Supplier Report: 2/3/2018

Amazon continues to eat the world.  The news of the company officially creating a private healthcare consortium with JPM and Berkshire has sent investors scrambling.  With few details, the world has to wait to fully understand the impact.

Add Cisco to the list of companies that knew about a major security flaw for months and didn’t tell customers.  The bug impacts the company’s adaptive security appliance (ASA) and scored a 10 out of 10 on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System.

Is VMWare going to buy Dell so the company can go public again and pay down debt? Maybe?

Acquisitions

  • VMware May Buy Dell in Biggest-Ever Tech Deal

    Why would Dell, which already owns 80 percent of VMware, sell itself back to the smaller company? There are a few compelling reasons.

    The reverse merger would allow Dell to once again become a public company without having to undergo a fresh initial public offering (IPO). The company went private in 2013 in a $24.4 billion deal that gave ownership control to founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners. Dell is reportedly carrying around $50 billion in debt, but going public through VMware would allow Dell and Silver Lake to sell back some of their shares publicly, both to offset the debt and to cash in themselves.

    https://www.pcmag.com/news/358828/report-vmware-may-buy-dell-in-biggest-ever-tech-deal

  • SAP to acquire CallidusCloud, beefs out CX and LMS offerings

    The deal, reported to be worth $2.4bn and funded from an unspecified mix of cash and acquisition term loan is expected to complete in Q2 FY2018 following the usual regulatory song and dance. The deal is a 21% premium on CallidusCloud 30-day weighted volume.

    The press release on the acquisition focuses upon CallidusCloud’s sales performance management (SPM) solutions that Gartner rates as the leader in that segment. CallidusCloud also appears in the leaders’ segment for the configure, price, quote (CPQ) market as assessed by Forrester. The acquisition, which will be folded into SAP’s hybris solution, positions SAP ahead of arch-rival Oracle.

    https://diginomica.com/2018/01/30/sap-acquire-calliduscloud-beefs-cx-offerings/

  • Fujifilm acquires Xerox for $6.1 billion

    “The new Fuji Xerox will be better positioned to compete in today’s environment with truly global scale, increased presence in fast-growing markets, and innovation capabilities to effectively meet our customers’ rapidly-evolving demands.”

    Beyond photocopying, Xerox is probably best known in the tech world for failing to capitalize on a number of 1970s-era inventions that eventually became standard on modern personal computers. Ethernet, the mouse, the laser printer, and many other protocols and technologies were created at its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) for the first time.

    As part of the deal, $2.5 billion will be returned to shareholders while 10,000 jobs in Asia will be cut.

    https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/01/fujifilm-acquires-xerox-for-6-1-billion/

  • Red Hat to Acquire CoreOS, Expanding its Kubernetes and Containers Leadership

    Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire CoreOS, Inc., an innovator and leader in Kubernetes and container-native solutions, for a purchase price of $250 million, subject to certain adjustments at closing that are not expected to be material. Red Hat’s acquisition of CoreOS will further its vision of enabling customers to build any application and deploy them in any environment with the flexibility afforded by open source. By combining CoreOS’s complementary capabilities with Red Hat’s already broad Kubernetes and container-based portfolio, including Red Hat OpenShift, Red Hat aims to further accelerate adoption and development of the industry’s leading hybrid cloud platform for modern application workloads.

    https://www.redhat.com/en/about/press-releases/red-hat-acquire-coreos-expanding-its-kubernetes-and-containers-leadership

Artificial Intelligence

  • iPhone assembler Foxconn pledges $340m for AI venture

    “We will at least invest some 10 billion New Taiwan dollars ($342 million) over five years to recruit top talent and deploy artificial intelligence applications in all the manufacturing sites,” said Chairman Terry Gou.

    “It’s likely that we could even pour in some $10 billion or more if we find the deployments are very successful or can really generate results,” said Gou.

