Tag Archives: Cisco

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: 8/25/2017

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

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

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

Acquisitions

  • SoftBank Finalizes $4.4 Billion WeWork Investment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

  • How Artificial Intelligence Could Change the Asset-Management Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

  • Google offers cheaper network pricing tier for its cloud

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

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

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

Datacenter/Hardware

  • Higher Costs Chip Away at Lenovo’s Profitability

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

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

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

Software/SaaS

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

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

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

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

  • Oracle Plans To Move Java EE To Open Source Community

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

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

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

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

Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Infosys CEO resigns after long-running feud with founders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Ryan Holloway

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SourceCast: Episode 71: Really Oracle?

Last week, Oracle published a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai supporting his plans to repeal net neutrality protections. On this episode, we discuss Oracle’s potential motivations.

Photo: Quino Al

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Supplier Report: 1/28/2017

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. As Amazon’s AWS services continue to dominate the cloud sector, many analysts are reporting their lack of SaaS offerings as the chink in their armor.

Amazon is not alone in their weakness, poor sales is rumored to be forcing Oracle to eliminate jobs in the traditional software areas as they start to build up for their fight against AWS.

IBM’s good news regarding cloud growth is coming at a cost as the company announced a major reorganization in the cloud and power divisions.

Acquisitions

  • AppDynamics Acquired for $3.7 Billion

    What AppDynamics gives Cisco is a tool for monitoring the performance of applications, regardless the application delivery platform. The idea is to find issues and deal with them before they become a big problem for end users. The worst case is a full outage, but there are countless other issues that can cause slow-downs and other headaches, as every user is keenly aware. As it monitors these applications, AppDynamics is gathering tons of data about the applications, the connections to other systems, the devices being used to connect to the application and so forth. All of this data is a natural byproduct of the monitoring process — and could have great value when combined with other network information.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/25/cisco-appdynamics-3-7-billion-deal-all-about-the-data/?ncid=rss

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise makes second acquisition in a week

    Cloud Cruiser makes software that helps large companies visualize how and where their IT budget is being spent across different business units and different technology platforms. Its software can analyze changes in spending and ways specific business units might be able to save money.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2017/01/24/hewlett-packard-enterprise-makes-second.html
    HPE Acquires Cloud Cruiser In Stepped Up Flexible Capacity Hybrid Cloud Pay-As-You-Go Offensive

    The Flexible Capacity services offering allows customers to buy HPE private cloud infrastructure as a service based on the same monthly, fixed-fee, pay-as-you-go model that has fueled public cloud adoption. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    http://www.crn.com/news/cloud/300083513/hpe-acquires-cloud-cruiser-in-stepped-up-flexible-capacity-hybrid-cloud-pay-as-you-go-offensive.htm

  • IBM Acquires Agile 3, Makers Of A Security Dashboard For Business Leaders

    Agile 3, founded in 2009, offers a suite of products that help business leaders make decisions about security threats facing their companies through intuitive visualizations and analytics. The software design is heavily influenced by service-oriented architecture principles.

    Agile 3’s founder, Raghu Varadan, had been IBM’s chief architect for its SOA Center of Excellence, and was responsible for implementing service-oriented architecture solutions for the IBM Global Business Services division’s largest customers.

    http://www.crn.com/news/security/300083507/ibm-acquires-agile-3-makers-of-a-security-dashboard-for-business-leaders.htm

  • Yahoo surprises no one by pushing back its Verizon acquisition close date

    Yahoo has continued to work with Verizon on integration planning for the sale of its core business. In terms of timing, Yahoo had previously stated that it expected to close the transaction in Q1. However, given work required to meet closing conditions, the transaction is now expected to close in Q2 of 2017. The company is working expeditiously to close the transaction as soon as practicable in Q2.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/23/yahoo-unsurprisingly-pushes-back-its-verizon-acquisition-closing-date/?ncid=rss

Artificial Intelligence

  • IBM adds support for Google’s Tensorflow to its PowerAI machine learning framework

    While TensorFlow has only been available for a little over a year, it has quickly become the most popular open source machine learning project on GitHub. IBM’s PowerAI already supported other frameworks and libraries like CAFFETheano, Torch, cuDNN, and NVIDIA DIGITS, but Tensorflow support was sorely missing from this lineup.

