Tag Archives: AWS

Supplier Report: 12/22/2017

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

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

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

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

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

Acquisitions

  • Oracle to Buy Australian Software Maker Aconex

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

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

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

  • Accenture acquires Irish creative agency Rothco

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Windows:

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

Datacenter

  • IBM Enters Quantum Computing Business with First Paying Customers

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

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

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

Software/SaaS

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

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

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

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

Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Kira auf der Heide

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Supplier Report: 12/15/2017

It was a bad week. 

Net Neutrality was repealed, GE is cutting 12,000 jobs, Microsoft is reportedly underpaying women and hurting their careers, IBM is looking to eliminate more jobs, and the Amazon boon in Seattle is finally slowing down.

At least Google is slashing their machine learning prices…

Acquisitions

  • Apple is acquiring music recognition app Shazam

    One source describes the deal as in the nine figures; another puts it at around £300 million ($401 million). We are still asking around. Notably, though, the numbers we’ve heard are lower than the $1.02 billion (according to PitchBook) post-money valuation the company had in its last funding round, in 2015.

    In all, Shazam has raised $143.5 million from investors that include Kleiner Perkins, London’s DN Capital, IVP and strategic investors Sony Music, Universal Music and Access Industries (which owns Warner Music). Kleiner Perkins also invested in competitor SoundHound.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/08/sources-apple-is-acquiring-music-recognition-app-shazam/?ncid=rss

  • Coupa Acquires Simeno to Augment Catalog Search and Management Capabilities

    Coupa has acquired procure-to-pay (P2P) provider Simeno, extending the platform’s marketplace strategy to provide deeper and pre-integrated supplier connections and opening key markets to support continued expansion.

    Financial terms of the transaction were not immediately disclosed, though Spend Matters estimates that buying Simeno will be accretive to Coupa, based on the various metrics by which investors measure the firm today.

    http://spendmatters.com/2017/12/11/coupa-acquires-simeno-augment-catalog-search-management-capability/

  • Google, Microsoft concerned that a Broadcom acquisition of Qualcomm will benefit Apple

    Google and Microsoft are concerned about the long shadow that Apple is casting across the deal. Apple and Qualcomm are enmeshed in a number of lawsuits and the relationship between the two is so bad that Apple is said to be looking elsewhere for a new supplier of modem chips for 2018 CDMA iPhone models. Currently, Intel modem chips are used inside GSM variants of the iPhone, and that will probably remain the case next year.

    Microsoft has started to compete with the Apple iPad by producing a series of hybrid tablet/laptops that are the first Windows 10 PCs to be powered by Qualcomm chips. Google has plenty of skin in this game with the majority of Android phone manufacturers using Qualcomm chips as well. The pair are afraid that if Broadcom buys Qualcomm, the newly merged company would favor Apple over their interests. For example, Broadcom Chief Executive Hock Tan has reportedly said that he is optimistic about settling the multiple lawsuits with Apple if his company buys Qualcomm. And with Broadcom’s reputation as a cost cutter, Microsoft and Google fear that a merger will sharply curtail innovation in the industry.

    https://www.phonearena.com/news/Google-Microsoft-concerned-that-a-Broadcom-acquisition-of-Qualcomm-will-benefit-Apple_id100598

Artificial Intelligence

  • Microsoft starts own ‘AI University’ to address skills shortage

    “We try to work with them [universities] to fuel that talent pipeline,” said Bishop. “So for example we’re a major sponsor of a masters programme at Cambridge University.”

    Microsoft currently funds around 200 PhD scholarships at Cambridge University, significantly more than other companies like Google.

    “One of the things we’re trying to avoid doing is simply going into a university, hoovering up all the top professors and then just leaving tumbleweed blowing down the corridors,” he said.

    “That might be a short term fix for some companies but I don’t think it serves even the industry itself very well, let alone academia or the nation, to take that rather short term view.”

    https://mspoweruser.com/microsoft-starts-ai-university-to-address-skills-shortage/

  • Accenture’s Advice on Using AI to Succeed in the “New Business Process Era”

    There are three things to consider here. First: transformation takes time. Companies need to collect the relevant data, develop the necessary systems, and build the underpinning analytics and AI. Second: digital procurement requires investment. Fortunately, digital procurement capabilities are increasingly available as a service, which could reduce upfront investments and accelerate transformation. Finally: transformation takes vision. This is big departure from how procurement has traditionally operated. Companies need to have an internal champion who can define what the future procurement organization will look like and how the company can make it a reality.

    http://www.scmr.com/article/accentures_advice_on_using_ai_to_succeed_in_the_new_business_process_era

  • Google slashes prices for its machine learning service as AWS steps up competition

    The company has introduced massive price reductions for its Cloud Machine Learning Engine managed services. For example, customers using basic-tier compute for training a machine learning system will pay 43 percent less than they did earlier this year. Google also offered customers more clarity on what they’ll be paying for those jobs.

    Information of the price reductions was first included in a blog post that appeared briefly yesterday on Google’s website, then vanished. A representative for the company declined to comment further on the news when reached for comment.

    https://venturebeat.com/2017/12/12/google-slashes-prices-for-its-machine-learning-service-as-aws-steps-up-competition/

Cloud

  • AWS just opened another cloud computing region in China

    AWS said its China (Ningxia) Region, operated by Ningxia Western Cloud Data Technology (NWCD), is now up and running and provides customers another option to run applications and store data on AWS in China.

    Whereas in most of the world AWS owns and operates its own cloud infrastructure, in China the situation is more complicated. Chinese law forbids non-Chinese companies from owning or operating cloud computing infrastructure.