    Gou added that his company aimed to recruit up to 100 top AI experts globally and would open up thousands of jobs for young talent should they have good ideas on how to develop applications using machine learning and deep learning techniques.

    https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/AC/iPhone-assembler-Foxconn-pledges-340m-for-AI-venture

  • Google credits AI for stopping more rogue Android apps in 2017

    It credits Google Play Protect for one of the biggest improvements: its ability to spot extremely harmful apps that commit fraud, steal info or allow hijacks. While there weren’t many of them, the mechanism reduced the number of installations by an “order of magnitude” over 2016, Google said. It added that it took down over 250,000 copycat apps (those trying to piggyback off the success of popular apps) and “tens of thousands” of apps violating policies against apps that feature hate speech, illegal acts and porn.

    Google is fully aware that its system isn’t foolproof, and that some apps will still slip through the cracks. The improvements do make a better case for sticking to Google Play for app downloads when you can, though.

    https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/30/google-credits-ai-for-stopping-more-rogue-android-apps-in-2017/

Cloud

  • Oracle CEO Urges Enterprises to Ditch Data Centers and Move to Cloud

    “CEOs and CFOs have to get out of the data center business. The $200 billion system integrator industry is non-sustainable,” said Hurd.

    With the Oracle Cloud and other cloud systems, customers don’t update their systems, the updates come to them automatically. The same is true for the latest security updates and patches keeping systems more current at a cost that Hurd said will always be much cheaper than maintaining your own data center.

    “The likelihood you’re more secure than if you used an enterprise cloud provider is zero,” said Hurd. “Oracle Cloud will be more secure than any individual customer could hope to be.”

    http://www.eweek.com/cloud/oracle-ceo-urges-enterprises-to-ditch-data-centers-and-move-to-cloud
    I am sure people will move… but will they move to Oracle Cloud?

  • Google’s G Suite is no Microsoft killer, but still winning converts

    G Suite may never be an Office killer. Just 15 companies listed in the S&P 500 currently have Google’s business tools, according to a review of public email server data by Reuters. Its $1.3 billion in G Suite sales ranked a distant No. 2 behind Office’s $13.8 billion, according to 2016 data from Gartner.

    But Mann and other analysts say that second place is not a bad spot. Smartphones and artificial intelligence have opened up new opportunities for Google to get on the radar of corporate IT departments even if it never tops Microsoft, they said. A robust G Suite is a cornerstone of Google’s efforts to diversify revenue, which overwhelmingly comes from online ad sales.

    At a minimum, Google is loosening loyalty to Microsoft at a time when the Redmond, Washington-based giant also faces competition from startups such as chat service Slack that offer specialized online business tools. Google’s low-cost, subscription-based G Suite has also pushed Microsoft to adopt a similar strategy with Office 365, an online version of its popular software.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-alphabet-gsuite/googles-g-suite-is-no-microsoft-killer-but-still-winning-converts-idUSKBN1FL3ZX

Security

  • If your businesses uses a Cisco VPN, patch it now to avoid critical flaw

    Cisco is urging users of its Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance to patch their systems to protect against a critical VPN vulnerability. Addressed in a security advisory, Cisco noted that the flaw received a Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) score of 10 out of 10—the highest possible rating.

    The vulnerability specifically affects devices running the vulnerable version of the appliance software that also have the webvpn feature enabled, the advisory said. In this instance webvpn must be configured globally, but must also “be one enabled interface via the enable in the configuration,” the advisory said. To determine if that is the case in your organization, an admin must “use the show running-config webvpn command at the CLI and verify that the command returns at least one enable line,” the advisory said.

    https://www.techrepublic.com/article/if-your-businesses-uses-a-cisco-vpn-patch-it-now-to-avoid-critical-flaw/
    Cisco ‘waited 80 days’ before revealing it had been patching its critical VPN flaw

    Cisco’s advisory also included a table showing which versions of ASA were affected and the first release that had a fix. It was not immediately clear from Cisco’s table when it released the first fixed version.

    However, Colin Edwards, a system administrator, filled in the blanks in his own table with the release date for fixed versions of ASA, which shows Cisco actually rolled-out its first fixed version way back on November 10.

    As Edwards points out, Cisco decided to fix a super-critical bug in some products but then waited 80 days before it told sysadmins they needed to update now.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/cisco-waited-80-days-before-revealing-it-had-been-patching-its-critical-vpn-flaw/

Data Center/Hardware

  • Samsung topples Intel to become the world’s largest chipmaker

    The Korean tech giant’s chipset division — which has long been its biggest hitter — grossed total revenue of $69 billion in 2017, eclipsing the $62.8 billion Intel reported for last year. That was a record year for Intel — and an annual increase of six percent — but it wasn’t enough to stop Samsung from knocking it from the top spot, which Bloomberg reports it had occupied since 1992.

