Tag Archives: AWS

Supplier Report: 10/13/2017

Artificial Intelligence is all the rage… and from a business perspective, it seems that consumer goods are innovating and reaching users faster than enterprise counterparts.  Between home assistants, ear buds with live translations, and advanced facial recognition – consumers have plenty of advances, but only 20% of large business have dabbled in AI/process automation.

With the announcement that Windows Mobile is dead, Microsoft seems to be running away from the consumer market. Last week, I said Microsoft is becoming the new IBM, but how do they prevent following in IBM’s fate?

Equifax might still be having security issues while Accenture recently experienced a significant data breach (which was completely self-inflicted).

Acquisitions

  • DXC Technology To Acquire Logicalis SMC To Boost Global ServiceNow Practice

    Logicalis SMC, a service management consultancy specialist that was the first European company to become a ServiceNow Master Solutions partner, will join DXC’s ServiceNow practice within Fruition Partners, a DXC Technology company and a leading global ServiceNow platform.

    http://www.crn.com/news/channel-programs/300093636/dxc-technology-to-acquire-logicalis-smc-to-boost-global-servicenow-practice.htm

  • SoftBank Leads $164 Million Bet on Digital-Mapping Startup Mapbox

    The Japanese investor, which has stakes in many ride-hailing services, is leading a $164 million investment in Mapbox Inc., a startup that provides mapping and location-search technology to a variety of companies including Snap Inc. and General Electric Co.

    The money comes from SoftBank’s nearly $100 billion tech-focused Vision Fund as well as several venture-capital firms including Foundry Group, DFJ Growth, DBL Partners and Thrive Capital. Mapbox said it would expand its efforts into autonomous cars and augmented and virtual reality and will accelerate international expansion, including in China.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/softbank-leads-164-million-bet-on-digital-mapping-startup-mapbox-1507640404
    SoftBank is investing in Uber, their Asian competitors, telecoms like Sprint and TMobile, and now they are investing in a mapping company that will feed those other companies a needed service.

Artificial Intelligence/Robotics

  • Google’s Pixel Buds translation will change the world

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/04/google-pixel-buds-translation-change-the-world/
  • Adidas will finally start selling shoes made by its robot factory

    The robot factory Adidas built in Germany is now fully functional and ready to start making the first Speedfactory shoe that will be sold to the public. Adidas has revealed that it plans to use its Speedfactory’s robots to manufacture a series of Adidas Made For (AM4) kicks designed specifically for six of the world’s biggest metropolises.

    The AM4 models are all lightweight and designed using athlete data to conjure up the most comfortable shape and form. If you want to see what Speedfactory’s robot workers are capable of, check out Futurecraft M.F.G. — it’s the very first model out of the facility, though it was never released to the general public.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/05/adidas-speedfactory-made-for-shoes/

Cloud

  • Microsoft and AWS could be the strangest cloud bedfellows yet

    Microsoft and AWS announced they were working on a project together.

    Project Gluon is an open source, deep learning project for building, deploying and managing machine learning models. It’s worth noting that AWS and Microsoft compete fiercely in the cloud market. In fact, they each have artificial intelligence toolkits that they are trying to sell customers, yet in this instance they saw it in their mutual best interest to work together instead of competing.

    Gluon is one of the big steps ahead in taking out some of the grunt work in developing AI systems by bringing together training algorithms and neural network models, two of the key components in a deep learning system.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/12/microsoft-and-aws-could-be-the-strangest-cloud-bedfellows-yet/?ncid=rss

  • Dell outlines IoT strategy, plans to spend $1 billion on R&D over three years

    Dell Technologies launched a new Internet of things division to integrate products and services across the company, new tools to speed up implementations and plans to invest $1 billion in research and development over the next three years.

    The new division within Dell Technologies will be run by VMware CTO Ray O’Farrell. His first mission will be to develop IoT products and services throughout the company and develop new technologies.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/dell-outlines-iot-strategy-plans-to-spend-1-billion-on-r-d-over-three-years/

Datacenter

  • Microsoft just purchased all of GE’s newest Irish wind farm capacity for the next 15 years

    This is a big deal on several levels. First of all, it means Microsoft will be using a clean energy source to power at least some of its cloud data centers in Ireland. That will likely result in a lower energy bill for Microsoft, while reducing the pollution related to running cloud services.

    But this could have an impact beyond the data centers as Microsoft and GE are working on a battery technology that captures excess energy from each wind turbine. If there is excess capacity captured by this method, Microsoft and GE could give it back to the Irish energy grid.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/09/microsoft-just-purchased-all-of-ges-newest-irish-wind-farm-capacity-for-the-next-15-years/?ncid=rss

Software/SaaS

  • Oracle’s Entrance: Database Giant Unveils Enterprise Blockchain Strategy

    The company wants to attract both large and small firms, but Frank Xiong, Oracle’s group vice president of Blockchain Cloud Service, argued that startups looking to test a smart contract or an application will be able to do so more cheaply using the cloud platform because pricing is based on transaction volume.

    “This will give them a very good reasonably priced way to start up their application,” he told CoinDesk. “I personally think this will be a big attraction to these startups.”

    For existing ERP customers, the platform will provide a way to connect with outside partners and customers, plugging them into internal channels and processes in a confidential and secure manner.

    https://www.coindesk.com/oracles-entrance-database-giant-unveils-enterprise-blockchain-strategy/

  • Regulate Facebook Like AIM

    Sixteen years ago, the FCC, the regulatory body responsible for things like television and radio, approved a merger between American Online and Time Warner, but with several conditions. As part of the deal, AOL was required to make its web portal compatible with other chat apps.

    The government stopped AOL from building a closed system where everyone had to use AIM, meaning it had to adopt interoperability—the ability to be compatible with other computer systems.

