Tag Archives: Accenture

Supplier Report: 1/12/2018

The tech industry is still dealing with the fallout of the Spectre and Meltdown bugs as companies scramble to patch the vulnerability.

A consequence of such hasty actions is that the patches are 1.) introducing new bugs, 2.) breaking some AMD-powered computers, and 3.) most computers that are patched will see permanent performance impact.

There is a rumor that IBM is looking to reduce global services headcount by another 10,000 employees as news of a new CFO is announced.

To complete this wonderful news cycle, it seems that Boston might be the front-runner to host Amazon’s HQ2.

Acquisitions

  • Verizon acquires autonomous threat detection startup Niddel

    Niddel’s primary product, Niddel Magnet is a subscription service that uses machine learning to locate infected or compromised machines inside an organization. It works completely autonomously and doesn’t require customers to generate their own code, rules, searches or even any kind of content.

    “Using machine learning to improve information accuracy significantly reduces false positives and significantly improves our detection and response capabilities,” Alexander Schlager, Verizon’s executive director for security services explained in a statement. Those capabilities were one of the primary reasons the company made the acquisition.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/05/verizon-acquires-autonomous-threat-detection-startup-niddel/?ncid=rss

  • Google acquired Redux, a U.K. startup focused on audio and haptics

    Alphabet, the umbrella corporation of Google, Inc. etc., has quietly acquired a UK-based startup called Redux, reports Bloomberg.

    Redux was founded in 2013 out of Cambridge, and built technology that uses vibrations to turn surfaces of phones or tablets into speakers or provide haptic feedback.

    The acquisition is reflected on Crunchbase, and in confirmed transfer of shares within U.K. regulatory filings. Google has made no mention of the acquisition as of yet.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/11/google-acquired-redux-a-u-k-startup-focused-on-audio-and-haptics/?ncid=rss

  • Accenture: Large-scale agency M&A is ‘not our game’ as we have ‘amazing momentum’

    However, Pierre Nanterme, the chairman and chief executive of Accenture, gave a strong signal on his most recent quarterly earnings call that he is not interested in large-scale M&A.

    “This is not our game at Accenture,” he said in response to a question from a Wall Street analyst about whether Accenture Interactive might make “larger deals, rather than tuck-ins”.

    Nanterme explained: “Our game is to drive organic growth on top of acquisitions of very specific companies with very specific and differentiated capabilities.

    “And then what Accenture is offering to these companies we’re acquiring is our unique access to the best brands in the world and our unique geographic footprint.”

    https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/accenture-large-scale-agency-m-a-not-game-amazing-momentum/1453907
    Accenture to acquire Germany based visualization firm Mackevision

    Accenture has entered into an agreement to acquire Germany-based Mackevision, a leading global producer of 3D-enabled and immersive product content. The acquisition will add visualization capabilities to Accenture Interactive’s digital services portfolio – strengthening its ability to create compelling, next-generation customer experiences and industrial, extended reality applications. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

    https://techobserver.in/article/enterprise-it/accenture-acquire-germany-based-visualization-firm-mackevision

Artificial Intelligence

  • Japanese scientists just used AI to read minds and it’s amazing

    But the scientists from Kyoto developed new techniques of “decoding” thoughts using deep neural networks (artificial intelligence). The new technique allows the scientists to decode more sophisticated “hierarchical” images, which have multiple layers of color and structure, like a picture of a bird or a man wearing a cowboy hat, for example.

    “We have been studying methods to reconstruct or recreate an image a person is seeing just by looking at the person’s brain activity,” Kamitani, one of the scientists, tells CNBC Make It. “Our previous method was to assume that an image consists of pixels or simple shapes. But it’s known that our brain processes visual information hierarchically extracting different levels of features or components of different complexities.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2018/01/08/japanese-scientists-use-artificial-intelligence-to-decode-thoughts.html

Cloud

  • Why Oracle can’t buy its way to success in the cloud wars

    For such modern cloud applications, Oracle proves a poor fit. Not only does the company offer a comparatively malnourished catalog of cloud services compared to leading vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, even its former strengths become weaknesses in the brave new cloud world. For example, one of its best selling points—vertical scale—proves its Achilles Heel in modern application infrastructure, where horizontal scale at levels simply impossible in an Oracle environment becomes the norm.

    Oracle’s immediate answer seems to be to stick to its old game plan, leveraging its legacy database to broker a role in modern workloads. It’s not working. As Rishidot Research’s founder and chief research advisor Krishnan Subramanian has called out, “[Oracle] needs to shore up higher order services…to compete effectively with AWS and Azure. They cannot just rely on their database service as the path to cloud success and they need to compete with AWS on the breadth and depth of higher order services.”

    https://www.techrepublic.com/article/why-oracle-cant-buy-its-way-to-success-in-the-cloud-wars/

Datacenter

  • Intel reveals possible slowdowns from ‘Meltdown’ processor fix

    Your personal computers will be less than 10 percent slower after you install the Spectre/Meltdown fix, Intel has revealed in a blog post. Intel has come to that conclusion after assessing the performance changes in computers using 6th, 7th and 8th Generation Intel core processors with Windows 10. Systems equipped with 8th generation (Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake) chips and SSDs will be the least affected, with the expected impact being less than 6 percent. Devices using the 7th Gen Kaby Lake-H mobile processors will be around 7 percent slower, while the performance impact on systems with the 6th Gen Skylake-S platform is approximately 8 percent.

    Depending on how you use your computer, you may not even notice a difference. Based on Intel’s benchmark results, though, you will notice some slowdown if you browse the web and use applications, and it’s safe to say that most people do. Obviously, if you use your computer for heavy applications, the slowdown will be more noticeable.

    https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/11/intel-reveals-meltdown-processor-benchmark-slowdown/

Software/SaaS

  • Why Microsoft’s Cosmos DB may displace AWS’s cloud databases

    While Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft SQL Server stand supreme at the top of the database heap, their cloud competitors have been gaining steam—and fast. It’s probably not yet accurate to say that databases like DynamoDB and Azure Cosmos DB are gaining ground on the old guard, given that Oracle remains more than 100 times as popular as Cosmos, for example. But for new applications largely born in the cloud, these cloud-first databases dominate.

