AT&T needs all the support they can get after having 5G bandwidth company Straight Path ripped right from their grasp by competitor Verizon.
Oracle isn’t having a great week either as Microsoft announced a new database platform designed “for the future”.
- Will the tech acquisition spree continue?
But there was some disappointment with cross-border acquisitions. “Deal activity from Asian-Pacific investors declined notably in Q1 2017, illustrating uncertainty in American markets due to the new administration,” according to the PwC report. A recent survey by law firm Morrison & Foerster similarly found that “M&A between the two largest economies in the world, the U.S. and China, is expected to be particularly difficult in the coming years.”
The challenge with Chinese buyers stems from a “a combination of uncertainty introduced by Trump’s policies and restrictions imposed by Chinese authorities on outflow of capital from China,” said Robert Townsend, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Global M&A Practice Group. But ample technology deal activity in the U.S. is expected to continue.
- Verizon reportedly wins bidding war for Straight Path with $3.1 billion offer
AT&T announced last month that it had agreed to buy Straight Path for $1.6 billion, but after Verizon placed a bid for nearly double that amount on Monday, AT&T declined to match it, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The telecoms are interested in Straight Path because the Virginia-based company holds valuable spectrum licenses that will play an important role in laying the groundwork for 5G services. Straight Path began reviewing “strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value” (i.e. searching for a buyer) in January after it was fined $100 million by the Federal Communications Commission for failing to deploy the wireless services required by its spectrum licenses, a practice called “spectrum squatting.”
- Cisco acquires conversational AI startup MindMeld for $125 million
This morning Cisco announced that it is buying MindMeld for $125 million. Founded in 2011, MindMeld helps businesses to build conversational interfaces with cloud-based services.
MindMeld, originally called Expect Labs, was launched on the stage of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012. At that time the startup wanted to build an iPad app that could listen in on your conversations and provide relevant contextual information. Since then the company has expanded its offerings to include a suite of APIs for parsing, reasoning about and generating language.
- A.I. is in a ‘golden age’ and solving problems that were once in the realm of sci-fi, Jeff Bezos says
At Amazon, Bezos said that “cool” developments like Alexa and its Prime Air delivery drones use “tremendous amounts” of AI. But machine learning is being deployed across the company.
“I would say, a lot of the value that we’re getting from machine learning is actually happening kind of beneath the surface. It is things like improved search results, improved product recommendations for customers, improved forecasting for inventory management, and literally hundreds of other things beneath the surface,” Bezos said.
- Buffett says IBM’s Watson will have greatest value when it replaces human labor
“I would think the biggest value will come in when it actually replaces human labor, and machines don’t come round annually and ask for higher wages, and they don’t need health care, and maybe a little maintenance,” Buffett said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“It should replace people in a big way, unless some other products do the same thing,” he said, noting Watson’s potential for reading X-rays faster and better than humans.
- Robots Aren’t Destroying Enough Jobs
Monthly job creation has averaged 185,000 this year, more than double what the U.S. can sustain given its demographics. This has driven unemployment down to 4.4%, a 10-year low and below most estimates of “full employment.” Growing labor shortages have boosted the typical worker’s annual wage gain to more than 3% now from 2% in 2012, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
If automation were rapidly displacing workers, the productivity of the remaining workers ought to be growing rapidly. Instead, growth in productivity—worker output per hour—has been dismal in almost every sector, including manufacturing.
- Oracle’s next big business is selling your info
All of that adds up to a database of 5 billion consumer profiles, fed by 15 million data sources. Not every profile corresponds to a unique person — people can have multiple profiles — but Oracle has information on billions of people, according to Eric Roza, the vice president of Data Cloud. Using data science techniques, Oracle works to match activity from one browser to others, so companies can make sure the same ads get shown to people on their smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Oracle sees Data Cloud as a key part of its future. The service is being used to help advertisers and publishers better target ads, and it’s attractive to businesses because it’s not tied to a major advertising platform like Google’s or Facebook’s.
- Micro Focus shares plunge on HP Enterprise software revenue warning
“Whilst the short term decline in licence is disappointing it is not unusual given the level of change being undertaken.”
Its shares – up more than 70% over the past year – were up to 12% down in early trading on Tuesday before later recovering some of those losses to close 5.6% lower.
- With Cosmos DB, Microsoft wants to build one database to rule them all
Cosmos DB is, in Shukla’s words, “a major leap forward” from what DocumentDB was able to offer. DocumentDB only offered a subset of the capabilities of what is now Cosmos DB. While DocumentDB was essentially a store for JSON data, Cosmos DB goes much further. It extends the idea of an index-free database system and adds support for various new data types that allows Cosmos DB enough flexibility to work as a graph database or key-value database, for example. And for those who are looking to store more traditional columnar relational data, Cosmos DB will also offer support for those.
- Oracle Supports FCC In Net Neutrality Rollback
According to Oracle, Pai’s plan to remove broadband providers from the FCC’s regulatory jurisdiction “will eliminate unnecessary burdens on, and competitive imbalances for, ISPs internet service providers while enhancing the consumer experience and driving investment.”
Telecom companies, which have long opposed the rules, are urging Pai to roll them back, the report said.
Hmmm… this can’t possibly be related to Oracle’s recent strategic partnership announcement with AT&T could it?
- CEO Whitman: HPE ready to move past ‘executional challenges’, refocus on growth
She said the company would not be targeting specifically to make up for the revenue, but would instead focus on growing its footprint in edge and IoT, for instance, as well as through strategic acquisitions.
In addition to the company’s recent buys, which included Nimble Storage, Niara, and Cloud Cruiser, she added that HPE would continue to look for potential acquisitions, including in the Asia-Pacific region, to further drive its strategy around edge and hybrid IT.
- Jim Cramer Talks IBM’s Future As Buffett Cuts His Stake
Perhaps most important, Cramer believes that so long IBM had the “blessing” of its biggest shareholder in Buffett then the company had time to spur the necessary changes to move the company forward.
But after Buffett cut his stake he is no longer IBM’s shareholder and that title goes to the index fund Vanguard. As such, IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty may not be as “protected as she tries to get the job done.” But on the other hand, Cramer thinks that Rometty could “feel liberated” to go out and acquire a cloud-based company that “would change the company’s complexion overnight.”
Dear IBM, do not even think about buying twitter. Love, Joey
Photo: Dimitar Belchev