The Equifax breach that compromised 143 million Americans personal data has dominated the news this week. Reports have been rolling in about the potential issues hacking victims face, how Equifax handled the response (and how they addressed the vulnerability), to issues with how they notified potentially impacted people.
Simply put, the entire situation is a mess.
Oracle had strong earnings this quarter thanks to their legacy software division. However, investors are worried that this was a one-off boost with no long term potential. Oracle is also (finally) spinning off Java EE to open source (which has long been rumored).
- Rackspace acquires Datapipe as it looks to expand its managed services business
The two privately held companies did not disclose the financial details of the transaction, but Datapipe has raised more than $310 million in equity funding since its launch in 1998 and this deal surely didn’t come cheap. Datapipe’s majority owner, Abry Partners, will become an equity investor in Rackspace and the combined company will have more than 6,700 employees and do more than $2.4 billion in annual revenue.
“The reason we’re buying them is that we want to extend our leadership in multi-cloud services,” Rackspace chief strategy officer Matt Bradley told me. “It’s a sign and signal that we’re going for it.” Bradley expects that the combined company will make Rackspace the largest private cloud player and the largest managed hosting service. He also noted that the fact that Rackspace is now a private company again, with a single owner, allowed it to go for this deal. “This would have been very hard to get done under our old structure,” he noted.
- Japan’s SoftBank Wants Big Chunk of Uber, But at Steep Discount
SoftBank and its $93 billion tech-focused Vision Fund are proposing to buy 17% to 22% of Uber through a combination of share purchases from the company and a tender offer extended to employees and investors, according to people familiar with the matter. But the tender offer would represent a discount of 30% or more from Uber’s last valuation of almost $70 billion, the people said.
Existing Uber shareholders have expressed concern that the process could devalue the company as it heads toward an initial public offering in as few as 18 months.
As part of the offer, SoftBank also is seeking two board seats, these people said, adding to Uber’s nine sitting directors.
- Trump Blocks China-Backed Fund from Buying U.S. Chip Maker Lattice
But Canyon Bridge and Lattice waged an unusually public fight to try to save their deal, which became a lightning rod in a broader battle between the U.S. and China over chip technology and foreign direct investment.
According to a statement from the White House, Mr. Trump believes the transaction could risk U.S. national security due to “the potential transfer of intellectual property to the foreign acquirer, the Chinese government’s role in supporting this transaction, the importance of semiconductor supply chain integrity to the United States Government, and the use of Lattice products by the United States Government.”
- As Amazon Pushes Forward With Robots, Workers Find New Roles
Complicating the equation even more, Amazon is also on the forefront of automation, finding new ways of getting robots to do the work once handled by employees. In 2014, the company began rolling out robots to its warehouses using machines originally developed by Kiva Systems, a company Amazon bought for $775 million two years earlier and renamed Amazon Robotics. Amazon now has more than 100,000 robots in action around the world, and it has plans to add many more to the mix.
The robots make warehouse work less tedious and physically taxing, while also enabling the kinds of efficiency gains that let a customer order dental floss after breakfast and receive it before dinner.
- Facebook’s New Lab Bolsters Montreal’s Bragging Rights As An AI Hub
Among those behind Montreal’s emergence as a leader in AI research is University of Montreal professor and director of the school’s Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms Yoshua Bengio, a pioneer in deep learning.
“Facebook is clearly a leader in AI,” Bengio said in a statement, “and the creation [of] Facebook’s AI lab here is going to contribute to the expansion of Montreal as an international hub for AI, an ecosystem joining universities [and] established companies as well as startups.” (Bengio is also a consultant to Microsoft, which is putting down stakes of its own in Montreal’s AI community; in January, it bought Maluuba, a Montreal-based AI startup he had advised.)
- Dell EMC and HPE vie for top spot in server market, trading revenue and shipment lead
Though Dell EMC still trails HPE in server revenue, the company’s lead in shipments reflects positive growth and the potential for leading the market in revenue in the future. However, both companies are also competing in the cloud space. Last year, HPE held its spot as the number one cloud infrastructure provider, but that was before Dell Technologies could test its presence in the market.
In contrast to last year’s Q2 report, where global server revenue fell 0.8% year-over-year, there was an uptick in this year’s report. As a whole, the server market is having to respond to market needs as more companies store data through cloud providers over traditional, on-premise systems.
- Oracle: Pullback Is An Opportunity
Despite continued strength in cloud SaaS (+62%, nearly 12% of total revenues), I was most surprised to see the company’s on-premise software and hardware business (what I collectively call “legacy”) return to positive growth this quarter. I believe this was the most important component of the revenue beat this quarter, as growth in cloud landed less impressively just an inch above the mid-point of management’s guidance. While I welcome the news, I also fear that some investors may see the strong numbers in the slow-to-no growth part of the business as a one-off occurrence that does little to support the cloud-centric investment thesis.
- MicroFocus updates its security portfolio after HPE merger
When MicroFocus completed its spin-merger with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the company claims it created the seventh-largest pure-play software company in the world. It also is now among the largest security companies.
