Oracle is trying to make it harder for Chinese firms to purchase U.S. companies by supporting bills that expands the power of the Committee on Foreign Investment. Meanwhile the rumors of Amazon’s Chinese exit have been greatly exaggerated… the company had to sell off certain assets to comply with Chinese law.
Mashable is about to be purchased by Ziff Davis, leaving some to ponder the viability of digital media.
The viability of the Oath (formerly Yahoo and AOL) is in question with reports of over 500 employees being laid off (4% of their workforce).
- Mashable Agrees to Sell to Ziff Davis for Around $50 Million
The price is approximately one-fifth of the company’s $250 million valuation based on its last investment round in March 2016.
It is a troubling sign for the broader outlook for digital publishers, particularly those that have embraced the “pivot to video” strategy in an effort to lure more lucrative video ad sales.
Bloomberg earlier reported that Mashable was close to an agreement to sell to Ziff Davis. Ziff Davis is a subsidiary of J2 Global Inc. and owns brands such as PCMag, IGN, Everyday Health and Offers.com.
- Oracle’s Mark Hurd: When companies claim they’re in A.I., ‘most of the time it’s just nonsense’
Most of the time, when companies claim they’re in the business of artificial intelligence, “it’s just nonsense,” Oracle CEO Mark Hurd said Tuesday.
“Everybody in [Silicon] Valley’s saying they’re in AI,” Hurd told CNBC’s Jon Fortt during an NYSE Fireside Chat.
- A mirror exposes AI’s inherent flaws in ‘Untrained Eyes’
Kaino and Williams wanted to reveal how something as seemingly innocuous as a Google search can expose algorithmic bias. Kaino points out that searching for “man” on Google Images surfaces page after page of white men in business suits, looking confidently into the camera, while a search for “woman” brings up a grid of white women in various stages of undress. Untrained Eyes sheds a light on issues of representation, forcing the viewer to confront how a computer, and by extension, an unknown programmer, sees them.
- Amazon Web Services denies reports of China exit, confirms some asset sales
No, AWS did not sell its business in China and remains fully committed to ensuring Chinese customers continue to receive AWS’s industry leading cloud services. Chinese law forbids non-Chinese companies from owning or operating certain technology for the provision of cloud services. As a result, in order to comply with Chinese law, AWS sold certain physical infrastructure assets to Sinnet, its longtime Chinese partner and AWS seller-of-record for its AWS China (Beijing) Region. AWS continues to own the intellectual property for AWS Services worldwide. We’re excited about the significant business we have in China and its growth potential over the next number of years.
- Companies will waste over $10 billion in cloud spending in the next year
“Cloud providers claim they are getting better at helping companies save some of their cloud spending. For example, AWS recently claimed it saved AWS users $500 million by alerting customers when they are overpaying,” says Kim Weins, VP of cloud cost strategy at RightScale. “Unfortunately, this is just a drop in the bucket. RightScale has seen that companies waste, on average, 35 percent of their cloud spend. This equates to $6.4 billion in annualized wasted cost for AWS alone. For the top three public cloud providers (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform), this represents annualized waste of $10 billion.”
RightScale points out some ways in which enterprises can control their cloud costs. Forty percent of instances are sized larger than is required for the workload and could be resized — and therefore made cheaper — without impacting performance of the application. Each oversized instance is wasting 50-75 percent, resulting in 11-16 percent of all cloud spend being wasted.
- IBM makes 20 qubit quantum computing machine available as a cloud service
IBM has been offering quantum computing as a cloud service since last year when it came out with a 5 qubit version of the advanced computers. Today, the company announced that it’s releasing 20-qubit quantum computers, quite a leap in just 18 months. A qubit is a single unit of quantum information.
The company also announced that IBM researchers had successfully built a 50 qubit prototype, which is the next milestone for quantum computing, but it’s unclear when we will see this commercially available.
Satya Nadella’s book mentions the increase in qubits as an important milestone for AI.