    IBM clearly sees the combination of PowerAI with Nvidia’s NVLink interface and Pascal P100 GPU accelerators as a way to differentiate itself from the competition — and in this case, the competition it is gunning for is clearly Intel (though it’s worth noting that Intel and Google also recently teamed up to improve TensorFlow performance on its CPUs).

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/26/ibm-adds-support-for-googles-tensorflow-to-its-powerai-deep-learning-framework/?ncid=rss

  • Apple joins Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft in AI initiative

    The Partnership on AI was officially unveiled back in September 2016. At the time, Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft were the only founding members. Apple, Twitter, Intel and Baidu didn’t participate in the initiative.

    But Apple was already enthusiastic about the project, so today’s news is more about formalizing the company’s involvement. Siri co-founder and CTO Tom Gruber is going to represent Apple. You can find the full board of trustees on the partnership’s website.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/27/apple-joins-amazon-facebook-google-ibm-and-microsoft-in-ai-initiative/?ncid=rss

  • Will A.I. Allow Humans to Realize Our Full Potential?

Cloud

  • IBM’s SoftLayer is having a meltdown – and customers aren’t happy

    “Since IBM came along there have been loads of outages, planned and otherwise,” our reader in the field told us.

    “In the three years of service prior to this we had only one outage, in the six months after they took over we have had one outage that knocked out their AMS [Amsterdam] data center for four hours, [and] their entire global virtual server platform has had to be rebooted three times on separate occasions.”

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/26/ibm_softlayer_having_meltdown/

  • IBM Shakes Up Cloud Division in Executive Reorg

    Vice president and director of IBM research Arvind Krishna has been named senior vice president of Hybrid Cloud, which is a merger between the analytics business formerly run by Picciano, and the cloud division formerly run by LeBlanc. Krishna will report to John Kelly, senior vice president of Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research.

    http://www.thewhir.com/web-hosting-news/ibm-shakes-up-cloud-division-in-executive-reorg

  • How Long Can Amazon’s AWS Retain the IaaS Crown?

    During the most recent quarter Amazon reported $3.231 billion in quarterly revenues while Microsoft’s annualized cloud revenues exceeded $13 billion. At first glance, it would appear that both these companies are running neck and neck when it comes to earnings from cloud, but Microsoft has a huge bonus package in the form of its SaaS product, Office 365, which is experiencing strong growth.

    Though Azure is certainly growing at a healthy rate, it has a long way to go before it can compete at the same level as the IaaS offering from Amazon. Amazon has no such SaaS product lineup but still leads the race in terms of revenue thanks to its strength in IaaS. The company’s single-segment focus has helped Amazon add service after service and keep cutting prices, but still expand revenues – and margins along with it.

    http://www.gurufocus.com/news/475709/how-long-can-amazons-aws-retain-the-iaas-crown

  • Oracle outlines plans to take on Amazon in cloud

    “Oracle should be congratulated for its enthusiasm and the proactive way it is pursuing the cloud market,” says Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT, adding that the company was late to the market. Oracle has taken a similar approach to Microsoft and IBM in offering services across all three layers of cloud: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. “They still have a massive install base of customers that want cloud services. The question is whether they will choose Oracle as their cloud vendor as opposed to vendors they may be currently working with, or choosing to go with a more established, more innovative vendor.” King adds Oracle’s cloud will appeal most to existing customers, but he questions how the company will be able to attract net new brands.

    http://www.networkworld.com/article/3158725/cloud-computing/oracle-outlines-plans-to-take-on-amazon-in-cloud.html

