Oracle is telling customers they can do more with less. While competitors Google, AWS, and Microsoft are expanding their cloud centers, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd believes Oracle’s databases are better optimized, thus consuming less infrastructure. Perhaps those smaller cloud centers will require less tax in Korea, as Oracle has been found to be underpaying in the country for several years.
With the success of Alexa, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is telling staff that AI is the future of the company (and to expect more AI innovation). The people at Planet Money also believe in the power of AI… they taught a bot to trade stock based on President Trump’s tweets (seriously… listen to the episode below).
- Foxconn Offers Up to $27 Billion for Toshiba’s Chip Business (next highest bid was $18B)
The latest bid by Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., could put the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a tough spot. Some in the government are hoping to see a Japanese company or a joint U.S.-Japan team take the prized Toshiba asset because they see the chip business as strategic, say people familiar with the matter. But it would be hard for financially strapped Toshiba to turn down extra cash if Foxconn has the highest bid.
- Microsoft to buy Kubernetes container-orchestration vendor Deis
In his own blog post, Gabe Monroy, chief technology officer of Deis, said the Deis team will continue with its contributions to Workflow, Helm, and Steward, as well as “maintaining our deep engagement with the Kubernetes community.”
Microsoft originally announced plans to work with Google on Kubernetes in 2014. Kubernetes is an open-source container cluster manager that provides automated deployment, scaling and operations of application containers.In February this year, Microsoft made Kubernetes generally available on its own Azure Container Service.
- AT&T to Buy Straight Path for $1.25 Billion as It Gobbles Up Spectrum
Straight Path shareholders will receive $95.63 in AT&T stock, a sharp premium to Straight Path’s closing price last week of $36.48. The acquisition, expected to close within a year, gives AT&T access to Straight Path’s portfolio of millimeter wave spectrum, including 39 GHz and 28 GHz licenses.
- AI Is The Key To Amazon’s Future Success, Says Jeff Bezos
“Machine learning” is a type of Artificial Intelligence and enables computers to “learn” without being programmed. It is used in all sorts of technology, from the mundane such as search engines and voice recognition through to high-profile projects, such as self-driving cars. AI technology has also made Amazon Go possible. Currently only open to Amazon employees as it’s in beta mode, the Amazon Go store in Washington is an entirely new concept in grocery shopping. The idea is that customers will be able to download an app, then walk into the store, do their grocery shopping and have it charged straight to their Amazon account without the need to pay at a checkout. This is made possible by cameras and sensors in the store. The project has taken over four years of work and was initially expected to open early this year, although that hasn’t happened yet and the company has not given any recent updates. The CEO ended his annual letter by promising “much more to come” in the area of AI.
- Planet Money: Botus (Episode 763)
Here is a great example of simple artificial intelligence use in a practical application (building a bot to trade stock based on President Trump’s tweets).
- Microsoft, Oracle, NetSuite: Why Some Cloud Deals Are Fake News
So why does this happen? The issue seems to be companies feel pressured to come up with news at their various events. And, in this cloud era in particular, they are threatened by AWS’ dominance in so many areas that they want to team up to combat the threat. But it’s hard for multi-party alliances to really take off: Too many cooks in the kitchen united only by a common threat.
To compound the issue, reporters do not often follow up to see what happened with a given pact. Credit VMware here: At least it publicly announced that VMforce would never happen. Many companies just bury the dead alliance and hope no one notices.
- Tech’s High-Stakes Arms Race: Costly Data Centers
Combined, Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet doled out $31.54 billion in 2016 in capital expenditures and capital leases, according to company filings. That is up 22% from 2015.
Not every dollar of that is spent on data centers that deliver infrastructure as a service, but each company describes the cloud as a major investment area. Amazon, the leader in providing such web-based, on-demand resources, didn’t disclose the cost of the new cluster of data centers in Stockholm, known in industry-speak as a “region.” Analysts peg the price tag of a region at several hundred million dollars.
- Oracle CEO: We Can Beat Amazon and Microsoft Without as Many Data Centers
“We try not to get into this capital expenditure discussion. It’s an interesting thesis that whoever has the most capex wins,” Hurd said in response to a question from Fortune at a Boston event on Tuesday. “If I have two-times faster computers, I don’t need as many data centers. If I can speed up the database, maybe I need one fourth as may data centers. I can go on and on about how tech drives this.”
Oracle execs, including executive chairman Larry Ellison, have argued that Oracle’s big machines can actually work cheaper and more efficiently than the other public cloud configurations. Many industry analysts have their doubts on that, maintaining Oracle must spend much more to catchup with Amazon. Toward that end, in January, Oracle announced plans to add three new data center farms within six months and more to come.
- The serverless cloud could swallow up hardware
Serverless computing is actually something of a misnomer, as it most definitely does not do away with servers. Rather, it takes away the need for the consumer of cloud computing to have to deal directly with servers, either in provisioning them or managing them, and instead focus on developing and deploying the business logic to power their own application or service.
This sounds a lot like PaaS, or platform-as-a-service, a long established and well understood cloud service model, but the serverless approach sees applications and services broken down into smaller, more discrete functions. Some serverless proponents have even coined the term functions-as-a-service (FaaS) to describe it.
- IBM Ramps Up China Blockchain Work With Supply Chain Trial
The platform is designed to bring greater transparency into supply chain networks by tracking the flow of drugs, encrypting trading records and offering an easier means of authenticating transactions. The end goal is to reduce the time small retailers must wait to be paid after delivering medicine to hospitals – which currently can be as high as 60 to 90 days.
Overall, Ramesh Gopinath, vice president of Blockchain Solutions at IBM, said that the use case offers an ideal example of how the company’s enterprise blockchain platform can smooth multi-party transaction processes.
- IBM Targets Pharmaceuticals With Blockchain Supply Chain Tech
“Overall,” IBM and Heija said, “the platform is designed to help reduce the turnover time of funds on both sides of the supply chain and allow banks to be more informed and grant access to funding for small and medium pharmaceutical retailers.”
The solution is already working with one pharmaceutical retailer, a hospital and a bank to facilitate transactions between these parties. The companies said they plan to add more retailers, hospitals and banks later this year.
- Oracle Korea slapped with $293M USD in back taxes
The NTS slapped the punitive tax in January last year, after discovering that the company transferred some 2 trillion won of gains it earned in Korea between 2008 and 2014 to a tax haven abroad.
Oracle Korea protested the decision and filed a complaint with the Tax Tribunal in April last year. But the tribunal dismissed the request in November.
- BlackBerry’s stock had a great day after the company won a big dispute with Qualcomm
BlackBerry’s stock hit its highest point more than a year, and all it took was a lousy $814.9 million arbitration win. It’s a healthy bounce back for the embattled company, which has spent the last year working to make a major shift from all-in phone maker to software and services company.
But while shareholders are likely pleased, BlackBerry no doubt would have rather its stock hit its highest level in 15 months due to, say, a new product or service, but, well, you take what you can get.
- Ubuntu Linux uncertainty continues as Canonical CEO walks away
The timing of this could not be worse, as there is already a lot of uncertainty in the Ubuntu community — some stability would have been appreciated after all of the other recent chaos. Canonical would have been wise to wait a bit longer before making this announcement. After all, Silber isn’t leaving today, but in a few months — is the company trying to give Ubuntu users and developers ulcers? There are reports that there’s been a bit of an exodus by Canonical employees as a result.
Photo: Clay Banks