The company announced that analytics from the HPE Vertica embedded database will be built in to ArcSight, the company’s security console that is built on an open architecture to enable data sharing through the enterprise. Also, a new partnership with Elastic – an open-source DIY platform for building visualizations into data – will empower security teams to gain deeper insights from data exploration to threats.
- Why Blockchain May Be Key to IBM’s Future
According to Business Insider, the Swiss financial services giant UBS thinks the company should be betting it’s future on blockchain. UBS would know about blockchain. It jumped on the distributed-database bandwagon early and has become a major proponent of the technology’s use:
Both IBM and Microsoft are looking to monetize blockchain, but we think IBM is ahead and that blockchain is more important for IBM. IBM’s legacy businesses are in decline; we think technologies such as blockchain and cognitive computing are its best hope for recovery.
- Oracle prepares to spin off Java EE to Eclipse Foundation
Oracle has recently admitted that “although Java EE is developed in open source with the participation of the Java EE community, often the process is not seen as being agile, flexible, or open enough, particularly when compared to other open-source communities. We’d like to do better.”
The company is now moving quickly to make Java EE better. For example, Java EE code is now available on GitHub. Interestingly, Oracle isn’t moving Java EE by itself.
Delabassee said, “First, we have reached out to IBM and Red Hat, the other largest contributors to the Java EE platform, to solicit their support for this new direction. Oracle, IBM, and Red Hat are collaborating on an ongoing basis to refine an approach that we can collectively support.” This is not the way Oracle used to do things.
- The Equifax hack is really good for Symantec
That’s because LifeLock, the identity-theft protection service owned by Symantec, is now enrolling 10 times the amount of people per hour in its program, reports Bloomberg. “We’re over 100,000 new members and counting since the breach. Most are paying the full price, rather than discounts. It’s a really incredible response from the market,” Symantec’s Fran Rosch revealed. Further, the people signing up after the Equifax breech are on average 10 years younger than typical LifeLock customers, and they opt for the premium $29.99 a month plan, not the cheaper $9.99 a month one. Oh, and while Equifax’s stock is tanking, Symantec’s is up over 10% after the breach
- Equifax Reports Data Breach Possibly Affecting 143 Million U.S. Consumers
Credit-reporting company Equifax Inc. said Thursday that hackers gained access to some of its systems, potentially compromising the personal information of roughly 143 million U.S. consumers in one of the biggest and most threatening data breaches of recent years.
The size of the hack is second only to the pair of attacks on Yahoo disclosed last year that affected the information of as many as 1.5 billion customers. It also involves nearly twice the number affected by one of the highest-profile breaches at a financial firm, the cyberattack at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. about three years ago.
Equifax execs dumped stock before the hack news went public
As Bloomberg reports, three of the company’s senior executives sold nearly $1.8 million in shares after the company learned internally that it had exposed the private data, including social security and driver’s license numbers, of as many as 143 million people in the U.S.
The transactions in question were initiated by Chief Financial Officer and Corporate VP John Gamble, who sold $946,374 worth of shares; President of U.S. Information Solutions Joseph Loughran, who dumped $584,099; and President of Workforce Solutions Rodolfo Ploder, who sold $250,458 in shares. As Bloomberg notes, these transactions were not pre-scheduled trades and they took place on August 2, three days after the company learned of the hack.
It’s time to build our own Equifax with blackjack and crypto
We must look outside the US for leadership. Estonia, for example, has already released a number of solutions to this problem including a cryptographically secure ID card. This card connects to our computers and unlocks our data. Without it no one can access our data. An even easier solution could include government-provided 2-factor ID generator. These are cheap and portable and rugged and far more secure than any static number. Further, we must also outlaw SMS two-factor authentication. In fact, thanks to the data stolen from Equifax, that process can be easily broken by (you guessed it) telling a CSR the last four digits of our Social Security Number.
- Google appeals $2.4 billion EU antitrust fine
While Google has appealed the decision, it has not requested that the court suspend it in the meantime, and it appears as though the company will continue to work towards fulfilling the changes ordered by the June ruling. At the end of last month, the company met the deadline to submit its plan on how it will change its practices to make them fall in line with EU antitrust laws. An initial review of that plan was met with approval by EU officials. Google is required to stop the offending practices by September 28th or face additional fines that could amount to five percent of Alphabet’s daily average worldwide revenue.
- There’s Blood In The Water In Silicon Valley
The tech industry has also benefited for years from its enemies, who it cast — often accurately — as Luddites who genuinely didn’t understand the series of tubes they were ranting about, or protectionist industries that didn’t want the best for consumers. That, too, is over. Opportunists and ideologues have assembled the beginnings of a real coalition against these companies, with a policy core consisting of refugees from Google boss Eric Schmidt’s least favorite think tank unit. Nationalists, accurately, see a consolidation of power over speech and ideas by social liberals and globalists; the left, accurately, sees consolidated corporate power. Those are the ascendant wings of the Republican and Democratic parties, even before Donald Trump sends the occasional spray of bile Jeff Bezos’s way — and his spokeswoman declines, as she did in June, to defend Google against European regulators.
Photo: Katie Frego