Should investors lay IBM’s current problem’s at Ginni Rometty’s feet or is her predecessor Sam Palmisano truly to blame? While investors are busy finger-pointing, IBM’s global services division declined another 2%.
But it wasn’t all bad news for big blue, they acquired a company to help bolster their “Connections” platform and another news source is touting just how good Watson is at suggesting cancer treatments.
Meanwhile in Japan, Toshiba is still struggling to sell off their memory chip business in a last-ditch effort to keep the company afloat and NTT quietly invested in NoSQL database provider MarkLogic.
- IBM Acquires XCC Digital Work Hub to Strengthen IBM Connections
Armonk, NY-based IBM acquired the XCC technology from its partner, Cologne, Germany-based TIMETOACT GROUP. XCC is a digital workplace hub that IBM officials said will create a “single destination” personalized homepage for employees. The company made the announcement at its DNUG44 collaboration conference in Berlin this morning.
XCC’s hub will be renamed the IBM Connections Engagement Center and will live under the portfolio of IBM Connections, IBM’s enterprise collaboration suite that competes with the likes of Microsoft, Slack and Atlassian.
- Micro Focus’ $8.8bn software acquisition approved by investors
The approval for the $8.8bn deal comes only weeks after Micro Focus issued a damaging warning on its growth prospects because of a slowdown in sales at the former Hewlett-Packard assets.
The investor meeting, held near St Pauls in London, was attended by only one shareholder. Approval for the multibillion merger and a $500m return of cash to shareholders was passed without objection in less than 10 minutes. The vote was passed with a 99.9 per cent approval.
- Dell further ties itself to VMware
Initial reports set the price at $67 billion, but Dell now says it was just over $58 billion. Either way, a good portion of the funding was borrowed.Selling off VMware – at its current market cap of about $34 billion – would certainly change the math, but so too would losing VMware’s future potential contributions.
VMware still functions as its own publicly traded company, as it did under EMC, but it is now majority-owned by Dell Technologies. And unlike other parts of Dell’s new empire, VMware is growing at 10 percent a year.
- Intel CEO explains why he spent $15 billion on Mobileye
Krzanich said that someday “if you get a ransomware or some kind of virus on one portion of the device,” Intel will not only have backups, but they could “refresh your car on the fly.” While he acknowledged that there are some potential privacy concerns, Krzanich believes that connected cars will be “much safer.”
“In order for those cars to drive, they do have to look,” said Krzanich about self-driving cars. “There’s a lot of social good that can come out of this.”
- NTT Data announces strategic investment in NoSQL database provider MarkLogic
MarkLogic positions itself as a database system for integrating data from various data silos, something that’s a growing problem for large enterprises as they look into how they can get the most value out of their data. Over the years (and often because of acquisitions), different groups in a company often use different database systems, and now they are looking for ways to bring all of this information together again. Typically, the way to do that is by bringing that data into a schema-less NoSQL database, which is where MarkLogic comes in.
- Toshiba Fights to Clear Way for Chip-Unit Sale
Toshiba said it would transfer the joint venture back to the core Toshiba group, and remove that part of its chip unit from a sale. The company says the joint venture includes manufacturing equipment, but not the key NAND flash manufacturing processes or the plants or engineers in Japan.
The move defuses Western Digital’s claim that the sale of the chip unit to a third party would be a breach of its joint venture rights, Toshiba’s lawyers said in a letter dated Wednesday.
- IBM’s Watson is really good at creating cancer treatment plans
In a handful of studies being presented at ASCO, researchers show that Watson for Oncology is pretty dang good at recommending treatments for a variety of different cancers. From research done in India, Watson’s treatment recommendations were in agreement with those of physicians 96 percent of the time for lung cancer, 93 percent of the time for rectal cancer, and 81 percent of the time for colon cancer.
And there were comparable rates of agreement for colorectal, lung, breast and gastric cancer treatments in a Thai-based study. Additionally, Watson was able to screen breast and lung cancer patients for clinical trial eligibility 78 percent faster than a human, reducing screening time from 110 minutes down to just 24.
- Google has reportedly launched a new AI-focused venture capital program
According to Axios, Patterson and company will reportedly be co-investing with GV when it makes sense to do so. Check sizes, it says, will range from $1 million and $10 million to start, though it isn’t yet clear how much Google plans to commit to the program, yearly or otherwise.
- VMware to rally nearly 20% on Amazon partnership, analyst says
“The recent partnership between VMware and AWS [Amazon Web Services] has been received with great positivity and excitement, according to our channel work,” analyst Jayson Noland wrote in a note to clients Wednesday. “Naturally, a co-development between the respective leaders in private and public clouds should offer an unparalleled level of seamlessness in hybrid cloud mobility, which to date remains one of the largest challenges to enterprise cloud deployment.”
- Oracle Bucks the Pricing Trend in the Cloud
Oracle has been acting as if to buck cloud computing pricing trends. Amazon and Microsoft have been waging cloud pricing wars, with Amazon recently trimming AWS costs by as much as 21% on certain services.
