Tag Archives: Apple

SourceCast: Episode 82: Trump vs. Apple

Last Tuesday, President Trump announced that Apple would be opening three manufacturing plants within the United States. The news left many technology journalists scratching their heads since Apple doesn’t build manufacturing plants. This week we dive into Trump’s announcement to determine fact from potential fiction.

Photo: Freestocks.org

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Supplier Report: 7/28/2017

Jeff Bezos surpassed Bill Gates to become the richest man in the world.  Bezos’ company has long competed with Microsoft in cloud hosting and now it seems they will battle in the healthcare space. There are reports that Amazon has a secret project to address electronic records which Microsoft has also been investigating for some time.

Google is fighting with AWS and Microsoft to gain a footing in enterprise cloud. It seems that their plans might be working as contracts valued at $500K or more have tripled for them this year.

Apple is getting in President Trump’s good graces this week with the promise to work with Foxconn on building up to three manufacturing planets in the United States.

Acquisitions

  • Mitel to buy ShoreTel for $430 million to create unified communications powerhouse

    Combining the two companies catapults Mitel to number two in the Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market, according to the company.

    As for ShoreTel, while it will get absorbed in the deal, it looks like the shareholders did quite well, scoring a 28 percent premium over the closing stock price yesterday. The deal looks like this: Mitel will pay $7.50 a share for a total value of $430 million in an all-cash deal.

    With the stroke of a pen, Mitel now has almost doubled its UCaaS revenue to $263 million, and there will be other efficiencies achieved by combining the two companies with similar markets.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/27/mitel-to-buy-shoretel-for-430-million-to-create-unified-communications-powerhouse/?ncid=rss

  • KKR confirms it will buy WebMD for $2.8B in cash

    Some consolidation is afoot in the world on health-focused online media properties. Today, WebMD, one of the biggest sites in the world for health-related information — announced that it would be acquired by Internet Brands — the company that is controlled by KKR and owns a large portfolio of B2B and B2C websites in verticals like automotive, health, home, travel and legal — for a $66.50 per share in cash, or $2.8 billion. The news confirms a report from this weekend noting that the deal was on the cards.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/24/kkr-confirms-it-will-buy-webmd-for-2-8b-in-cash/

  • OpenText acquires forensic security vendor Guidance Software for $240 million

    OpenText, the content management company based in Waterloo, Ontario announced today that it was buying Guidance Software, a forensic security and eDiscovery vendor for $240 million.

    OpenText agreed to pay Guidance shareholders $7.10 a share. The price will be less Guidance’s cash on hand of approximately $18 million, making the final price just around $222 million, according to OpenText. Under the terms of the purchase, the company will become a wholly owned subsidiary of OpenText.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/26/opentext-acquires-forensic-security-vendor-guidance-software-for-240-million/?ncid=rss

  • Merger Talks Between BMC and CA End

    BMC, which is owned by private-equity firms Bain Capitaland Golden Gate Capital, is no longer exploring a deal with CA and the talks aren’t likely to heat up again soon, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The deal the companies were discussing would have been structured as a leveraged buyout and counted as one of the largest such deals in years, given CA’s market value of $14.6 billion Thursday morning.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/merger-talks-between-bmc-and-ca-end-1501169897

  • SoftBank is reportedly keen to buy ‘multi-billion dollar stake’ in Uber

    Less than a day after it agreed to put $2 billion into Southeast Asia’s Grab alongside Didi, now SoftBank is being linked with an investment in Uber, the U.S. firm that rivals those two aforementioned ride-sharing companies.