    The writing was on the wall last year when Samsung beat Intel on a quarterly basis, but now it has held out for an annual win.

    The change of position highlights Samsung’s focus on mobile, and in particular memory chips which are an essential part of smartphones. Intel’s chips may be in 90 percent of the world’s computers, but it missed the mobile boom and is playing catch-up.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/30/samsung-intel-worlds-largest-chipmaker/?ncid=rss

  • Lenovo to miss mobile turnaround target, posts third quarter net loss

    The segment, accounting for over 70 percent of Lenovo’s top line, saw an 8 percent rise in revenue over the period, despite a 0.2 percentage point year-on-year drop in market share, thanks to premium products such as datachables.

    Lenovo’s overall revenue for the October-December period came in at a three-year high of $12.94 billion, up slightly from $12.17 billion a year ago.

    Its bottom line for the period, however, swung to a loss of $289 million, versus a $98 million profit a year ago, dented by the one-off charge of $400 million linked to a reassessment of U.S. deferred tax assets.

    Lenovo reiterated that the short-term business outlook was challenging, but said in the longer term U.S. corporate tax cuts would “positively impact” earnings of its operations.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lenovo-results/lenovo-to-miss-mobile-turnaround-target-posts-third-quarter-net-loss-idUSKBN1FL3HX

Other

  • How Amazon, JPM and Berkshire could disrupt healthcare (or not)

    “At 1.1 million employees and growing, they are already a decent sized ‘health plan’ in themselves and could essentially operate as its own payer entity or possibly an ‘Accountable Care Organization’ for their employees,” Bhagat said in an email.

    “At a minimum it gives the companies more power to hold existing payer vendors more accountable for health and cost outcomes for their employees. It gives them a chance to deliver better healthcare and reduced costs and change the market dynamics in the commercial healthcare space.”

    All three firms also have tens of millions of customers, who could conceivably become among those eventually privy to their new dynamics.

    The healthcare industry isn’t holding its breath:

    “Walmart pioneered this with their $4 generic drugs,” Spencer Millerberg, CEO at marketplace analytics firm One Click Retail, said in an email. “But they stopped short by not completely addressing issues the government and private businesses couldn’t solve. Where Walmart left off, Amazon is picking up.”

    To be fair, Walmart’s effort has been stymied by realities, something that Amazon has yet to confront. In practice, its healthcare delivery was cumbersome and unprofitable, according to John Sarich, vice president of strategy at VUE Software, a firm that specializes in innovating and automating business processes for the insurance industry. Those are two things that are against the retail giant’s core nature. “Walmart took a run at being a Medicare Advantage vendor as well as selling Part D (pharmacy),” Sarich said. “What started out as a way to make money ended up with tying people up in explaining plans and benefits with very little revenue coming into Walmart. It was never a moneymaker for Walmart.”

    https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/how-amazon-jpm-and-berkshire-could-disrupt-healthcare-or-not/516003/
    CVS, other health stocks down upon Amazon, JPMorgan, Berkshire healthcare co news

    However, CVS, UnitedHealth and others were down after the news came out, indicating investors’ displeasure at the announcement. CVS dropped by just over 4 percent by midday, UnitedHealth plunged a whopping 11.5 percent, Express Scripts was off by 3.6 percent, Cigna was down by just under 7 percent and Walgreens fell by 2.6 percent.

    The plunge isn’t a surprise considering the deal may affect these companies in various ways. Amazon has made indications it would be moving into drug delivery, affecting CVS, Walgreens and Express Scripts’ models.

    The announcement also possibly affects health insurance providers like UnitedHealth and Cigna, as well. The three companies collectively employ 880,000 people and the plan is to cover all U.S. employees, though it’s not clear how many of the 880,000 are working internationally versus in the States.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/30/cvs-other-health-stocks-down-upon-amazon-jpmorgan-berkshire-healthcare-co-news/?ncid=rss

  • Amazon’s ad business grew 60 percent this quarter

    In its fourth-quarter earnings today, Amazon reported that “other” revenue, which mostly means advertising, plus its co-branded credit card agreements, increased to $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter. That’s 60 percent growth year over year.

