Supplier Report: 6/30/2017

There is another ransomware threat that has been unleashed upon unsuspecting corporations. “Petya” is even more focused on locking down corporate infrastructure than predecessor “WannaCry”.

IBM is recovering nicely from their WhatsApp loss a few weeks back.  They are finally scoring some blockchain wins on Wall Street, they are working on an AI super computer with the Air Force, and they landed (pun intended) a cloud contract with American Airlines.

The EU is hitting Google with a $2.7B fine over anti-trust concerns at the same time the company announced they aren’t scanning your email for personalized ad targeting anymore. Google also announced they are removing medical records from search results because… that was a thing apparently?

Acquisitions

  • SoftBank’s $100 billion vision fund eyes quantum computing

    SoftBank Group Corp.’s $100 billion Vision Fund is scouting for possible investments in quantum computing, an experimental science being researched by companies such as Google and IBM to succeed current computer processor technology. Shu Nyatta, who helps invest money for the fund, said the group wanted to find and back the company whose quantum computing hardware or software that runs atop it would become the “de facto industry standard.” “We are happy to invest enough to create that standard around which the whole industry can coalesce,” Nyatta said, speaking during a panel discussion at a conference on quantum computing in Munich Thursday.

    http://www.financialexpress.com/industry/softbanks-100-billion-vision-fund-eyes-quantum-computing/733555/

  • Sprint Enters Into Exclusive Talks With Charter, Comcast On Wireless
    Deal

    One arrangement that has been considered is for Charter and Comcast to invest in improving Sprint’s network in exchange for favorable terms to offer wireless service using the carrier’s network, the people said. Such a deal could involve the companies taking an equity stake in Sprint, some of the people said. The cable companies already have such a network-resale agreement with Verizon Communications Inc., but the Sprint deal could provide much better terms.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/sprint-enters-into-exclusive-talks-with-charter-comcast-on-wireless-deal-1498524087

  • Apple acquires SMI eye-tracking company

    Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI), an eye-tracking firm, MacRumors reports.

    The German company, which was founded in 1991, has done significant work in eye-tracking research with proprietary eyeglass hardware while also working on consumer-focused applications like eye-tracking for virtual reality. Last year, the company announced it had created an eye-tracking development kit for the HTC Vive VR headset.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/26/apple-acquires-smi-eye-tracking-company/?ncid=rss

  • Microsoft To Acquire Cloud Cost Optimization Vendor Cloudyn

    Microsoft said the acquisition fits with its commitment to provide customers with the tools they need to govern their cloud adoption and realize the strategic benefits of a global, intelligent cloud system.

    In April Calcalist, an Israeli business web site, said Microsoft and Cloudyn were discussing an acquisition for between $50 million and $70 million.

    http://www.crn.com/news/cloud/300088031/microsoft-to-acquire-cloud-cost-optimization-vendor-cloudyn.htm

Artificial Intelligence

  • The Air Force and IBM are building an AI supercomputer

    IBM and the USAF announced on Friday that the machine will run on an array of 64 TrueNorth Neurosynaptic chips. The TrueNorth chips are wired together like, and operate in a similar fashion to, the synapses within a biological brain. Each core is part of a distributed network and operate in parallel with one another on an event-driven basis. That is, these chips don’t require a clock, as conventional CPUs do, to function.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/06/23/the-air-force-and-ibm-are-building-an-ai-supercomputer/

  • Leveraging cloud for AI success

    The cloud can be configured to use GPU accelerators for machine learning algorithms. GPU is a form of accelerated computing that allows graphic processors to supplement traditional processors on complex calculations – such as those involved in machine learning and algorithm training. GPUs break the previous barriers that limited parallel processing of AI applications.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/leveraging-cloud-for-ai-success/

  • IBM, Cornell University To Use Artificial Intelligence To Make Dairy Safe

    By sequencing and analyzing the DNA and RNA (genetic code) of food microbiomes, researchers plan to create new tools that can help monitor raw milk to detect anomalies that represent food safety hazards and possible fraud.

    While many food producers already have rigorous processes in place to ensure food safety hazards are managed appropriately, this pioneering application of genomics will be designed to enable a deeper understanding and characterization of microorganisms on a much larger scale than has previously been possible.

    http://www.inquisitr.com/4323505/ibm-cornell-university-to-use-artificial-intelligence-to-make-dairy-safe/

  • Microsoft says its AI took a data scientist’s job

    Much of the conversation about machine learning taking jobs focuses on the future, but Microsoft boasted its cloud service has already managed to claim one human’s position. The Custom Decision Service, which the company introduced at its Build conference last month, took over at one of Microsoft’s customers, according to Jennifer Chayes, a distinguished scientist at the company’s research arm.

    “One of the startups, they were really pressed for funds, got rid of their one data scientist because this worked so much better than their data scientist,” she said during an on stage interview at a Bloomberg event in San Francisco today.

    https://venturebeat.com/2017/06/22/microsoft-says-its-ai-took-a-data-scientists-job/

Cloud

  • Oracle CEO Mark Hurd: ‘We’re different than Amazon’

    “We’re different than Amazon. Amazon offers infrastructure, and they started in infrastructure. We’re a differentiated intellectual property company. We make applications. We make platforms, databases, Java, business intelligence, analytics, machine-to-machine capability embedded in those applications,” he said.

    “I would guess a quarter of the world’s infrastructure has a piece of Oracle IP running on top,” said Hurd.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/22/ceo-mark-hurd-oracle-is-different-than-amazon.html

  • American Airlines taps IBM once again for ‘massive’ cloud shift

    The airline industry has struggled to modernize its infrastructure, and as a result has suffered a number of recent computer failures. By moving to the cloud, AA hopes to avoid similar problems while also improving the customer experience, business processes and communications.