    A Wall Street Journal report claims SoftBank has been in touch with Uber with the apparent goal of buying a “multi-billion dollar stake” in the company. To date, Uber has raised close to $12 billion from investors, with its most recent valuation reportedly above $60 billion.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/25/softbank-is-reportedly-keen-to-buy-multi-billion-dollar-stake-in-uber/?ncid=rss
    John and I predicted this would happen on SourceCast episode 78

Artificial Intelligence

  • Google targets AI startups with Developers Launchpad Studio mentorship program

    Helpful perks to creators to be made available at the Developers Launchpad Studio include product validation support and introductions to AI investors, as well as feedback and advice from people like Google director of research Peter Norvig and Yossi Matias, head of Google’s R&D Research Center in Israel. Participants will also receive $50,000 in financial support without the need to give Google equity, as well as product credits for services like Google Cloud.

    https://venturebeat.com/2017/07/26/google-launches-developers-launchpad-studio-to-mentor-ai-startups/

  • IBM Watson Helps More Puppies Become Guiding Eyes for the Blind

    While this video provides no information on how Watson is being used to select helper puppies… who doesn’t like to look a puppies (damn you IBM, you knew what you were doing).

Cloud

  • The cloud wars explained: Amazon is dominating, but Microsoft and Google are striking back

    Still, Microsoft’s key advantage isn’t necessarily in technology, but rather in its enterprise know-how and established customer base. Lots of Microsoft’s biggest customers have contracts with the company that give them steep discounts on its software. Microsoft has been using those agreements to give customers big incentives to try Azure.

    Microsoft has also worked to make Azure more attractive to software developers. Under Nadella, the company has swallowed its pride and begun to support in Azure technologies it previously tried to crush. Most notably that includes the Linux operating system — a bit of software that developers absolutely love, but that ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once called “a cancer” and “communism,” because it’s available for free.

    That newfound openness to open-source code like Linux has won Microsoft a lot of appreciation from programmers. At last count, Linux accounted for about a third of all Azure usage, according to Microsoft.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/why-amazon-is-so-hard-to-topple-in-the-cloud-and-where-everybody-else-falls-2017-7

  • Google triples number of $500k cloud deals year over year as latest results announced

    “To be more specific about our momentum with big customers, in Q2 the number of new deals we closed worth more than $0.5 million is three times what it was last year,” Pichai added.

    This was about as specific as Pichai got, as Google puts cloud in its ‘other revenue’ bucket, alongside such products as the Google Play app store. Google’s other revenues for Q217 were at $3.1 billion, up 42% from this time last year but seeing a very slight decrease from Q1 this year.

    https://www.cloudcomputing-news.net/news/2017/jul/25/google-triples-number-500k-cloud-deals-year-over-year-latest-financial-results/

  • Amazon has set its sights on healthcare tech with a stealth lab it calls ‘1492’

    The e-commerce giant has set up a new, stealthy lab called “1492” that’s dedicated to healthcare technology, CNBC reported Wednesday.

    According to the report, the lab is exploring ways to tap into medical providers’ electronic records to make that data more accessible for consumers and their physicians, according to the report. The lab is also considering building a telemedicine system that could connect patients and doctors. And its looking into making health apps for Amazon devices, like the Echo, CNBC reported.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/report-amazon-pursues-healthcare-tech-1492-lab-2017-7
    Amazon may be going head-to-head with Microsoft in healthcare

    For those who may have forgotten (or never knew), Microsoft has been targeting some of these same spaces for years with its HealthVault patient-records service. Earlier this year, Microsoft extended HealthVault with a new Insights research project designed to provide users with analytics around patient-health.

    Microsoft’s AI + Research Group has a specific Healthcare NExT effort via which Microsoft is working with external partners to integrate research and health-technology product development.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/amazon-may-be-going-head-to-head-with-microsoft-in-healthcare/

Datacenter

  • Seagate Shares Slide After Earnings Miss

    Seagate Technology shares plunged 19% to $32.01 in early trading Tuesday after the company reported fourth-quarter profit and sales well below expectations.

    Separately, Seagate said that Chief Executive Steve Luczo will step down from his role effective Oct. 1. Mr. Luczo, who will stay with the company as executive chairman, will be succeeded by Chief Operating Officer Dave Mosley.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/seagate-shares-slide-after-earnings-miss-1500991020

  • Meg Whitman steps down from HP’s board (Not HPE)

    “I will be forever grateful to Meg for her many contributions,” said Dion Weisler, HP’s CEO in a statement. “She is a terrific friend and advisor and will remain so as we continue executing on our strategy of reinvention. I very much look forward to working closely with Chip as our new Chairman as we shepherd HP into the future.”