    This matters because, as Gartner analyst Thomas Bittman has written, there’s a pronounced (and accelerating) shift from private datacenters to public cloud environments: “New stuff tends to go to the public cloud, while doing old stuff in new ways tends to go to private clouds. And new stuff is simply growing faster.” Not just a little bit faster, either: We’re talking about a 20X growth rate for the public cloud versus a 3X growth rate for private datacenters, by his analysis. Of course, legacy workloads dwarf these new cloud-friendly applications, but that won’t be true for long.

    https://www.itworld.com/article/3245808/database/why-microsofts-cosmos-db-may-displace-aws-cloud-databases.html

  • Barry Padgett Appointed as New SAP Ariba President

    SAP announced two leadership changes Thursday, with Alex Atzberger moving to president of SAP Hybris and Barry Padgett taking over the helm at SAP Ariba, according to a press release. SAP Hybris solutions “comprise the omnichannel customer engagement and commerce business at SAP” and include offerings for commerce, marketing, sales, service and revenue. Padgett, who joined SAP through the acquisition of Concur, will focus on the oversight of SAP’s business network strategy as Ariba’s new president.

    “Positioning these proven leaders, both with deep customer empathy and a business vision rooted in a beautiful customer experience, will have a tremendous, positive impact for customers worldwide,” said Robert Enslin, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE and president of Cloud Business Group, SAP. “The business acumen and expertise both Alex and Barry bring to their respective roles, coupled with the engineering innovation agendas already underway, will greatly advance SAP’s leadership pursuits in the areas of procurement, customer engagement and commerce.”

    http://spendmatters.com/2018/01/09/afternoon-coffee-barry-padgett-appointed-new-sap-ariba-president-whole-foods-places-new-limitations-suppliers/

  • Signal Partners With Microsoft to Encrypt Skype Messages

    The newest Skype preview now supports the Signal protocol: the end-to-end encrypted protocol already used by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Allo, and, of course, Signal. Skype Private Conversations will support text, audio calls, and file transfers, with end-to-end encryption that Microsoft, Signal, and, it’s believed, law enforcement agencies cannot eavesdrop on.

    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/01/skype-finally-getting-end-to-end-encryption/

Security

  • Intel Fumbles Its Patch for Chip Flaw

    Intel is quietly advising some customers to hold off installing patches that address new security flaws affecting virtually all of its processors. It turns out the patches had bugs of their own.

    The glitch underscores the complexity of Intel’s challenge as it scrambles to fix the unprecedented vulnerabilities, which were disclosed more than a week ago.

    In a confidential document shared with some customers Wednesday and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Intel said it identified three issues in updates released over the past week for “microcode,” or firmware—software that is installed directly on the processor. The updates are separate from patches produced by operating system companies such as Microsoft Corp.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/intel-warns-its-patches-for-chip-flaws-are-buggy-1515715212

  • AMD Hits a Snag Over Patch for Chip Flaw

    Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday said some customers found their AMD-powered computers were unusable after applying the latest security patches for the Windows operating system.

    On an online support page, Microsoft said it would “temporarily pause” sending updates to some devices running AMD processors. After investigating, the software giant said it found “some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/amd-hits-a-snag-over-patch-for-chip-flaw-1515528197

  • Oracle app server hack let one attacker mine $226,000 worth of cryptocoins

    These attackers aren’t stealing data from victims, however—at least as far as anyone can tell. Instead, the exploit is being used to mine cryptocurrencies. In one case, according to analysis posted today by SANS Dean of Research Johannes B. Ullrich, the attacker netted at least 611 Monero coins (XMR)—$226,000 dollars’ worth of the cryptocurrency.

    The attacks appear to have leveraged a proof-of-concept exploit of the Oracle vulnerability published in December by Chinese security researcher Lian Zhang. Almost immediately after the proof of concept was published, there were reports of it being used to install cryptominers from several different locations—attacks launched from servers (some of them likely compromised servers themselves) hosted by Digital Ocean, GoDaddy, and Athenix.

    https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/01/hackers-turn-weblogic-peoplesoft-servers-into-cryptocoin-miners/

Other

  • China Swats Jack Ma’s Ant Over Customer Privacy

    Chinese internet regulators scolded the country’s leading mobile-payments company for compromising its customers’ privacy, putting pressure on firms to better protect personal data in a society subject to heavy state surveillance.

    The Cyberspace Administration of China said Wednesday that it had summoned representatives of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. affiliate Ant Financial Services Group to dress them down for automatically enrolling users in its credit-scoring system.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-swats-jack-mas-ant-over-customer-privacy-1515581339

  • IBM names James Kavanaugh as CFO

    IBM chief financial officer Martin Schroeter will move to a new role and will be replaced by company veteran James Kavanaugh, effective immediately.

    Schroeter, who has been with the company for more than 25 years and has been finance chief for the last four years, will become senior vice-president for global markets.

    His replacement, Kavanaugh, joined IBM in 1996 from AT&T and is currently a senior vice-president heading IBM’s transformation efforts.

    While the announcement was unexpected, the logic behind the move is not and Kavanaugh would be a logical replacement for Schroeter, said Stifel analyst David Grossman.

    https://www.itweb.co.za/content/j5alrMQgae9vpYQk

  • IBM reportedly will reassign 30,000+ staffers in services division and possibly cut 10,000 jobs

    According to a report in The Register Thursday, IBM is planning to reassign more than 30,000 staff from its Global Technology Services division, which primarily offers hardware and infrastructure consulting services, to other roles within the company.

    That amounts to about 30 percent of GTS’ overall staff, who are set to be “productively redeployed,” according to a leaked document (pictured). About 10,000 of the affected staff are said to be based in the U.S., The Register added.