Datacenter

  • HP Inc announces moderate price hike across products

    “HP is increasing the list price of its products in India. As a standard business practice, the company regularly reviews pricing and makes adjustments accordingly, based on a variety of factors including currency movement and commodities prices. Actual price increases will vary by product,” Rajiv Srivastava, Managing Director, HP Inc. India, told IANS.

    http://www.financialexpress.com/industry/hp-inc-announces-moderate-price-hike-across-products/516580/

  • Infinidat slims down in UK: Storage upstart has just handful of Brit staff

    Infinidat has slimmed its UK office from 17 heads to just four since January 2016, and has not won a new customer in that time, we’re told.

    We’ve heard that Infinidat has four UK customers: BrightSolid, Pulsant, BT and Barclays. BT, its biggest client worldwide followed by Barclays, is the most active, and is looked after by a director for enterprise sales. There are three technical and professional services people alongside him in the London office. Thirteen others have been let go.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/26/infinidat_slims_down_in_uk/

Software/SaaS

  • Why Salesforce is the new BlackBerry

    Earlier last year, Salesforce announced that it beat Q1 earnings following a 20 percent pricing increase. Its thousands of embedded (read: captive) users have had no choice but to pay up. Soon, however, a new generation of automated CRMs will emerge as a viable alternative, bringing intelligence and ease-of-use to a category of “dumb” CRM databases. They’ll offer products that are easily configured, always up-to-date, and entirely automated – delivering a delightful user experience in a tech landscape known for the opposite.

    Like BlackBerry, the disruption will happen much faster than Salesforce expects.

    http://thenextweb.com/opinion/2017/01/20/salesforce-new-blackberry/

  • OpenText completes $1.62-billion Dell acquisition

    The deal includes the Documentum enterprise content management platform and Dell’s enterprise content management division.

    With the acquisition, 5,000 customers, 2,000 employees and more than 300 partners join OpenText, the company said.

    http://www.cambridgetimes.ca/news-story/7080349-opentext-completes-1-62-billion-dell-acquisition/

  • Oracle Is ‘Toast,’ Layoffs In Sparc Business

    According to a report by Mercury News as part of statutory obligation, Oracle has intimated the Employment Development Department that it would lay off 450 employees in its Santa Clara systems division. According to the report, those affected include hardware and software developers along with managers, technicians and administrative assistants.

    Also:

    With the layoff reports, the analyst feels the reason for optimism on Oracle has proven to be completely wrong. The analyst also pointed to the industry’s belief that more layoffs in California, Colorado and Massachusetts are on the cards, with the guesstimate at 1,500

    https://www.benzinga.com/analyst-ratings/analyst-color/17/01/8932929/chowdhry-oracle-is-toast-layoffs-in-sparc-business

Other

  • Follow-up: US alleges systemic employment discrimination at Oracle

    The U.S. government says Oracle routinely and systemically pays white men more than women and minorities and that it favors Asian candidates over others in product development and technical roles.

    The investigation was triggered by a regular compliance review by the government. As a federal contractor, Oracle is prohibited from engaging in discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3158841/legal/us-alleges-systemic-employment-discrimination-at-oracle.html

  • Avaya says bankruptcy is a step toward software and services

    Networking and collaboration vendor Avaya declared bankruptcy last Thursday, calling the move part of its transition from a hardware to a software and services company.

    It plans to keep operating during the bankruptcy thanks to its cash from operations and US$725 million in financing that still needs approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Avaya said its foreign affiliates aren’t included in the filing and won’t be affected.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3159579/networking/avaya-says-bankruptcy-is-a-step-toward-software-and-services.html

  • Microsoft reportedly plans to lay off about 700 workers next week

    “The upcoming cuts won’t be specific to any single group, but will be spread across the company’s worldwide offices and business units, including sales, marketing, human resources, engineering, finance and more,” Business Insider said it was told by its source. “The goals of these rotating smaller layoffs is not to reduce costs but to update skills in various units.”