    The release did not indicate whether recent reports from Recode and Bloomberg are accurate, which suggested that she’s on the short list of candidates being considered for Uber’s CEO.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/26/meg-whitman-steps-down-from-hps-board/?ncid=rss

Software/SaaS

Other

  • Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Becomes World’s Richest Person

    Mr. Bezos, 53, reached a net worth of over $90.6 billion as the stock market opened Thursday, according to Forbes, which has tracked a list of wealthiest people since 1987. That allowed him to steal the title from Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates by $500 million. Stock prices increased from there, adding to his lead.

    Analysts expect Amazon to report another quarter of strong sales after the market closes, as the company continues to prove its dominance in everything from retail to cloud services.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazons-jeff-bezos-becomes-worlds-richest-person-1501169993

  • Should America’s Tech Giants Be Broken Up?

    They don’t engage in the predatory behavior of yore, such as selling goods below the cost of production to steal market share and cripple competitors. After all, the services that Facebook and Google offer are free (if you don’t consider giving up your personal data and privacy rights to be a cost). However, academics have documented how these companies employ far fewer people than the largest companies of decades past while taking a disproportionate share of national profits. As they grow and occupy a bigger part of the economy, median wages stagnate and labor’s share of gross domestic product declines. Labor’s shrinking share of output is widely implicated in the broader economic growth slowdown.

    Still others have shown that, as markets become more concentrated and established companies more powerful, the ability of startups to succeed declines. Since half of all new jobs spring from successful startups, this dampens job creation.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-20/should-america-s-tech-giants-be-broken-up

  • Why it might be ‘dangerous’ for IBM to turn itself around: professor

    “I think IBM has had a good run,” NYU Stern School of Business professor Aswath Damodaran told Yahoo Finance. “Not all companies last forever. There is a life cycle to a company. They are born grow and then decline. They [IBM] have been in decline for 10 or 12 years.”

    Damodaran, who teaches corporate finance and valuation, says trying to force growth in older companies like IBM could actually have a negative impact on them, because they might end up simply throwing good money away.

    “When you’re 75, you’d love to be 35 again, but you’re not going to,” Damodaran said. “So that’s the way I think of aging companies. Trying to turn them around might be the most dangerous thing you can do.”

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/might-dangerous-ibm-turn-around-professor-125001765.html

  • IBM Is One of 18 Companies That Could Soon Be Attacked by an Activist Investor

    International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)  reported its twenty-first consecutive quarter of year-over-year sales declines on July 19. IBM joined our list in May after reporting in April its 20th consecutive annual revenue decline and accelerated margin deterioration. It also reportedly recently began working with two investment banks to formulate an activist defense plan.

    https://www.thestreet.com/story/14239194/1/ibm-is-one-of-18-companies-that-could-soon-be-attacked-by-an-activist-investor.html

  • Apple Supplier Foxconn Looks at Producing Display Panels in Wisconsin

    Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., has said publicly that it is looking at seven states in the U.S., where it would invest a total of $10 billion or more to manufacture flat-panel screens and related equipment. In June, a company executive identified the seven as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

    In addition to Wisconsin, Foxconn is looking in the Detroit area for a possible plant, two people familiar with the plans said. It wasn’t clear what that plant would make.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/apple-supplier-foxconn-looks-at-producing-display-panels-in-wisconsin-1500884344

  • Trump Says Apple CEO Has Promised to Build Three Manufacturing Plants in U.S.

    Mr. Trump, in a 45-minute interview with The Wall Street Journal, said Mr. Cook promised him Apple would build “three big plants, beautiful plants.” Mr. Trump didn’t elaborate on where those plants would be located or when they would be built.

