Tag Archives: Foxconn

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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Supplier Report: 10/20/2017

Google is getting called out for their acquisition practices. Some politicians and journalist think the company set back AI several years by aqui-hiring key talent in the field and holding them back with their business practices.

The big security news this week is that WiFi, specifically WPA2 protocols, have a vulnerability that can be exploited.  This vulnerability impacts both routers and devices.  Check all of your WiFi enabled devices for updates.

IBM made news this week by stopping the profit bleeding (they didn’t make their numbers, but they beat expectations)… the street rewarded the company with an almost 9% stock value increase.  No sarcasm here… it is nice to see IBM get a win after so many months of reporting bad news.

Acquisitions

  • DXC to Merge US Public Sector Business With Vencore, KeyPoint; Mac Curtis to Lead Combined Firm

    DXC Technology has agreed to merge its U.S. public sector business with Vencore and KeyPoint Government Solutions to establish a “top five” independent, publicly traded contractor within the government information technology services sector.

    All three companies expect to complete the merger by the end of March 2018, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, DXC said Wednesday.

    The combined company is expected to have more than 14,000 employees and generate approximately $4.3 billion in annual revenue with a focus on cybersecurity, big data analytics, systems engineering, enterprise IT and cloud engineering services.

    https://www.govconwire.com/2017/10/dxc-to-merge-us-public-sector-business-with-vencore-keypoint-mac-curtis-to-lead-combined-firm/

  • Infinidat raises $95m, becoming latest Israeli ‘unicorn’

    Last week, Herzliya and Waltham, Massachusetts-based Infinidat announced it had closed a $95 million Series C financing round, led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing with participation from existing investor TPG Growth.

    The latest round brings the total raised by the company to $325 million. Infinidat is valued at $1.6 billion, making it the latest Israeli “unicorn” – a private startup with a valuation of $1 billion or more (although the company was claiming a billion-dollar valuation two years ago already).

    https://www.israel21c.org/infinidat-raises-95m-becoming-latest-israeli-unicorn/

Artificial Intelligence

  • Companies Leave Bean Counting to the Robots

    Roberta doesn’t have a last name, a face, or arms. She is the first piece of robotic software to work in the Norwegian company’s treasury department, part of Statoil’s push toward automation, robotics and artificial intelligence, said Mr. Kjøllesdal, acting head of internal treasury.

    Finance executives at companies including Nokia Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Orange SA are developing their own Robertas. Two thirds of large global companies expect to automate some or most of their finance-department tasks over the next two to three years, according to new research by The Hackett Group Inc. Hackett’s report is based on benchmark and performance studies at hundreds of large global companies.

    But finance executives aren’t turning to robots just for savings. Automation can cut error rates by up to 66%, according to the Hackett report. It would also facilitate more analysis and smarter decisions by allowing employees to reduce the time spent on data collection by 24%.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/companies-leave-bean-counting-to-the-robots-1508407203

  • Google pledges $1 billion to prepare workers for automation

    While the initiative’s offerings are for US residents, Google has also pledged $1 billion in grants to non-profits that also aim to help people prepare for the changing nature of work in an increasingly high-tech world. The big G isn’t the only tech giant aiming to prevent massive job losses brought about by automation and technology in general. In Michigan, Facebook also pledged $25.5 million in training the state’s workers for high-tech jobs.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/13/grow-with-google/

  • Google Has Made a Mess of Robotics

    None of the acquired companies have robots in use beyond the offices of Google’s now-parent company, Alphabet Inc. At least three key robotics chiefs who joined in that 2013 wave left the company in the last few months, and, because four years is the typical vesting period for Google stock options, they probably won’t be the last. At this point, Myers says, the exodus counts as a win for robotics, since many of the brightest minds in the field have essentially spent the past few years trapped in a time capsule. Ultimately, Google’s run on roboticists “held the industry back more than moving it forward,” she says. Alexa Dennett, a spokeswoman for Alphabet’s skunk works, X, says its robotics projects will likely take at least five more years to come to market because substantial technological advances take time.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-12/google-has-made-a-mess-of-robotics