    To comply with China’s legal and regulatory requirements, AWS has formed a strategic technology collaboration with NWCD to operate and provide services from the AWS China (Ningxia) Region.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/aws-just-opened-another-cloud-computing-region-in-china/

  • Google, Looking to Tiptoe Back Into China, Announces A.I. Center

    On Wednesday, it unveiled a small but symbolically significant move toward that end: a China-based center devoted to artificial intelligence. The move nods to the country’s growing strength in A.I., thanks to substantial government funding prompted by Beijing’s ambition of having a say in the technologies of the future.

    Google said the center would have a team of experts in Beijing, where the company has hundreds of employees in research and development, as well as other roles. The center will be led by Fei-Fei Li, who runs Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab and leads the artificial intelligence arm of Google’s Cloud business, and Jia Li, the head of research and development for the A.I. division of Google Cloud.

    The Silicon Valley company, which announced the center’s opening at a software developer conference in Shanghai, cited China’s growing academic and technical contributions to the A.I. field, and said the new center would be “working closely with the vibrant Chinese A.I. research community.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/business/google-ai-china.html

Security

  • Kaspersky Lab is closing its Washington, DC office

    Kaspersky Lab Inc. has had a rough time with the US government this year and now Bloomberg reports that the company will be closing its Washington, DC office. However, while its government business seems to be dead in the water, Kaspersky still plans to sell to non-federal US customers and will be opening offices in Chicago and Los Angeles next year.

    In July, the Trump administration removed Kaspersky from its list of approved IT vendors and in August reports surfaced that the FBI was trying to convince companies to ditch Kaspersky’s products. These moves were a result of US government suspicions that Kaspersky funnels information from its customers to the Russian government. Best Buy pulled Kaspersky products from its shelves shortly thereafter and the US government ultimately banned federal agencies from using the company’s security software in September.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/12/08/kaspersky-lab-closing-washington-dc-office/

  • The Bitcoin Whales: 1,000 People Who Own 40 Percent of the Market

    About 40 percent of bitcoin is held by perhaps 1,000 users; at current prices, each may want to sell about half of his or her holdings, says Aaron Brown, former managing director and head of financial markets research at AQR Capital Management. (Brown is a contributor to the Bloomberg Prophets online column.) What’s more, the whales can coordinate their moves or preview them to a select few. Many of the large owners have known one another for years and stuck by bitcoin through the early days when it was derided, and they can potentially band together to tank or prop up the market.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-08/the-bitcoin-whales-1-000-people-who-own-40-percent-of-the-market

Other

  • The FCC officially votes to kill net neutrality

    Chairman Pai trotted out the same talking points he’s been pushing since 2015. That the law that dictates the internet remain “unfettered by federal and state regulation” (that part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act is advisory, and also about porn); that the 2015 rules were “designed in the ’30s to regulate Ma Bell” (they were rebuilt from the ground up in 1996, as he explained moments earlier); that the regulations had destroyed jobs (the jobs never existed); that small ISPs were harmed (I’ve asked the ones he’s cited repeatedly and they have never explained how) — and how edge providers are a bigger threat than ISP discrimination.

    Ironically, he asked that the internet be “driven by engineers” and not “lawyers and accountants” — ironic because hundreds of prominent engineers have pointed out the technical shortcomings of the order, which is largely based on economic analysis and legal hair-splitting.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/14/the-fcc-officially-votes-to-kill-net-neutrality/?ncid=rss
    What’s Next:

    There are two tacks they might take. First is the possibility of using the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to undo recently instituted regulations, to nix the FCC’s plan; Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) just announced he will do this. This is the most straightforward solution, and one the Republican Congress recently deployed in order to kill several Obama-era regulations, including the Broadband Privacy Rule. That action was particularly unpopular, and Republicans aiming to look progressive may hop on board a Democratic bill. Bipartisan talks will have to take place — this can’t be done without work on both sides of the aisle.

    A CRA repeal of Restoring Internet Freedom would be devastating to the FCC’s plans, but likely would leave intact the legislative ambiguities that gave rise to today’s issues.

    A true solution would involve amending the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The critical part of all this is the classification of broadband under Title II of the act, and if that could be accomplished by legislation — it would only take a few words — it would put an end to these questions once and for all. However, to amend a major bill is not something a minority party is likely to attempt. And with the threat of a veto hanging over them, it’s very unlikely that this will come to pass until a Democratic president is elected.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/14/the-fcc-just-repealed-net-neutrality-what-happens-next/?ncid=rss

  • GE is cutting 12,000 jobs

    The jobs are in the electrical power division, which makes the giant turbines and generators that the company estimates provide about one-third of the electricity produced around the world.

    GE (GE) is by far the worst-performing stock in the Dow this year, down 44%, and CEO John Flannery, who took over in August, has been trying to slash costs.

    The company says the job cuts will mostly be outside the United States. The power division’s headcount will be reduced about 18%. About 295,000 people worked for GE overall at the end of last year, but the company has cut jobs and costs throughout this year. It hopes to reduce costs by $1 billion next year.

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/12/07/news/companies/ge-job-cuts/index.html?section=money_topstories

  • Cost-hurling IBM seeks more volunteers for employment bonfire

    As revealed by us in recent weeks, IBM told staff in TSS and ISD to form Employee Consultation Committees ahead of entering a 45-day consultation to discuss ways to improve margins – i.e. by cutting jobs.

    The length of the consultation, which started on December 6, indicates at least 100 people from each of the two departments will be kicked to the curb once the period ends. Before that happens, IBM is giving employees a chance to apply to leave. Applicants that are accepted will be out on December 31.