    http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2017/01/20/microsoft-layoffs-january-2017.html

  • Cisco debuts its own smart whiteboard priced to compete with the Google Jamboard

    The Spark Board works with fingers or a stylus and saves automatically. The system is priced to compete with Google’s Jamboard (which puts it significantly below Microsoft’s $8,999 Surface Hub) at $4,990 for the 55-inch version due out at the end of the month. A 70-inch version is due out before year’s end, priced at $9,990.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/24/cisco-spark-board/?ncid=rss

  • Verizon fourth quarter earnings fall short of analyst expectations

    Verizon this morning reported adjusted fourth quarter earnings of 86 cents per share, on revenue of $32.3 billion.

    On the earnings side, that falls short of what Wall Street analysts had expected — EPS of 89 cents per share and $32.1 billion in revenue. That also marks a 5.6 percent revenue decline from the fourth quarter of 2015.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/24/verizon-q4-earnings/?ncid=rss

Photo: Annette Beetge

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Supplier Report: 9/17/2016

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It is a dynamic time in the world of IT. Nothing is assured, nothing stays the same.

Dell Technologies announced a sell off of their enterprise content management unit to help pay off the massive debt incurred purchasing EMC. What does this mean for Documentum and the other products? Some experts think OpenText will invest in the product, more seem to think it is DOA.

As artificial intelligence becomes more wide-spread, IBM and Google, who at the moment are not really in competition with each other, will most likely find themselves as rivals. Not only in AI, but also in cloud hosting and blockchain solutions.

HP Inc had themselves a good week.  They purchased Samsung’s print division for $1.05B and also switched to a Microsoft CRM solution which the press can’t seem to stop talking about. How will Microsoft reward HPI for such an act?

Acquisitions

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Artificial Intelligence

  • The Growing Rivalry Between Google And IBM

    Today, IBM and Google are very different businesses. While Google offers products directly to consumers, IBM mostly designs powerful systems for enterprises. Google makes the bulk of its money through advertising, while IBM has a large and highly qualified sales force that can service demanding customers.

    To be sure, in many ways, IBM and Google are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to focus, business model and operational structure. Still in conversations with both companies, I can’t help but feel them eyeing each other somewhat warily. After all, while their businesses may be far apart, they are both competing for the same technological high ground.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2016/09/11/the-growing-rivalry-between-google-and-ibm/#3fb871975947

  • War for Artificial Intelligence: IBM’s Blockchain Push May Anticipate Google’s Ambush

    The vocal advocacy of IBM in the Blockchain space stands in stark contrast to Google’s almost complete silence on the subject. Prussian military theorist Carl Philipp Gottlieb von Clausewitz in his treatise ‘On War’ wrote that “surprise plays a much greater role in strategy than in tactics,” and of course the famous 孙子 (Sun Tzu) is remembered by the words “when the enemy is close at hand and remains quiet, he is relying on the natural strength of his position.” To assume that Google is doing nothing in the Semantic Blockchain space is naïve. Let us look forward with anticipation, and, for some, perhaps dread, to what eventually Google plans to roll out.

    https://cointelegraph.com/news/war-for-artificial-intelligence-ibms-blockchain-push-may-anticipate-googles-ambush

  • AI can make your money work for you

    Advances in AI will create a robo-accountant that knows your spending better than you do. By analyzing your purchase history, it will constantly move money between your checking, savings, investments and credit cards. This way, your checking account’s balance is always in the narrow “sweet spot:” high enough to avoid fees, but not so high that you miss out on investment yield.