    The staff reassignments, expected to take place later this year, could ultimately see about 10,000 jobs lost through “attrition,” with no plans to replace departing employees. However, the overall head count could be even higher, as a document leaked to The Register shows that 5,000 staff have yet to be assigned new positions, which means they could ultimately be laid off. And of those that have been reassigned, some may only be moved to “short term” positions, said one unnamed employee.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2018/01/11/ibm-reassign-30000-staff-gts-division-10000-jobs-lost/

  • Amazon could be leaning toward Boston for new HQ2

    Boston has already been floated as a prime candidate for the new HQ2 because it is one of the U.S. cities where Amazon has research and development operations. Amazon, according to The Business Journals, has almost 1,000 workers in Boston who focus on Amazon Web Services, Audible, Alexa and speech-recognition software. Later this year, the opening of its Fort Point office will add 900 employees to the company’s Boston ranks.

    https://www.constructiondive.com/news/amazon-could-be-leaning-toward-boston-for-new-hq2/514674/

Photo: Robert Szadkowski

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Supplier Report: 12/22/2017

Twas the Supplier Report before Xmas and I have to admit…
I didn’t predict Google’s announcement of the step-down of Eric Schmidt.

On to other things that you should know…
Apple confirmed they made your phone slow.

Here, at the end of the fourth term…
Oracle and Accenture bought out two firms.

And finally, our friends at Comcast and AT&T…
Are rewarding their employees financially.

This bonus is a result of the FCC…
Making changes to how we access content digitally.

Acquisitions

  • Oracle to Buy Australian Software Maker Aconex

    Oracle Corp. has struck a $1.2 billion deal to buy an Australian project-management software provider, the latest leg in its push to take on Amazon.com Inc. and others in selling cloud-computing services.

    The California-based software company on Monday said it had entered a binding takeover agreement after offering 7.80 Australian dollars ($5.96) cash a share for Aconex Ltd., valuing the Australian company at A$1.6 billion.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/oracle-to-buy-australian-software-maker-aconex-1513551593

  • Accenture acquires Irish creative agency Rothco

    Accenture has entered into an agreement to acquire Rothco, a full-service creative agency. Located in Dublin, Rothco will boost Accenture Ireland’s creative capabilities and those of Accenture Interactive as an experience agency in Europe. Thanks to acquisitions including Brand, Karmarama and Australia’s The Monkeys, among a great many other creative agencies, Accenture Interactive is now thought by many to rank as one of the world’s biggest digital agencies, leading to the creative wing delivering high-profile end-to-end solutions for global brands including Pearson publishing, although their actual size and influence is still a matter hotly contested by advertising industry heavyweights such as WPP.

    https://www.consultancy.uk/news/15070/accenture-acquires-irish-creative-agency-rothco

Artificial Intelligence

  • Accenture CEO: Company’s ‘Evolving’ its Digital Business to Take Advantage of AI

    To that end, he said, “going forward, Accenture Digital will be focused on three big areas: Accenture Interactive, Accenture Industry X.0 and Accenture Applied Intelligence.” As part of the strategy, Accenture Interactive will work with CMOs to help brands “transform the customer experience,” he said, adding the company is “strengthening our end-to-end marketing capabilities for CMOs by investing to scale intelligent marketing operations.” That capability “combines platforms, analytics and artificial intelligence to run marketing campaigns as a seamless managed service,” he said.

    http://www.mesalliance.org/2017/12/21/accenture-ceo-companys-evolving-digital-business-take-advantage-ai/

    “Accenture Industry X.0″…reminds me when everything was “xtreme” in the late 90’s…kewl marketing terms bra

  • Youngest IBM Watson Programmer Says Do Not Be Afraid of Artificial Intelligence

    The youngest IBM Watson Programmer, Tanmay Bakshi says that the leaders today should not be afraid of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Tanmay and his sister Tanvi, talk to host Kimberli Lewis, of Leadership Beyond Borders on VoiceAmerica’s Business channel, about why AI is important now and for our future.

    Tanmay, one of the youngest cloud computing developers in the world, has been programming since he was 5 and now, at the age of 14, he is building applications engineered to augment human capabilities.

    The Bakshi family immigrated from India to Canada, when both Tanmay and Tanvi were young children. These two Generation Z-ers, talk about what it was like to immigrate, how education and learning is important and why AI is an opportunity not a threat.

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/3603688
    Programming AI at 14… I need to re-evaluate how I spend my time.

Cloud

  • Why an (unofficial) anti-Amazon alliance is a very good thing

    Amazon is going to take a lot of effort to stop. Even the three other gargantuan tech companies are in danger of being overwhelmed, as Amazon spends more on R&D than any other company on the planet.

    The risk isn’t that we see more squabbles between competing streaming platforms or hardware availability limits, it’s that the efforts to stop Amazon are so late that retail is dominated by one player with so many network effect positives it’s almost impossible to compete.

    The Big Four look like they’ll be overshadowed by one big player: Amazon. Scott Galloway’s new book The Four is invaluable extended reading on this subject.

    All of this is a U.S.-centric view though – Chinese online retailing behemoth Alibaba has a market cap of $450 billion and on the back on China’s continuing rise, could have the muscle to fight Amazon. Both are currently competing to tap India’s emerging ecommerce market.

    https://www.androidauthority.com/why-an-unofficial-anti-amazon-alliance-is-a-very-good-thing-822092/

  • Cloud Price Comparison: AWS vs. Azure vs. Google

    The charts below show how AWS, Azure and GCP stack up for Linux and Windows instances of various sizes and commitment contracts. And to make the charts a little easier to read, the lowest cost in each category is green, the second lowest is yellow, and the most expensive is pink.
    Linux:

    Windows:

    https://www.datamation.com/cloud-computing/cloud-price-comparison-aws-vs.-azure-vs.-google.html

Datacenter

  • IBM Enters Quantum Computing Business with First Paying Customers

    In addition to JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, and Samsung, the first customers include JSR Corporation, Barclays, Hitachi Metals, Honda, Nagase, Keio University, Oak Ridge National Lab, Oxford University, and University of Melbourne. All of them will be will be able to tap into IBM’s 20-qubit quantum computer, which the company installed in November. A 50-qubit system, which is currently just a prototype, will be offered to customers in a future version of the platform.

