Tag Archives: Apple

Supplier Report: 10/6/2017

Microsoft seems to be hinting at a post-consumer product existence when they announced they were shuttering their Groove service.  It seems like Google is slipping into the current Microsoft spot with their line of consumer focused Chromebooks and smartphones, while Microsoft becomes the new IBM by servicing the enterprise?

Oracle was all over the place this week.  Larry Ellison took shots at Amazon again while announcing AI functions within their product set.  Oracle is also confident they will take the lead in the cloud by helping companies keep costs flat.  Oracle might be keeping their female employee’s salaries flat as their board is rejecting requests to undergo a gender pay study.

Apple, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft purchased companies over the last week, giving the M&A section a much needed boost.

Acquisitions

  • Apple quietly acquired computer vision startup Regaind

    This is Apple’s standard statement to confirm an acquisition. From what I understand, Apple acquired Regaind earlier this year. The company had raised a bit less than $500,000 (€400,000) from Side Capital.

    Regaind has been working on a computer vision API to analyze the content of photos. Apple added intelligent search to the Photos app on your iPhone a couple of years ago. For instance, you can search for “sunset” or “dog” to get photos of sunsets and your dog.

    In order to do this, Apple analyzes your photo library when you’re sleeping. When you plug your iPhone to a charger and you’re not using your iPhone, your device is doing some computing to figure out what’s inside your photos.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/29/apple-quietly-acquires-computer-vision-startup-regaind/

  • Toshiba Strikes $17.8 Billion Deal to Sell Semiconductor Unit

    On Thursday, the Japanese conglomerate said that it had signed an almost $17.8 billion deal to sell its memory chip business to Bain Capital and other investors. Now, the question is whether the deal can withstand the legal talons of Western Digital.

    Toshiba said in a statement that it would sell to a holding company called Pangea, which was founded explicitly for the sale. The sale, which comes after an acrimonious auction marked by confusion and reversals, could give Toshiba a booster shot to recover from billions of dollars of losses from its American nuclear power unit.

    Pangea is buying Toshiba with around $1.9 billion from Bain Capital and $240 million from Japan’s Hoya. South Korea’s SK Hynix will pay $3.50 billion while U.S. investors, including Seagate Technology, Kingston Technology, Apple, and Dell Technologies will pitch in $3.7 billion. Loans will account for another $5.3 billion of Pangea’s funding.

    http://www.electronicdesign.com/industrial-automation/toshiba-strikes-178-billion-deal-sell-semiconductor-unit

  • Amazon has acquired 3D body model startup, Body Labs, for $50M-$70M

    TechCrunch has learned that Amazon has acquired Body Labs, a company with a stated aim of creating true-to-life 3D body models to support various b2b software applications — such as virtually trying on clothes or photorealistic avatars for gaming.

    One source suggested the price-tag Amazon paid for Body Labs could be $100M+. However a second well-placed source suggested it’s closer to $70M than $100M — so we’re pegging it at between $50M and $70M.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/03/amazon-has-acquired-3d-body-model-startup-body-labs-for-50m-70m/

  • Microsoft acquires social virtual reality app AltspaceVR

    At a special event today in San Francisco, Microsoft announced that it has acquired social VR app AltspaceVR.

    The virtual reality social networking app allows users across headset and web platforms to join 3D chat rooms to play games, watch videos and attend events.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/03/microsoft-acquires-social-virtual-reality-app-altspacevr/

  • IBM Set To Acquire Sydney-Based Digital Consultancy Firm

    Computing giant International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) is set to acquire the Sydney, Australia-based digital consultancy firm, Vivant Digital. The digital consultancy firm uses technology, data and behavioral science to assist clients in coming up with a business strategy and the acquisition is thus meant to bolster IBM iX, the digital transformation agency of IBM. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close before the year ends, were not disclosed.