    In the third quarter, “other” revenue grew 58 percent year over year to $1.12 billion.

    “Advertising was a key contributor [to strong growth],” director of investor relations Dave Fildes said on the earnings call. “We continue to make the offering more valuable. We’re focused on finding ways to work with those companies – vendors or sellers — coming to us and offer them a great experience on the website and ability to reach customers.”

    The company hinted more was to come in terms of building out the platform. CFO Brian Olsavsky said that Amazon has found itself as a “key lean-in from brands and agencies into the e-commerce marketing space,” which has helped bolster that growth.

    https://digiday.com/marketing/amazons-ad-business-grew-60-percent-quarter/

  • There’s no way the government is building its own 5G network

    there’s just no way that the U.S. government, even at its best and most efficient, and if it started bipartisan work on this tomorrow, could be in any way competitive in the timing and scale of such a deployment. It takes billions of dollars and years of work to lay the foundation for something like this, and others have a huge head start. And let us not forget that we are experiencing one of an endless series of budget crises, which would not be alleviated by the proposal of this kind of massive undertaking.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/29/theres-no-way-the-government-is-building-its-own-5g-network/?ncid=rss

Photo: Patrick Hendry

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News You Can Use: 1/31/2018

  • Apple CEO becomes latest tech bigwig to warn of social media’s dangers

    Cook joins a multitude of tech personalities in recent years worrying about the negative impact of technology, and social media in particular, on our lives. Sean Parker, Facebook’s first president, admitted last year that he’d helped Mark Zuckerberg build “a monster,” stating: “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

    Another former Facebook exec, Chamath Palihapitiya, told a group at Stanford Graduate School of Business that the social network could be “destroying how society works” through “short-term, dopamine-driven, feedback loops.”

    https://thenextweb.com/apple/2018/01/20/apple-ceo-becomes-latest-tech-bigwig-to-warn-of-social-medias-dangers/

  • Is Procurement Responsible If Suppliers Are Stupid and Bid Too Low?

    So during our discussion, my friend and I had a philosophical debate about whether it was in any sense “our problem” as buyers if a supplier put in a stupidly low bid. At what point should procurement worry that an offer is too low? Does procurement have a moral or ethical obligation to stop firms getting themselves into trouble?

    Our conclusion – after another beer – was no, we don’t. We must protect our own organisation, so we should think hard about the issues if, for instance, a firm was likely to go under because of the deal. Do we have contingency plans in place for that? (It’s rarely a positive for the buyer obviously if this happens to an important supplier).

    And we should build protection into the contract to make sure the supplier can’t just walk away from the deal if it becomes too onerous – or at least, to ensure we are very well compensated if they do. But it is not our role to protect suppliers from their own stupidity, particularly if it is a large firm with many customers and financial strength itself. Indeed, our role is to drive competitive advantage, which often means we are paying less than our competitors for a similar product or service.

    http://spendmatters.com/uk/procurement-responsible-suppliers-stupid-bid-low/

  • How faster computers gave us Meltdown and Spectre
  • Good-bye, Fluffy Office Perks, and 3 Other Tech Business Predictions for 2018

    Office perks are always a hot topic in the tech world. However, more companies realize that fluffy office culture doesn’t actually attract the best talent or cultivate the highest performing team. Those perks you think your employees want can actually be more distracting and detrimental to productivity. To really reap the benefits of the “perk” in the first place, find out what motivates employees. Ping-pong tables and nap rooms will move out and more meaningful perks will take their place. Companies that attract the most talented and passionate teams will do it with job descriptions and mission statements that inspire a deep sense of purpose.

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/307509

  • On Second Thought, You Should Maybe Talk Less In Meetings

    Research on creativity suggests that the people who have the most ideas are also most likely to have the best ideas. So it’s a good idea to generate a lot of ideas while you’re in a meeting–at least inside your own head to start with. But before deciding to contribute your latest thought in the meeting, write it down. Take a look at it, and decide whether you think it’s one of the best you’ve come up with. If so, go on and share it! Then you can keep your others in reserve in case the group isn’t happy with the options they have so far.