    Each of the initial clients will use the opportunity to research and develop quantum computing applications related to their area of expertise. In the case of JP Morgan Chase, the company will focus on how the technology can be applied to financial services applications, including trading, portfolio optimization, asset pricing, and risk analysis.

    https://www.top500.org/news/ibm-enters-quantum-computing-business-with-first-paying-customers/

Software/SaaS

  • Acquision of SAP to Ariba (not much of a headline tbh)

    Automation of the fundamental procedure of any supply chain is vital, however it’s insufficient. To gain power of your supply chain and your spending, you have to move your point of view from the procedure to the master plan. What’s more, you have to find an innovation accomplice that can help. An accomplice who can enable you to supplier how you can work together with your providers, who comprehends the complexities of dealing with a solid supply chain, and who can interface all aspects of your obtaining procedure over your whole business while giving your providers an approach to better oversee and grow theirs.

    SAP Ariba coordinates the whole purchasing process over your whole association. When you associate with Ariba Network, you interface with a huge number of providers crosswise over immediate and indirect cost categories.

    http://nbherard.com/business/acquision-of-sap-to-ariba/38270

Other

  • Eric Schmidt stepping down as Alphabet’s executive chairman to become a ‘technical advisor’

    “Larry, Sergey, Sundar and I all believe that the time is right in Alphabet’s evolution for this transition,” he said in the statement. “The Alphabet structure is working well, and Google and the Other Bets are thriving. In recent years, I’ve been spending a lot of my time on science and technology issues, and philanthropy, and I plan to expand that work.”

    Schmidt joined up with Google in 2001, stepping into the role of CEO at the behest of founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, after stints at Sun Microsystems and Novell. Around the time of the company’s 2004 IPO, the trio reportedly pledged to work together for another 20 years.

    Of course, Schmidt handed the baton to Page in 2011. Four years later, when Google restructured to form Alphabet, Page became its CEO, with Sundar Pichai stepping in to take over Google.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/21/eric-schmidt-stepping-down-as-alphabets-executive-chairman-to-become-a-technical-advisor/?ncid=rss

  • Cloud revenue helps Oracle beat earnings forecast this time, but outlook tanks shares

    Oracle said it earned a profit of nearly $3 billion before certain expenses such as stock compensation, or 70 cents a share, up 14 percent from a year ago. Revenue rose 6 percent, to $9.62 billion. Analysts had expected an adjusted profit of 68 cents a share on revenue of $9.57 billion. Traditional on-premises software brought in the vast majority of revenue, at $6.3 billion, up 3 percent. But the portion from new software licenses was flat at $1.35 billion, making growth in cloud revenue crucial.

    Software-as-a-service applications saw growth of 55 percent, to $1.1 billion, while infrastructure as a service, the base-level computing and storage services that compete with public cloud leaders such as Amazon Web Services Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s Azure, grew only 21 percent. That’s well behind the growth rate of the leaders. But Catz added that the cloud revenue includes older hosting revenue that’s slowing, masking higher growth in newer-generation cloud computing.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/12/14/cloud-revenue-helps-oracle-beat-earnings-forecast-just-not-enough-investors/

  • Apple: Yes, we’re slowing down older iPhones

    The tech giant issued a rare statement of explanation on Thursday, saying that it has used software updates to limit the performance of older iPhones and prevent them from shutting down unexpectedly.

    Tech analysts and angry customers have reported in recent days that operating system updates had caused older iPhones to slow considerably, with some suggesting that Apple could be using the tactic to encourage fans to buy new phones.

    Apple insists the updates were made with a different goal in mind: It said the performance of lithium-ion batteries degrades over time, which can sometimes cause phones to suddenly shut down in order to protect their components.

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/12/21/technology/apple-slows-down-old-iphones/

  • AT&T, Comcast giving $1,000 bonuses to hundreds of thousands of workers after tax bill

    Telecom giant AT&T was quick to respond to news of U.S. tax reform, announcing it would give some employees bonuses once the legislation is signed into law.

    AT&T said in a press release Wednesday that it would give more than 200,000 of its U.S. workers who are union members a special bonus of $1,000. The company also increased its capital expenditures budget by $1 billion in the U.S.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/20/tax-reform-reaction-att-is-giving-bonuses-to-200000-employees.html

  • Uber Is a Taxi Service, the E.C.J. Rules, in Major Setback for Firm

    In the decision, the court determined that Uber, which connects drivers with riders through a smartphone app for payments, “must be regarded as being inherently linked to a transport service.” The 28 member countries in the European bloc will have to regulate “the conditions under which such services are to be provided,” the court added.

    The European court ruling applies across the European Union, but not elsewhere. In a statement, the company said that it was already operating under the transportation law of most European countries in which it did business, and that the ruling would have little impact. It added that it would continue a dialogue with cities across Europe for its services.

    The case may provide a benchmark for countries seeking to regulate independent workers, who make up as much as 30 percent of the working-age population in the United States and Europe, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. Some worry, though, that such a group could soon become an underclass.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/20/business/uber-europe-ecj.html

Photo: Kira auf der Heide

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Supplier Report: 8/11/2017

IBM is making legal news this week with their attempt to block their former CIO from joining Amazon. They are also gaining headlines for a $78M ruling in favor of the State of Indiana due to IBM’s reported failure to implement a welfare privatization system.

Yet another diversity issue flared up in Silicon Valley this week and Google was at the center of this controversy.  A (now former) employee posted a “manifesto” reinforcing gender stereotypes.  Google was quick to address the problem, but the document has sparked semi-political conversations that will be harder to suppress.