    The Sydney-based digital consultancy firm was started in 2008 and with a specialty in distribution industries and financial services, some of its clients include Australia Super, Qantas, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank. Currently the workforce of Vivant consists of between 50 and 70 workers who are located in both Melbourne and Sydney. Some of the employees will have be laid off though the exact number has not been determined.

    https://www.baystreet.ca/stockstowatch/2291/IBM-Set-To-Acquire-Sydney-Based-Digital-Consultancy-Firm

Artificial Intelligence

  • Oracle adds AI development service to platform offerings

    Zavery says Oracle is trying to make it easier for customers to build AI applications. “What we find with these frameworks and tooling, is that it’s not easy to set up as an integrated offering, and the evolution is happening so fast that it’s tough to keep up with what you should be using in terms of APIs around that.” The service is designed to alleviate those issues for developers.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/02/oracle-adds-ai-development-service-to-platform-offerings/?ncid=rss

Cloud

  • GE picks AWS as preferred cloud provider

    “Adopting a cloud-first strategy with AWS is helping our IT teams get out of the business of building and running data centers and refocus our resources on innovation as we undergo one of the largest and most important transformations in GE’s history,” Chris Drumgoole, GE’s CTO and Corporate VP, said in a statement. “We chose AWS as the preferred cloud provider for GE because AWS’s industry leading cloud services have allowed us to push the boundaries, think big, and deliver better outcomes for GE.”

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/ge-picks-aws-as-preferred-cloud-provider/

  • AWS fires back at Larry Ellison’s claims, saying it’s just Larry being Larry

    When Oracle chairman Larry Ellison announced his company’s new autonomous database product at the Oracle OpenWorld conference keynote, he took several minutes to disparage AWS, one of his chief rivals in the cloud market. As market leader, Amazon stands firmly in Ellison’s crosshairs, but AWS took exception to his comments, and decided to issue a public rebuke.

    “Yeah, that’s factually incorrect. With Amazon Redshift, customers can resize their clusters whenever they want, or can scale compute separately from storage by using Redshift Spectrum against their data in Amazon Simple Storage Service and pay per query for just the queries they run,” the spokesperson told TechCrunch.

    They went on to berate Ellison, saying, “But,‎ most people know already that this sounds like Larry being Larry. No facts, wild claims, and lots of bluster.”

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/02/aws-fires-back-at-larry-ellisons-claims-saying-its-just-larry-being-larry/

  • Oracle CEO Mark Hurd: IT spending is flat, and cloud is the only way out

    On top of that, Hurd (pictured) said in returning to a theme he has sounded before, Silicon Valley has contributed to IT’s difficult situation by making too many piece parts that it leaves customers to cobble together — with increasingly unsatisfactory results, such as the recent massive Equifax data breach, partly blamed on the company’s inability to patch problems in critical software quickly.

    “Tech innovation and customer adoption happening faster than IT can keep up,” he said, given that many companies still depend on 20-year-old systems and apps, requiring 80 percent of their budgets to be spent on maintaining them rather than adding more innovative technologies. “We’ve told customers to put all this complexity together. That complexity has driven to this very difficult environment to maintain and to innovate.”

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/10/02/oracle-ceo-mark-hurd-spending-flat-cloud-way/

Datacenter

  • Infinidat worth $1.6B after Goldman investment of $95M

    Data storage company Infinidat Inc. has raised $95 million from a growth equity wing of Goldman Sachs, indicating that the 6-year-old company continues to find traction in a market where others have stumbled recently.

    The Series C round, led by Goldman’s Private Capital Investing division, valued Infinidat at $1.6 billion, according to the company. TPG Growth, which had valued Infinidat at $1.2 billion in a $150 million round two years ago, also participated.

    https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2017/10/03/infinidat-worth-1-6b-after-goldman-investment-of.html

  • Why the Internet is worried that Microsoft’s consumer services are doomed

    It’s not an idle question. Every cancelled consumer product—the Zune music player, Windows phones, the Microsoft Band—resurfaces the same angry protest: Doesn’t Microsoft care about consumers?