Datacenter/Desktop

  • Samsung’s phone-as-desktop concept now runs Linux

    Samsung’s DeX is a clever way to turn your phone into a desktop computer. However, there’s one overriding problem: you probably don’t have a good reason to use it instead of a PC. And Samsung is trying to fix that. It’s unveiling Linux on Galaxy, an app-based offering that (surprise) lets you run Linux distributions on your phone. Ostensibly, it’s aimed at developers who want to bring their work environment with them wherever they go. You could dock at a remote office knowing that your setup will be the same as usual.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/19/samsung-introduces-linux-on-galaxy/

Software/SaaS

  • IBM is using the blockchain to speed up and simplify cross-border payments

    The computing giant has teamed up with blockchain startup Stellar and payment company Kickex to launch a cross-border payment system for banks which uses the blockchain to “reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers.”

    Currently, international transactions take days, if not weeks, to be completed. Frustration with that has seen services like TransferWise rise, but, great as they are, they remain solutions for savvy consumers or small businesses rather than all.

    A blockchain solution for banks addresses the root cause, and it could minimize the potential for errors thanks to the ledger-based system while also providing transparency and flexibility to banks.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/16/ibm-cross-border-payments-blockchain/?ncid=rss

Security

  • Severe flaw in WPA2 protocol leaves Wi-Fi traffic open to eavesdropping

    The proof-of-concept exploit is called KRACK, short for Key Reinstallation Attacks. The research has been a closely guarded secret for weeks ahead of a coordinated disclosure that’s scheduled for 8am Monday, East Coast time. A website disclosing the vulnerability said it affects the core WPA2 protocol itself and is effective against devices running the Android, Linux, Apple, Windows, and OpenBSD operating systems, as well as MediaTek Linksys, and other types of devices. The site warned attackers can exploit it to decrypt a wealth of sensitive data that’s normally encrypted by the nearly ubiquitous Wi-Fi encryption protocol.

    The site went on to warn that visiting only HTTPS-protected Web pages wasn’t automatically a remedy for the risk.

    “Although websites or apps may use HTTPS as an additional layer of protection, we warn that this extra protection can (still) be bypassed in a worrying number of situations,” the researchers explained. “For example, HTTPS was previously bypassed in non-browser software, in Apple’s iOS and OS X, in Android apps, in Android apps again, in banking apps, and even in VPN apps.”

    https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/10/severe-flaw-in-wpa2-protocol-leaves-wi-fi-traffic-open-to-eavesdropping/

Other

  • Foxconn Deal in Wisconsin Hits Snag Over Guarantees

    The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. delayed a vote Tuesday to give final approval to a contract that would provide the Taiwanese firm with $3 billion in economic incentives.

    On Wednesday, a Democratic state representative who opposed the deal told a local Wisconsin news organization the delay was over a “nuclear bomb” in the contract that wouldn’t sufficiently protect taxpayers in the case that Foxconn didn’t fulfill its promises, sparking concerns the deal could be in trouble.

    WEDC CEO Mark Hogan said the delay was to ensure the deal was done right. “WEDC continues to do due diligence on a complex deal,” said WEDC CEO Mark Hogan in a statement. “We will take the time necessary to ensure taxpayers are protected and Foxconn is able to create tens of thousands of family-supporting jobs in Wisconsin.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/foxconn-deal-in-wisconsin-hits-snag-over-guarantees-1508353362

  • Apple and GE announce deep partnership

    Apple and GE have committed to build a set of development tools and to develop apps together using Apple’s design sensibility and deep understanding of iOS, but the deal doesn’t stop there. Apple’s sales team will also push the GE Predix platform with its industrial customers when it makes sense, and GE has committed to standardizing on the iPhone and iPad for its 330,000 employees, while offering the Mac as a computer choice. All of this adds up to a level of cooperation we have not seen in Apple’s previous enterprise partnerships.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/18/apple-and-ge-announce-deep-partnership/?ncid=rss

  • IBM Revenue Drops Again, But Mainframe, AI Units Beat Expectations

    Revenue was down 0.4% from a year earlier to $19.15 billion, a minor slide but enough to make it the 22nd consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines.