Meanwhile, Amazon sells product under several alternative brands so you think there are more options when purchasing items from the retail giant.

Acquisitions

  • Accenture Buys Digital Marketing Agency For Technical, Creative Skill Set

    Accenture, aiming to enhance its creative marketing prowess and talent, has acquired Wire Stone, a 200-person Boise, Idaho marketing agency whose client list includes several big IT firms, including Microsoft, HPE and HP Inc.

    The Dublin-based professional services giant said Wire Stone’s strategy, design, and technology expertise would help, particularly when it comes providing integrated campaigns, data-fueled insight and immersive digital customer experiences to big companies.

    http://www.crn.com/news/channel-programs/300090281/accenture-buys-digital-marketing-agency-for-technical-creative-skill-set.htm
    Accenture is stepping on IBM’s toes with the creative agency…

  • Tableau acquires ClearGraph, a startup that lets you analyze your data using natural language

    Business intelligence and analytics firm Tableau today announced that it has acquired ClearGraph, a service that lets you query and visualize large amounts of business date through natural language queries (think “this week’s transactions over $500”). Tableau expects to integrate this technology with its own products as it looks to make it easier for its users to use similar queries to visualize their data.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/09/tableau-acquires-cleargraph-a-startup-that-lets-you-analyze-your-data-using-natural-language/?ncid=rss

  • Markets are strong, but big startup M&A deals just aren’t happening

    It’s not just the unicorn space where big deals aren’t happening. So far this year, only 17 well-funded private technology companies (defined here as those that raised $20 million or more in venture investment) have gone on to be acquired for disclosed or reported valuations over $100 million. Meanwhile, in 2016, there were almost that many at valuations of $500 million or more.

    “It could be happenstance, or some sectors may be running into resistance due to high multiples,” says David Blumberg, managing partner at early-stage firm Blumberg Capital. He added that acquirers may also be waiting on the sidelines to see what happens with proposed tax reforms.

    A Trump administration plan to dramatically reduce taxes on repatriated earnings may be a factor in delaying M&A. Currently, big technology companies are holding hundreds of billions of dollars in overseas accounts to shelter their earnings from U.S. taxes. Apple alone is estimated to be holding on to a cash stockpile of more than $250 billion, most in non-U.S. accounts. The Trump proposal would reportedly cut public companies’ income tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent. It would also cut the tax on repatriated offshore earnings to 10 percent.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/05/markets-are-strong-but-big-startup-ma-deals-just-arent-happening/?ncid=rss

  • SoftBank mulls Uber or Lyft investment

    “We are interested in discussing with Uber, we are also interested in discussing with Lyft, we have not decided which way,” SoftBank’s CEO and founder Masayoshi Son said.

    “Whether we decide to partner and invest into Uber or Lyft, I don’t know what will be the end result,” he told reporters at SoftBank’s first-quarter earnings briefing on Monday.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-softbank-group-results-uber-idUSKBN1AN0XW

Artificial Intelligence

  • SAP Ariba adds IBM Watson technology to procurement processes

    This integration is happening in three waves, Rizza said. The first wave is accelerated response, which injects real-time response mechanisms into operational data, automating data capture and analysis for outcomes like personalized alerts for an operation that requires attention. The second wave is integrating intelligence into business processes like source-to-settle; for example, automating many of the routine tasks in the process that take up a buyer’s time. The third wave will encompass the entire enterprise ERP system, as intelligence goes beyond processes like source-to-settle and is built into processes like source-to-invoice or lead-to-cash.

    http://searchsap.techtarget.com/feature/SAP-Ariba-adds-IBM-Watson-technology-to-procurement-processes

Cloud

  • IBM sues to stop former executive from working at cloud computing rival

    Former IBM cloud computing executive Jeff S. Smith begins a new job today at a major rival, Amazon Web Services, much to the displeasure of his former employer.

    “Were he permitted to join the senior management of AWS on Aug. 7,” declared Arvind Krishna, director of research, he “would inevitably be involved in decision-making about how best to compete against IBM and would inevitably disclose or use IBM trade secrets.”

    Judge Cathy Seibel issued a temporary restraining order on Aug. 1, barring Smith, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, from starting work today at Amazon Web Services. He may not solicit customers, recruit former colleagues or disclose confidential information until a full hearing is held.

    https://westfaironline.com/92334/ibm-sues-stop-former-executive-working-cloud-computing-rival/

Datacenter/Hardware

Software/SaaS

  • Judge: IBM Owes Indiana $78M After Failed Welfare Privatization

    Now, Judge Heather Welch says IBM should pay the state $128 million in damages, and that the state still owes IBM nearly $50 million in various fees.

    The Daniels administration originally hired IBM to take over digital welfare services for the state Family and Social Services Administration. The contract was terminated in 2009 after numerous problems and has been tied up in court ever since.

    IBM will appeal the decision.

    http://www.wfyi.org/news/articles/judge-ibm-owes-indiana-78m-after-failed-welfare-privatization

Other

  • Wisconsin Governor Defends Foxconn Deal Amid Growing Concerns

    “Traditionally, these incentive packages, when we look back at them, tend to be expensive, inefficient and have a lot of unintended consequences,” said State Rep. Gordon Hintz, a Democrat whose district includes Oshkosh. “We all want to be seen as doing something proactive but there’s a large body of public policy research that lets you know you can’t buy sustainable economic development.”

    The state assembly has already begun discussions over the bill and its committee on jobs and the economy plans to vote Monday, said House Speaker Robin Vos. The senate is beginning internal discussions and a joint committee on finance is expected to start discussions in the next two weeks. But Mr. Walker, a Republican, said he is confident the bill will be passed before Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 4.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/wisconsin-governor-defends-foxconn-deal-amid-growing-concerns-1502381401

  • Amazon owns a whole collection of secret brands

    Perhaps what Amazon is trying to do as it rapidly expands into new businesses—especially business areas where it might not have forged partnerships with well-known brands—is to give the impression to customers that there are tons of options to choose from, when in fact, they’re really just choosing between different Amazon brands. “Consumers pay a premium for a brand, that’s why they’re not store-generic,” DiMassimo suggested.