    The FCC required AOL to be compatible with at least one instant messaging rival immediately after the merger went through. Within six months, the FCC required AOL to make its portal compatible with at least two other rivals, or face penalties.

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mb7n7v/aim-aol-instant-messenger-regulation-facebook-ending

Security

  • Accenture left a huge trove of highly sensitive data on exposed servers

    The servers, hosted on Amazon’s S3 storage service, contained hundreds of gigabytes of data for the company’s enterprise cloud offering, which the company claims provides support to the majority of the Fortune 100.

    The data could be downloaded without a password by anyone who knew the servers’ web addresses.

    Chris Vickery, director of cyber risk research at security firm UpGuard, found the data and privately told Accenture of the exposure in mid-September. The four servers were quietly secured the next day.

    Also:

    Vickery said he also found Accenture’s master keys for its Amazon Web Service’s Key Management System (KMS), which if stolen could allow an attacker full control over the company’s encrypted data stored on Amazon’s servers.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/accenture-left-a-huge-trove-of-client-passwords-on-exposed-servers/

  • Russia Has Turned Kaspersky Software Into Tool for Spying

    The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Russian hackers used Kaspersky’s software in 2015 to target a contractor working for the National Security Agency, who had removed classified materials from his workplace and put them on his home computer, which was running the program. The hackers stole highly classified information on how the NSA conducts espionage and protects against incursions by other countries, said people familiar with the matter. An NSA spokesman didn’t comment on the security breach.

    Kaspersky Lab, founded by an engineer trained at a KGB technical school, has long insisted that it doesn’t assist the Russian government with spying on other countries. But many U.S. officials now think the evidence the U.S. has collected shows the company is a witting partner, said people familiar with the matter.

    “There is no way, based on what the software was doing, that Kaspersky couldn’t have known about this,” said a former U.S. official with knowledge of information gleaned in 2015 about how the software was used to search for American secrets. He said the nature of the software is such that it would have had to be programmed to look for specific keywords, and Kaspersky’s employees likely would have known that was happening, this former official said.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-hackers-scanned-networks-world-wide-for-secret-u-s-data-1507743874
    Also: Israeli intelligence discovered that Kaspersky was working with the Russian government. See SourceCast Episode 90 to learn more.

  • Equifax may have been hacked again

    Unfortunately, the company still seems to be lacking when it comes to security, because according to Ars Technica, it’s been hacked yet again. Independent security analyst Randy Abrams told Ars that he was redirected to hxxp:centerbluray.info and was met with a Flash download when he went to equifax.com to contest a false info on his credit report.

    The fake Flash installer apparently tricks people into downloading what Symantec identifies as Adware.Eorezo, an adware that inundates Internet Explorer with advertisements. Unfortunately, we can’t replicate the problem, but Abrams said he encountered the issue on three separate visits.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/12/equifax-hacked-again/

Other

  • Google parent Alphabet looks to restore cell service in Puerto Rico with Project Loon balloons

    Loon was developed by X, part of Alphabet’s innovation group.  It was able to help Peru earlier this year, amidst significant flooding and hopes to replicate this success. Yet before it proceeds with its plans in Puerto Rico, Loon needs to find a carrier network to partner with. Loon had already been working with Telefonica in Peru, which sped up the process.

    The Loon project consists of a network of high altitude balloons that rise like weather balloons to a height above 60,000 feet. Loon balloons are designed to “ride the wind” to get to a destination and are super-pressurized to withstand for over 100 days in the stratosphere.

    Signals are transmitted directly to LTE-enabled devices and are routed through a local carrier, and the balloons are raised and lowered to an altitude with winds blowing in the desired direction.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/07/google-parent-alphabet-looks-to-restore-cell-service-in-puerto-rico-with-project-loon-balloons/?ncid=rss

  • Amazon is on the brink of deciding if it will make a big move into selling drugs online

    The company will decide before Thanksgiving whether to move into selling prescription drugs online, according to an email from Amazon viewed by CNBC and a source familiar with the situation. If it decides to make that move, it will start expanding its senior team with drug supply chain experts.

    Amazon typically spends years researching opportunities before it telegraphs its intentions. The opportunity to sell drugs online is alluring given its market size — analysts have estimated the U.S. prescription drug market at $560 billion per year. Amazon is well aware of the complexities, say sources familiar with the company’s thinking.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/06/amazon-considering-selling-online-prescriptions-decision-coming-soon.html

  • IBM Should Cut Down On Outsourcing To India

    Outsourcing provides certain competitive advantages to early-movers – that is, to companies that adopt it first — but it isn’t proprietary. Others can adopt it, and therefore, isn’t a source of sustainable competitive advantage.

    Then there’s corporate complacency whereby leadership of these companies fails to renew the pioneering drive that characterizes market leaders.

    That’s what eventually happened in the PC industry, to companies like the old HP.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2017/10/06/ibm-should-cut-down-on-outsourcing-to-india/#57288b0e4116

  • This is not a drill: Microsoft admits Windows Phone is dead for real

    It’s time to say goodbye for real this time. Windows Phone’s death has been slow and painful, but, as CNET spotted, the head of Microsoft’s Windows division finally admitted you shouldn’t expect anything more when it comes to Windows Phone.

