Supplier Report: 2/11/2017

It was an eclectic news week for IT suppliers.  Microsoft cut their cloud prices for certain services and is also starting to protect customers against patent trolls, promising to assist small companies should a nonsense lawsuit occur.

Google found themselves in federal court being asked to provide the FBI access to emails. The company hoped to use Microsoft’s successful defense in a similar trail as grounds to drop the request, but it was denied.  When Google isn’t in court, they are expanding the use of complex games to vet and teach their AI better ways to solve for problems.


  • The Case For IBM Buying Nvidia, Xilinx, And Mellanox

    We know what you are thinking. This might be a good thing for IBM, but it might not be a good thing for Nvidia, Xilinx, and Mellanox, who are the key three hardware partners in the OpenPower consortium that IBM formed with the help of hyperscale datacenter operator Google back in August 2013. Fair enough. All three companies seem to be doing fine against their respective competition, and the OpenPower effort might be a tight enough coupling to get interesting and innovative systems to market. But, we might argue, this effort to build a flexible platform – for that is what the OpenPower consortium is ultimately about – could be significantly enhanced and accelerated by a tighter coupling of the core technologies created by all four of these companies. The fourth being, of course, the Power family of processors created by IBM, which would be married to Nvidia Tesla compute GPUs, Mellanox InfiniBand and Ethernet switching, and Xilinx UltraScale Virtex and Kintex FPGAs.

Artificial Intelligence

  • DeepMind is using games to test AI aggression and cooperation

    The findings are important as humanity releases multiple AI into the world. It’s likely some will clash and try to either co-operate or sabotage one another. What happens, for instance, if an AI is managing traffic flow across the city, while another is trying to reduce carbon emissions in the state? The rules of the “game” which govern their behavior then become vital. Setting parameters, and being mindful of other agents, will be crucial if we’re to balance the global economy, public health and climate change.

  • In major AI win, Libratus beats four top poker pros

    Marking a major step forward for artificial intelligence (AI), Libratus, an AI developed by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), has resoundingly beaten four of the best heads-up no-limit Texas hold’em poker players in the world in a marathon, 20-day competition.

    After 20 days and a collective 120,000 hands played, Libratus closed out the competition Monday leading the pros by a collective $1,766,250 in chips.


  • Senior Google Cloud Exec Departs After Reorg

    Schachter joined the Internet search giant in 2012 from, according to his LinkedIn profile. Initially he worked on Google for Work, formerly the overall brand for Google applications and devices. It is now part of the Google Cloud group. Schachter was promoted to head Google Cloud’s sales effort two years ago.

    According to that story, there was a sales reorganization earlier this year in which Schachter got responsibility for North America sales while another executive took on Europe and the Middle East.

  • Microsoft cuts cloud prices again

    The Redmond., Wash., software group dropped prices by up to 61% on some of its products, though other offerings will not carry a discount.

  • Microsoft Adds Patent Suit Protections For Cloud Customers

    Microsoft, the second-biggest cloud infrastructure services vendor behind Inc., will help customers fight back by offering them one of its own patents to deter or defeat such suits. The software giant will also expand a program in which Microsoft provides funds or legal resources to fend off claims, known as indemnification.



  • Open source users: It’s time for extreme vetting

    Open source won. It won because it’s used everywhere now. But now we have a supply chain problem we need to start thinking about and that is, where did you get it and how is it being taken care of, because software doesn’t age well. This is something that you have to take care of and you have to pay attention to. You can’t just pull software into your project and you’re done.


  • IBM’s Marissa Mayer moment: Staff ordered to work in one of 6 main offices – or face the axe

    According to sources, the six “strategic” offices US marketing staff must work from are in: Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; New York City, New York; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Atlanta, Georgia; and Raleigh, North Carolina. El Reg understands that employees will not get to choose a nearby office, but will instead be assigned a location based on where their team is predominantly situated. The first wave of workers were informed of the changes on Monday. The next wave will be instructed in early March, we’re told.

  • Google told to hand over foreign emails in FBI search warrant ruling

    The ruling is notable because it goes against an appeals court judgement last year — recently upheld — pertaining to Microsoft customer data held in servers outside the US. In that instance a federal court ruled the company did not have to hand over data stored on its servers in Ireland to the US government, declining to “disregard the presumption against extraterritoriality,” as the judge put it.

  • Oracle settling with ex-worker over alleged fiddling of cloud accounts

    In a joint submission Wednesday to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, lawyers for Oracle and the former employee Svetlana Blackburn asked for the vacation of a case management conference scheduled for Thursday, while submitting a notice of settlement to notify the court “that the lawsuit has been settled in principle, and to request thirty (30) days in which to file a dismissal.”

Photo: Oliver Cole

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