    The ISD memo, like TSS, stated: “We are now launching an Open Voluntary Separation Programme. The programme is open to all in-scope UK IBM regular employees working in the IS Delivery business area in the UK.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/12/08/ibm_isd_voluntary_redundancies/

  • Amazon’s Seattle hiring frenzy slows sharply; what’s going on?

    Still, the pullback is a reminder that Amazon’s frantic expansion during the last few years — contributing to a boom that nudged the city’s unemployment rate near record lows, pushed housing costs to a record high, and sparked a debate about the company’s civic role in Seattle — won’t last forever.

    The slowdown also comes as the company seeks space to expand outside Seattle. Amazon is evaluating 238 bids it received from municipalities interested in welcoming Amazon’s second, “equal,” headquarters dubbed HQ2, which the company has indicated it could begin staffing as early as 2019.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/amazons-seattle-hiring-frenzy-slows-sharply-whats-going-on/

  • Two New Reports Say Microsoft Overwhelmingly Underpays Women and Stifles Their Career Advancement

    The plaintiffs filed to make the lawsuit a class action at the end of October and recently released two reports that detail pervasive gender-based discrimination at the $649 billion tech company. One, by Henry Farber, an economics professor at Princeton, analyzed data on more than 16,000 employees’ compensation, age, tenure, geographic location, performance ratings, and other factors between 2010 and 2016. Faber found that women in technical roles in low- to mid-level positions at Microsoft “receive lower compensation on average, than otherwise-similar men, and this difference in pay is statically significant.” Moreover, the report finds that women in mid-level jobs at Microsoft have a statistically significant lower probability of getting promoted.

    The other study filed in the case, conducted by Ann Marie Ryan, a psychology professor at Michigan State University, found that Microsoft “does not provide clear, job-related guidance as to how to distinguish levels within a career stage for compensation decisions,” which opens doors for managers to make subjective, and potentially sexist, decisions about career advancement.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2017/12/09/two_new_reports_say_microsoft_overwhelmingly_underpays_women_and_stifles.html

Photo: Cooper Smith

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Supplier Report: 12/8/2017

Amazon and Google are fighting this week and end users are suffering.  This fight isn’t about cutting off access to YouTube, it is about two companies finding themselves competing in cloud hosting, digital assistants, customer behaviors, forked operating systems, and now advertising.

As companies like Google, Amazon, Oracle, and Microsoft fight with each other, China is quietly growing their AI capabilities and they are applying them to areas that the US would never (publicly) be able to admit.

CVS is trying to out-run the business black hole that is Amazon. As rumors swirl that Amazon might get into pharmaceuticals, CVS is attempting to purchase healthcare company Aetna.  These are certainly interesting times.

Acquisitions

  • CVS buys health insurer Aetna to counter Amazon

    Neither CVS nor Aetna has explicitly mentioned Amazon. However, it’s no secret that Amazon looms large over the proposed merger. The New York Times reports that CVS and Aetna met “several times” for talks with Amazon’s potential competition in mind. Also, CVS is in a prime position to change its strategy. It makes the most money from its pharmacy benefits business (which serves companies and insurers), not its stores, so it could continue to thrive even if Amazon swoops in and destroys its retail sales.

    Aetna isn’t under the gun in the same way. It was recently blocked from buying a key competitor, Humana, and has been looking for a way to expand without invoking the wrath of antitrust regulators. CVS makes sense in that regard — the two firms operate in related areas, but they wouldn’t be shrinking the markets for health insurance or pharmacies. There is a concern that they might hurt choices for Medicare, since both are key to offering prescriptions to Medicare recipients.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/12/03/cvs-buys-aetna-to-counter-amazon/

Artificial Intelligence

  • COMB+ announces a $77M fund to help AI startups enter China

    The fund, which was announced at Slush in Helsinki this week, is run by COMB+ and the Beijing Institute of Collaborative Innovation (BICI). COMB+ launched its Sino Track accelerator program last year, which is based in Beijing and Helsinki and helps early-stage firms grow in China, and this is the second part of its strategy.

    So far more than half of the €65 million target has been raised, COMB+ CEO Leo Zhu told TechCrunch via interpreters in an interview. He didn’t name any confirmed LPs but said the fund is backed by government funds, government institutions, private enterprises and big corporates most of which are from China.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/01/comb-china-ai-fund/?ncid=rss
    China’s A.I. Advances Help Its Tech Industry, and State Security

    As China tests the frontiers of artificial intelligence, iFlyTek serves as a compelling example of both the country’s sci-fi ambitions and the technology’s darker dystopian possibilities.

    The Chinese company uses sophisticated A.I. to power image and voice recognition systems that can help doctors with their diagnoses, aid teachers in grading tests and let drivers control their cars with their voices. Even some global companies are impressed: Delphi, a major American auto supplier, offers iFlyTek’s technology to carmakers in China, while Volkswagen plans to build the Chinese company’s speech recognition technology into many of its cars in China next year.

    At the same time, iFlyTek hosts a laboratory to develop voice surveillance capabilities for China’s domestic security forces. In an October report, a human rights group said the company was helping the authorities compile a biometric voice database of Chinese citizens that could be used to track activists and others.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/03/business/china-artificial-intelligence.html

  • IBM unveils ‘game-changing powerhouse’ for AI

    POWER9 has the ability to improve the training times of deep learning frameworks by almost four times faster and allows enterprises to build more accurate applications at a much faster rate.

    As a result of the better performance, data scientists are able to build applications faster, from deep learning insights across scientific research to real-time fraud detection and credit risk analysis.

    https://www.cbronline.com/news/ibm-power9-game-changing-ai

  • Elon Musk says Tesla is making A.I. hardware that could be ‘the best in the world’

    Several other automakers, including Ford and GM, are developing self-driving technology. Alphabet, which has developed custom chips that can be used instead of Nvidia graphics cards, operates the Waymo self-driving car division. Apple has pursued autonomous driving, and it has also developed custom silicon to handle AI workloads on mobile devices.