    Microsoft doesn’t plan to let existing Windows Phone users down — there will be security updates. But don’t expect anything new. Joe Belfiore admitted that Microsoft isn’t working on any software or hardware update.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/09/this-is-not-a-drill-microsoft-admits-windows-phone-is-dead-for-real/?ncid=rss

  • Oracle names IBM as strategic HR BPO provider

    Without specifically mentioning it IBM also brings several additional technical benefits to the table. The first is IBM Kenexa a competitor to Oracle’s Taleo it delivers more than just applicant tracking. Possibly of greater interest though is the cognitive computing stack that IBM offers in Watson. While Oracle has just launched its augmented intelligence and machine learning capabilities IBM already has some point solutions such as IBM Watson Talent. It will be interesting to see which customers use IBM’s BPO services with Oracle HCM Cloud.

    https://www.enterprisetimes.co.uk/2017/10/11/oracle-names-ibm-as-strategic-hr-bpo-provider/

    This is really odd. Oracle has never had much of a consulting presence to speak of, but the IBM selection who has been culling their global services business and focusing on automation is very odd.

Photo: Andy Kelly

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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: 9/29/2017

It was a very unstable week…

Equifax’s CEO is stepping down, Google is implementing organizational and policy changes in the wake of the EU ruling, HPE is cutting another 5,000 jobs, and we found out that Alexa is not HIPAA compliant… oh and IBM bought another Israeli company.

Acquisitions

  • Google Cloud acquires cloud identity management company Bitium

    Google Cloud announced today that it has acquired Bitium, a company that focused on offering enterprise-grade identity management and access tools, such as single-sign on, for cloud-based applications. This will basically help Google better manage enterprise cloud customer implementation across an organization, including doing things like setting security levels and access policies for applications working across their Cloud and G Suite offerings.

    Bitium was founded in 2012, and targets both mid market and larger enterprise customers,. It’s been offering a single-stop solution for managing Google Apps, Office 365, social network, CRM, collaboration and marketing tools, while ensuring organizations remain compliant with security standards.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/26/google-cloud-acquires-cloud-identity-management-company-bitium/?ncid=rss

  • SAP buys customer identity management firm Gigya for $350M

    SAP, the German enterprise software giant, today announced an acquisition to strengthen its hybris e-commerce division. It has acquired Gigya, a firm that helps online properties manage customer identities and profiles. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed officially, but our sources tell us it is for $350 million.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/24/sap-is-buying-identity-management-firm-gigya-for-350m/?ncid=rss

  • IBM acquires Israeli company Cloudigo

    IBM has acquired Israeli data centre company Cloudigo, Globes reported. No financial details were disclosed but the acquisition was for a small amount, according to sources close to the deal. Cloudigo is building next-generation data centre infrastructure and networking services.

    IBM Watson and Cloud Platform general manager John Considine said in a blog on IBM’s website that IBM had acquired a high-performance team focused on advanced networking technology that moves the networking function from the server to the edge, increasing data centre efficiency.

    https://www.telecompaper.com/news/ibm-acquires-israeli-company-cloudigo–1213172

Artificial Intelligence

  • Microsoft Aims to Make Business AI Cheaper, Faster, Simpler

    The new product, a customer-service virtual assistant, is designed to let people describe problems in their own words and respond with suggestions drawn from user manuals, help documents and similar materials. Users can request a human agent, in which case the bot will try to assist the customer-care representative. Managers can view a dashboard overview of the results.

    The bot is one of what Microsoft says will be a series of customizable programs running on the company’s Azure cloud-computing platform. The programs, called Dynamics 365 AI solutions, will draw on basic AI capabilities such as natural-language processing as well as a trove of data and algorithms from Microsoft’s Bing search engine, productivity apps and LinkedIn network.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/microsoft-aims-to-make-business-ai-cheaper-faster-simpler-1506344400

  • Analysis: Amazon Alexa’s biggest healthcare problem? It’s not HIPAA compliant

    Alexa, Amazon’s voice technology, creates ample opportunity for physicians and health systems. For example, it could be used as for a remote patient monitoring or to help physicians transcribe notes during patient visits.

    While not all health app developers are subject to HIPAA, covered entities and their business associates must be compliant. This means developers can, for example, train Alexa to recommend advice related to health and wellness, but not record patient’s health data in a hospital setting, according to Ms. Farr.

    Amazon acknowledged this problem at its “Alexa Diabetes Challenge” event Monday in New York City. The competition invited a series of partners to promote uses for Alexa that would benefit patients with diabetes.

    https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/analysis-amazon-alexa-s-biggest-healthcare-problem-it-s-not-hipaa-compliant.html

  • MIT’s new robot can put on different exoskeletons to gain new powers

    These robots could prove incredibly flexible when built at scale, and in more complex configurations. You can imagine deploying a single robot with a range of “suits” to do something like explore the surface of an alien planet, or even to chart more remote portions of our own Earth, and to switch between search and rescue tasks.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/27/mits-new-robot-can-put-on-different-exoskeletons-to-gain-new-powers/?ncid=rss

Cloud

  • Google Goes Tit for Tat With Amazon On Cloud Pricing

    Last week, Amazon made a huge change in how it charges businesses for its cloud services, saying it would start to bill on a per-second basis starting Oct. 2 instead of by the hour. Now rival Google is also going to per-second increments, but is making the change effective immediately.

    Google’s new price model is for its basic computing units (which it calls virtual machines, or VMs) as well as its container engine and a few other offerings. And the price covers all VMs whether they run Windows Server, Red Hat Linux or SUSE Linux operating systems. Amazon’s per-second pricing applies only to Linux, not to Windows. Google’s pricing on “persistant disk” storage attached to these VMs has been billed per second for quite some time.

    http://fortune.com/2017/09/26/google-matches-amazons-price-change/

Datacenter

  • Report: HPE to shed 5,000 jobs, or 10% of its staff, by year-end

    “If the reports are true, it is sad what has happened to HPE,” said Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research Inc.

    Mueller said that although HPE has successfully weathered numerous industry changes in the past, it seems to be losing out in this latest transition where the focus is on things such as artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing.