    If “care” means app development, yes: Both the Zune and Groove Music Pass evolved into reasonably good services, even if few used them. If “care” refers to marketing, though, you already know the answer: In general, no. And if you follow the money—which in this case, comes mostly from Microsoft’s enterprise businesses—that’s most likely the real reason why no Microsoft consumer service can feel completely safe.

    https://www.pcworld.com/article/3230486/windows/microsoft-why-its-consumer-services-could-be-doomed.html
    Microsoft Shutters Groove Music, Will Move Users To Spotify

    Microsoft announced today that it will soon shutter both its Groove Music Pass streaming service and the ability to purchase songs and albums in the Windows Store. The biggest surprise isn’t that the service never took off, it’s that Microsoft has partnered with Spotify to move all its Groove Music Pass customers over to Spotify.

    https://tech.slashdot.org/story/17/10/02/2010241/microsoft-shutters-groove-music-will-move-users-to-spotify

Software/SaaS

  • Apple’s Global Web of R&D Labs Doubles as Poaching Operation

    Nothing unusual about that for a company that spends $11 billion a year on R&D. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll notice that many of these labs are located near companies with a strong record in mapping, augmented reality and other areas Apple is pushing into. In several cases, these companies lost employees to Apple not long after the iPhone maker came to town. Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller declined to comment.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-21/apple-s-global-web-of-r-d-labs-doubles-as-poaching-operation

  • Larry Ellison loves to rail against Amazon but this analyst says Microsoft is the real enemy

    “Microsoft is their big competitor,” says Larry Carvalho, lead analyst on platform-as-a-service at IDC.

    Amazon may be a giant in the cloud world but Microsoft is a bigger threat to the types of big business customers that Oracle depends on.

    “Oracle is about two to three years behind Microsoft,” Carvalho tells Business Insider.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-is-oracle-real-competitor-not-amazon-2017-10

  • AOL Instant Messenger to Sign Off

    AIM’s fate follows the path of other older messaging platforms that have shut down in recent years including MSN Messenger in 2014 and Yahoo Messenger last year.

    The move also offers reminder on how AOL, formerly called America Online, has struggled to turn its early internet dominance into leading the next generation of internet services. The chat platform grew from 13 million users in 1997 to 65.5 million users in 2000. It isn’t immediately clear how many users the platform has currently.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/aol-instant-messenger-to-sign-off-1507301951
    Interesting timing due to last week’s podcast.

Security

Introducing a new section on the Supplier Report (sadly there are so many incidents, that it needs its own section)…

  • Whole Foods Discloses Data Breach

    The grocery-store chain, now part of Amazon.com Inc., AMZN said its restaurants and taprooms use a separate checkout system and information of its grocery shoppers weren’t affected. Amazon transactions were also not accessed in the breach, Whole Foods said in a statement on its website.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/whole-foods-discloses-data-breach-1506636659

  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: We will regret sacrificing privacy for national security

    Microsoft has been fighting the US government since 2014, when the justice department served the company with a subpoena for emails stored in Irish servers. Microsoft has refused, arguing that permission to access data stored abroad needs to be given by the overseas government.

    Nadella said tech companies understood the need for national security, but added: “If in that context we sacrifice our enduring value around privacy, then I think as a society we will regret it.”

    He called for a “new framework of laws”, which would account for the free flow of online information across national boundaries. He said current laws were created “for a different era.”

    http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-ceo-satya-nadella-regret-sacrificing-privacy-for-security-2017-9

  • Yahoo Triples Estimate of Breached Accounts to 3 Billion

    The figure, which Verizon said was based on new information, is three times the 1 billion accounts Yahoo said were affected when it first disclosed the breach in December 2016. The new disclosure, four months after Verizon completed its acquisition of Yahoo, shows that executives are still coming to grips with the extent of the security problem in what was already the largest hacking incident in history by number of user accounts.

    A spokesman for Oath, the Verizon unit that now includes Yahoo, said the company determined within the past week that the break-in was much worse than thought, after it received new information from outside the company. He declined to elaborate on that information. Compromised customer information included usernames, passwords, and in some cases telephone numbers and dates of birth, the spokesman said.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/yahoo-triples-estimate-of-breached-accounts-to-3-billion-1507062804

Other

  • Out with the old, in with The New – outsourcing re-invented at Accenture?

    Outsourcing is rotating to The New…we are now selling more and more of those services based on automation, robotics, intelligent solutions based. We are re-inventing application services to differentiate. To some extent you can segregate the market between the players still trying to sell more harder of the legacy older classic IT, and [The New] players and we’re part of that camp. We are re-inventing this service by providing much more of the new technologies and new features to capture more growth, Our outsourcing business is double-digit and is very vibrant, [but] it’s because it does what [it does] to the New, and not because we’re trying to sell more of the legacy.

    http://diginomica.com/2017/09/29/old-new-outsourcing-re-invented-accenture/

  • I am just going to leave this one right here…
    Oracle’s board vows to fight gender pay request

    The board of directors at Redwood City-based enterprise software company Oracle says it plans to unanimously oppose a shareholder’s request for more data around gender pay equality at the company’s annual meeting in November.