    But as Amazon extends into new product lines, it risks overreaching and eroding trust. It has sold beef that’s “raised on a ranch in California” (with no more information available on its sourcing) and “96% USDA Certified” biologic detergent. In both cases it’s not entirely clear to customers that they’re buying products from Amazon, rather than companies that have made it their business to render meat or make chemical products longer than a year or two.

    https://qz.com/1039381/amazon-owns-a-whole-collection-of-secret-brands/
    Brands Strike Back: Seven Strategies to Loosen Amazon’s Grip

    Some manufacturers are enforcing minimum advertised prices to make it harder for online sellers to undercut local merchants, while others give local stores first dibs on new products or funnel customers from their own websites to local outlets.

    “The pendulum has swung,” said Rich Tauer, president of Quality Bicycle Products, a Bloomington, Minn., bicycle wholesaler that won’t sell to Amazon. The company’s sales representatives push brands that support local retailers by restricting advertised prices and enforcing restrictions on where products are being sold.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/brands-strike-back-seven-strategies-to-loosen-amazons-grip-1502103602

  • Google Employee’s Anti-Diversity Manifesto Goes ‘Internally Viral’

    The 10-page Google Doc document was met with derision from a large majority of employees who saw and denounced its contents, according to the employee. But Jaana Dogan, a software engineer at Google, tweeted that some people at the company at least partially agreed with the author; one of our sources said the same (Dogan’s tweets have since been deleted). While the document itself contains the thoughts of just one Google employee, the context in which they were shared—Google is currently being investigated by the Department of Labor for its gender pay gap and Silicon Valley has been repeatedly exposed as a place that discriminates against women and people of color—as well as the private and public response from its workforce are important.

    “The broader context of this is that this person is perhaps bolder than most of the people at Google who share his viewpoint—of thinking women are less qualified than men—to the point he was willing to publicly argue for it. But there are sadly more people like him,” the employee who described the document’s contents to me said.

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/kzbm4a/employees-anti-diversity-manifesto-goes-internally-viral-at-google
    Google’s New Diversity Chief Criticizes Employee’s Memo

    Danielle Brown, Google’s vice president for diversity and inclusion, sent a letter to employees Saturday saying the employee’s memo “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender” and is “not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages,” according to a copy of the statement published by Motherboard, which earlier reported on the employee’s memo.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/googles-new-diversity-chief-criticizes-employees-memo-1502037022
    Google Fires Author of Divisive Memo on Gender Differences

    Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley.

    James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He said he’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-08/google-fires-employee-behind-controversial-diversity-memo

  • Microsoft only paid $30 million income tax last year, lowest since 2003

    The Seattle Times story notes that the $30 million figure is somewhat alarming, as Microsoft paid $136 million in state and local income tax payments in 2016. According to the Tax Policy Center think tank, 44 states (and Washington, D.C.) require corporate income taxes. For companies that are headquartered out-of-state, state governments usually only tax companies for activities that occur in their particular state.

    Washington state taxes corporations through its business and occupation (B&O) tax, which imposes a tax on the value of products sold in state. According to Microsoft, the $30 million figure does not include Washington’s B&O tax. The lowered payment might be due to Microsoft moving much of its operations overseas, as Microsoft reported $142 billion in overseas income as of June 30, 2017, a 15% increase over 2016.

    https://www.onmsft.com/news/microsoft-only-paid-30-million-income-tax-last-year-lowest-since-2003

  • Mobility Officially Bumped From Microsoft’s Strategy

    Microsoft is making clear, however, that while it may be moving away from creating mobility, it wants to be inside that technology, pushing artificial intelligence as its next major effort.

    It’s not as if Microsoft won’t have a mobile presence whatsoever, of course. The AI assistant Cortana is enabled for use on iOS and Android; the majority of enterprise business professionals use LinkedIn’s mobile app; and Skype is available just about everywhere. This certainly isn’t a death knell for the company, but as CEO Satya Nadella said in the fall of 2016, Microsoft needs to remember its roots as a platform-first company.

    https://www.enterprisemobilityexchange.com/news/mobility-officially-bumped-from-microsoft%E2%80%99s

Photo: Raw Pixel

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Outsourcing industry facing more immigration complexity

This week, President Trump is revisiting United States immigration policy.

The President signed an executive order on Tuesday to prevent immigration “fraud and abuse”:

“It’s America first—you better believe it,” Mr. Trump said during a speech at Snap-On Inc., a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wis., before signing an executive order that calls for a government-wide review aimed at stricter enforcement of immigration and other laws governing the entry of workers into the U.S.

A by-product of the Trump administration’s attempts at modifying immigrant labor regulation is a drop in H-1B applications for the first time in years:

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said Monday it had received 199,000 H-1B applications for the next fiscal year, according to the federal immigration agency. This is a steep decline from the 236,000 received last year and the 233,000 it received in 2015.

SFGate.com spoke with Martin Lawler, a Bay Area immigration attorney that suggests H-1B applications declined due to frustration. Applicants are selected at random and have to wait months to learn the final decision on their status.

Companies operating in US technology hubs like San Francisco have been complaining that these modifications will result in access to less qualified resources with math-based skills.

The biggest companies using H-1B visas are large Indian outsourcing firms like Tata, Cognizant, Infosys, Wipro, and Accenture. The Trump administration specifically called out Tata and Infosys as abusers of the existing program by supplying low-paid, low-skilled workers instead of the high-skill labor the program was designed to support.

The Trump administration is looking to raise the minimum salary requirements to issue a visa and would also like to place a limit on the number of employees with H-1B visas a company can hire. With these rules in place, Trump is expecting American companies will have no choice but to hire from the domestic labor pool.