    Still, revenue from the hardware division, which rolled out new mainframe computers over the summer, marked its first gain from a year earlier since 2015.

    Profit fell 4.5% to $2.73 billion. Margins narrowed over all and in most business units, though progressively less since the beginning of the year—a hopeful sign of stabilization.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/ibm-has-another-revenue-drop-during-its-transition-1508273024
    IBM’s stock surge is one for the history books

    The stock IBM, +8.86% rocketed $12.99, or 8.9%, Wednesday to the highest close in nearly six months, after the information technology company reported third-quarter profit and revenue the beat Wall Street expectations.

    Beating profit projections wasn’t a surprise, since IBM has now done so for 12 straight quarters, but the stock rallying after results is a relative rarity. And Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said the latest beat marks “a real inflection point,” as it came amid “low investor expectations” and helps support the belief that the gross margin trend is now rising.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ibms-stock-surge-is-one-for-the-history-books-2017-10-18

  • Samsung vice chairman quits amid leadership ‘crisis’

    Kwon has been the face of Samsung after Jay Y. Lee was arrested and eventually found guilty of bribery and embezzlement. Lee, who was sentenced to five years in prison, apparently bribed officials to ensure that the controversial merger of two Samsung-controlled companies would go smoothly in spite of shareholders’ disapproval. While he was only a vice chairman when he was arrested, Lee was considered the company’s de facto leader after his father, Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, suffered a heart attack in 2014. The younger Lee is responsible for conjuring up the company’s long-term strategic vision.

    Samsung had a great quarter, thanks mainly to the increasing demand for memory chips with large storage capacities. The mobile division’s performance also got a boost from Galaxy Note 8’s sales, but we won’t know by how much until the full earnings come out. If the conglomerate wants to top Q3’s profit, though, it has to find a way to solve the “unprecedented crisis” it’s going through.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/13/samsung-vice-chairman-quits-earnings-guidance-q3-2017/

Photo: rawpixel.com

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Supplier Report: 6/23/2017

It feels like Amazon is taking over the world – they are buying Whole Foods, they are Gartner’s #1 IaaS provider, they are building a new cloud region in Hong Kong, and they managed to get Wal-mart so mad that the ol’ mart is banning suppliers from doing business with AWS.

I guess it’s good to be the king?

Red Hat is thinking about the future as they grow their services business while Oracle beat market expectations and had quite the stock rally.

Acquisitions

  • Amazon to Buy Whole Foods for $13.7 Billion

    Amazon.com Inc. said on Friday it would buy Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 billion, including debt, instantly transforming the online giant into a major player in the bricks-and-mortar retail sector it has spent years upending.

    The acquisition, Amazon’s largest by far, gives it a network of more than 460 stores that could serve as beachheads for in-store pickup and its distribution network. It would make Amazon an overnight heavyweight in the all-important grocery business, a major spending segment in which it has struggled to gain a foothold because consumers still largely prefer to shop for food in stores.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-to-buy-whole-foods-for-13-7-billion-1497618446?mg=prod/accounts-wsj

  • Tokyo Takes Lead in Toshiba Chip-Unit Sale Over China Fears

    The Japanese government-led group wasn’t the highest bidder, according to people briefed on the bids. Taiwan-based iPhone assembler Foxconn Technology Group, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. , was ready to offer more, but Japanese government officials said its large China operations raised the risk that technology would leak.

