Supplier Report: 2/4/2017

IT firms are struggling to keep up with President Trump’s international policy changes. As the new President creates laws that impacts immigration, companies are concerned about staffing issues.

As company chiefs become more vocal against President Trump, will he become more at odds with Silicon Valley?

IBM has been put into an uncomfortable situation as they are trying to remain on good terms with the President while meeting their own staffing demands. The company released a message of diversity, inclusion and tolerance without mentioning the President directly, which came under fire from critics.


Artificial Intelligence

  • IBM’s five-year plan to remake healthcare

    Perhaps its greatest use, however, could be allowing people to know about health conditions before any symptoms begin to show. Take Alzheimer’s disease, for example: the neurobiological changes that cause signs of the disease will have done their work before any of those signs are evident in the patient. By checking a person’s blood for biomarkers of the disease at regular intervals, they can be informed if they show early indications of the condition, and start treatment or planning accordingly.

  • Florida medical center adds IBM Watson to oncology team

    Developed by IBM and trained by experts at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York, the program draws upon over 300 medical journals, 200-plus textbooks, and almost 15 million pages of text to provide a rapid and evidence-based approach to the management of patients with cancer.

    Last December, at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas, a study was presented comparing the results of Watson for Oncology with the determinations of oncologists at Manipal Hospitals in Bengaluru, India. The researchers reviewed a total of 638 breast cancer patients and found that the oncologists agreed with Watson recommendations 90 percent of the time.

  • H&R Block adds IBM’s Watson to its tax team

    The company said Wednesday that its employees will work with Watson to identify credits and deductions and find other solutions for customers. It’s the first time Watson, which has been used in health care, retail and other settings, will be applied to tax preparation.

    H&R Block and IBM trained Watson in the language of tax. The system will apply that knowledge to the thousands of questions and topics discussed during the return-filing process.


  • Microsoft Azure Makes Monster Growth, Poses Threat to AWS In The Battle For Cloud Supremacy

    But despite being the underdog and the smaller player in the more intense Microsoft Azure-AWS cloud computing battle, analysts still believe that Microsoft will have the upper hand in this kind of battle.

    Analysts also said that Microsoft might become a bigger cloud player than Amazon in the long term because, in addition to the massive Azure infrastructure services, the software giant also has an actively growing SaaS (software-as-a-services) portfolio as well as a strong enterprise grip that AWS will never be able to match.

  • Google Pins High Hopes on This ‘Other’ Business

    For the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2016, the non-advertising business—which includes Google Cloud Platform along with Google’s popular G Suite software as well as hardware like the Pixel phone—hit $3.4 billion in sales, up 62% from the year-ago period. That business represents a bigger piece of total Google revenue—13% compared to 10% from last year’s quarter.


  • IBM calls healthcare industry a ‘leaky vessel in a stormy sea’

    Healthcare providers are in a tight spot. Whether it is the US healthcare system or the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), organizations are under pressure not only to lower the consumer cost of treatment but also to modernize and provide digital solutions for professionals and patients.

    Successful data breaches cost the industry a fortune, but industry players may not have the budget required to keep data safe and controlled, and to make matters worse, attackers are likely to continue striking these core services as stolen information is valuable — and ransomware infections can be very lucrative.


  • Oracle cloud licensing requirements doubled for AWS, Azure users

    Oracle made subtle licensing changes on Jan. 23 that effectively doubled processor license requirements — and, in turn, list prices — for customers that use Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. The modified Oracle cloud licensing policy shouldn’t affect users with existing contracts, consultants said. But it would apply to new customers and possibly to added deployments not covered by a current contract. Some Oracle users commenting online also raised the specter of the changes taking effect if a company is audited for license compliance by the software vendor.
    Oracle is pricing itself out of Amazon’s cloud

    I’m not sure why Oracle has doubled its AWS virtual CPU pricing, other than to steer customers to use its own IaaS platform rather than migrate to AWS. Although Oracle’s cloud is far behind AWS’s, doubling the price of using AWS may stall enterprises’ migration enough to give Oracle time to get its own cloud act together.

  • IBM and United Airlines collaborate on enterprise iOS apps

    The deal, part of IBM and Apple’s global partnership, will include both market ready and custom iOS apps for United employees. The airline has so far deployed more than 50,000 Apple devices to its workforce. The apps will be integrated with United’s core enterprise processes.
    Having flown United this week, they can use the help.


  • Amazon beats profit expectations—revenue, not so much

    On Thursday, the online retailer reported net sales of $43.7 billion for the fourth quarter of 2016, up 22% over the same quarter a year ago. Those numbers fell short of analyst expectations, sending Amazon’s stock down more than 4% in after-hours trading. When asked on the company’s earnings call about the revenue miss, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said revenue would have been up 24% if not for an $800 million hit due to foreign exchange rates.

  • The tech sector’s reaction to Trump’s immigration changes:
    Top Microsoft execs weigh in on Trump’s immigration ban

    Now two of the company’s top executives have weighed in on the matter. CEO Satya Nadella took to LinkedIn to share a memo sent by President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith to the entire Microsoft staff.

    “As an immigrant and as a CEO,” Nadella explained in his post, “I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world. We will continue to advocate on this important topic.”

    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says Trump’s immigration order “is one we do not support”

    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has come out strongly against the executive order issued by Donald Trump regarding immigration and blocking certain refugees from entering the U.S. Amazon had previously expressed support for employees affected by the order in an email from HR VP Beth Galetti, but the new message from Bezos expresses opposition to the executive order in general, and also details steps Amazon has taken to fight the Trump administration measure.

    IBM Strongly Criticized For Weak Response To Trump´s Muslim Ban

    Just two days after the major tech firms spoke out against the Muslim ban, IBM said that the company long believed in diversity, inclusion and tolerance, and that the path for prosperity, innovation and civil society is the path of engagement and openness to the world. In fact, IBM´s statement over the Muslim ban didn’t make any direct mention of the issue or president Donald Trump.

    Of course this is a quite different stance as the one taken by Apple, which clearly show its position through its CEO Tim Cook´s words, in which he explicitly said that this company would remain open to every person in the world, no matter where they come from, since the Cupertino giant would exist without immigration.

  • Microsoft moving Michigan offices to Detroit

    The One Campus Martius building is home to Quicken Loans. Microsoft will occupy 40,000-square-feet inside the building, executives said.

    “Microsoft, like many tech companies in Detroit and around the country, recognizes that being located downtown is great for business,” Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert said. “Today’s tech talent wants to work and live in urban cores.
    Related: My own analysis of Detroit’s fall from grace.

Photo: Christopher Burns

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