    There are two benefits to writing your ideas down and looking them over before speaking. Obviously, one is that you can privately rank your own contributions rather than subjecting all of them to your team’s assessment (or risk even the good ones getting lost in the shuffle). This way you’re maximizing the chance that other people will actually rally to your point of view–and form a positive impression of you in the process.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40516098/on-second-thought-you-should-maybe-talk-less-in-meetings

Photo: Daniel Cheung

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Supplier Report: 1/26/2018

Amazon is beefing up their security offerings via the acquisition of security startup Sqrrl. As Amazon makes their services more secure, is Google losing their mojo?

A former Google employee certainly thinks so – calling the company “arrogant” and “conservative”.  This former employee has made headlines in the past for criticizing the “Google Plus” social site while still employed at Google… well he is at least 1 for 2.  

Another company is getting called out (but by a much more respected member of the tech community)… Linus Torvalds continues to publicly trash Intel’s patching efforts for Meltdown and Spectre.  It makes you wonder what is going on over at Intel.

Acquisitions

  • AWS beefs up threat detection with Sqrrl acquisition

    AWS has purchased Sqrrl, a Cambridge, Mass. security startup with roots in the NSA. The company helps analyze a variety of sources to track and understand security threats quickly using machine learning.

    The announcement appeared on the Sqrrl home page in note from company CEO Mark Terenzoni. “We’re thrilled to share that Sqrrl has been acquired by Amazon. We will be joining the Amazon Web Services family, and we’re looking forward to working together on customer offerings for the future,” he wrote.

    The question in these types of purchases is what happens to the customers. The statement suggested that at least for the time being, Sqrrl will continue to work with its existing customers.

    According to a 2016 Computerworld review, the solution collects data from a variety of sources and presents threat findings in a dashboard for security analysts, who can view a visual representation of any potential vulnerabilities.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/24/aws-beefs-up-threat-detection-with-sqrrl-acquisition/?ncid=rss

  • Ford Scoops Up Software Firms as It Drives Toward the Driverless

    Ford Motor Co. is acquiring two small software firms to help build out its mobility business, a move that highlights the need for auto companies to seed their management teams with technology talent to keep pace in a fast-changing transportation sector.

    Ford said Thursday it is buying Autonomic Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif., startup with 70 employees that is developing a software backbone for Ford to provide urban transit services to consumers and businesses. Ford said the firm’s CEO, Sunny Madra, will lead a new team inside Ford that will come up with ideas for new transit options.

    The nation’s No. 2 auto maker by sales also said it would acquire TransLoc, a North Carolina firm that makes software to help transportation operators optimize drive routes. Ford didn’t disclose terms of either transaction.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/ford-scoops-up-software-firms-as-it-drives-toward-the-driverless-1516913799

Artificial Intelligence

  • AI will turn the workforce into hyper productive business centaurs

    Aficionados of centaur chess argue that the pairing of man and machine takes the game to never-before-seen levels of perfection, with blunder-free games, perfect tactical play and the flawless execution of strategic plans.

    Over the last 20 years, these AI systems have evolved drastically; just last month, a new program called AlphaZero is the new reigning chess champion thanks to its moves that are “unthinkable” to a human player. But the centaur chess model of human/computer collaboration has grown more relevant to the entire world of work — as AI technology moves from the lab to the business world, an entire workforce of centaurs becomes possible, enabling previously unimagined levels of productivity and performance.

    https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2018/01/20/ai-will-turn-workforce-sweet-business-centaurs/

  • The state of AI in marketing in 5 charts

    According to a Salesforce study from July, about half of the 3,500 marketing leaders surveyed are already using AI, and more than a quarter of these leaders are planning to pilot AI programs in the next two years.