    “At some point the writing was on the wall with the end of Helion [HPE’s OpenStack cloud product] and with the sale of the software assets,” Mueller said.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/09/21/report-hpe-shed-5000-jobs-around-10-staff-end-year/

Software/SaaS

  • Microsoft is going all in on Teams and plans to phase out Skype for Business

    Microsoft Teams, the company’s Slack competitor with deep integrations into the Office 365 apps, has seen a lot of pickup over the last few months, with over 125,000 organizations now using it in one form or another. Maybe it’s no surprise, then, that the company today announced it is going all in on Teams as its core communications platform for the enterprise.

    Until now, Skype for Business was the company’s product for this. Over the course of the last few years, Microsoft improved the Skype infrastructure to allow for better and faster text chats, calls and video conferences (though some Skype users would surely argue that the quality hasn’t actually improved all that much). But as Ron Markezich, the company’s corporate VP for Office 365 noted ahead of today’s public announcement, Microsoft Teams will evolve “as the core communications client” for its cloud-connected users running Office 365. Teams will become the “hero and primary experience for all voice, video and meetings.” Over time, Teams will replace the current Skype for Business client.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/25/microsoft-is-going-all-in-on-teams-and-plans-to-phase-out-skype-for-business/?ncid=rss

  • Micro Focus bosses in line for a £65m payout if they hit merger targets

    The executive chairman of Micro Focus could receive a payout of more than £26 million in two years’ time after the British company’s acquisition of Hewlett Packard’s software business.

    Kevin Loosemore has been granted options over 1.1 million shares in an additional share grant scheme intended to “incentivise management to deliver exceptional returns to shareholders”. The shares were worth £26.8 million at yesterday’s closing price of £24.36.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/micro-focus-bosses-in-line-for-a-65m-payout-if-they-hit-merger-targets-6pqrkqqgg

  • IBM Is Beating Microsoft in This Emerging Tech (Hint: BlockChain)

    Moreover, the year-over-year growth of IBM’s “strategic imperatives” (cloud, mobile, social, analytics, and security) has slowed down in recent quarters, torpedoing the bullish notion that its higher-growth businesses can offset the softness of its legacy (IT services, business software, and hardware) businesses.

    Nonetheless, the increased adoption of IBM’s blockchain solutions could strengthen its older global business services and technology/cloud platform services units, and potentially expand Big Blue’s enterprise ecosystem. Investors should also remember that the vast majority of the world’s biggest banks, telcos, and retailers still use IBM services — so it has plenty of room to expand its blockchain business.

    Therefore, IBM’s lead in the blockchain market might not matter over the next few quarters, but it could widen its moat as more companies secure and streamline their businesses with blockchain solutions.

    https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/09/21/ibm-is-beating-microsoft-in-this-emerging-tech.aspx

  • Amazon Looks to Deliver Shake Shack, Chipotle Amid Food Push (app)

    Amazon has teamed up with a company called Olo, which provides digital order and pay technology to 200 restaurant brands with about 40,000 U.S. locations, potentially giving Amazon access to a slew of delivery orders. Buca di Beppo, which runs about 90 Italian eateries, is the only Olo customer so far to publicly say it will use Amazon Restaurants.

    The $1.5 trillion U.S. food market is split roughly between groceries and restaurants. Food deliveries appeal to Amazon because of the frequency of orders, putting it in constant contact with shoppers and helping it collect valuable data about their preferences even if they don’t make much, if any, money on individual transactions.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-22/amazon-looks-to-deliver-shake-shack-chipotle-in-restaurant-push

Other

  • IBM Now Has More Employees in India Than in the U.S.

    Today, the company employs 130,000 people in India — about one-third of its total work force, and more than in any other country. Their work spans the entire gamut of IBM’s businesses, from managing the computing needs of global giants like AT&T and Shell to performing cutting-edge research in fields like visual search, artificial intelligence and computer vision for self-driving cars. One team is even working with the producers of Sesame Street to teach vocabulary to kindergartners in Atlanta.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/28/technology/ibm-india.html

  • Amazon is hiring 2,000 people in New York City as the $5 billion bidding war for its new headquarters rages

    The online retail giant is hiring 2,000 more employees over the next three years at a new office in New York City. The office is part of the Manhattan West megadevelopment on the west side of Manhattan.

    The company is leasing 360,000 square feet at 5 Manhattan West, with space for its advertising, Amazon Fashion, and Amazon Web Services teams.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-hiring-2000-people-for-new-nyc-office-2017-9

  • Equifax CEO Richard Smith to Exit Following Massive Data Breach

    Equifax Inc. moved to take concrete action over its massive hack ahead of congressional hearings next week, announcing Tuesday that Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Smith would step aside while leaving the door open to compensation clawbacks.

    Mr. Smith, CEO since 2005, is being succeeded as chairman by current director, Mark Feidler, who will serve as nonexecutive chairman, Equifax’s board said. It added that Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., who was most recently Equifax’s president for the Asia-Pacific region, has been appointed interim CEO.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/equifax-ceo-richard-smith-to-retire-following-massive-data-breach-1506431571

  • SEC Draws Scrutiny for Slow Response to Hack

    The SEC’s new chairman, Jay Clayton, uncovered the extent of the hack only after he launched a wholesale review of the agency’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the spring, according to a statement he released this week. The SEC’s other commissioners learned about the hack in recent days. A former chief operating officer wasn’t told about the intrusion when it was detected last year.