    In the Thursday talk, Keller suggested that with custom hardware it’s possible to boost efficiency, while Musk talked about power and cost advantages, according to one report about the event on Twitter.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/08/elon-musk-talks-up-teslas-upcoming-artificial-intelligence-hardware.html

Cloud

  • Amazon is an 800-pound gorilla that moves like a cheetah, says analyst

    In a week that featured 22 product and services announcements (according to Andy Jassy, AWS chief executive officer), industry analysts were left to assess the significant position in the IT ecosystem that AWS has staked out for itself. “This is a real merging of application developers and the more traditional kinds of companies,” Warren said. “It feels like re:Invent this year is a blending of the entire IT ecosystem.”

    A key message that emerged from the various AWS releases is that the company has made major strides to debunk “fear, uncertainty and doubt” that it could not be taken seriously as a major player in enterprise cloud computing. “The big story this year is legitimacy across the board in every vertical and every category,” Furrier said. “Re-engineering and re-imagining are happening, and Amazon is just feeding the marketplace.”

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/12/01/amazon-is-an-800-pound-gorilla-that-moves-like-a-cheetah-says-analyst-reinvent/
    Nothing really new, I just like the headline.

  • Microsoft CFO sees Google’s cloud as a threat and praises its chief: ‘She’s always been a winner’

    In her Tuesday remarks — which came after Wells Fargo analyst Philip Winslow specifically asked about Google — Hood also praised Greene, the head of Google’s cloud efforts for the past two years. Greene, who was formerly CEO of VMware, announced last week that she hired Diane Bryant from Intel to be operating chief of Google’s cloud.

    “We’ve seen more of them in the past few quarters than we’ve seen before,” Hood said. “I think they’re making a good effort. I think Diane Greene is an excellent leader and an established enterprise CEO.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/05/microsoft-cfo-amy-hood-says-google-cloud-becoming-a-bigger-competitor.html

    I always call out the s**t-talking, I should highlight the acts of class as well.

  • Cheapest enterprise cloud storage providers not always best

    Bala’s public recommendation to conference attendees was the following: “Think about the number of years that a vendor has been in this market and their commitment to the market. The last thing you want to do is go with a vendor who says, ‘Well, the v1 version of our service didn’t work, and we’re going to scrap it, and we’re going to restart over again.’ There are a lot of customers in that boat.”

    Although Bala’s cautionary advice did not note specific enterprise cloud storage providers that abandoned the original versions of their cloud storage services, he did offer frank assessments of each of the major challengers to dominant player AWS.

    “Oracle did something very smart. They opened a large office in Seattle, and they’ve hired a bunch of AWS engineers. So, they’ve got several hundred AWS engineers that are building v2 of Oracle service,” Bala said. “After having failed the first time, they’re doing some really thoughtful things the second time.”

    Bala said IBM’s public cloud storage, also based on OpenStack, “didn’t really go anywhere” and “had lots of problems,” leaving the company “trying to rebuild it.” He said IBM spent lots of money trying to buy companies, as well as trying to rebuild in-house.

    http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/news/450431495/Cheapest-enterprise-cloud-storage-providers-not-always-best

Software/SaaS

  • Three Uber security managers reportedly resigned today

    Three senior-level security managers resigned from Uber today, Reuters reported earlier today. One of the three who resigned, Pooja Ashok, was chief of staff to now-former Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan. Sullivan was fired last week for trying to hide the security breach that affected about 57 million riders and 600,00 drivers.

    The other two who resigned were Prithvi Rai, a senior security engineer, and Jeff Jones. Both Ashok and Jones are planning to stay at Uber until January to help with the transition.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/01/three-uber-security-managers-reportedly-resigned-today/?ncid=rss

  • Inside Oracle’s cloak-and-dagger political war with Google

    For the past year, the software and cloud computing giant has mounted a cloak-and-dagger, take-no-prisoners lobbying campaign against Google, perhaps hoping to cause the company intense political and financial pain at a time when the two tech giants are also warring in federal court over allegations of stolen computer code.

    Since 2010, Oracle has accused Google of copying Java and using key portions of it in the making of Android. Google, for its part, has fought those claims vigorously. More recently, though, their standoff has intensified. And as a sign of the worsening rift between them, this summer Oracle tried to sell reporters on a story about the privacy pitfalls of Android, two sources confirmed to Recode.

    https://www.recode.net/2017/12/6/16721364/oracle-google-political-war-location-track-android-safra-catz-java-lawsuit

Other

  • Now on Oracle’s Campus, a $43 Million Public High School

    “Nobody has done anything like this before,” said Colleen Cassity, the executive director of the Oracle Education Foundation, a nonprofit funded by the company. The foundation oversees the company’s partnership with the school.

    Design Tech High School, known as d.tech, was founded in 2014 with the aim of steeping students in design thinking, a creative problem-solving strategy popularized by Stanford University’s design school. It teaches students to empathize with people before trying to devise solutions to their problems.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/03/technology/now-on-oracles-campus-a-43-million-public-high-school.html

  • Why Amazon and Google just can’t get along

    At this point, it’s easy to see why Amazon wouldn’t want to support Google’s products, and vice versa: Each company is using hardware to fortify themselves while attacking their rival’s core business. Without some broad-ranging truce, in which each company agrees to treat each other’s services equally and let consumers decide what’s best, Amazon and Google would only be undermining themselves.

    https://www.techhive.com/article/3240966/streaming-hardware/why-amazon-and-google-just-cant-get-along.html

  • IBM to invest $200 million in climate change research

    Not all businesses, however, take a short-term view of their operations, with increasing numbers of CEOs seeing reason, as a destroyed planet will even impact them and their shareholders in the long-run. In this vain, IBM recently announced it will direct around $200 million into five climate-related projects. Despite a rocky year financially, which saw global revenues further stagnate at the global technology giant, the organisation still saw fit to support scientists in their pursuit to better understand the consequences of humanity’s current uncritical climate forcing experiments.

