This week is the tech-industry equivalent of a bad romance movie. First Google and SalesForce announce a partnership, and in the same week, SaleForces announces a partnership with Facebook that could negatively impact Google.
T-Mobile and Sprint are definitely (maybe) off again… probably.
Another acquisition that might go sour is the AT&T and Time Warner agreement. Customers don’t love the idea and there is a certain President of the United States that is potentially using his influence to get revenge on CNN (probably not).
AI is getting smart enough to realize it needs to grow on its own.
- Broadcom Proposes to Acquire Qualcomm for Over $100 Billion
The cash-and-stock deal carries a value of roughly $103 billion and includes about $25 billion of debt. In a news release, Broadcom said it valued the deal at $130 billion.
Broadcom offers to acquire Qualcomm for $70 per share
Specifically Broadcom is offering to pay $70.00 per Qualcomm share, with $60.00 being in cash and $10.00 per share in Broadcom shares. It’s intending to use debt financing if it gets agreement for the deal.
Although a Nomura Instinet analyst, cited by Reuters, suggests that a $70 per share offer won’t be sufficient for the proposal to fly.
- Proofpoint acquires Cloudmark for $110M in cybersecurity consolidation play
As malicious groups continue to become more sophisticated in their hacking techniques, cybersecurity efforts are attempting to expand in their reach, and that is leading to some consolidation in the field. Today, cybersecurity firm Proofpoint — which provides SaaS products to protect businesses’ email, social media and other services — announced that it would pay $110 million to acquire Cloudmark, another firm that provides security protection for messaging services, focusing specifically on serving the ISP and mobile carrier markets.
- Sprint and T-Mobile Call Off Merger
The decision came after Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Tim Höttges, CEO of T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom AG, met for dinner at Mr. Son’s house in Tokyo to try to reach a final agreement, a person familiar with the matter said.
In a joint statement, the companies said they couldn’t settle on mutually agreeable terms. They didn’t go into specifics.
Instead of a merger, Sprint parent company SoftBank Group Corp. plans to buy shares of Sprint on the open market. SoftBank’s stake is around 80%, and it intends to keep its stake below an 85% threshold that would trigger a tender offer.
- Continental buys Israeli co Argus Cyber Security
Continental said that Argus would now become part of Elektrobit and would continue to engage in commercial relations with all automotive suppliers globally.
The purchase price was not disclosed though Israeli media reported earlier this week that Continental would pay about $400 million (£305.4 million) for Argus.
- Marvell Technology Group in Advanced Talks to Combine With Cavium
Marvell is based in Bermuda but run from Santa Clara, Calif. Its chips are used primarily in storage devices, printers and wireless products, and can be found in cars. The company had long been run by husband-and-wife co-founders Sehat Sutardja, who was chairman and chief executive, and Weili Dai, who was president.
Last year, activist investor Starboard Value LP took a 6.7% stake in Marvell and pushed for the company to cut costs and consider exiting its mobile-devices business. Marvell initiated a restructuring that would eliminate around 900 employees, or approximately 16% of its workforce. It also hired a new CEO to run the company.
Cavium, based in San Jose, Calif., makes products that are used for networking, data-center and wireless applications.
- The merger between AT&T and Time Warner is a raw deal for the rest of us
A combined AT&T-Time Warner could pass along the massive acquisition costs, which include billions of dollars in Time Warner debt, to consumers, just as AT&T did after acquiring DirecTV. Even if you subscribe to a different service for cable or satellite TV, you could wind up paying more, because AT&T could raise the prices it charges competitors for HBO, CNN, and other highly desirable Time Warner programming.
Meanwhile, AT&T-Time Warner would have every incentive to favor its own content over that of others, meaning that AT&T users might not have access to the programming they want – like the competing content of Netflix and Hulu – on the same terms. Because of AT&T’s large footprint in the wireless internet market, their acquisition of a massive content provider poses a serious threat to net neutrality.