    Right now, finding that sweet spot is time-consuming and anxiety-inducing. In time, the robo-accountant will know when you’re likely to splurge. It will know when your car will need a repair, when your electric bill will spike. It will know when you’re actually better off carrying a balance on your credit card than paying your bank’s minimum-balance fee.

    https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/08/ai-can-make-your-money-work-for-you/?ncid=rss

Cloud

  • Blockchain: Transformational Technology for Health Care

    Take a standard health plan/provider agreement, or in risk-based relationships, provider/provider  agreements, where each provides the other with a paper contract. Each entity loads the agreement into their separate systems, and it defines their relationship. The payor also has a contract with each person who has purchased a health plan. Using Blockchain, the health plan and provider could translate the wide variety of agreements needed to contracts on the Blockchain so everyone has visibility, and clarity exists for both the provider and the member. So when a transaction is processed, the Blockchain checks the authorization, and everyone can view the status, history and next steps. This transaction payment information could also be connected with the clinical service details to provide a holistic view of the patient’s interaction. Storing the information to create this holistic view in Blockchain would create a foundation that enables interoperability and innovation across the industry.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/blockchain-transformational-technology-health-care-bruce-broussard
    sn_forms_simpsons

  • How Microsoft Is Winning the War in the Cloud

    In fact, it’s Microsoft’s forays into the cloud that will continue to generate its profit growth as things like traditional software and computer hardware sales fall by the wayside. The company has made big investments — as much as $10 billion on a data center for the development of its Azure cloud system. And these investments are going to pay off as the cloud continues to redefine how the world does business and stores its data.

    https://www.thestreet.com/story/13726671/1/how-microsoft-is-winning-the-war-in-the-cloud.html

  • Comparing Cloud Vendors: A Primer For IT

    But the Forrester authors, without commenting on the nature of the Google cloud (which launches two billion containers a week), said most enterprise developers “are not yet ready to ‘run like Google.’ They need more packaged data and database migration services, and more confidence that their core business apps are ready to run on the Google Cloud Platform.”

    http://www.informationweek.com/cloud/software-as-a-service/comparing-cloud-vendors-a-primer-for-it/d/d-id/1326848

  • Does Oracle’s Cloud Growth Come at a Cost?

    On the flip side of the strong growth in cloud, the company has been seeing a slowdown in its software licensing business. So the question in investors’ minds that management will have to answer is whether the company is sacrificing the higher-margin licensing business with the focus on growing its cloud business. If so, will cloud margins down the road be sufficient to offset the declines in licensing? If not, why is licensing slowing as cloud picks up? Tough spot for Oracle management, any way one looks at it.

    http://realmoney.thestreet.com/articles/09/15/2016/does-oracles-cloud-growth-come-cost

Datacenter

  • Oracle Killer, New Threat Face Database King

    Oracle was initially slow to jump into the cloud industry because it contradicted what it was doing, which was offering businesses the hardware and software solutions to manage their own IT infrastructures. Cloud is essentially antithetical to that business model – even antagonistic, one might say. But after it realized its mistake it quickly ramped up its cloud business and is now strongly in the SaaS and PaaS segment, although not as much in the infrastructure game where Amazon is the undisputed leader.

    But Amazon was having none of that. Consequently, it launched Amazon Aurora in late 2014, also known as the Oracle Killer. Aurora is a relational database engine that directly competes with Oracle’s database products. If Oracle is the king of databases, then Aurora is the mysterious assassin whose only job is to take the king’s life.

    To make Aurora’s job easier, Amazon structured the service so no upfront license fee needs to be paid. In effect, it made it a pay as-you-go service.

    http://www.gurufocus.com/news/441918/oracle-killer-new-threat-face-database-king

  • Chinese Giant Huawei to Attack Server Market

    To be fair, Huawei is not “new” to servers: it’s been building them for years and is ranked as the fourth largest server provider as measured by units sold by Gartner IT . What’s different now is that, on August 31, the company said it will build servers targeting the public and private clouds, as well as telecom-focused data centers.

    http://fortune.com/2016/09/12/huawei-to-attack-server-market/

  • Dell Technologies ‘to cut up to 3,000 jobs after $67 billion EMC deal’

    PC and cloud vendor Dell will reportedly slash between 2,000 to 3,000 jobs after acquiring data storage company EMC.