    Toshiba said the Japanese government-led plan is the “best proposal, not only in terms of valuation, but also in respect to certainty of closing, retention of employees, and maintenance of sensitive technology within Japan.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/toshiba-picks-government-led-group-as-preferred-bidder-for-chip-unit-1498015576

Artificial Intelligence

  • SAP Ariba and IBM – Global Strategic Alliance to Deliver Cognitive Procurement Solutions
  • Inside Microsoft’s AI Comeback

    Indeed, Microsoft first rolled out its developer tools for bots in the spring of 2016, as did other large tech companies like Facebook. They were billed as a replacement for apps, and many stakeholders really wanted that to be the case. By last spring, most people used the same small group of apps on their smartphones; the promise of bots was that developers and brands could reach new users again, much like they could in the early days of mobile via the app store. But users didn’t play along. And the deep learning that enabled bots to perform the equivalent of magic was improving faster than a paradigm for how to use them could evolved. “Bots are like apps before the file menu existed,” says Cheng. She explains there isn’t a common set of commands, so users are confused about where to find them and how they work. “Web pages, for example, all have back buttons and they do searches. Conversational apps need those same primitives. You need to be like, ‘Okay, what are the five things that I can always do predictably?’” These understood rules are just starting to be determined.

    https://www.wired.com/story/inside-microsofts-ai-comeback

Cloud

  • Wal-Mart to Vendors: Get Off Amazon’s Cloud

    Wal-Mart is telling some technology companies that if they want its business, they can’t run applications for the retailer on Amazon.com Inc.’s leading cloud-computing service, Amazon Web Services, several tech companies say.

    Amazon’s rise as the dominant player in renting on-demand, web-based computing power and storage has put some competitors, such as Netflix Inc., in the unlikely position of relying on a corporate rival as they move to the cloud.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/wal-mart-to-vendors-get-off-amazons-cloud-1498037402

  • As Amazon, Microsoft and Google Keep Taking Cloud Share, Rivals Are Learning to Specialize

    But whereas Google was alone in the Challengers quadrant last year — everyone besides the big-3 was labeled a Niche Player — Alibaba Group (BABA) , IBM Corp. (IBM) and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) managed to break into the quadrant this year. Some of this may be due to a more lenient attitude towards ranking smaller players on Gartner’s part. But it also might say a thing or two about how each company has learned how to stand out.

    IBM’s ranking appears to have gotten a boost from its efforts to create a next-gen cloud infrastructure for enterprises that relies on proprietary IBM hardware and management software. Gartner also took note of IBM’s ability to use its global footprint to set up cloud data centers in 16 countries, and the potential to use its developer ecosystem to drive adoption of infrastructure services built on top of its Bluemix platform, which initially focused just on cloud app platform (PaaS) services for developers.

    http://realmoney.thestreet.com/articles/06/19/2017/amazon-microsoft-and-google-keep-taking-cloud-share-rivals-are-learning-specialize

  • Amazon announces new AWS Region in Hong Kong

    Amazon announces plans to open an Amazon Web Services Region in Hong Kong next year to make the eighth AWS Region in Asia Pacific.

    https://www.investing.com/news/stock-market-news/amazon-announces-new-aws-region-in-hong-kong-497816

  • Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd says you need these three things to transition to the cloud

    “We historically used to write big contracts,” Hurd gave as an example. “Now we’re going to do a contract with a company that’s a startup. We’re going to go contract with Lyft for financials, but Lyft doesn’t have a procurement department. They don’t have even an IT department, per se. We can’t show up with a bunch of lawyers and a big, thick document. So we changed our process to go to ‘click to accept.’”

    “That single decision, around here, is like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’” he added. “It’s just the way we’ve been trained, it’s what’s in our DNA.”

    https://www.recode.net/2017/6/19/15826776/oracle-co-ceo-mark-hurd-says-you-need-these-three-things-transition-cloud-recode-decode

Datacenter/Hardware

Other

  • Microsoft says “fireball” threat overblown

    Today, Microsoft countered Check Point’s initial analysis that 250 million computers and 20 percent of corporate networks were infected with Fireball.

    “While the threat is real, the reported magnitude of its reach might have been overblown,” said Hamish O’Dea of the Windows Defender research team. Check Point said today that it has been working with Microsoft since being notified of the new analysis.

