Jeff Bezos surpassed Bill Gates to become the richest man in the world. Bezos’ company has long competed with Microsoft in cloud hosting and now it seems they will battle in the healthcare space. There are reports that Amazon has a secret project to address electronic records which Microsoft has also been investigating for some time.
Google is fighting with AWS and Microsoft to gain a footing in enterprise cloud. It seems that their plans might be working as contracts valued at $500K or more have tripled for them this year.
Apple is getting in President Trump’s good graces this week with the promise to work with Foxconn on building up to three manufacturing planets in the United States.
- Mitel to buy ShoreTel for $430 million to create unified communications powerhouse
Combining the two companies catapults Mitel to number two in the Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market, according to the company.
As for ShoreTel, while it will get absorbed in the deal, it looks like the shareholders did quite well, scoring a 28 percent premium over the closing stock price yesterday. The deal looks like this: Mitel will pay $7.50 a share for a total value of $430 million in an all-cash deal.
With the stroke of a pen, Mitel now has almost doubled its UCaaS revenue to $263 million, and there will be other efficiencies achieved by combining the two companies with similar markets.
- KKR confirms it will buy WebMD for $2.8B in cash
Some consolidation is afoot in the world on health-focused online media properties. Today, WebMD, one of the biggest sites in the world for health-related information — announced that it would be acquired by Internet Brands — the company that is controlled by KKR and owns a large portfolio of B2B and B2C websites in verticals like automotive, health, home, travel and legal — for a $66.50 per share in cash, or $2.8 billion. The news confirms a report from this weekend noting that the deal was on the cards.
- OpenText acquires forensic security vendor Guidance Software for $240 million
OpenText, the content management company based in Waterloo, Ontario announced today that it was buying Guidance Software, a forensic security and eDiscovery vendor for $240 million.
OpenText agreed to pay Guidance shareholders $7.10 a share. The price will be less Guidance’s cash on hand of approximately $18 million, making the final price just around $222 million, according to OpenText. Under the terms of the purchase, the company will become a wholly owned subsidiary of OpenText.
- Merger Talks Between BMC and CA End
BMC, which is owned by private-equity firms Bain Capitaland Golden Gate Capital, is no longer exploring a deal with CA and the talks aren’t likely to heat up again soon, according to people familiar with the matter.
The deal the companies were discussing would have been structured as a leveraged buyout and counted as one of the largest such deals in years, given CA’s market value of $14.6 billion Thursday morning.
- SoftBank is reportedly keen to buy ‘multi-billion dollar stake’ in Uber
Less than a day after it agreed to put $2 billion into Southeast Asia’s Grab alongside Didi, now SoftBank is being linked with an investment in Uber, the U.S. firm that rivals those two aforementioned ride-sharing companies.
A Wall Street Journal report claims SoftBank has been in touch with Uber with the apparent goal of buying a “multi-billion dollar stake” in the company. To date, Uber has raised close to $12 billion from investors, with its most recent valuation reportedly above $60 billion.
John and I predicted this would happen on SourceCast episode 78
- Google targets AI startups with Developers Launchpad Studio mentorship program
Helpful perks to creators to be made available at the Developers Launchpad Studio include product validation support and introductions to AI investors, as well as feedback and advice from people like Google director of research Peter Norvig and Yossi Matias, head of Google’s R&D Research Center in Israel. Participants will also receive $50,000 in financial support without the need to give Google equity, as well as product credits for services like Google Cloud.
- IBM Watson Helps More Puppies Become Guiding Eyes for the Blind
While this video provides no information on how Watson is being used to select helper puppies… who doesn’t like to look a puppies (damn you IBM, you knew what you were doing).
- The cloud wars explained: Amazon is dominating, but Microsoft and Google are striking back
Still, Microsoft’s key advantage isn’t necessarily in technology, but rather in its enterprise know-how and established customer base. Lots of Microsoft’s biggest customers have contracts with the company that give them steep discounts on its software. Microsoft has been using those agreements to give customers big incentives to try Azure.
Microsoft has also worked to make Azure more attractive to software developers. Under Nadella, the company has swallowed its pride and begun to support in Azure technologies it previously tried to crush. Most notably that includes the Linux operating system — a bit of software that developers absolutely love, but that ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once called “a cancer” and “communism,” because it’s available for free.
That newfound openness to open-source code like Linux has won Microsoft a lot of appreciation from programmers. At last count, Linux accounted for about a third of all Azure usage, according to Microsoft.
- Google triples number of $500k cloud deals year over year as latest results announced
“To be more specific about our momentum with big customers, in Q2 the number of new deals we closed worth more than $0.5 million is three times what it was last year,” Pichai added.
This was about as specific as Pichai got, as Google puts cloud in its ‘other revenue’ bucket, alongside such products as the Google Play app store. Google’s other revenues for Q217 were at $3.1 billion, up 42% from this time last year but seeing a very slight decrease from Q1 this year.
- Amazon has set its sights on healthcare tech with a stealth lab it calls ‘1492’
The e-commerce giant has set up a new, stealthy lab called “1492” that’s dedicated to healthcare technology, CNBC reported Wednesday.
