60 cents per share.

    The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 54 cents per share.

  • Infinidat’s energy efficient offerings

    Below is an Infographic that takes a bottoms up look at INFINIDAT’s InfiniBox and how its underlying technology drives more efficiency than any other array on the market today. InfiniBox keeps your data center footprint from sprawling out of control and keeps your power costs low by taking only 2kW/TB to operate.


  • In five years, SaaS will be the cloud that matters

    Over time, more “infrastructure” services will become software services. Because once it’s SaaS, the boundaries between infrastructure, platform, and software don’t matter to the IT customer—it’s merely a service. That’s a mental shift from IT’s on-premises view, where the boundaries matter in how IT delivers the ultimate service. Those boundaries will still exist for the provider, but won’t be IT’s concern.

  • Why the next great SaaS company will look nothing like Salesforce

    Conversely, once a startup’s product is being used every day like Slack, it may start keeping more information within it and over time wean people off whatever they were using before (Outlook, Sharepoint, etc).

    The game-changer could well be artificial intelligence: if AI software could extract signal from the unstructured product feedback in Intercom or the sales forecasting information in Clari, the data in those systems could become more valuable than the limited fields captured in today’s systems of record.

  • Is Google crashing the Microsoft open source party?

    So Microsoft’s move is a giant retraction of that sentiment, one which it has been trying to undo for the past couple of years with various announcements regarding a more open approach to Linux and the open source community.

    Unlike Microsoft, Google has already established itself as having a pedigree in open source and so its joining of the .NET Foundation isn’t a huge surprise.

    Google is already an active contributor and joining the Technical Steering Group just expands its participation.

    The Alphabet subsidiary has already begun labeling itself as the ‘Open Cloud’ and Microsoft has revealed that it needs to be a bit more willing to work with the open source community because of its growing popularity.


  • Salesforce’s Benioff thinks Microsoft is up to its old tricks again

    “The message was ‘Why don’t you meet with Scott Guthrie? He runs Azure and would really like to walk you through the details of your business because maybe we could get Salesforce to run on Azure’… and I’m like OK, and it was clear also that he was someone not in our business, he was running Azure.”

    Benioff notes a few weeks later Guthrie was suddenly promoted to also run Microsoft’s CRM business, which is a direct competitor to Salesforce and not long after Salesforce was disinvited from a Microsoft customer event without prior notice.

  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is done cozying up to Microsoft — now he’s BFFs with Amazon

    Instead, Benioff has turned to Amazon this year, striking a number of major deals. In May, Salesforce announced a $400 million deal to use AWS, while Amazon rolled out Salesforce’s software company-wide. Salesforce said Amazon added even more Salesforce services this quarter, during the call with investors.

  • You Can Thank Twitter For Trump, According To Salesforce CEO

    I think it’s a great company, I think it’s a great CEO. I think it has a huge vision and has a unique position in the world. As evidenced by this election, I think it’s more important than ever… Without Twitter, I don’t think you would have President-elect Trump. I mean, that’s reality. He said it very well. He said, “I have a beautiful Twitter account.”

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise to outsource global IT team to CSC borg

    “To ensure that all three companies are successful going forward, HPE intends to partner with ES/CSC to receive IT services through an IT Services Agreement that includes IT infrastructure and application development/support. This will result in a majority of our IT family moving to ES/CSC, which will become a leading provider of independent IT services in the world,” Spradley and Nefkens stated in the memo.

    The HPE contract is in addition to outsourced service provision for HP Inc, and Micro Focus, which by next summer will be the new home of HPE’s Software business.
    I believe this is called “eating your own dogfood”

Photo: Álvaro Serrano

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