    “I spoke to [Mr. Cook], he’s promised me three big plants—big, big, big,” Mr. Trump said as part of a discussion about business-tax reform and business investment. “I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success. He called me, and he said they are going forward.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-apple-ceo-has-promised-to-build-three-manufacturing-plants-in-u-s-1501012372

Photo: Hieu Vu Minh

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Supplier Report: 6/30/2017

There is another ransomware threat that has been unleashed upon unsuspecting corporations. “Petya” is even more focused on locking down corporate infrastructure than predecessor “WannaCry”.

IBM is recovering nicely from their WhatsApp loss a few weeks back.  They are finally scoring some blockchain wins on Wall Street, they are working on an AI super computer with the Air Force, and they landed (pun intended) a cloud contract with American Airlines.

The EU is hitting Google with a $2.7B fine over anti-trust concerns at the same time the company announced they aren’t scanning your email for personalized ad targeting anymore. Google also announced they are removing medical records from search results because… that was a thing apparently?

Acquisitions

  • SoftBank’s $100 billion vision fund eyes quantum computing

    SoftBank Group Corp.’s $100 billion Vision Fund is scouting for possible investments in quantum computing, an experimental science being researched by companies such as Google and IBM to succeed current computer processor technology. Shu Nyatta, who helps invest money for the fund, said the group wanted to find and back the company whose quantum computing hardware or software that runs atop it would become the “de facto industry standard.” “We are happy to invest enough to create that standard around which the whole industry can coalesce,” Nyatta said, speaking during a panel discussion at a conference on quantum computing in Munich Thursday.

    http://www.financialexpress.com/industry/softbanks-100-billion-vision-fund-eyes-quantum-computing/733555/

  • Sprint Enters Into Exclusive Talks With Charter, Comcast On Wireless
    Deal

    One arrangement that has been considered is for Charter and Comcast to invest in improving Sprint’s network in exchange for favorable terms to offer wireless service using the carrier’s network, the people said. Such a deal could involve the companies taking an equity stake in Sprint, some of the people said. The cable companies already have such a network-resale agreement with Verizon Communications Inc., but the Sprint deal could provide much better terms.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/sprint-enters-into-exclusive-talks-with-charter-comcast-on-wireless-deal-1498524087

  • Apple acquires SMI eye-tracking company

    Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI), an eye-tracking firm, MacRumors reports.

    The German company, which was founded in 1991, has done significant work in eye-tracking research with proprietary eyeglass hardware while also working on consumer-focused applications like eye-tracking for virtual reality. Last year, the company announced it had created an eye-tracking development kit for the HTC Vive VR headset.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/26/apple-acquires-smi-eye-tracking-company/?ncid=rss

  • Microsoft To Acquire Cloud Cost Optimization Vendor Cloudyn

    Microsoft said the acquisition fits with its commitment to provide customers with the tools they need to govern their cloud adoption and realize the strategic benefits of a global, intelligent cloud system.

    In April Calcalist, an Israeli business web site, said Microsoft and Cloudyn were discussing an acquisition for between $50 million and $70 million.

    http://www.crn.com/news/cloud/300088031/microsoft-to-acquire-cloud-cost-optimization-vendor-cloudyn.htm

Artificial Intelligence

  • The Air Force and IBM are building an AI supercomputer

    IBM and the USAF announced on Friday that the machine will run on an array of 64 TrueNorth Neurosynaptic chips. The TrueNorth chips are wired together like, and operate in a similar fashion to, the synapses within a biological brain. Each core is part of a distributed network and operate in parallel with one another on an event-driven basis. That is, these chips don’t require a clock, as conventional CPUs do, to function.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/06/23/the-air-force-and-ibm-are-building-an-ai-supercomputer/

  • Leveraging cloud for AI success

    The cloud can be configured to use GPU accelerators for machine learning algorithms. GPU is a form of accelerated computing that allows graphic processors to supplement traditional processors on complex calculations – such as those involved in machine learning and algorithm training. GPUs break the previous barriers that limited parallel processing of AI applications.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/leveraging-cloud-for-ai-success/

  • IBM, Cornell University To Use Artificial Intelligence To Make Dairy Safe

    By sequencing and analyzing the DNA and RNA (genetic code) of food microbiomes, researchers plan to create new tools that can help monitor raw milk to detect anomalies that represent food safety hazards and possible fraud.