According to the report, the lab is exploring ways to tap into medical providers’ electronic records to make that data more accessible for consumers and their physicians, according to the report. The lab is also considering building a telemedicine system that could connect patients and doctors. And its looking into making health apps for Amazon devices, like the Echo, CNBC reported.
Amazon may be going head-to-head with Microsoft in healthcare
For those who may have forgotten (or never knew), Microsoft has been targeting some of these same spaces for years with its HealthVault patient-records service. Earlier this year, Microsoft extended HealthVault with a new Insights research project designed to provide users with analytics around patient-health.
Microsoft’s AI + Research Group has a specific Healthcare NExT effort via which Microsoft is working with external partners to integrate research and health-technology product development.
- Seagate Shares Slide After Earnings Miss
Seagate Technology shares plunged 19% to $32.01 in early trading Tuesday after the company reported fourth-quarter profit and sales well below expectations.
Separately, Seagate said that Chief Executive Steve Luczo will step down from his role effective Oct. 1. Mr. Luczo, who will stay with the company as executive chairman, will be succeeded by Chief Operating Officer Dave Mosley.
- Meg Whitman steps down from HP’s board (Not HPE)
“I will be forever grateful to Meg for her many contributions,” said Dion Weisler, HP’s CEO in a statement. “She is a terrific friend and advisor and will remain so as we continue executing on our strategy of reinvention. I very much look forward to working closely with Chip as our new Chairman as we shepherd HP into the future.”
The release did not indicate whether recent reports from Recode and Bloomberg are accurate, which suggested that she’s on the short list of candidates being considered for Uber’s CEO.
- Get ready to finally say goodbye to Flash — in 2020
Adobe today announced that Flash, the once-ubiquitous plugin that allowed you to play your first Justin Bieber video on YouTube and Dolphin Olympics 2 on Kongregate, will be phased out by the end of 2020. At that point, Adobe will stop updating and distributing Flash. Until then, Adobe will still partner with the likes of Apple, Mozilla, Microsoft and Google to offer security updates for Flash in their browsers and support new versions of them, but beyond that, Adobe will not offer any new Flash features.
- Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Becomes World’s Richest Person
Mr. Bezos, 53, reached a net worth of over $90.6 billion as the stock market opened Thursday, according to Forbes, which has tracked a list of wealthiest people since 1987. That allowed him to steal the title from Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates by $500 million. Stock prices increased from there, adding to his lead.
Analysts expect Amazon to report another quarter of strong sales after the market closes, as the company continues to prove its dominance in everything from retail to cloud services.
- Should America’s Tech Giants Be Broken Up?
They don’t engage in the predatory behavior of yore, such as selling goods below the cost of production to steal market share and cripple competitors. After all, the services that Facebook and Google offer are free (if you don’t consider giving up your personal data and privacy rights to be a cost). However, academics have documented how these companies employ far fewer people than the largest companies of decades past while taking a disproportionate share of national profits. As they grow and occupy a bigger part of the economy, median wages stagnate and labor’s share of gross domestic product declines. Labor’s shrinking share of output is widely implicated in the broader economic growth slowdown.
Still others have shown that, as markets become more concentrated and established companies more powerful, the ability of startups to succeed declines. Since half of all new jobs spring from successful startups, this dampens job creation.
- Why it might be ‘dangerous’ for IBM to turn itself around: professor
“I think IBM has had a good run,” NYU Stern School of Business professor Aswath Damodaran told Yahoo Finance. “Not all companies last forever. There is a life cycle to a company. They are born grow and then decline. They [IBM] have been in decline for 10 or 12 years.”
Damodaran, who teaches corporate finance and valuation, says trying to force growth in older companies like IBM could actually have a negative impact on them, because they might end up simply throwing good money away.
“When you’re 75, you’d love to be 35 again, but you’re not going to,” Damodaran said. “So that’s the way I think of aging companies. Trying to turn them around might be the most dangerous thing you can do.”
- IBM Is One of 18 Companies That Could Soon Be Attacked by an Activist Investor
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) reported its twenty-first consecutive quarter of year-over-year sales declines on July 19. IBM joined our list in May after reporting in April its 20th consecutive annual revenue decline and accelerated margin deterioration. It also reportedly recently began working with two investment banks to formulate an activist defense plan.
- Apple Supplier Foxconn Looks at Producing Display Panels in Wisconsin
Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., has said publicly that it is looking at seven states in the U.S., where it would invest a total of $10 billion or more to manufacture flat-panel screens and related equipment. In June, a company executive identified the seven as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.
In addition to Wisconsin, Foxconn is looking in the Detroit area for a possible plant, two people familiar with the plans said. It wasn’t clear what that plant would make.
- Trump Says Apple CEO Has Promised to Build Three Manufacturing Plants in U.S.
Mr. Trump, in a 45-minute interview with The Wall Street Journal, said Mr. Cook promised him Apple would build “three big plants, beautiful plants.” Mr. Trump didn’t elaborate on where those plants would be located or when they would be built.
“I spoke to [Mr. Cook], he’s promised me three big plants—big, big, big,” Mr. Trump said as part of a discussion about business-tax reform and business investment. “I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success. He called me, and he said they are going forward.”
Photo: Hieu Vu Minh