    Arguing against the proposal in a regulatory filing Thursday, Oracle said 25 percent of its board members were female and that each of its 75 Oracle Women’s Leadership groups internally were led by women.

    Women make up 29 percent of Oracle’s global workforce, Pax World Mutual Funds says.

    “The business case for gender diversity is well-established; a growing body of evidence links greater board and managerial diversity with better company financial performance,” Pax World Mutual Funds wrote in its proposal. “…Research also shows that greater gender diversity brings increased innovation, better problem solving, stimulated group performance and enhanced company reputation.”

    https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2017/09/29/oracle-gender-pay-gap-data-shareholder.html

  • Amazon Must Pay $300 Million in Back Taxes, EU Says

    The European Commission, the bloc’s antitrust regulator, ordered Luxembourg to recoup €250 million ($294 million) from Amazon. The sum, identified as unpaid taxes over an eight-year period, amounts to one of the largest-ever tax recoveries under EU state-aid rules.

    The EU said Luxembourg had granted the e-commerce giant illegal state aid in the form of a 2003 sweetheart tax deal, prolonged in 2011, that illegally lowered Amazon’s tax payments to the Grand Duchy to the disadvantage of the company’s rivals.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-orders-luxembourg-to-recoup-almost-300-million-from-amazon-1507109839

Photo: Meiying Ng

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Supplier Report: 9/1/2017

Google’s main mission statement has been “don’t be evil”, but is that still the case?  Last month, I covered that Google has been caught funding pro-google studies (via universities and other research firms) and not disclosing that fact. This week Google had someone fired from a think tank they funded for supporting the EU’s stance that Google is a monopoly.

Apple is getting more daring… they announced a new application development deal with Accenture (where does that leave IBM?) and CEO Tim Cook has been taking some swipes at the US government regarding economic growth.

Observation: I want to point out a quirky trend in this week’s news: Almost all of the news feed items about Dell are about golf and all of the HPE news was about Meg Whitman not getting the Uber job (hundreds of articles for both).  Why aren’t these companies generating any other news and controlling their own narratives?

Artificial Intelligence

  • Shark-detecting drones to patrol Australian beaches

    Drones equipped with a shark detection system powered by artificial intelligence will start patrolling some Australian beaches from next month in a bid to improve safety.

    The battery-powered drones will provide a live-video feed to a drone operator who then uses the shark-spotting software to identify sharks in real time and with more accuracy than the human eye.

    Studies have shown that people have a 20-30 percent accuracy rate when interpreting data from aerial images to detect shark activity. Detection software can boost that rate to 90 percent, said Dr Nabin Sharma, a research associate at the University of Technology Sydney’s School of Software.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-sharkdrone-idUSKCN1B51KB

  • How Google and Microsoft Use AI to Turn Your Clicks Into Ad Dollars

    Google couldn’t make anyone available for interview before publication. Microsoft tells WIRED that it constantly tests new machine learning technologies in its advertising system. “Online advertising is perhaps by far the most lucrative application of AI [and] machine learning in the industry,” says John Cosley, director of marketing for Microsoft search advertising. Bing recently started using new deep learning algorithms to better understand the meaning of search queries and find relevant ads, he says.

    Research papers on using deep learning for ads may undersell both its true power and the challenge of tapping into it. Companies carefully scrub publications to avoid disclosing corporate secrets. And researchers tend to describe simplified versions of the problems faced by engineers who must target and serve ads at huge scale and speed, says Suju Rajan, head of research at computational advertising company Criteo. The company has released anonymized logs of millions of ad clicks that Google and others have used in papers on improving click predictions.

    https://www.wired.com/story/big-tech-can-use-ai-to-extract-many-more-ad-dollars-from-our-clicks/

Cloud

  • VMware is hedging its bets with its AWS partnership plus true private cloud

    “Fast forward to today. It’s growing at 10 to 12 percent a year; license is up 13 percent; it’s throwing off operating cash flow at $3 billion a year,” Vellante said. “Wall Street’s talking about VMware now being an undervalued stock.”