    “We tried to reassess the number of infections, and from recent data we know for sure that numbers are at least 40 million, but could be much more,” said Maya Horowitz, Group Manager, Check Point Threat Intelligence.

    https://threatpost.com/microsoft-says-fireball-threat-overblown/126472/

  • Oracle leaps to record as cloud transition hits turning point

    Oracle Corp. was late to the cloud revolution, allowing upstarts like Salesforce.com Inc. to find significant market share with software delivered over the internet, and has suffered while making an acquisition-fueled push into the space.

    The Band-Aid appears to have come off Oracle’s wound, however, and the company seems assured that its healed finances will be better than ever. Investors showed belief after Oracle’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report Wednesday evening, sending shares that had never cracked $47 in regular trading, adjusted for splits, to more than $51 in after-hours action. If that move holds, Oracle would be worth more than $200 billion.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oracle-leaps-to-record-as-cloud-transition-hits-turning-point-2017-06-21

  • Former EMC Chief Joe Tucci Is Joining This VC Firm

    Joe Tucci, who left his long-time gig as chairman and CEO of EMC after selling the company to Dell, is now special adviser to 83North, an investment firm focusing on European and Israeli startups.

    83North, formerly known as Greylock IL, has offices in London, New York, and Tel Aviv. It has backed startups including Hybris, the German e-commerce company bought by SAP in 2013, and Israeli storage startup ScaleIO, which EMC acquired the same year.

    http://fortune.com/2017/06/19/emc-joe-tucci-vc-83-north/

  • Meg Whitman Cedes One of Her HPE Titles To This Exec

    Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has promoted a 22-year veteran of the company to president. The move comes as HPE continues to sort out its businesses after a series of acquisitions, divestitures, and layoffs.

    The new president, Antonio Neri, was most recently executive vice president and general manager of HPE’s Enterprise group, which sells data center servers, storage, networking to corporate customers.

    http://fortune.com/2017/06/21/meg-whitman-names-new-hpe-president/

  • Red Hat’s comeback rolls on, thanks to a surging application development business

    The Raleigh, North Carolina-based company actually quickened growth in sales of subscriptions for application development tools from the pace it set in its fiscal first quarter. Application development-related and other emerging technology subscription revenues were $139 million, up 41 percent year-over-year and slightly above the previous quarter’s 40 percent growth pace. Subscription revenue for Red Hat’s core infrastructure business rose 14 percent, to $458 million, an impressive gain on top of an already large base.

    Chief Executive Jim Whitehurst  said Red Hat is shifting its business from being a low-cost provider of open-source alternative software to a strategic platform for cloud migration. “We’ve moved from having a seat the table with the purchasing department to having a seat at the table with the CIO,” he said. Sales of core infrastructure platforms like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenStack, he added, “provides a tailwind for our other offerings.”

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/06/20/red-hat-continues-comeback-strong-quarterly-results-driven-surging-application-development-business/

Photo: Benjamin Davies

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SourceCast: Episode 66: Toshiba’s Turmoil

Toshiba is not having a good week.  As the company struggles to survive, political pressures from the Japanese government are complicating an already messy situation.

Photo: Amos Bar-Zeev

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China: Bust or Boom?

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China is a country that captures imaginations and can fill the role of the exotic destination, land of adventure and opportunity, and in some cases, it can be painted as a villain.

As Americans, we bemoan the loss of manufacturing and scowl at the influx of affordable gadgets and exploding hover-boards that have flooded into our homes. We fret over Chinese businessmen coming into this country and snapping up all of the available real estate:

Between 2010 and 2015, Chinese buyers put more than $17bn into US commercial real estate, with half of that spent last year alone. Unlike many countries, there are very few restrictions on what foreigners can buy in the US.

But during the same period at least $93bn went into US homes. And in the 12 months to March 2015, the latest period for which relatively comprehensive data could be gathered, home purchases totaled $28.5bn.

China’s economic advancement has come at a cost to the country and its 1.35 billion people. This post highlight some of those issues to give my readers a better understanding of difficulties China will face in the coming years.