- No Wild West here – Workday’s CEO on customer satisfaction
In my conversations with Workday customers over the last year, customers have showered the company with praise on the company’s efforts to ensure everything goes to plan. I don’t normally include those remarks in my reports because, for me, it is a check mark for the future rather than an item that contributes to an assessment of the project. But then check what Paul Wright of Accuride said to me recently:
To answer your specific question I think the customers are ready, willing and able to adopt all the technology coming at them. The questions were solid from the audience around the complexities they have in their business, and there were people in the session from all kinds of verticals. The PMs weren’t stumped by anyone. I heard similar stories from my guys who were in sessions around HR, prism analytics, and PaaS. My team was very impressed by how they constructed the open platform, and can’t wait to play with it, we’ve already got some apps in mind.
- Google study shows how your account is most likely to be hijacked
The tech titan found 788,000 credentials that were stolen via keyloggers, 12 million stolen via phishing and 3.3 billion exposed by third-party breaches within a year of investigating black markets. A total of 12 percent of the exposed records it found used Gmail addresses as a username, and seven percent of those accounts reused the Gmail password for other services, making them more vulnerable than the others.
Howevever, since Google incorporates safety measures to prevent strangers from logging into your account, the company also saw increasingly sophisticated tools capable of collecting data other than usernames and passwords. Among the phishing tools and keyloggers Google examined, 82 percent and 74 percent, respectively, have the capability collect IP addresses. It also found tools that can collect phone numbers, as well as devices’ make and model. Hijackers can then use those info to authenticate the identities of the accounts they’re stealing.
- The Oath bloodbath continues: 560 people are being laid off
More cuts are coming to Oath. The entity that houses Yahoo and AOL is in the process of laying off up to 560 people today following Yahoo’s June acquisition by Verizon. That represents slightly less than 4 percent of Oath’s global employee count of 14,000. Among those people were staffers at Yahoo Finance in the U.K., but the cuts apparently aren’t concentrated in a specific brand or geography.
Verizon in June completed its $4.48 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s assets, which were combined with AOL brands including the HuffPost (formerly The Huffington Post) under a new subsidiary called Oath. Oath laid off 2,100 of its staff after the deal closed, or 15 percent of the workforce.
- Oracle Wants to Make It Tougher for Chinese Firms to Buy U.S. Companies
The bills, which were introduced last week, would expand the power of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), allowing it to review smaller investments and add new national security factors, such as exposure of Americans’ Social Security numbers, for CFIUS to consider.
CFIUS, an inter-agency panel, reviews proposed transactions for national security concerns. CFIUS can recommend that a transaction be prohibited, but only the president can issue an order to stop or suspend a deal.
- Microsoft plans a 75 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030
By pushing its carbon neutrality plans and renewable energy commitments, the target puts the company on track to meet the goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement, and of course puts a big tick in its corporate social responsibility box.
75 percent over 15 years is not a hugely ambitious target, especially when you consider that Microsoft has had carbon reduction on its agenda since 2009, and that despite the environmental programs it has in place, it only manages a lackluster score of C- in Greenpeace’s guide to greener electronics (breaking down to a D+ for both energy and resources).
- Foxconn’s Profit Down 39% Amid iPhone Production Woes
Taiwan-based Foxconn, known formally as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., posted 21 billion New Taiwan dollars (about $695.5 million) in net profit in the three months to September, its statement showed Tuesday. That was lower than the NT$35.6 billion average estimate of analysts polled by the S&P Global Market Intelligence. The 39% decline in profit from the same period a year earlier was Foxconn’s largest drop since 2008, during the global recession, according to data from S&P.
Apple hasn’t disclosed sales numbers for the iPhone X. The phone made its debut with long lines at Apple stores around the world and shipping delays of five-to-six weeks, showing that the company hadn’t ramped up production enough to meet demand. The delay had shrunk to three to four weeks in the U.S. as of Tuesday afternoon.
Photo: Derek Thomson