    The pace of discovery and the way that information was disclosed is likely to increase scrutiny of an agency that in recent years has pushed financial firms to gird against attacks and urged public companies to tell shareholders about the risks of cyberintrusions. Information about the hack was included in a lengthy statement by Mr. Clayton about the agency’s cybersecurity program that was released just after 8 p.m. on Wednesday evening. The agency didn’t say when the hack occurred or what information hackers accessed.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/top-sec-officials-only-recently-learned-of-2016-company-database-hack-1506017614

  • Uber Loses Its License to Operate in London

    The decision on Friday by Transport for London, which is responsible for the city’s subways and buses, as well as regulating its taxicabs, illustrates the gravity and severity of the issues confronting Uber.

    The agency took direct aim at Uber’s corporate culture, declaring that the company’s “approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.”

    Uber’s London license will expire on Sept. 30. But the company has been given 21 days to appeal — it immediately vowed to do so — and will be allowed to continue operating in the city during the appeal process.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/22/business/uber-london.html

  • The EU Suppressed a 300-Page Study That Found Piracy Doesn’t Harm Sales

    The report found that illegal downloads and streams can actually boost legal sales of games, according to the report. The only negative link the report found was with major blockbuster films:“The results show a displacement rate of 40 percent which means that for every ten recent top films watched illegally, four fewer films are consumed legally.”

    The study has only come to light now because Julia Reda, a Member of the European Parliament representing the German Pirate Party, posted the report on her personal blog after she got ahold of a copy through an EU Freedom of Information access to document request.

    https://gizmodo.com/the-eu-suppressed-a-300-page-study-that-found-piracy-do-1818629537

  • Google Offers Concessions to Europe After Record Antitrust Fine

    Google said the changes would be introduced early on Thursday morning, meeting a deadline to open up its shopping platform to greater competition or potentially face further fines from the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm. As a result, about a dozen shopping sites from companies besides Google could become more visible and accessible.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/27/business/google-eu-antitrust.html

Photo: Jakob Owens

Tagged , , , ,

Supplier Report: 9/22/2017

Google is showing the world that crafting hardware is a major ambition for them with the purchase of phone maker HTC’s research division. Google seems to be developing a pattern of buying phone companies for intellectual property (see Motorola), but at least they didn’t buy the entire company this time.

Larry Ellison doing what he does best… making sound-bytes.  Larry talked about AWS pricing, the Equifax hack, and Oracle’s new autonomous database product. While I like to poke fun at Larry’s bombastic ways on the podcast, I agree with most of his statements this week.

Oh… and there are rumors of a Sprint and T-Mobile merger for the 1,000,000th time.

Acquisitions

  • Google to Buy Part of Phone Maker HTC

    With the acquisition, Google may get deeper access to HTC’s research and development, as well as sales and distribution channels, analysts said. That could help Google as it seeks to make a bigger splash in the increasingly competitive smartphone market as it prepares to launch an updated version of the Pixel this fall.

    The deal shows “Google is very serious about building its own hardware,” said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-is-set-to-buy-part-of-taiwanese-phone-maker-htc-1505934852
    So why did they sell Motorola again (they took a big loss on that sale)?

  • T-Mobile and Sprint are in active talks about a merger

    Both companies and their parents, Deutsche Telekom and Softbank, have been in frequent conversations about a stock-for-stock merger in which T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom would emerge as the majority owner.

    People close to the situation stress that negotiators are still weeks away from finalizing a deal and believe the chances of reaching an agreement are not assured. The two sides have not yet set an exchange ratio for a deal, but are currently engaged in talks to hammer out a term sheet.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/19/t-mobile-and-sprint-are-in-active-talks-about-a-merger.html

  • Slack lands $250M funding round led by Japan’s Softbank Group

    The company said on Sunday it has just closed on a $250 million funding round led by the Japanese telecommunications and Internet giant, which saw the participation of Accel Partners and other investors. The announcement confirms a rumor that first surfaced in July that said Softbank was looking to invest in the company.

    The new round means that Slack is now valued at $5.1 billion, up from its previous $3.8 billion valuation, Bloomberg reported. However, that figure remains well below the reported $9 billion takeover price that was bandied about when rumors emerged that cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services Inc. was interested in acquiring the company.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/09/17/slack-lands-250m-funding-round-led-japans-softbank-group/

Artificial Intelligence

  • Computers Are Taking Design Cues From Human Brains

    Now, computer engineers are fashioning more complex systems. Rather than funneling all tasks through one beefy chip made by Intel, newer machines are dividing work into tiny pieces and spreading them among vast farms of simpler, specialized chips that consume less power.

    Changes inside Google’s giant data centers are a harbinger of what is to come for the rest of the industry. Inside most of Google’s servers, there is still a central processor. But enormous banks of custom-built chips work alongside them, running the computer algorithms that drive speech recognition and other forms of artificial intelligence.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/16/technology/chips-off-the-old-block-computers-are-taking-design-cues-from-human-brains.html

  • Google’s AI chief thinks reports of the AI apocalypse are greatly exaggerated

    The company also needs to share the architecture of its AI products because Google wants to avoid biases as much as possible. “We have been spending a lot of time looking at machine learning fairness,” Giannandrea said. “If your data is biased, then you build biased systems. We have many efforts at Google and research collaboration around this question of fairness in machine learning and unbiased data.”

    And finally, the term artificial intelligence itself might not be the right one. According to Giannandrea, artificial intelligence doesn’t mean much. “I almost try to shy away from this term artificial intelligence — it’s kind of like big data,” he said. “It’s such a broad term, it’s really not well defined. I’ve been trying to use the term machine intelligence.”

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/19/googles-ai-chief-thinks-reports-of-the-ai-apocalypse-are-greatly-exaggerated/?ncid=rss

Cloud

  • Amazon Web Services will now charge by the second, its biggest pricing change in years

    The move is historically significant. Since AWS became available in 2006, it has charged by the hour. Then, in 2013, Alphabet’s Google, which had introduced its direct competitor to AWS a year earlier, said it would start charging by the minute, after a 10-minute minimum. Microsoft’s Azure followed suit shortly thereafter.