    The funds will be awarded to projects that are judged to have the greatest potential impact on our understanding of climate change, and that consider strategies to mitigate its effects. The five projects would also be able to take advantage of IBM’s World Community Grid, an IBM Citizenship initiative that taps into the combined computing power of 730,000 worldwide volunteers. A similar project was recently run on such a network, allowing Harvard University to identify 36,000 carbon-based compounds that may approximately double the efficiency of most organic solar cells currently in production.

    https://www.consultancy.uk/news/14900/ibm-to-invest-200-million-in-climate-change-research

Photo: CloudVisual

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Supplier Report: 12/1/2017

Amazon generated headlines this week during their re:Invent conference.  They announced Alexa for the office, transcription services, and an improved platform to develop machine learning solutions.

Google snapped up IT talent from Microsoft and Intel this week which is telling. Many journalists have stated that Google is turning into the old Microsoft. Google has been recruiting former Microsoft employees since Ballmer left (whose tenure was rumored to foster hostility and competition among divisions).

IBM is rumored to be reducing headcount in the UK to manage costs.

Acquisitions

  • A Broadcom-Qualcomm Deal Would Face a Regulatory Minefield

    The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which vets foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies on national security grounds, lately has combed chip deals for involvement from China, which been trying to extend its semiconductor capabilities. Late last year, for instance, the committee quashed the sale of Aixtron SE , a German maker of chip-fabrication equipment that has U.S. operations, to Chinese investor Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund LP.

    Broadcom’s Mr. Tan recently took what appeared to be a step toward easing such scrutiny. Shortly before presenting his bid to Qualcomm, he stood beside President Donald Trump to announce a plan to relocate Broadcom’s headquarters from Singapore to the U.S.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-broadcom-qualcomm-deal-would-face-a-regulatory-minefield-1511352000

  • WeWork to Buy Meetup, Targeting Off-Hours Gatherings

    WeWork Cos. said it is buying Meetup Inc., as the richly funded office-sharing company seeks to bring more visitors into its growing array of real estate.

    With the deal, WeWork hopes to increase its usage rate during non-working hours. Most traditional clients use spaces on weekdays while Meetup-organized events mostly happen on nights and weekends.

    Meetup helps organizations and clubs host events and grow membership. More than 100,000 people have attended meetups at WeWork locations so far this year, the companies said Tuesday.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/wework-to-buy-meetup-targeting-off-hours-gatherings-1511880919

Artificial Intelligence

  • AWS releases SageMaker to make it easier to build and deploy machine learning models

    Randall Hunt wrote in a blog post announcing the new service that the idea is provide a framework for accelerating the process of getting machine learning incorporated in new applications. “Amazon SageMaker is a fully managed end-to-end machine learning service that enables data scientists, developers, and machine learning experts to quickly build, train and host machine learning models at scale,” Hunt wrote.

    As AWS CEO Andy Jassy put it while introducing the new service on stage at re:invent, “Amazon SageMaker, an easy way to train, deploy machine learning models for every day developers.”

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/29/aws-releases-sagemaker-to-make-it-easier-to-build-and-deploy-machine-learning-models/?ncid=rss

  • NVIDIA’s AI will help GE speed up medical image processing

    Clinical diagnosis has dramatically improved thanks to improved imaging via incredibly advanced MRI, CT and other machines, but there’s a downside to that tech. It generates up to 50,000 terabytes of data, per hospital, but only three percent of that is analyzed or even tagged, says GE.

    Using AI would not just help patients, but also make the data available for further analysis so the algorithms can be refined even more. As such, GE is also developing a new analytics platform and placing some of the data in NVIDIA’s GPU Cloud. It has also teamed with Intel on its Xeon Scalable platform to get images to radiologists more quickly.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/27/nvidia-ge-healthcare-medical-scans/

Cloud

  • Amazon’s cloud-computing unit takes a new approach in heated battle with rivals: advertising

    For many years, AWS didn’t advertise, partly because it didn’t have to. The service held a wide lead over the competition, and word-of-mouth was enough to catapult the company’s tools atop the growing market for web-based business software.

    But the once-scrappy AWS now needs to focus on winning over CEOs and corporate boards to continue to grow, company insiders and observers say. Amazon also faces intense competition from well-funded rivals, many of whom are already spending heavily to woo that crowd.

    Amazon “is out to get the enterprise,” said Dave Bartoletti, an analyst with Forrester Research who tracks cloud computing. “They’re trying to get to the next level — which is, how do you reach executives at big companies.”

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/amazons-cloud-computing-unit-takes-a-new-approach-in-heated-battle-with-rivals-advertising/

  • Google will launch a new cloud region in Hong Kong next year

    In a blog post published on Wednesday, the technology giant revealed plans to bring its infrastructure-as-a-service platform to Hong Kong sometime next year. Google already operates cloud regions in several major Asian cities, notably Tokyo, Singapore and Taiwan. Each region consists of at least two hosting sites situated in different locations to mitigate the impact of localized outages such as a power disruption.