    While many food producers already have rigorous processes in place to ensure food safety hazards are managed appropriately, this pioneering application of genomics will be designed to enable a deeper understanding and characterization of microorganisms on a much larger scale than has previously been possible.

    http://www.inquisitr.com/4323505/ibm-cornell-university-to-use-artificial-intelligence-to-make-dairy-safe/

  • Microsoft says its AI took a data scientist’s job

    Much of the conversation about machine learning taking jobs focuses on the future, but Microsoft boasted its cloud service has already managed to claim one human’s position. The Custom Decision Service, which the company introduced at its Build conference last month, took over at one of Microsoft’s customers, according to Jennifer Chayes, a distinguished scientist at the company’s research arm.

    “One of the startups, they were really pressed for funds, got rid of their one data scientist because this worked so much better than their data scientist,” she said during an on stage interview at a Bloomberg event in San Francisco today.

    https://venturebeat.com/2017/06/22/microsoft-says-its-ai-took-a-data-scientists-job/

Cloud

  • Oracle CEO Mark Hurd: ‘We’re different than Amazon’

    “We’re different than Amazon. Amazon offers infrastructure, and they started in infrastructure. We’re a differentiated intellectual property company. We make applications. We make platforms, databases, Java, business intelligence, analytics, machine-to-machine capability embedded in those applications,” he said.

    “I would guess a quarter of the world’s infrastructure has a piece of Oracle IP running on top,” said Hurd.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/22/ceo-mark-hurd-oracle-is-different-than-amazon.html

  • American Airlines taps IBM once again for ‘massive’ cloud shift

    The airline industry has struggled to modernize its infrastructure, and as a result has suffered a number of recent computer failures. By moving to the cloud, AA hopes to avoid similar problems while also improving the customer experience, business processes and communications.

    Once the airline is migrated off its legacy infrastructure, it can rely on IBM as its services provider to ensure applications stay running. With more bandwidth, and dedicated infrastructure staff, AA will hopefully not have to deal with large-scale and damaging outages.

    http://www.ciodive.com/news/american-airlines-taps-ibm-once-again-for-massive-cloud-shift/445876/

Datacenter

  • IBM: Is The Cloud Swallowing the Mainframe?

    “A key near-term debate among investors is whether the anticipated release of a new mainframe can help IBM achieve a back-end-loaded second half.”

    Mainframes are just 3% of total revenue, and 2% of profit, he notes, annually, but the whole “platform” of a mainframe, including storage, software, support contracts, and services that go with it, were nearly a quarter of IBM’s revenue last year, and 40% of profits.

    If mainframe sales “decline steadily” in coming years,” it could hurt profit: “if mainframe is ~40% of company profits, and mainframe hardware falls in half over the next 15 years (about a 4% decline per year), this would negatively impacting IBM’s installed base of mainframes by about 25%, and impact mainframe profits by potentially 30%.”

    http://www.barrons.com/articles/ibm-is-the-cloud-swallowing-the-mainframe-asks-bernstein-1498251908

Software/SaaS/Security

  • ‘Petya’ Ransomware Hits At Least 65 Countries; Microsoft Traces It To Tax Software

    Like WannaCry, the Petya ransomware demands a $300 bitcoin payment to retrieve encrypted files and hard drives. As of Wednesday morning Eastern time, the account had received around $10,000. But in a move that has caused some controversy, German email company Posteo blocked the email address the Petya hackers were using to confirm ransom payments. While some cybersecurity experts have praised the approach, others note that users whose files are held hostage have now lost their sole point of contact.

    WannaCry was largely undone by the discovery of a “kill switch” that could shut it down. No such kill switch has been found so far with Petya, and experts are still working to find a way to stop it.

    http://kaxe.org/post/petya-ransomware-hits-least-65-countries-microsoft-traces-it-tax-software#stream/0

  • IBM landed a big win in the race to sell blockchain to Wall Street

    IBM has been selected to build a new blockchain-based international trading system for a consortium of global banks, a major win for the tech giant in the race to sell blockchain to Wall Street.