    Now Amazon is hitting back by becoming even more granular when it comes to making people pay only for the computing resources they use, with a one-minute minimum.

    The price change is only applicable for Linux virtual machines, AWS’ chief evangelist, Jeff Barr, wrote in a blog post.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/18/aws-starts-charging-for-ec2-by-the-second.html

  • Amazon’s AWS is Now Hosting the Defense Department’s Most Classified Data

    Earlier this week, the DoD granted Amazon a provisional authorization to host its Impact Level 5 workloads, which are the Pentagon’s and U.S. military’s most classified information. Only two other tech companies are allowed to store this data: Microsoft MSFT and IBM IBM .

    “This further bolsters AWS as an industry leader in helping support the DoD’s critical mission in protecting our security,” said Amazon in a statement . “The AWS services support a variety of DoD workloads, including workloads contained sensitive controlled unclassified information and National Security Systems information.”

    http://www.nasdaq.com/article/amazons-aws-is-now-hosting-the-defense-departments-most-classified-data-cm846402

  • Oracle’s Larry Ellison pokes Amazon again with new cloud pricing plan

    Actually, Ellison claimed that Oracle’s infrastructure runs faster and therefore ends up costing less, but it’s clear that the company is focusing more on its traditional strengths one tier up from the infrastructure: so-called platform as a service offerings such as the Oracle Database. So today, Oracle said it will allow customers to move their existing licenses for databases, middleware and analytics to Oracle’s platform services, just as they’ve allowed them to bring licenses to its infrastructure before.

    “The way we want to compete is to deliver a high degree of automation to our customers,” Ellison told press, customers and Oracle employees at the event. And the biggest payback, he said, will be in eliminating human error. “If you don’t patch the database at Equifax, thatoraclecloudpricing could be expensive,” he said pointedly.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/09/19/oracles-larry-ellison-pokes-amazon-new-cloud-pricing-plan/

Software/SaaS/Security

  • Equifax Breach ‘Won’t Be Isolated Incident,’ Says Oracle Founder Larry Ellison

    Warning that the world is in the midst of “a cyber war that’s going to be going on for a long, long time,” Ellison said the challenge for not only Oracle but the tech industry overall is to dramatically enhance its cybersecurity capabilities across two very different types of environments: the data centers many big customers currently operate, and the cloud-computing data centers to which many businesses are turning for their computing, applications, and storage needs.

    And the key technology in this counteroffensive, Ellison said, is machine learning—and specifically how it can enhance cybersecurity via extensive analysis of log data.

    “Based on machine learning, this new version of Oracle Database is a totally automated and self-driving system that does not require a human being either to manage the database or tune the database (emphasis mine),” Ellison said.

    “Using artificial intelligence to eliminate most sources of human error enables Oracle to deliver unprecedented reliability in the Cloud.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/bobevans1/2017/09/20/equifax-breach-wont-be-isolated-incident-says-oracle-founder-larry-ellison/#4d418e1fce3b

Other

  • Google Has Spent Over $1.1 Billion on Self-Driving Tech

    Now, a court filing in Waymo’s epic and ongoing lawsuit against Uber has accidentally revealed just how big a bet Google placed on autonomous vehicles. Between Project Chauffeur’s inception in 2009 and the end of 2015, Google spent $1.1 billion on developing its self-driving software and hardware, according to a recent deposition of Shawn Bananzadeh, a financial analyst at Waymo.

    Bananzadeh was testifying as part of the lawsuit, in which Uber stands accused misappropriating trade secrets and violating patents from Waymo, Google’s self-driving-car offshoot. Because Waymo has yet to commercialize any of its technology in a meaningful way, the company thinks any damages in the case should be calculated on the basis of how much it spent building the technology in question.

    https://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/self-driving/google-has-spent-over-11-billion-on-selfdriving-tech

  • Cisco Chairman John Chambers to Step Down, Ending an Era at Tech Company

    Mr. Chambers, who has been executive chairman for two years and chairman since 2006, notified board members of his decision in an email last Wednesday.

    “It is time for Cisco to move on to its next generation of leadership,” he said in the letter. “It is also time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life, on both a personal and business level.”

    Cisco plans to appoint Chief Executive Chuck Robbins, 51 years old, to fill the role.

    Mr. Chambers, 68, was Cisco’s CEO for more than 20 years ending in 2015, when Mr. Robbins took over. Neither Mr. Chambers nor Cisco shared details about his next plans.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/cisco-chairman-john-chambers-wont-stand-for-re-election-1505742050?mg=prod/accounts-wsj

  • Equifax Stock Sales Are the Focus of U.S. Criminal Probe

    The federal probes add a serious challenge to Equifax as lawmakers, state attorneys general and regulators scrutinize the breach that may have compromised the privacy of 143 million U.S. consumers. Equifax shares were little changed. The shares have fallen 35 percent since the breach was disclosed after market close in New York on Sept. 7.

    Investigators are looking at the stock sales by Equifax’s chief financial officer, John Gamble; its president of U.S. information solutions, Joseph Loughran; and its president of workforce solutions, Rodolfo Ploder, said two of the people, who asked not to be named because the probe is confidential.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-18/equifax-stock-sales-said-to-be-focus-of-u-s-criminal-probe

Photo: ANGELA FRANKLIN

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Supplier Report: 9/15/2017

The Equifax breach that compromised 143 million Americans personal data has dominated the news this week. Reports have been rolling in about the potential issues hacking victims face, how Equifax handled the response (and how they addressed the vulnerability), to issues with how they notified potentially impacted people.

Simply put, the entire situation is a mess.