    Does this signal a shift in customer mindset? Do they want to bring the cloud operating model on-premises instead of migrating their businesses to cloud? VMware appears to think so.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/08/28/vmwares-hedging-bets-with-aws-partnership-plus-true-private-cloud-say-analysts-vmworld/

  • Amazon Has A Major Expense Storm Coming Its Way, Even If You Can’t Really See It

    …Effectively all of the servers used to run Amazon’s entire business, which have a three-year useful life, will never be counted as an expense when determining the reported operating cash flow number. The Capital Leases will never factor into their definition of free cash flow, since the original transaction is recorded under the Supplemental Cash Flow information and the payments on the Capital Leases are included in the Financing section of the Cash Flow Statement. The debt associated with purchasing the assets is never disclosed as a separate line item on the Balance Sheet, but rather buried in Other Liabilities and a footnote.

    https://seekingalpha.com/article/4102800-amazon-major-expense-storm-coming-way-even-really-see

  • Oracle to Hire 5K Executives for Cloud Operations in 2017

    Moreover, Oracle has introduced a number of cloud services like the retail merchandising solution , security solution over the last few quarters that have helped it to gain customers.

    However, with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) still being one of the weaklings in the portfolio, the company is expected to spend more on it. This might affect gross margin in the near term. Nevertheless, the company anticipates SaaS gross margin to eventually rise to 80% in the long haul, thereby leading to an improvement in the bottom line.

    http://www.nasdaq.com/article/oracle-to-hire-5k-executives-for-cloud-operations-in-2017-cm839227

Datacenter

  • IBM talks about alphas instead of betas in storage
  • So… Cisco probably spent a good sum of money to make a commercial with Peter Dinklage (from Game of Thrones)

    In a blog post, Cisco CMO Karen Walker writes, “Peter Dinklage is the perfect messenger because of his global fame and ability to speak in a bold, intelligent, and captivating way. As he wanders through the streets of London, you hang on to each of his words as he describes just how simple–and monumental–the new network is.”

Software/SaaS

  • Apple takes another step into Microsoft’s core territory with Accenture deal

    For Apple, the partnership is part of a continued push to win over business clients and try to knock Microsoft from its long-held throne as the default operating system in the corporate world. To that end, Apple has established partnerships with IBM, Cisco, Deloitte and SAP aimed at moving more business applications over to iOS devices and making them easier to use in corporate settings.

    The engineering teams will focus on apps that are used by front-line workers and consumers, such as apps that run on iPads for the lobbies of retail banks, where a teller and a customer might both interact with the app.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/29/apple-takes-another-step-into-microsofts-core-territory-with-accenture-deal.html
    Wasn’t the IBM deal supposed to do the same thing? I wonder how Big Blue feels about a major competitor partnering with Apple to do the same thing they were supposed to do.

  • IBM, Food Giants Harness Blockchain Tech to Improve Supply Chain Traceability

    Together with its partners, IBM will identify and prioritize new areas where blockchain can benefit food ecosystems and inform new IBM solutions. This work will draw on multiple IBM pilots and production networks in related areas that successfully demonstrate ways in which blockchain can positively impact global food traceability.

    The tech giant says that parallel trials with Walmart in China and the US have demonstrated that blockchain can be used to track a product from the farm through every stage of the supply chain, right to the retail shelf, in seconds instead of days or weeks. The trials also demonstrated that stakeholders throughout the global food supply chain view food safety as a collaborative issue, rather than a competitive one and are willing to work together to improve the food system for everyone.

    http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/startups/sustainable_brands/ibm_harnesses_blockchain_technology_improve_supply_chain_

Other

  • Tim Cook: Since the government isn’t doing it, Apple has a “moral responsibility to help grow the economy”

    “The reality is that government, for a long period of time, has for whatever set of reasons become less functional and isn’t working at the speed that it once was. And so it does fall, I think, not just on business but on all other areas of society to step up.”

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40460059/tim-cook-since-the-government-isnt-doing-it-apple-has-a-moral-responsibility-to-help-grow-the-economy

  • Google Critic Ousted From Think Tank Funded by the Tech Giant

    “Google is very aggressive in throwing its money around Washington and Brussels, and then pulling the strings,” Mr. Lynn said. “People are so afraid of Google now.”