    Using AI for media buying is one of the strongest use cases for AI. Marketers believe AI can improve targeting and personalization when it comes to media placements. According to Salesforce’s report, 60 percent of marketers believe AI will have a “substantial or transformational” impact on their business’ programmatic and media buying in the next five years.

    https://digiday.com/marketing/state-ai-marketing-5-charts/

  • Facebook Names Former IBM Watson Executive as Head of AI Group

    The hiring of Pesenti, who has a more managerial background, may indicate that Facebook is looking to step up the application of its artificial intelligence research in its business, rather than just focusing on the academic exploration of the science. Facebook is trying to rely more on AI to help it spot and remove photos and videos that violate its policies, for example, instead of waiting for users to flag troublesome content. A Facebook spokesman said LeCun will still “set the scientific agenda for the group.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-23/facebook-names-former-ibm-watson-executive-as-head-of-ai-group

Software/SaaS

  • Why Barcelona’s anti-Microsoft move to open source could be a disaster

    While I’ve been on the record in favor of such technological sovereignty in the past, with the caveat that preferences for open source trump mandates, the reality of such moves comes at a steep price. The City of Munich is now spending €50 million to undo its long flirtation with Linux desktops. Why? “Users were unhappy and software essential for the public sector is mostly only available for Windows,” Munich councilor Anne Hübner detailed. The city initially spent 15 years (and millions of euros) trying to get away from Microsoft, but “those efforts eventually failed.”

    Again, why? Because they put ideology before the practical needs of real people. Even at open source company Red Hat it’s now common to see plenty of Macs and iPhones, both proprietary in ways Microsoft Windows never approached. It turns out that true “freedom” comes when people can do their jobs, not when they’re shackled to some grand ideology.

    https://www.techrepublic.com/article/why-barcelonas-anti-microsoft-move-to-open-source-could-be-a-disaster/

Security

  • Linus Torvalds declares Intel fix for Meltdown/Spectre ‘COMPLETE AND UTTER GARBAGE’

    These and other kind epithets are awarded by Torvalds in a public email chain between him and David Woodhouse, an engineer at Amazon in the U.K., regarding Intel’s solution as relating to the Linux kernel. The issue is (as far as I can tell as someone far out of their depth) a clumsy and, Torvalds argues, “insane” implementation of a fix that essentially does nothing while also doing a bunch of unnecessary things.

    The fix needs to address Meltdown (which primarily affects Intel chips), but instead of just doing so across the board, it makes the whole fix something the user or administrator has to opt into at boot. Why even ask, if this is such a huge vulnerability? And why do it at such a low level when future CPUs will supposedly not require it, at which point the choice would be at best unnecessary and at worst misleading or lead to performance issues?

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/22/linus-torvalds-declares-intel-fix-for-meltdown-spectre-complete-and-utter-garbage/

Other

  • Yes, cities should indeed fight for tech jobs

    What all these critics are missing though is that the economy has changed dramatically over the past thirty years. Everyone is competing for better jobs and better income, be they workers and citizens or cities, states, and even national governments. China is competing ferociously to bring back AI talent to its mainland from the United States in just the same way that Illinois is trying to get Amazon to set up shop through a payroll tax recapture strategy.

    Here’s what I see with the Amazon process: 238 cities across North America, in just a few weeks, managed to each put together their own proposals on what they would offer to bring the company to their area. Boston has taken decades to extend the green line to Somerville, but managed to put together a second-phase winning proposal for Somerville in just a matter of weeks.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/19/yes-cities-should-indeed-fight-for-tech-jobs/?ncid=rss

  • New study predicts Atlanta has best shot at becoming Amazon’s HQ2

    However, the firm is betting on Atlanta as the top pick for a variety of reasons.

    It’s still close enough to DC, Boston and New York, but Atlanta has more available space to offer, and is affordable. If Amazon were to choose this southern city, it could build on the outskirts of town to avoid crowding, overpricing and congestion.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/22/new-study-predicts-atlanta-has-best-shot-at-becoming-amazons-hq2/?ncid=rss

  • IBM’s Growth Comes at a Cost

    Still, IBM’s shares fell Friday, much like they have done following 10 of its last 12 quarterly reports. A bit of growth, as it turns out, isn’t quite enough to assuage concerns about how the company gets there. Fourth-quarter gross margins slipped below the 50% line for the first time in five years for what is typically the company’s strongest seasonal period. And, while IBM did project annual revenue growth for 2018, it is unclear if the company can do that without continued help from favorable exchange rates.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/ibms-growth-comes-at-a-cost-1516387395

  • Google is ‘arrogant’, ‘conservative’, ‘can no longer innovate’, says Googler of 13 years as he quits