Oracle had strong earnings this quarter thanks to their legacy software division. However, investors are worried that this was a one-off boost with no long term potential. Oracle is also (finally) spinning off Java EE to open source (which has long been rumored).

 Acquisitions

  • Rackspace acquires Datapipe as it looks to expand its managed services business

    The two privately held companies did not disclose the financial details of the transaction, but Datapipe has raised more than $310 million in equity funding since its launch in 1998 and this deal surely didn’t come cheap. Datapipe’s majority owner, Abry Partners, will become an equity investor in Rackspace and the combined company will have more than 6,700 employees and do more than $2.4 billion in annual revenue.

    “The reason we’re buying them is that we want to extend our leadership in multi-cloud services,” Rackspace chief strategy officer Matt Bradley told me. “It’s a sign and signal that we’re going for it.” Bradley expects that the combined company will make Rackspace the largest private cloud player and the largest managed hosting service. He also noted that the fact that Rackspace is now a private company again, with a single owner, allowed it to go for this deal. “This would have been very hard to get done under our old structure,” he noted.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/11/rackspace-acquires-datapipe-as-it-looks-to-expand-its-managed-cloud-business/

  • Japan’s SoftBank Wants Big Chunk of Uber, But at Steep Discount

    SoftBank and its $93 billion tech-focused Vision Fund are proposing to buy 17% to 22% of Uber through a combination of share purchases from the company and a tender offer extended to employees and investors, according to people familiar with the matter. But the tender offer would represent a discount of 30% or more from Uber’s last valuation of almost $70 billion, the people said.

    Existing Uber shareholders have expressed concern that the process could devalue the company as it heads toward an initial public offering in as few as 18 months.

    As part of the offer, SoftBank also is seeking two board seats, these people said, adding to Uber’s nine sitting directors.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-shareholders-divided-over-softbanks-investment-offer-1505409810

  • Trump Blocks China-Backed Fund from Buying U.S. Chip Maker Lattice

    But Canyon Bridge and Lattice waged an unusually public fight to try to save their deal, which became a lightning rod in a broader battle between the U.S. and China over chip technology and foreign direct investment.

    According to a statement from the White House, Mr. Trump believes the transaction could risk U.S. national security due to “the potential transfer of intellectual property to the foreign acquirer, the Chinese government’s role in supporting this transaction, the importance of semiconductor supply chain integrity to the United States Government, and the use of Lattice products by the United States Government.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-blocks-china-backed-fund-from-buying-u-s-chip-maker-lattice-1505335670

Artificial Intelligence

  • As Amazon Pushes Forward With Robots, Workers Find New Roles

    Complicating the equation even more, Amazon is also on the forefront of automation, finding new ways of getting robots to do the work once handled by employees. In 2014, the company began rolling out robots to its warehouses using machines originally developed by Kiva Systems, a company Amazon bought for $775 million two years earlier and renamed Amazon Robotics. Amazon now has more than 100,000 robots in action around the world, and it has plans to add many more to the mix.

    The robots make warehouse work less tedious and physically taxing, while also enabling the kinds of efficiency gains that let a customer order dental floss after breakfast and receive it before dinner.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/10/technology/amazon-robots-workers.html

  • Facebook’s New Lab Bolsters Montreal’s Bragging Rights As An AI Hub

    Among those behind Montreal’s emergence as a leader in AI research is University of Montreal professor and director of the school’s Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms Yoshua Bengio, a pioneer in deep learning.

    “Facebook is clearly a leader in AI,” Bengio said in a statement, “and the creation [of] Facebook’s AI lab here is going to contribute to the expansion of Montreal as an international hub for AI, an ecosystem joining universities [and] established companies as well as startups.” (Bengio is also a consultant to Microsoft, which is putting down stakes of its own in Montreal’s AI community; in January, it bought Maluuba, a Montreal-based AI startup he had advised.)

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40465968/facebooks-new-lab-bolsters-montreals-bragging-rights-as-an-ai-hub

Datacenter

  • Dell EMC and HPE vie for top spot in server market, trading revenue and shipment lead

    Though Dell EMC still trails HPE in server revenue, the company’s lead in shipments reflects positive growth and the potential for leading the market in revenue in the future. However, both companies are also competing in the cloud space. Last year, HPE held its spot as the number one cloud infrastructure provider, but that was before Dell Technologies could test its presence in the market.

    In contrast to last year’s Q2 report, where global server revenue fell 0.8% year-over-year, there was an uptick in this year’s report. As a whole, the server market is having to respond to market needs as more companies store data through cloud providers over traditional, on-premise systems.

    http://www.ciodive.com/news/dell-emc-and-hpe-vie-for-top-spot-in-server-market-trading-revenue-and-shi/504777/

Software/SaaS

  • Oracle: Pullback Is An Opportunity

    Despite continued strength in cloud SaaS (+62%, nearly 12% of total revenues), I was most surprised to see the company’s on-premise software and hardware business (what I collectively call “legacy”) return to positive growth this quarter. I believe this was the most important component of the revenue beat this quarter, as growth in cloud landed less impressively just an inch above the mid-point of management’s guidance. While I welcome the news, I also fear that some investors may see the strong numbers in the slow-to-no growth part of the business as a one-off occurrence that does little to support the cloud-centric investment thesis.

    https://seekingalpha.com/article/4107175-oracle-pullback-opportunity

  • MicroFocus updates its security portfolio after HPE merger

    When MicroFocus completed its spin-merger with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the company claims it created the seventh-largest pure-play software company in the world. It also is now among the largest security companies.