    What makes the move into Hong Kong different from Google’s previous expansions in the region is its tense history with China. The company stopped serving searches in the country seven years ago and hasn’t returned since, even as rivals started building out their local operations. Today, Microsoft Corp. and Amazon Web Services Inc. both provide cloud services to Chinese companies.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/11/23/google-will-launch-new-cloud-region-hong-kong-next-year/

  • Microsoft Adds SAP as Cloud Partner to Challenge Amazon

    SAP agreed to use Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing service internally, and said it would highlight that usage to customers shopping for their own cloud services.

    SAP Chief Executive Bill McDermott called the move “nontrivial,” saying customers frequently ask what tech the German company uses.

    Mr. McDermott stopped short, though, of saying the agreement between the longtime software partners called on SAP to give Azure preferential treatment over rivals, including Amazon. “I think customers are quite capable of making their own determinations,” he said in an interview.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/microsoft-adds-sap-as-cloud-partner-to-challenge-amazon-1511845261

  • Former Intel data center boss Diane Bryant joins Google Cloud as new COO

    Bryant is an experienced tech executive who spent more than 25 years at Intel. Most recently, she led Intel’s data center group, and was considered one of the top three execs at the company. But she abruptly stepped down from her role at Intel in May due to “family matters.”

    At the time, Intel said her departure would be temporary for six to eight months. But according to a new SEC filing by Intel, Bryant notified Intel that she will not be returning and plans to retire from the company effective Dec. 1. Intel will have to make a separation payment of $4.5 million to Bryant, the filing said.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/30/former-intel-data-center-boss-diane-bryant-joins-google-cloud-as-new-coo.html

  • Box is cash flow positive again, with 26% revenue growth

    CEO Aaron Levie says they’re in a “really really good spot from a cash generation standpoint.”

    He said that this quarter they also “launched a whole bunch of a new technology around machine learning and AI.” He’s referring to a new multimedia-focused toolkit they launched called Box Skills.

    Box now has 80,000 enterprise and government customers. In its latest quarter, it added businesses like Foster Farms and also the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    Box says its revenue for the year is expected to be between $505 million and $506 million. The company’s stock is up 43 percent in the past year.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/29/box-is-cash-flow-positive-again-with-26-revenue-growth/?ncid=rss

Software/SaaS

  • Trust and relevance – the twin challenges SAP faces as it meets with SAP UK & Ireland User Group

    But…as SAP transitions to cloud-only offerings, customers have been faced with multiple issues that erode that hard-won trust. Not least among problems customers face are:
    1. Lack of a solid business case for upgrading to S/4 HANA.
    2. Lack of adequately qualified/certified implementers on SuccessFactors’ projects.
    3. Inadequately addressed concerns over indirect access.
    4. Ongoing lack of control over SIs and continuing ‘lights on’ costs for existing systems.

    https://diginomica.com/2017/11/26/trust-and-relevance-the-twin-challenges-sap-faces-as-it-meets-with-sap-uk-ireland-user-group/

  • Microsoft employee joins Google, criticizes company’s missteps with developers

    He also explains that Windows Phone and Internet Explorer failed due to various drawbacks, “infighting between different divisions left client developers in the Microsoft ecosystem caught in the crossfire, with little clarity for those who wanted to bet on something that would endure,” he explains. Not only developers, but this also led to customers leaving the Windows Phone for Android and iOS.

    “And so when ‘Metro’ (UWP) was introduced as a reset for the Windows API, leaving behind the massive existing Windows XP and Windows 7 user base in pursuit of an unproven new touch-centric UI, developers largely shrugged and continued down the paths they had already chosen,” Sneath added.

    https://www.windowslatest.com/2017/11/26/microsoft-employee-joins-google-criticizes-companys-missteps-developers/

  • Don’t expect AWS to launch a blockchain service anytime soon

    Jassy seemed anything but enthused about the prospect. In his view, there aren’t a lot of use cases of the blockchain “beyond the distributed ledger.” He also stressed that AWS doesn’t “build technology because we think it is cool.”

    In his view, there are plenty of other ways to solve the problems that blockchain technology aims to solve, too, and that many of the distributed ledgers available right now remain very limited in their capabilities.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/29/dont-expect-aws-to-launch-a-blockchain-service-anytime-soon/?ncid=rss

Other

  • More than a Million Pro-Repeal Net Neutrality Comments were Likely Faked (dubious source)

    The first and largest cluster of pro-repeal documents was especially notable. Unlike the other clusters I found (which contained a lot of repetitive language) each of the comments here was unique; however, the tone, language, and meaning across each comment was largely uniform. The language was also a bit stilted. Curious to dig deeper, I used regular expressions⁹ to match up the words in the clustered comments

    It turns out that there are 1.3 million of these. Each sentence in the faked comments looks like it was generated by a computer program. A mail merge swapped in a synonym for each term to generate unique-sounding comments.¹⁰ It was like mad-libs, except for astroturf.

    https://hackernoon.com/more-than-a-million-pro-repeal-net-neutrality-comments-were-likely-faked-e9f0e3ed36a6
    The FCC is peddling its net neutrality spin as facts

    Since its release, the draft proposal has continued to draw intense opposition and now the FCC has released a list of myths vs. facts in regards to the plan. But this list, which poses as an explanatory breakdown of the FCC proposal and is most definitely the agency’s attempt at damage control, is nearly as ill-conceived as the plan itself.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/28/fcc-peddling-net-neutrality-spin-as-fact/