    Google rejected any suggestion that it played a role in New America’s split with Open Markets. Riva Sciuto, a Google spokeswoman, pointed out that the company supports a wide range of think tanks and other nonprofits focused on information access and internet regulation. “We don’t agree with every group 100 percent of the time, and while we sometimes respectfully disagree, we respect each group’s independence, personnel decisions and policy perspectives.”

    New America’s executive vice president, Tyra Mariani, said it was “a mutual decision for Barry to spin out his Open Markets program,” and that the move was not in any way influenced by Google or Mr. Schmidt.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/us/politics/eric-schmidt-google-new-america.html

  • Warren Buffett says the future belongs to new age Apple, not to doyen of past IBM

    Warren Buffett had previously voiced a preference to avoid investing in technology stocks, but began building a stake in Apple in 2016. CNBC had earlier reported that the Oracle of Omaha added nearly 76 million more shares in January. The iconic investor had said back then, “Apple strikes me as having quite a sticky product, and an enormously useful product to people that use it.”

    In comparison, Berkshire Hathaway sold off nearly 33% of its total holdings in IBM in the first and second quarters of 2017. At the end of 2016, Berkshire Hathaway had 81 million shares of IBM. In may this year, he told the channel, “I don’t value IBM the same way that I did six years ago when I started buying. I’ve revalued it somewhat downward.”

    http://www.financialexpress.com/market/warren-buffett-says-the-future-belongs-to-new-age-apple-not-to-doyen-of-past-ibm/834658/

Photo: Nicolas Picard

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Supplier Report: 8/25/2017

SoftBank acted on investment rumors by pumping $4B into office sharing company WeWorks.  As SoftBank invests, Cisco made their 5th acquisition this year.  Cisco purchased software company Springpath for $320M.

Amazon and Microsoft are currently tied for #1 in cloud performance according to Gartner, Oracle and IBM weren’t even in the conversation.  Google also performed well in Gartner’s study and the company announced a discounted price tier for their cloud network services.

Blockchain was a popular topic this week as companies are figuring out more ways to use it outside of crypto-currency (supply chain being one very popular target).

Acquisitions

  • SoftBank Finalizes $4.4 Billion WeWork Investment

    The funding, which comes from SoftBank as well as its $93 billion technology-focused Vision Fund, is an audacious bet on WeWork’s burgeoning strategy to rent out chunks of office within a larger communal space, pitched with a hip, millennial-conscious vibe. It is one of the largest single slugs of capital ever in a venture-backed startup, according to Dow Jones VentureSource, and brings WeWork’s valuation to about $20 billion, making it the fourth-most valuable startup in the U.S. behind ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc., home-rental site Airbnb Inc. and rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

    SoftBank also took two board seats at the seven-year-old company, suggesting an unusually large level of control for a late-stage investor.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/softbank-invests-additional-3-billion-in-wework-1503597860

  • Cisco to acquire key software partner Springpath for $320M

    Three months after picking up artificial intelligence startup MindMeld Inc. for $125 million, Cisco Systems Inc. has inked another nine-figure acquisition.

    The networking giant plans to shell out $320 million to buy Springpath Inc., a firm that develops software for hyperconverged systems. It’s Cisco’s fifth acquisition of the year, and arguably the least surprising. Rumors about the deal have been making rounds since 2015, which is when the two companies first crossed paths.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/08/21/cisco-acquires-key-software-partner-springpath-320m/
    Cisco CEO: Here Is Our Acquisition Strategy

    As part of a wide-ranging interview, TheStreet recently had a chance to talk with Cisco’s CEO about the company’s M&A strategy and what kinds of companies it could be targeting next. Robbins pointed to Cisco’s previously stated “build, buy, partner, invest and co-develop” M&A strategy. Cisco has been known to acquire companies to seize their emerging technology, rather than build it itself, like its $3.7 billion purchase of AppDynamics Inc. in March. AppDynamics creates software that helps companies monitor how their applications and websites are running to prevent them from crashing.

    Looking forward, Robbins said Cisco plans to keep being opportunistic when it comes to M&A, by using the same “build, buy, partner” approach it always has.