And that’s not all. Should regulators sign off on this deal, it could have enormous long-term implications for the media landscape, as other major industry players — of which there are fewer and fewer — will increasingly argue that greater scale or their own vertical deal is necessary in order to compete with the behemoths of AT&T and Comcast.
- A.I. Researchers Leave Elon Musk Lab to Begin Robotics Start-Up
Their start-up, Embodied Intelligence, is backed by $7 million in funding from the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Amplify Partners and other investors. The company will specialize in complex algorithms that allow machines to learn tasks on their own. Using these methods, existing robots could learn to, for example, install car parts that aren’t quite like the parts they have installed in the past, sort through a bucket of random holiday gifts as they arrive at a warehouse, or perform other tasks that machines traditionally could not.
“We now have teachable robots,” Mr. Abbeel said during a recent interview at the new company’s offices in Emeryville, Calif., just across the bay from San Francisco.
- To keep up with demand, AI may have to build itself
While companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft can throw money at the problem and pay “millions of dollars a year to A.I. experts,” per the Times, other companies are taking matters into their own hands and developing tools and neural networks to help companies build their own AI software. That’s where technologies like Google’s new AutoML come in. It hopes to automate the AI-building process by outsourcing it to AI itself. Per the Times: “Google said AutoML could now build algorithms that, in some cases, identified objects in photos more accurately than services built solely by human experts.”
It’s not just algorithms either, but AI is getting really good at teaching itself skills like speech recognition, machine translation, and all sorts of other things thanks to a process that experts call “learning to learn,” or “meta-learning.”
- Google and Salesforce Ink Cloud, Apps Deal
The deal, slated to be announced Monday at the start of Salesforce’s Dreamforce customer conference in San Francisco, comes a year and a half after the cloud-based business software vendor said it would move some computing operations to data centers run by the market leader, Amazon Web Services. Salesforce also operates its own data centers.
World-wide revenue for the business of providing cloud infrastructure—that is, computing processing and storage service—hit $22.2 billion last year, and is expected to climb to $67 billion by 2020, according to industry research firm Gartner Inc.
What about the AWS deal?
It’s unclear exactly how using Google Cloud Platform fits into Salesforce’s overall infrastructure and global expansion plan. Salesforce is already using Amazon Web Services’ infrastructure to power a couple of its international cloud regions, and doesn’t have plans to move away from that investment. AWS will remain a “preferred” cloud provider for Salesforce, as it was when the two companies announced their partnership almost a year and a half ago.
Facebook and Salesforce are teaming up against Microsoft Office and Google
The cloud-software provider and the social networking giant are expected to announce Tuesday that they are enhancing the integration of Salesforce’s Quip productivity app with Facebook’s Workplace, which is a version of the company’s social network that was designed specifically for businesses. The collaboration is designed to make it easier to share Quip documents in Workplace and see there a list of all documents shared.
The partnership could help the two companies better compete with Microsoft’s Office and Google’s G Suite.
But the deal could have other benefits. The partnership will give both Salesforce and Facebook a way in with each other’s customers.
- Microsoft, Oracle, IBM are said to alter pay to push cloud sales
Previously, Microsoft had been bundling cloud services, such as Azure for storing and running data and cloud applications, with many of its multiyear deals. Althoff said the shift in pay incentives is a significant change.
“We did have ill-informed behaviours,” he said. “We tried to sell Azure the same way we tried to sell everything else at Microsoft, which is adding it into our enterprise agreement. People were like ‘Do you want fries with that? Do you want Azure with that?’ That didn’t drive any meaningful work.”
IBM has been emphasising selling cloud infrastructure services and software and tools geared toward specific business processes and industries such as health care and finance. Oracle has been turning its focus to the cloud as well and investing in staff. The company said in August it was adding more than 5,000 people, including in sales, for its cloud business – following other related hires earlier in the year in the US.