    Most of the job cuts will be in the United States and will happen later this year, according to Bloomberg, which cites people familiar with the company’s plans.

    Dell did tell sister site Channel Pro this week that it would merge its sales channel with that of EMC’s. Tim Griffin, VP & GM UK at Dell EMC, said: “Today we have two channel programmes. The intent is to have a single channel for February 2017.”

    Dell is hoping the cuts will help create cost savings of about $1.7 billion in the first 18 months after the transaction, but is largely focused on using the deal to boost sales by several times that amount.

    The new company has 140,000 employees.

    http://www.itpro.co.uk/strategy/27215/dell-technologies-to-cut-up-to-3000-jobs-after-67-billion-emc-deal

  • Cisco exec churn: Enterprise chief Soderbery out

    Soderbery said he has no current plans and Cisco said of his departure: “We thank Rob for his important role helping Cisco identify Enterprise needs and address them with world-class networking products and solutions, and we wish him all the best for the future.”

    http://www.networkworld.com/article/3118251/cisco-subnet/cisco-exec-churn-enterprise-chief-soderbery-out.html

  • Why Meg Whitman is breaking the one-time symbol of Silicon Valley into pieces

    These spinoffs have provided needed capital as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise realigns itself with a narrower focus. Last year it bolstered its hardware business by acquiring for $3 billion Aruba Networks, the second-largest provider of company Wi-Fi networks behind Cisco. And last month HPE announced a $275 million purchase of Silicon Graphics, which sells fast servers and storage systems.

    http://www.salon.com/2016/09/09/the-fast-and-furious-fall-of-hp-why-meg-whitman-is-breaking-the-one-time-symbol-of-silicon-valley-into-pieces/

Software/SaaS

Other

  • Despite all the trash-talking, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says he still loves Larry Ellison

    “Business is a lot like tennis. You get on the court with your friends, you play as hard as you can, you get really upset, you say crazy things, you go off the court, you go and have lunch and have a glass of wine and remember how much you love them.

    I love Larry Ellison, he’s a great mentor to me, he’s been a great friend, and probably there is no one in the industry who has done more for me than Larry Ellison, and I’m very grateful to him.”

    http://www.businessinsider.com/marc-benioff-loves-larry-ellison-2016-9
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  • It is official: HP buying Samsung Electronics’ printer business for $1.05B

    HP Inc. said Monday that it is the largest print acquisition in the company’s history and will help it go from traditional copiers to multifunction printers. HP also said the deal will strengthen its position in laser printing, which it established with Canon.

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/HP-buying-Samsung-Electronics-printer-business-9216916.php
    Samsung had a printer unit? And does HPI really need to buy their 4% market share?
    Oh wait… CRN has an answer for me:

    An HP acquisition of the Samsung printer business would take out a competitor and give HP strength in different geographies, said Martin Wolf, president of martinwolf M&A Advisors of Walnut Creek, Calif., one of the top channel investment advisory deal makers.

    http://www.crn.com/news/components-peripherals/300082020/report-samsung-is-considering-selling-printer-business-to-hp-in-1-8b-deal.htm
    And then there is this news…
    HP Inc. Goes Old School With Plans to Sell Copy Machines

    Still, Enrique Lores, HP’s president of imaging and printing, voiced optimism for the initiative. Copy machines still account for $55 billion in annual sales, which could be lucrative if the company gained a sizable share.

    http://fortune.com/2016/09/12/hp-printer-copier/

  • Wells Fargo fires 5,300 employees for opening 2M fake accounts in customers’ names

    Wells Fargo says that it has been rooting out employees who ran this con for the past two years, having caught 5,300 of them so far (the bank employs 265,000 people). The fake accounts — savings, checking, credit/debit cards — were opened in the names of existing Wells Fargo customers, who had their accounts raided to create balances in the new accounts, and were then hit with fees that cleaned them out.

    http://boingboing.net/2016/09/09/wells-fargo-fires-5300-employ.html

Photo: Ryan Johnston

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