    The contract is a significant win for IBM as it means the tech company’s blockchain platform — dubbed Hyperledger Fabric — will be used to build the system. That likely means lucrative servicing contracts for IBM and may make banking execs more likely to commission more Hyperledger-based products and services once they’re familiar with the system.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/blockchain-digital-trade-chain-ibm-hyperledger-deutsche-bank-hsbc-soc-gen-2017-6

  • Box, Microsoft announce partnership to co-sell products

    The companies will cooperate to co-sell Box with Azure and will work to integrate Azure’s AI and machine learning tech with Box’s content management platform.

    Box’s document storage service competes with some Microsoft Office 365 products and uses Amazon Web Services, Azure’s competitor, as a backup.

    https://seekingalpha.com/news/3275746-box-microsoft-announce-partnership-co-sell-products


    Wait… doesn’t IBM have a strategic partnership with Box to do the same exact thing? Box must be doing something right to have all these companies doing their sales work for them.

Other (aka the Google section)

  • Google Slapped With $2.7 Billion EU Fine Over Search Results

    Antitrust experts and tech executives say that question arises in areas where tech giants have introduced major innovations—like Google’s search engine—that become gateways to the internet. EU regulators worry that tech firms, by inserting themselves into such a key role of funneling and directing consumer traffic, could take unfair advantage.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-slapped-with-2-7-billion-eu-fine-over-search-results-1498556971

    Yelp, Oracle and News Corp have signed a letter supporting EU action against Google

    Seven U.S. companies and industry groups have signed a letter in support of the European Union fining Google more than $1 billion for allegedly favoring its own shopping service over others in search results.

    https://www.recode.net/2017/6/26/15878518/yelp-oracle-news-corp-letter-supporting-eu-action-against-google-antitrust
    Of course Oracle signed the letter…

  • Google begins removing private medical records from search results

    The leaking of private medical records can be extremely damaging to the victims, both financially and emotionally, with future prospects affected and private lives of the vulnerable exposed. Given that Google’s indexing system will capture anything that’s publicly accessible on the internet, leaks such as those created by an Indian pathology lab which uploaded more than 43,000 patient records in December, including names and HIV blood test results, can be particularly damaging.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/23/google-begins-removing-private-medical-records-from-search-results

  • Google now has all the data it needs, will stop scanning Gmail inboxes for ad personalization

    Google won’t stop showing ads in Gmail, though, and it’s worth noting that given how much the company already knows about all of its users, it just might not need these additional signals from Gmail. And maybe they even turned out to be relatively useless or even detrimental for ad performance.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/23/google-has-all-the-data-it-needs-will-stop-scanning-gmail-inboxes/?ncid=rss

  • Toshiba misses self-imposed deadline for chip unit sale, sues Western Digital

    On one hand, Tsunakawa lambasted the Western Digital at the shareholders meeting, saying it had been interfering in the sale. But the head of Toshiba’s chip unit also said the Japanese company was prepared to make concessions and hoped to resolve the dispute as soon as possible.

    Toshiba argues that Western Digital’s bid for the memory unit presents anti-trust issues and is too low in price.

    Western Digital has said it offer meets the 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) minimum demanded by Toshiba – a figure that appears to match the amount offered by the preferred bidder.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-toshiba-accounting-idUSKBN19I308

Photo: Stephanie McCabe

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SourceCast: Episode 51: Watching your health

sn_watch_s-zolkin

This week news broke that Motorola is going to stop making smart watches and Peeble is being purchased by FitBit. What happens to the utopian medical data scneario when companies stop making these devices?

Photo: S Zolkin

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SourceCast: Episode 47: Technology Ecosystems

sn_compunature_dave-meier

This week I open my home up to listeners as I discuss the issues with personal technology ecosystems in an ever-connected world.  If technology can be so complicated for home use, imagine what large enterprises have to deal with.

Bonus: Since Amazon Echo vs Google Home was a major topic this week, here is a great write up on what both devices can and cannot do.

Photo: Dave Meier

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