  • Apple sues Qualcomm for violating chip patents

    The patent lawsuit battle between Apple and Qualcomm isn’t about to cool down any time soon. Apple has countersued Qualcomm, alleging that older Snapdragon chips (the 800 and 820) violate eight or more patents for power management in processors. It’s keen to point out that this technology predates that from a relevant Qualcomm suit, claiming that it pursued these patents “years” before the ones Qualcomm is wielding in its own case. Apple is pushing for unspecified damages.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/29/apple-sues-qualcomm-over-mobile-chip-patents/

  • IBM to build Boulder’s largest solar array

    In a deal that helps both IBM and Xcel Energy reach their ambitious renewable energy objectives, the parties announced that by late 2018 a large array of solar panels will be up and running on 54 acres of IBM’s Gunbarrel facility. Xcel Energy’s stated goal is to provide 55 percent of its annual energy through renewable sources (solar, wind and natural gas) by the year 2026. And IBM’s statement regarding its environmental goals reads that it aims to “procure electricity from renewable sources for 20 percent of IBM’s annual electricity consumption by 2020.”

    http://www.lhvc.com/news/ibm-to-build-boulder-s-largest-solar-array/article_d03d5612-d156-11e7-bf2d-b35c60039019.html

  • Bitcoin Crosses $10,000, Then Quickly Tops $11,000

    Much of this year’s growth has come from Japan. On April 1, Japan’s Financial Services Agency put in place new rules for bitcoin, which recognized it as a legitimate payment method. Japan quickly became one of the largest markets for bitcoin, currently representing about 60% of all trading.

    While bitcoin’s $166 billion market value now rivals that of General Electric Co. or the monetary base of Venezuela, the use of its network isn’t keeping pace. The number of bitcoin transactions on a daily basis has been consistent in 2017. In January, daily transactions averaged between 250,000 and 300,000. It fell during the summer, then regained near-peak levels in the fall.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/bitcoin-hits-10-000-as-sharp-rise-drowns-out-skeptics-1511919295

  • IBM reportedly set to slash UK jobs in cost cutting drive

    In a bid to reportedly reduce costs, IBM has embarked on a plan to cut jobs across the UK and Ireland as part of a larger initiative to save money on the wages of its personnel.

    The Register broke the news in an exclusive, revealing a memo that pointed to around at least a hundred staff being axed through the process of a 45 day consultation.

    https://www.cbronline.com/boardroom/workforce/ibm-slash-uk-jobs/

Photo: Joshua Earle

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Supplier Report: 11/17/2017

Oracle is trying to make it harder for Chinese firms to purchase U.S. companies by supporting bills that expands the power of the Committee on Foreign Investment.  Meanwhile the rumors of Amazon’s Chinese exit have been greatly exaggerated… the company had to sell off certain assets to comply with Chinese law.

Mashable is about to be purchased by Ziff Davis, leaving some to ponder the viability of digital media.

The viability of the Oath (formerly Yahoo and AOL) is in question with reports of over 500 employees being laid off (4% of their workforce).

Acquisitions

  • Mashable Agrees to Sell to Ziff Davis for Around $50 Million

    The price is approximately one-fifth of the company’s $250 million valuation based on its last investment round in March 2016.

    It is a troubling sign for the broader outlook for digital publishers, particularly those that have embraced the “pivot to video” strategy in an effort to lure more lucrative video ad sales.

    Bloomberg earlier reported that Mashable was close to an agreement to sell to Ziff Davis. Ziff Davis is a subsidiary of J2 Global Inc. and owns brands such as PCMag, IGN, Everyday Health and Offers.com.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/mashable-agrees-to-sell-to-ziff-davis-for-around-50-million-1510863283

Artificial Intelligence

  • Oracle’s Mark Hurd: When companies claim they’re in A.I., ‘most of the time it’s just nonsense’

    Most of the time, when companies claim they’re in the business of artificial intelligence, “it’s just nonsense,” Oracle CEO Mark Hurd said Tuesday.

    “Everybody in [Silicon] Valley’s saying they’re in AI,” Hurd told CNBC’s Jon Fortt during an NYSE Fireside Chat.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/14/oracles-mark-hurd-when-companies-claim-theyre-in-ai-most-of-the-time-its-just-nonsense.html

  • A mirror exposes AI’s inherent flaws in ‘Untrained Eyes’

    Kaino and Williams wanted to reveal how something as seemingly innocuous as a Google search can expose algorithmic bias. Kaino points out that searching for “man” on Google Images surfaces page after page of white men in business suits, looking confidently into the camera, while a search for “woman” brings up a grid of white women in various stages of undress. Untrained Eyes sheds a light on issues of representation, forcing the viewer to confront how a computer, and by extension, an unknown programmer, sees them.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/09/untrained-eyes-engadget-experience/

Cloud

  • Amazon Web Services denies reports of China exit, confirms some asset sales

    No, AWS did not sell its business in China and remains fully committed to ensuring Chinese customers continue to receive AWS’s industry leading cloud services. Chinese law forbids non-Chinese companies from owning or operating certain technology for the provision of cloud services. As a result, in order to comply with Chinese law, AWS sold certain physical infrastructure assets to Sinnet, its longtime Chinese partner and AWS seller-of-record for its AWS China (Beijing) Region. AWS continues to own the intellectual property for AWS Services worldwide. ‎We’re excited about the significant business we have in China and its growth potential over the next number of years.

    https://www.geekwire.com/2017/reports-amazon-web-services-exiting-china-selling-local-partner-300m-deal/

  • Companies will waste over $10 billion in cloud spending in the next year

    “Cloud providers claim they are getting better at helping companies save some of their cloud spending. For example, AWS recently claimed it saved AWS users $500 million by alerting customers when they are overpaying,” says Kim Weins, VP of cloud cost strategy at RightScale. “Unfortunately, this is just a drop in the bucket. RightScale has seen that companies waste, on average, 35 percent of their cloud spend. This equates to $6.4 billion in annualized wasted cost for AWS alone. For the top three public cloud providers (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform), this represents annualized waste of $10 billion.”