    Once the airline is migrated off its legacy infrastructure, it can rely on IBM as its services provider to ensure applications stay running. With more bandwidth, and dedicated infrastructure staff, AA will hopefully not have to deal with large-scale and damaging outages.

    http://www.ciodive.com/news/american-airlines-taps-ibm-once-again-for-massive-cloud-shift/445876/

Datacenter

  • IBM: Is The Cloud Swallowing the Mainframe?

    “A key near-term debate among investors is whether the anticipated release of a new mainframe can help IBM achieve a back-end-loaded second half.”

    Mainframes are just 3% of total revenue, and 2% of profit, he notes, annually, but the whole “platform” of a mainframe, including storage, software, support contracts, and services that go with it, were nearly a quarter of IBM’s revenue last year, and 40% of profits.

    If mainframe sales “decline steadily” in coming years,” it could hurt profit: “if mainframe is ~40% of company profits, and mainframe hardware falls in half over the next 15 years (about a 4% decline per year), this would negatively impacting IBM’s installed base of mainframes by about 25%, and impact mainframe profits by potentially 30%.”

    http://www.barrons.com/articles/ibm-is-the-cloud-swallowing-the-mainframe-asks-bernstein-1498251908

Software/SaaS/Security

  • ‘Petya’ Ransomware Hits At Least 65 Countries; Microsoft Traces It To Tax Software

    Like WannaCry, the Petya ransomware demands a $300 bitcoin payment to retrieve encrypted files and hard drives. As of Wednesday morning Eastern time, the account had received around $10,000. But in a move that has caused some controversy, German email company Posteo blocked the email address the Petya hackers were using to confirm ransom payments. While some cybersecurity experts have praised the approach, others note that users whose files are held hostage have now lost their sole point of contact.

    WannaCry was largely undone by the discovery of a “kill switch” that could shut it down. No such kill switch has been found so far with Petya, and experts are still working to find a way to stop it.

    http://kaxe.org/post/petya-ransomware-hits-least-65-countries-microsoft-traces-it-tax-software#stream/0

  • IBM landed a big win in the race to sell blockchain to Wall Street

    IBM has been selected to build a new blockchain-based international trading system for a consortium of global banks, a major win for the tech giant in the race to sell blockchain to Wall Street.

    The contract is a significant win for IBM as it means the tech company’s blockchain platform — dubbed Hyperledger Fabric — will be used to build the system. That likely means lucrative servicing contracts for IBM and may make banking execs more likely to commission more Hyperledger-based products and services once they’re familiar with the system.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/blockchain-digital-trade-chain-ibm-hyperledger-deutsche-bank-hsbc-soc-gen-2017-6

  • Box, Microsoft announce partnership to co-sell products

    The companies will cooperate to co-sell Box with Azure and will work to integrate Azure’s AI and machine learning tech with Box’s content management platform.

    Box’s document storage service competes with some Microsoft Office 365 products and uses Amazon Web Services, Azure’s competitor, as a backup.

    https://seekingalpha.com/news/3275746-box-microsoft-announce-partnership-co-sell-products


    Wait… doesn’t IBM have a strategic partnership with Box to do the same exact thing? Box must be doing something right to have all these companies doing their sales work for them.

Other (aka the Google section)

  • Google Slapped With $2.7 Billion EU Fine Over Search Results

    Antitrust experts and tech executives say that question arises in areas where tech giants have introduced major innovations—like Google’s search engine—that become gateways to the internet. EU regulators worry that tech firms, by inserting themselves into such a key role of funneling and directing consumer traffic, could take unfair advantage.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-slapped-with-2-7-billion-eu-fine-over-search-results-1498556971

    Yelp, Oracle and News Corp have signed a letter supporting EU action against Google

    Seven U.S. companies and industry groups have signed a letter in support of the European Union fining Google more than $1 billion for allegedly favoring its own shopping service over others in search results.

    https://www.recode.net/2017/6/26/15878518/yelp-oracle-news-corp-letter-supporting-eu-action-against-google-antitrust
    Of course Oracle signed the letter…

  • Google begins removing private medical records from search results

    The leaking of private medical records can be extremely damaging to the victims, both financially and emotionally, with future prospects affected and private lives of the vulnerable exposed. Given that Google’s indexing system will capture anything that’s publicly accessible on the internet, leaks such as those created by an Indian pathology lab which uploaded more than 43,000 patient records in December, including names and HIV blood test results, can be particularly damaging.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/23/google-begins-removing-private-medical-records-from-search-results

  • Google now has all the data it needs, will stop scanning Gmail inboxes for ad personalization

    Google won’t stop showing ads in Gmail, though, and it’s worth noting that given how much the company already knows about all of its users, it just might not need these additional signals from Gmail. And maybe they even turned out to be relatively useless or even detrimental for ad performance.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/23/google-has-all-the-data-it-needs-will-stop-scanning-gmail-inboxes/?ncid=rss

  • Toshiba misses self-imposed deadline for chip unit sale, sues Western Digital

    On one hand, Tsunakawa lambasted the Western Digital at the shareholders meeting, saying it had been interfering in the sale. But the head of Toshiba’s chip unit also said the Japanese company was prepared to make concessions and hoped to resolve the dispute as soon as possible.

    Toshiba argues that Western Digital’s bid for the memory unit presents anti-trust issues and is too low in price.

    Western Digital has said it offer meets the 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) minimum demanded by Toshiba – a figure that appears to match the amount offered by the preferred bidder.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-toshiba-accounting-idUSKBN19I308

Photo: Stephanie McCabe

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