Interestingly, even with all of the labor turmoil, Tata Consulting is reporting an actual rise in profits:

Mumbai-based TCS said profit in the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31 stood at 66.08 billion rupees ($1.02 billion), up 4.2% from 63.41 billion rupees a year ago. That was just below the 66.23 billion rupees consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. Revenue grew 4.2% to 296.42 billion rupees.

As the President refines his immigration policy, will Tata and its competitors be able to maintain growth? More importantly, is President Trump taking actions that will help the US economy in the long run by giving US workers (potentially) more opportunities, or will these decisions ultimately inhibit economic growth?

Update: Epilogue 

The Atlantic published an article detailing how a “buy American” strategy could backfire economically:

Laura Tyson, a professor at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business who chaired President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors, described much the same fundamental problem with the policy. “For every dollar spent, the amount you get for that dollar is going to depend on the price you have to pay,” she explained. “This kind of policy will reduce competition and raise the price of the product. So, instead of a global set of suppliers competing for U.S. government contracts, only U.S. suppliers will compete. And in some product areas, there won’t be a large number of U.S. suppliers, and [they] may not have the superior products or the superior technology. So, in those cases, both the quality and the price of the product that the government faces with a limited budget to spend on procurement will actually deteriorate.”

The critiques seem to focus on government procurement and explains that by closing bids to foreign companies, products and services will cost more and potentially provide inferior solutions.

Here is a podcast I did a few months ago on the H-1B topic:


Photo: himanshu-singh-gurjar

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Supplier Report: 4/8/2017

Google is investing in a new subsea cable that connects Singapore to Australia that should greatly improve international bandwidth to those countries and within the countries (especially Australia). But Google shouldn’t celebrate too hard, their Deepmind AI was recently defeated by an open AI solution playing old Atari games.

Analytic companies Tableau and Teradata announced changes to their software models. Tableau is shifting to a subscription model for their BI tools and Teradata was forced to admit their products are falling behind and need a refresh.

IBM is teaming up with Walmart to track food supply chains using blockchain’s general ledger system… once again trying to convince companies that blockchain has commercial applications outside of bitcoin.

Acquisitions

  • Oracle and Accenture? A non-starter and here’s why

    To give you a flavor of what this means, in its latest filing, Accenture recorded operating income of 13.7%. For its part, Oracle reported operating income of 32%. As you can readily see, there is no comparison between the two companies, despite the fact Accenture has been acquiring and developing its own software for solutions outside the ‘mainstream’ of solutions that Oracle sells.

    If a deal was on the table then Oracle would have some very difficult explaining to do about how margins would work given that it is under enough pressure over ambitious cloud based growth numbers. In short, it doesn’t make sense to distract Oracle management with profit table juggling when the company is already focused on other things.

    http://diginomica.com/2017/04/03/oracle-accenture-non-starter/
    Oracle rejects Accenture buyout speculation

    An ORCL spokesperson initially declined comment on Saturday but sent Fortune a categorical denial via email on Sunday.

    https://seekingalpha.com/news/3255046-oracle-rejects-accenture-buyout-speculation

  • Amazon and Google’s reported interest in Toshiba’s chip unit could be a sign of things to come

    While Amazon and Google’s flash needs are large and growing, it’s quite unlikely that either company (unlike Apple) could single-handedly consume all of the flash currently sold by Toshiba, or come close to doing so. Toshiba has been estimated to control about a fifth of a NAND market worth about $35 billion, and expected to see strong growth this year.

    Thus in the event that Amazon and Google are eying Toshiba’s flash business, it’s likely to buy a minority stake. One that would let the companies guarantee a stable supply of NAND in the coming years, and the chance to procure it at reasonable prices via long-term contracts.

    https://www.thestreet.com/story/14073764/1/amazon-and-google-s-reported-interest-in-toshiba-s-chip-unit-could-be-a-sign-of-things-to-come.html

Artificial Intelligence

  • OpenAI Just Beat Google DeepMind at Atari With an Algorithm From the 80s

    In one hour training on the Atari challenge, the algorithm reached a level of mastery that took a reinforcement-learning system published by DeepMind last year a whole day to learn. On the walking problem the system took 10 minutes, compared to 10 hours for Google’s approach.

    One of the keys to this dramatic performance was the fact that the approach is highly “parallelizable.” To solve the walking simulation, they spread computations over 1,440 CPU cores, while in the Atari challenge they used 720.

    This is possible because it requires limited communication between the various “worker” algorithms testing the candidate policies. Scaling reinforcement algorithms like the one from DeepMind in the same way is challenging because there needs to be much more communication, the researchers say.

    https://singularityhub.com/2017/04/06/openai-just-beat-the-hell-out-of-deepmind-with-an-algorithm-from-the-80s/
    Thanks JD!

  • Honda, IBM create Dave to solve recall riddle

    Dave — for Digital Assisted Virtual Engineer — is a virtual online agent Honda created in conjunction with IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence system. Essentially a highly developed online chat bot run out of Honda’s Chino, Calif., call center, Dave is designed to answer consumer questions about Honda and Acura recalls 24/7.

    “The concept of this was to say if we want to really service our customers in general, what is the gap?” Tony Gomes, assistant vice president of the parts, service and technical division at Honda, told Automotive News. “The gap is when the centers are closed.”

    http://www.autonews.com/article/20170401/MOBILITY/304039963/honda-ibm-create-dave-to-solve-recall-riddle

Cloud

  • IBM’s cloud adds support for Nvidia’s fastest GPUs yet

    There is still a chance that Google could beat IBM to the market, though. Late last year, Google also announced that it would support Nvidia’s newest GPUs early this year, but we haven’t heard when exactly the company plans to launch this feature. We asked Google for an updated timeline but haven’t heard back yet.