    “The main reason I left Google is that they can no longer innovate. They’ve pretty much lost that ability. […] First, they’re conservative. […] They are so focused on protecting what they’ve got, that they fear risk-taking and real innovation. Second, they are mired in politics. […] Third, Google is arrogant. Google has the arrogance of the “we”, not the “I”. When a company is as dramatically successful as Google has been, the organization can become afflicted with a sense of invincibility and almost manifest destiny, which leads to tragic outcomes: complacency, not-invented-here syndrome, loss of touch with customers, poor strategic decision-making, ” Yegge shared in a blog post on Medium.

    https://www.phonearena.com/news/Steve-Yegge-Google-no-longer-innovative-company_id101957

Photo: Joey Kyber

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SourceCast: Episode 104: YouTube Edition

Amazon is pushing into more business areas such as produce, physical retail, and maybe even pharmaceuticals. When Amazon eats the world, what does that mean for everyone living there?


Photo: Roberto Nickson

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News You Can Use: 1/24/2018

  • It’s time for Washington to start working on artificial intelligence

    Visitors to the Capitol today wouldn’t expect to see cutting edge experiments taking place inside the building and sadly, they probably don’t have much faith that Congress is even thinking about the future at all. This shows up in the rhetoric and it shows up in our budgets. Washington spends way too much time re-litigating the past — witness how much time has been devoted to debating old trade deals, the 2010 Affordable Care Act or the 1980s Reagan tax cuts — and has increasingly budgeted and legislated in a backwards looking way.

    Instead of embracing the trends of the future and empowering our citizens, too many policymakers would rather roll back the clock. According to data collected by the Brookings Institute, federal investment in research and development has declined significantly in recent decades, falling from 2.23% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the 1960s to just 0.77% in 2016 (GDP). Think about that, across the same decades when we saw a globally-connected high-tech economy emerge, we dramatically scaled back investment in R&D.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/17/its-time-for-washington-to-start-working-on-artificial-intelligence/?ncid=rss

  • Gartner: AI and B2B marketplaces will dominate procurement

    Amazon’s Web Services are its main driver of revenue for the e-commerce giant, so as more procurement officers leave outdated software behind and switch over to more streamlined and efficient options, the result will be tighter competition for other software providers, cloud services, retailers and third-party sellers.

    Furthermore, as procurement departments let go of old software systems and embrace AI-run systems, virtual assistants and chatbots, procurement departments will begin to streamline and automate purchases, there will be a shift in labor and talent demand for those roles.

    https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/gartner-trends-2018-AI-b2b-marketplaces-chatbot/514389/

  • How to Win with Game Theory & Defeat Smart Opponents
  • 5 Habits For Staying Productive In The Dreariest Months Of The Year

    2. FEEL GRATEFUL FOR SOMETHING EVERY DAY
    The holiday season can feel like a giant, blinking neon sign telling you to practice gratitude and cherish those around you. But without the sugary-sweet commercials and Netflix holiday rom-coms as reminders, it’s easy to fall back into your day-to-day routines, forgetting to notice the everyday magic around you.

    A daily gratitude habit is strongly correlated with increased happiness and overall well-being, not to mention with strengthening your relationships. For the next month or two, give it a shot. You can go as a big as writing in a physical gratitude journal once a day, or as small as remembering to reflect on a good moment before you go to bed tonight.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40515213/5-habits-for-staying-productive-in-the-dreariest-months-of-the-year

  • With all 49 Democrats on board, Senate leaders sound off on plan to restore net neutrality

    Forcing a vote means everyone in the Senate has to officially weigh in on this issue, and that makes it a very simple matter, come election season, to say whether they support net neutrality or not. Sure, they can blow smoke and attempt to obfuscate the issue, but ultimately people understand that the new rule vastly reduces the protections they have, and to support it is to support that reduction. It’s not going to be a popular decision.

    If it gets into the House, the same thing happens there — so that’s a good reason to root for its success in the Senate, even if it doesn’t really get it any closer to becoming law.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/16/with-all-49-democrats-on-board-senate-leaders-sound-off-on-plan-to-restore-net-neutrality/?ncid=rss

Photo: Thought Catalog

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