    RightScale points out some ways in which enterprises can control their cloud costs. Forty percent of instances are sized larger than is required for the workload and could be resized — and therefore made cheaper — without impacting performance of the application. Each oversized instance is wasting 50-75 percent, resulting in 11-16 percent of all cloud spend being wasted.

    https://betanews.com/2017/11/13/company-cloud-waste/

  • IBM makes 20 qubit quantum computing machine available as a cloud service

    IBM has been offering quantum computing as a cloud service since last year when it came out with a 5 qubit version of the advanced computers. Today, the company announced that it’s releasing 20-qubit quantum computers, quite a leap in just 18 months. A qubit is a single unit of quantum information.

    The company also announced that IBM researchers had successfully built a 50 qubit prototype, which is the next milestone for quantum computing, but it’s unclear when we will see this commercially available.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/10/ibm-passes-major-milestone-with-20-and-50-qubit-quantum-computers-as-a-service/?ncid=rss
    Satya Nadella’s book mentions the increase in qubits as an important milestone for AI.

Software/SaaS

  • No Wild West here – Workday’s CEO on customer satisfaction

    In my conversations with Workday customers over the last year, customers have showered the company with praise on the company’s efforts to ensure everything goes to plan. I don’t normally include those remarks in my reports because, for me, it is a check mark for the future rather than an item that contributes to an assessment of the project. But then check what Paul Wright of Accuride said to me recently:

    To answer your specific question I think the customers are ready, willing and able to adopt all the technology coming at them. The questions were solid from the audience around the complexities they have in their business, and there were people in the session from all kinds of verticals. The PMs weren’t stumped by anyone. I heard similar stories from my guys who were in sessions around HR, prism analytics, and PaaS. My team was very impressed by how they constructed the open platform, and can’t wait to play with it, we’ve already got some apps in mind.

    https://diginomica.com/2017/11/16/no-wild-west-workday-customer-satisfaction/

Security

  • Google study shows how your account is most likely to be hijacked

    The tech titan found 788,000 credentials that were stolen via keyloggers, 12 million stolen via phishing and 3.3 billion exposed by third-party breaches within a year of investigating black markets. A total of 12 percent of the exposed records it found used Gmail addresses as a username, and seven percent of those accounts reused the Gmail password for other services, making them more vulnerable than the others.

    Howevever, since Google incorporates safety measures to prevent strangers from logging into your account, the company also saw increasingly sophisticated tools capable of collecting data other than usernames and passwords. Among the phishing tools and keyloggers Google examined, 82 percent and 74 percent, respectively, have the capability collect IP addresses. It also found tools that can collect phone numbers, as well as devices’ make and model. Hijackers can then use those info to authenticate the identities of the accounts they’re stealing.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/11/google-study-hijack/

Other

  • The Oath bloodbath continues: 560 people are being laid off

    More cuts are coming to Oath. The entity that houses Yahoo and AOL is in the process of laying off up to 560 people today following Yahoo’s June acquisition by Verizon. That represents slightly less than 4 percent of Oath’s global employee count of 14,000. Among those people were staffers at Yahoo Finance in the U.K., but the cuts apparently aren’t concentrated in a specific brand or geography.

    Verizon in June completed its $4.48 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s assets, which were combined with AOL brands including the HuffPost (formerly The Huffington Post) under a new subsidiary called Oath. Oath laid off 2,100 of its staff after the deal closed, or 15 percent of the workforce.

    https://digiday.com/media/oath-lays-off-560-verizon-acquisition/

  • Oracle Wants to Make It Tougher for Chinese Firms to Buy U.S. Companies

    The bills, which were introduced last week, would expand the power of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), allowing it to review smaller investments and add new national security factors, such as exposure of Americans’ Social Security numbers, for CFIUS to consider.

    CFIUS, an inter-agency panel, reviews proposed transactions for national security concerns. CFIUS can recommend that a transaction be prohibited, but only the president can issue an order to stop or suspend a deal.

    http://fortune.com/2017/11/15/oracle-chinese-firms-buy-u-s-companies/

  • Microsoft plans a 75 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030

    By pushing its carbon neutrality plans and renewable energy commitments, the target puts the company on track to meet the goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement, and of course puts a big tick in its corporate social responsibility box.

    75 percent over 15 years is not a hugely ambitious target, especially when you consider that Microsoft has had carbon reduction on its agenda since 2009, and that despite the environmental programs it has in place, it only manages a lackluster score of C- in Greenpeace’s guide to greener electronics (breaking down to a D+ for both energy and resources).

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/14/microsoft-sets-unambitious-but-achievable-carbon-reduction-goal/

  • Foxconn’s Profit Down 39% Amid iPhone Production Woes

    Taiwan-based Foxconn, known formally as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., posted 21 billion New Taiwan dollars (about $695.5 million) in net profit in the three months to September, its statement showed Tuesday. That was lower than the NT$35.6 billion average estimate of analysts polled by the S&P Global Market Intelligence. The 39% decline in profit from the same period a year earlier was Foxconn’s largest drop since 2008, during the global recession, according to data from S&P.

    Apple hasn’t disclosed sales numbers for the iPhone X. The phone made its debut with long lines at Apple stores around the world and shipping delays of five-to-six weeks, showing that the company hadn’t ramped up production enough to meet demand. The delay had shrunk to three to four weeks in the U.S. as of Tuesday afternoon.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/foxconns-profit-down-39-amid-iphone-production-woes-1510666619

Photo: Derek Thomson

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