    AWS, too, offers GPU support, of course, and its machines can be outfitted with up to 16 GPUs (those are the older K80 cards, though 16 of those obviously offer a lot of raw computing power, too). Microsoft’s Azure offers a similar setup with support for up to 4 of Nvidia’s slightly older GPUs.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/05/ibms-cloud-adds-support-for-nvidias-fastest-gpus-yet/?ncid=rss

  • Why Amazon may eventually touch everything we do online

    Most of the websites that you already go to run through Amazon. Increasingly, their devices are actually coming into your home, you know, they’re delivering groceries. You will, at some point, not conduct business online without Amazon getting a cut of it. And so, they’ve been very good at slow and steady execution so far, and if they make money off everything you do online, there may be no such thing as stretched too thin.

    http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/why-amazon-may-eventually-touch-everything-we-do-online#stream/0

  • New Study Shows AWS Losing Ground to Azure in Enterprises

    “In the early days of the cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) took the lead as the cloud computing vendor of choice,” the survey report said. “But the survey revealed that as the cloud matures, organizations are becoming more comfortable with vendors other than AWS and are using multiple cloud vendors. In fact, while other reports show that AWS still has a lead in cloud market share, the top cloud vendor in this survey — which included only organizations with at least 500 employees — was Microsoft Azure.

    https://virtualizationreview.com/articles/2017/04/04/aws-losing-ground-to-azure-in-enterprises.aspx

Software/SaaS

  • Tableau switches to subscription pricing for its BI products

    Businesses will need to pay $70 per user per month for a license of Tableau Desktop Professional, and $35 per user per month for Tableau Server. That compares to the company’s boxed software prices of $2000 for Desktop, plus a $400 annual renewal fee for software updates, and $800 for Server, plus a $200 annual fee.

    It’s a move that will provide additional flexibility, scalability and risk mitigation for Tableau customers, according to Francois Ajenstat, the company’s chief product officer.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3187842/business-intelligence/tableau-switches-to-subscription-pricing-for-its-bi-products.html

  • Walmart and IBM Will Use Blockchain to Ensure Food Safety

    Yiannas explains in an article by Fortune that his company was inspired to utilize blockchain technology for supply chain monitoring by a deadly E. coli scare that happened about a decade ago. The tainted food was, in this case, spinach, and Yiannas believes it goes back to poor practices of sourcing and tracing the contaminated food products. “Consumers, in general, stopped eating spinach…if you could track and pinpoint where that came from faster, you could alleviate all that and ensure consumer confidence continues,” he said. Beyond that, in a case like this one, you could also potentially reduce the number of people who were sickened or killed by poisoned food.

    With an effort at retaining consumer confidence in the event of a similar scare, Walmart has worked with IBM and Beijing’s Tsinghua University to use blockchain to digitally track how pork products in China move. Walmart’s experiment makes use of blockchain technology designed specifically for this purpose by the Hyperledger Project. This is an open source project that was based out of the Linux Foundation and which aims to create blockchain applications for non-cryptocurrency purposes.

    http://www.investopedia.com/news/walmart-and-ibm-will-use-blockchain-ensure-food-safety-wmt-ibm/

  • Teradata CEO aims to regain ‘customer focus’ with embrace of cloud and open source

    He added: “We were shying away from new technologies like open source and cloud. We weren’t being as aggressive as we should be in moving forward to drive our offering to the point where the customer wanted.”

    However, he said that the vendor has moved at “lightning speed” over the last year to address some of the concerns.

    http://www.computerworlduk.com/applications/teradata-ceo-aims-regain-customer-focus-by-embracing-cloud-open-source-3656964/

Other

  • Google invests in new subsea cable that connects Singapore to Australia

    The cable will feature two fiber pairs with a total capacity of about 18 terabits per second — with the option to expand in the future.

    As Google notes, that’s enough to power 8 million simultaneous Google Hangout video calls (or are those Hangout Meet calls now?). Google, however, is obviously sharing the capacity here, so it won’t quite be able to handle all of those calls at any given time. It’s also worth noting that 18 terabits isn’t extremely fast by today’s standard. The subsea cable between Hong Kong and Los Angeles Google and Facebook invested in last year tops out at 120 terabits per second.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/05/google-invests-in-new-subsea-cable-that-connects-singapore-and-australia/?ncid=rss

  • Expect to see BlackBerry’s name (and tech) on more devices

    On the company’s earnings call, CEO John Chen said (via Seeking Alpha) that “We are now expanding to the next phase of our licensing program. This will focus on a broader set of endpoints. What this might mean, and I make no promise, is that you may soon see a BlackBerry tablet, and it will also extend to cobranded handset with IoT and Enterprise of Things to EoT devices. These endpoints will run our software and security features and be cobranded Secure by BlackBerry.”

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/01/expect-to-see-blackberrys-name-and-tech-on-more-devices/

  • EFF: Verizon will install spyware on all its Android phones (update)

    But the EFF spent a little time staring at AppFlash’s privacy policy, where it’s revealed that the software will vacuum up any and all of your private data. For instance, it’ll snag your cell number, device type, operating system and the apps or services that you use. More crucially, the app will also harvest the details of everything installed on your device, your location and the contact details of everyone in your phonebook.

    Verizon admits that the information will be shared within “the Verizon family of companies,” including that of (Engadget parent) Aol. From there, the data will be used to “provide more relevant advertising within the AppFlash experiences and in other places.” The other places being a euphemism for banner and display advertising all across the web.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/31/eff-verizon-will-install-spyware-on-all-its-android-phones/

  • Follow-up to SourceCast Episode 65: H-1B Visa Overhaul Could Actually Benefit Big Tech Companies

    “The top 15 job shops are all pretty much all from India. They get 85 percent of the H-1Bs. If they cut that number, then the American firms will get the bigger slice of the pie,” Shusterman said. “A lot of the Apples or Googles are paying over $100,000 a year. They’re going after top talent. This memo is really going after the lowest paid people.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-04/u-s-visa-revamp-poised-to-benefit-big-u-s-tech-punish-outsourcers

Photo: Thomas Shellberg

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