    “[We] intend to continue to use smart M&A as a way to seize market transactions in new markets as well as extend our leadership in our current business,” Robbins said. “Our M&A approach will strive to remain balanced — maintaining discipline in light of market conditions while making key strategic moves that cement Cisco’s competitive differentiation for the future.”

    https://www.thestreet.com/story/14279045/1/cisco-ceo-here-is-our-acquisition-strategy.html

Artificial Intelligence

  • How Artificial Intelligence Could Change the Asset-Management Game

    As leagues look to leverage their vast video archives to create new revenue streams, AI has become a key tool in efforts to properly digitize and log this content. NASCAR Productions, for example, owns one of the largest sports archives in the world, with 500,000 hours of content and 3 million assets. However, that content has only 9.5 million metadata tags – far short of what’s required to efficiently search, find, and monetize the assets effectively. As a result, NASCAR is actively ramping up its AI efforts in hopes that it will improve on the time-consuming and inefficient human-powered tagging process.

    “The reason we are looking at [AI] is that humans are highly inefficient,” said Chris Witmayer, director, broadcast, production and new media technology, NASCAR Productions. “We have found that humans are 4-to-1 on the efficiency scale. For every hour of footage, it takes a human about four hours to enter metadata. We need to find a way to do this because, although we have an entire archive that goes back to the 1930s, we can’t actually find anything efficiently. If you can’t find anything, you can’t sell it, and you can’t make money. So this is big for us.”

    https://www.sportsvideo.org/2017/08/18/the-ai-factor-how-artificial-intelligence-could-change-the-asset-management-game/

  • IBM, JDRF to unravel Type 1 diabetes risk factors with machine learning

    IBM scientists still use machine learning algorithms to analyze at least three datasets, according to a statement. Specifically, they are looking to pinpoint patterns that could lead to new ways of preventing or delaying Type 1 diabetes in children. Using previously collected data from global research projects, they will create a “foundational set of features” that is common to all of the data sets.

    “The models that will be produced will quantify the risk for T1D from the combined data set using this foundational set of features,” IBM said in the statement.

    http://www.fiercebiotech.com/medtech/ibm-jdrf-to-unravel-type-1-diabetes-risk-factors-machine-learning

Cloud

  • AWS, Azure tie for top spot in 2017 Gartner ranking

    This year, there was no one winner. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure tied for first place, both garnering a score of 94%. Google Cloud Platform followed with 80%.

    Each provider rose in the ranking from 2016 — AWS is up from 92% and Azure from 88%. The increases reflect an enormous amount of innovation from the vendors, Khnaser said, especially Microsoft. “Microsoft has had a long way to go to catch up.”

    Google made an even greater jump, from 70% in 2016. But as the providers improve and reach something akin to parity on essential cloud capabilities, the ranking means less than in years past for a number of reasons, Khnaser said. Most companies are at a point now where, in addition to using the top contenders, they are also using their competitors to extend their cloud footprints and mitigate risk. Indeed, companies are hiring cloud providers not in the ranking at all, such as Oracle, IBM SoftLayer and China’s Alibaba Cloud — as they should.

    http://searchcio.techtarget.com/news/450424957/AWS-Azure-tie-for-top-spot-in-2017-Gartner-ranking

  • Google offers cheaper network pricing tier for its cloud

    The Network Service Tiers, released today in early “alpha” test mode, provide the capability of Google’s cloud computing customers to choose the existing “Premium Tier,” which uses Google’s own global network employed for Gmail, search and YouTube, and a new Standard Tier, which leverages the broader Internet more economically.

    Google said it’s the first major public cloud provider to allow customers to customize their cloud network. Although cloud computing’s appeal is partly the ability to buy levels of computing and storage on demand, generally providers haven’t offered the same kind of flexibility on network access.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/08/23/google-offers-cheaper-network-pricing-cloud/

Datacenter/Hardware

  • Higher Costs Chip Away at Lenovo’s Profitability

    Lenovo Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing said a sustained rise in the cost of memory chips hurt profitability across all of the company’s major business lines. He said the duration of the price increases—lasting in some cases more than a year—is unprecedented.