- New IBM platform turns your data center into a cloud
IBM Cloud Private takes middleware and other legacy applications, places them inside Kubernetes containers and transforms them into contemporary applications using Kubernetes container orchestration. The software itself is already containerized, including IBM tools and most major open source databases.
Cloud Private also provides tools and APIs to connect cloud services like Salesforce with a company’s on-premises data center and share data from the cloud services with those legacy applications.
- Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer Subpoenaed to Testify Before Senate, Says Report
Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has reportedly been subpoenaed to testify to the Senate Commerce Committee about the massive cyber hack that compromised 3 billion accounts. The U.S. has charged four alleged Russian spies with the breach, which is now being investigated by the government for insight into Russia’s cyber espionage activities.
Issued Oct. 25, according to a report by The Hill, Mayer’s subpoena reportedly came after the former Google employee and Yahoo chief executive declined multiple invitations to appear before the committee voluntarily. Since being served, she has agreed to testify willingly, says The Hill, though she has also reportedly asked for the court order to be lifted. A Mayer representative has refuted these events, The Hill reports.
- New tools help could help prevent Amazon S3 data leaks
Today, AWS announced a new set of five tools designed to protect customers from themselves and ensure (to the extent possible) that the data in S3 is encrypted and safe.
For starters, the company is giving the option of default encryption. That means every object that gets moved into an S3 bucket will have encryption on by default. What’s more, this will happen without admins having to construct a rejected bucket for unencrypted files. It’s not exactly foolproof, but it gives admins a good solid way to ensure the data is always encrypted in a much smoother way than before.
If that’s not enough, Amazon is putting a signal front and center on the administrative console that warns admins with a prominent indicator next to each S3 bucket that has been left open to the public. If something slips through the cracks at the end user level, this should at least give admins an additional level of protection that something is amiss.
- Equifax CEO to Congress: Not Sure We Are Encrypting Data
But Mr. Barros stumbled when asked by Sen. Cory Gardner (R., Colo) whether Equifax was now encrypting the consumer data it stored on its computers—a basic step in hiding sensitive information from hackers, and one the company previously had admitted it didn’t take before the breach.
“I don’t know at this stage,” Mr. Barros said.
The answer was disappointing, said Avivah Litan, an analyst with the research firm Gartner Inc. “He should have asked his staff that the day he took over,” she said.
- Salesforce CEO dismisses Microsoft as a competitor
You know, look. They’re 1 percent of the CRM market. You know the numbers. I like having competitors. But what I just get blown away with is how they just can’t keep, you know, that management team in place. They just keep leaving Microsoft. You know that. And I think they don’t have confidence in that ability to execute in that business. So that has weighed to our favor, and customers feel that.
You know because you go to these conferences just like I do. There is no conference like this that they do and that’s the — in my opinion, the mark. That is — why is it that they don’t have anything like this? That when they put on a conference like something — it’s always the resellers who come together, and then — where are these people? Now, that isn’t to say they don’t have, like, Build, where they get these really high-end developers using the IDE. You know what I mean? Is that the conference I’ve been to where I’m like, Oh, yeah, these are all the — and they’re all Windows — they have a Windows fever. And they have Windows API fever at the conference. But I haven’t seen that in any other part of their business, other than the Windows API. Maybe they’ll get it in Azure — I don’t know. But I haven’t seen that yet. Because the last time that I went to the conference, I didn’t see that. I only see that fever around the Windows API. And the Surface laptop.
- IBM’s Ginni Rometty: Comfort and growth will never co-exist
Today, IBM has 10,000 staff working with clients on design thinking and 1200 doing work internally. “That started us on the journey of getting to that business-to-person approach,” she said.
To answer the question of whether IBM could be big as well as fast, the business commenced on an agile journey where small multidisciplinary teams work to produce a minimum viable product and iterate.
“What I realised is that our employees can’t work faster unless we changed the way they work,” Rometty said. Today, 200,000 employees are doing agile, a change that led to 170 building renovations globally, and a rethink of appraisal systems.
Photo: Jon Asato