However, Oracle has been hiking prices. Earlier this year, the company updated its licensing policy in a fashion that dramatically increased the cost of running Oracle software on AWS and Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform. Oracle doubled the cost of running its database on these foreign clouds.
- MongoDB Taking Share From Oracle In $40 Billion Market
When you take into account the full cost to a company, MongoDB offered an irresistible bargain. “We believe that the cost of the software should equal that of the hardware. We typically charge $5,000 per server per year for the software to run on a server that costs about $5,000. Our competition charges hundreds of thousands of dollars per server-year plus $50,000 a year in maintenance and their software runs on $10,000 servers,” said Schireson.
Regrettably, MongoDB declined to provide revenue growth details. But its headcount growth suggested that demand for the product was soaring. Schireson argued, “When I joined as CEO in 2011, the company had 20 employees. That went to 100 by the end of 2011 and 200 by the end of 2012. [As of October 2013] we have 320 people and expect to end the year at between 350 and 400. And we plan to add 200 more in 2014. We now have 600 customers.”
- IBM believes that hybrid cloud is the future of computing
“When we work with private and public clouds on workload assessment, customers think of what would go Hybrid. We do studies and assessment with our customers every day. So, there is no doubt or question in our mind that hybrid is the way to go,” Vikas Arora, Cloud Business Leader for IBM India and South Asia, told IANS.
He said IBM believes that it has the best of enterprise cloud and hybrid is a very core capability that it has, adding that there is a need of a global footprint of datacenters.
- Red Hat director talks Reactive and changing middleware layer
Sharples also shared his opinion on how the middleware layer is changing, such as the shift away from enterprise service buses (ESBs). The ESB, he said, became a burden in the eyes of many software administrators who saw it as a single “choke point” and potential source of universal failure.
“It became that part of your application code was now embedded within this infrastructure,” Sharples said. “So, it didn’t provide a good separation of concerns.”
- HPE meets lowered expectations as execs insist worst is over, but investors not so sure
HPE’s results were expected to be dismal, and the company surprised no one with earnings that met Wall Street expectations on a 13 percent plunge in revenue compared to the same quarter last year. About the only positive news was that net revenues of $9.9 billion slightly exceeded consensus estimates of $9.64 billion, and that the company reaffirmed its earnings guidance for the rest of the year.
Exact comparisons to last year’s figures aren’t practical because HPE completed the sale of its services business to Computer Sciences Corp. just last month, shedding 100,000 employees in the process. In after-hours trading, the stock declined a little more than 2 percent.
- Blockchains are the new Linux, not the new Internet
Decentralized blockchain solutions are vastly more democratic, and more technically compelling, than the hermetically-sealed, walled-garden, Stack-ruled Internet of today. Similarly, open-source Linux was vastly more democratic, and more technically compelling, than the Microsoft and Apple OSes which ruled computing at the time. But nobody used it except a tiny coterie of hackers. It was too clunky; too complicated; too counterintuitive; required jumping through too many hoops — and Linux’s dirty secret was that the mainstream solutions were, in fact, actually fine, for most people.
Sound familiar? Today there’s a lot of work going into decentralized distributed storage keyed on blockchain indexes; Storj, Sia, Blockstack, et al. This is amazing, groundbreaking work… but why would an ordinary person, one already comfortable with Box or Dropbox, switch over to Storj or Blockstack? The centralized solution works just fine for them, and, because it’s centralized, they know who to call if something goes wrong. Blockstack in particular is more than “just” storage … but what compelling pain point is it solving for the average user?
- Concord wants to become the Google Docs of contracts
Concord wants to centralize everything related to contract management into one service, and this service is supposed to work for all sorts of teams. Companies like Just Eat have been using it across the board, from the sales team to the HR team.
And it starts with writing new contracts. Concord lets you create and edit contracts directly in your browser. If you want to send it to a coworker, you just share the Concord document. The platform then tracks changes and versions so that everybody across your organization stays on the same page. And those contracts are legally binding.
- What’s Stopping IBM’s Global Business Services from Growing?
The GBS segment’s revenue fell 2% to $4.0 billion in the quarter. The segment encompasses consulting, global process services, and application management services. It provides customers with these services by integrating them with the company’s offerings, including Watson, cloud, blockchain, and technology services.
The migration of customers from big on-premises projects and models to the cloud system has led to a fall in IBM’s traditional back office implementation business.
- Is Management Really to Blame for IBM’s Woes?
Shares of IBM have declined 8% this year, while the S&P 500 has gained 8%. The reasons are easy to see — the company’s revenue has fallen annually for 20 straight quarters, Warren Buffett sold about 30% of Berkshire’s stake in February, and Moody’s downgraded its credit rating in early May.
Amid all those negative headlines, it’s easy to blame IBM’s management for its current woes. However, it makes more sense to blame former CEO Sam Palmisano for most of those problems. Rometty initially waited too long to abandon Palmisano’s quixotic plan, but her moves over the past three years indicate that she knows how to turn around the aging company. Therefore, investors should keep those facts in mind before assuming that IBM would fare better under new management.
Photo: Hermes Rivera