    “We have never seen this situation in the past,” Mr. Yang said in an interview. “Many materials costs, like memory, have increased for a couple of quarters, or even for over more than a year. That’s a significant impact on the industry’s profitability.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/lenovo-swings-to-loss-as-memory-chip-prices-rise-1503033791

Software/SaaS

  • Walmart and 9 Food Giants Team Up on IBM Blockchain Plans

    The coalition includes retailers and food companies such as Unilever (UL, +0.83%), Nestlé, and Dole (DOLE). They will be aiming to use blockchains, a technology that made its name as the basis of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, to maintain secure digital records and improve the traceability of their foodstuffs, like chicken, chocolate, and bananas.

    These companies see blockchains as an opportunity to revamp their data management processes across a complex network that includes farmers, brokers, distributors, processors, retailers, regulators, and consumers. One potential benefit: investigations into food-borne illnesses to take weeks (see this summer’s fatal Salmonella outbreak linked to papayas), but a blockchain-based system has the ability to reduce that time to seconds.

    http://fortune.com/2017/08/22/walmart-blockchain-ibm-food-nestle-unilever-tyson-dole/

  • Oracle Plans To Move Java EE To Open Source Community

    Oracle feels that moving Java EE to an open source foundation may be beneficial in long-term as it will help the implementation adopt more agile process. Moreover, it can also help change its governance and introduce flexible licensing.

    “We plan on exploring this possibility with the community, our licensees and several candidate foundations to see if we can move Java EE forward in this direction,” Oracle writes in its blog post.

    These concerns regarding Java EE aren’t completely invalid. The Java EE community has expressed concern in the past and blamed Oracle for neglecting the open source implementation.

    https://fossbytes.com/java-ee-open-source-community/

Other

  • Apple to build Iowa data center, get $207.8 million in incentives

    Apple Inc will build a $1.375 billion data center in Waukee, Iowa, Apple and state officials said on Thursday, with $207.8 million in incentives approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Waukee city council.

    Apple will purchase 2,000 acres (8.09 square km) of land in Waukee, about 20 miles (32 km) west of Des Moines, to build two data centers. The company will receive a $19.65 million investment tax credit for creating 50 jobs.

    Apple said the project will generate more than 550 jobs in construction and operations, but did not specify how many of those jobs would be long-term positions.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-iowa-idUSKCN1B422L

  • Uber Wins Ruling on ’Terms of Service’ Agreements (this impacts more than just ride sharing)

    The case strikes at a fact of everyday life for users of websites and mobile phones, who come across these agreements before being allowed to use a site or app for the first time. There typically is no means for customers to strike out certain provisions or reject the terms outright and still hope to use the service.

    Circuit Judge Denny Chin overturned a district-court ruling that found Uber’s terms of service were difficult for customers to access, and therefore couldn’t be enforced because customers didn’t always know what they were agreeing to. New Uber customers agree to terms that include resolving disputes through arbitration when they click to register for the mobile app—even though the full list of provisions is only available on a separate Uber website.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-wins-ruling-on-terms-of-service-agreements-1503000236

  • Infosys CEO resigns after long-running feud with founders

    The tussle between Infosys and its founders began in February after founder and former chairman Narayana Murthy accused the company of corporate governance lapses.

    The Infosys board has denied the allegations repeatedly and on Friday blamed Sikka’s resignation on Murthy’s “continuous assault”, describing the billionaire’s latest salvo questioning the integrity of the directors and management as the final nail in the coffin.

    The board said Murthy’s campaign had undermined Sikka’s efforts to transform the business and it had no intention of asking him to play a formal role in the governance of the firm.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-infosys-ceo-idUSKCN1AY0DH

  • Uber’s Kalanick Fires Back at Investor in Legal Battle

    In a filing to the Delaware Chancery Court late Thursday, Travis Kalanick reiterated his call for the Benchmark legal dispute to be settled in arbitration, according to the terms of the voting agreement at the center of the case. Arbitration also would keep the deliberations private.

    Benchmark, which holds one Uber board seat, alleged in a suit filed a week earlier that Mr. Kalanick defrauded Uber’s board by keeping secret questionable business practices. Benchmark is seeking in its suit to oust Mr. Kalanick from the board and free up three board seats he effectively controls.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/ubers-kalanick-fires-back-at-investor-in-legal-battle-1503035464

Photo: Ryan Holloway

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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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