    The company announced that analytics from the HPE Vertica embedded database will be built in to ArcSight, the company’s security console that is built on an open architecture to enable data sharing through the enterprise. Also, a new partnership with Elastic – an open-source DIY platform for building visualizations into data – will empower security teams to gain deeper insights from data exploration to threats.

    http://sdtimes.com/microfocus-updates-security-portfolio-hpe-merger/

  • Why Blockchain May Be Key to IBM’s Future

    According to Business Insider, the Swiss financial services giant UBS thinks the company should be betting it’s future on blockchain. UBS would know about blockchain. It jumped on the distributed-database bandwagon early and has become a major proponent of the technology’s use:

    Both IBM and Microsoft are looking to monetize blockchain, but we think IBM is ahead and that blockchain is more important for IBM. IBM’s legacy businesses are in decline; we think technologies such as blockchain and cognitive computing are its best hope for recovery.

    http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/ibm/why-blockchain-may-be-key-ibms-future

  • Oracle prepares to spin off Java EE to Eclipse Foundation

    Oracle has recently admitted that “although Java EE is developed in open source with the participation of the Java EE community, often the process is not seen as being agile, flexible, or open enough, particularly when compared to other open-source communities. We’d like to do better.”

    The company is now moving quickly to make Java EE better. For example, Java EE code is now available on GitHub. Interestingly, Oracle isn’t moving Java EE by itself.

    Delabassee said, “First, we have reached out to IBM and Red Hat, the other largest contributors to the Java EE platform, to solicit their support for this new direction. Oracle, IBM, and Red Hat are collaborating on an ongoing basis to refine an approach that we can collectively support.” This is not the way Oracle used to do things.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/oracle-prepares-to-spin-off-java-ee-to-eclipse-foundation/

  • The Equifax hack is really good for Symantec

    That’s because LifeLock, the identity-theft protection service owned by Symantec, is now enrolling 10 times the amount of people per hour in its program, reports Bloomberg“We’re over 100,000 new members and counting since the breach. Most are paying the full price, rather than discounts. It’s a really incredible response from the market,” Symantec’s Fran Rosch revealed. Further, the people signing up after the Equifax breech are on average 10 years younger than typical LifeLock customers, and they opt for the premium $29.99 a month plan, not the cheaper $9.99 a month one. Oh, and while Equifax’s stock is tanking, Symantec’s is up over 10% after the breach

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40467320/the-equifax-hack-is-really-good-for-symantec

Other

  • Equifax Reports Data Breach Possibly Affecting 143 Million U.S. Consumers

    Credit-reporting company Equifax Inc. said Thursday that hackers gained access to some of its systems, potentially compromising the personal information of roughly 143 million U.S. consumers in one of the biggest and most threatening data breaches of recent years.

    The size of the hack is second only to the pair of attacks on Yahoo disclosed last year that affected the information of as many as 1.5 billion customers. It also involves nearly twice the number affected by one of the highest-profile breaches at a financial firm, the cyberattack at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. about three years ago.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/equifax-reports-data-breach-possibly-impacting-143-million-u-s-consumers-1504819765
    Equifax execs dumped stock before the hack news went public

    As Bloomberg reports, three of the company’s senior executives sold nearly $1.8 million in shares after the company learned internally that it had exposed the private data, including social security and driver’s license numbers, of as many as 143 million people in the U.S.

    The transactions in question were initiated by Chief Financial Officer and Corporate VP John Gamble, who sold $946,374 worth of shares; President of U.S. Information Solutions Joseph Loughran, who dumped $584,099; and President of Workforce Solutions Rodolfo Ploder, who sold $250,458 in shares. As Bloomberg notes, these transactions were not pre-scheduled trades and they took place on August 2, three days after the company learned of the hack.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/07/equifax-managers-dumped-stock/?ncid=rss
    It’s time to build our own Equifax with blackjack and crypto

    We must look outside the US for leadership. Estonia, for example, has already released a number of solutions to this problem including a cryptographically secure ID card. This card connects to our computers and unlocks our data. Without it no one can access our data. An even easier solution could include government-provided 2-factor ID generator. These are cheap and portable and rugged and far more secure than any static number. Further, we must also outlaw SMS two-factor authentication. In fact, thanks to the data stolen from Equifax, that process can be easily broken by (you guessed it) telling a CSR the last four digits of our Social Security Number.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/08/its-time-to-build-our-own-equifax-with-blackjack-and-crypto/?ncid=rss

  • Google appeals $2.4 billion EU antitrust fine

    While Google has appealed the decision, it has not requested that the court suspend it in the meantime, and it appears as though the company will continue to work towards fulfilling the changes ordered by the June ruling. At the end of last month, the company met the deadline to submit its plan on how it will change its practices to make them fall in line with EU antitrust laws. An initial review of that plan was met with approval by EU officials. Google is required to stop the offending practices by September 28th or face additional fines that could amount to five percent of Alphabet’s daily average worldwide revenue.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/11/google-appeals-eu-antitrust-fine/

  • There’s Blood In The Water In Silicon Valley

    The tech industry has also benefited for years from its enemies, who it cast — often accurately — as Luddites who genuinely didn’t understand the series of tubes they were ranting about, or protectionist industries that didn’t want the best for consumers. That, too, is over. Opportunists and ideologues have assembled the beginnings of a real coalition against these companies, with a policy core consisting of refugees from Google boss Eric Schmidt’s least favorite think tank unit. Nationalists, accurately, see a consolidation of power over speech and ideas by social liberals and globalists; the left, accurately, sees consolidated corporate power. Those are the ascendant wings of the Republican and Democratic parties, even before Donald Trump sends the occasional spray of bile Jeff Bezos’s way — and his spokeswoman declines, as she did in June, to defend Google against European regulators.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/bensmith/theres-blood-in-the-water-in-silicon-valley?utm_term=.jirpNeB2m#.ve6eW0NZq

Photo: Katie Frego

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