Population

Everyone knows that China has an enormous population, but you might not be aware that 194 million people in China are over the age of 60. That is close to 15% of their population.

You might say to yourself, 15% doesn’t sound too bad. From a percentage view, the United States has a similar age distribution.  However…

Until last year, China had a population control methodology in place that limited couples to only one child. The policy started in 1978 and impacted an entire generation of Chinese families.

Thanks to modern medicine, people are living longer. China is no different.  But the unintended consequence of the population control measures and people living longer is that China doesn’t have enough people to care for their elderly population (yes, that is ironic)

This dynamic is called the 4-2-1 problem: 4 grandparents, 2 parents, all being looked after by 1 child who is also the person who is expected to earn an income.

Another interesting wrinkle in the 4-2-1 problem is the lack of brides. Due to the one child policy and China’s cultural preference towards male children, there are almost 40 million men in the country that will remain bachelors:

Today, an estimated 35 to 40 million women are “missing” from China’s population. For years, demographic experts have predicted the huge surplus of young men would cause a rise in sexual violence and social instability. Now the first generation of children born since 1980 has reached marriageable age, and problems such as bride-kidnapping and forced prostitution are soaring.

The bachelors in areas like Da Xin are the least likely of all to find love. As the gap between rich and poor widens in China, uneducated rural men have little means of upward mobility. “I don’t have any money to move away to look for a wife,” says Jin. “I must stay here to work our land and support my elderly mother.”

Think about these 30-something men (basically men my age) who work all day, not to come home to a wife or child (and a reason to get up everyday and go to work), but to their aging parents and grandparents. Knowing that the only way to change things is to abandon their family.
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Working Conditions

Some people do leave their villages and their families in the hopes of finding better jobs and better romantic prospects.

Manufacturing represents 44% of China GDP and is supported by an estimated 100 million workers. In the video above, you can see hundreds of people waiting outside the factory every day with the hopes of finding work inside the plants.

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Once they do get jobs, employees might find themselves working 12 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week, and living in cramped dorm rooms.

The conditions became so bad at some factories that administrators had to put up nets to prevent employees from jumping off the buildings:

The Foxconn suicides occurred at the so-called “Foxconn City” industrial park in Shenzhen, China. The 18 attempted suicides by Foxconn employees resulted in 14 deaths—the company was the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer at the time. The suicides drew media attention, and employment practices at Foxconn were investigated by several of its customers, including Apple and Hewlett-Packard (HP). Foxconn is a major manufacturer that serves high-profile consumer electronics firms such as Dell, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, and Sony.

Chinese workers are concluding that perhaps factory work is not for them and are shunning that life:

Finally, many first-generation migrant workers have worked in the cities for 10-15 years, yet they are still denied entitlement to any social benefits. While government policies now require employers to pay benefits for their employees, implementation is still at a primitive stage and differs vastly across the country. Naturally, migrant workers would prefer to work in regions where social-welfare policies are better implemented.

In addition to potentially poor and cramped working conditions, Chinese workers are also rejecting factory work due to the health issues…

Environmental Problems

Why has the rest of the world outsourced their manufacturing to China? Yes the labor is cheap and (mostly) abundant, but they are also very lax in their regulation of pollution.  Yes, our beloved gadgets are a result of some very toxic manufacturing processes.

So toxic in fact, that many employees have been poisoned:

In mid-July, Long found herself unable to move her legs. “I was just lying on my bed all day and needed help to eat,” she says. Long ended up in a hospital in Guangzhou with more than 30 other Fangtai Huawei workers. Doctors found they’d been exposed to n-hexane, presumably in the “banana oil.” It’s an industrial solvent that causes neurological damage at just 50 parts per million. Workers using it are supposed to wear respirators and operate in a ventilated area. As treatment, Long endured daily injections—she says they “hurt more than anything else in the world.”

Not only does making the stuff cause pollution, but keeping the lights on at all of these manufacturing cities takes energy… lots of it.  And like many other countries (including the United States), China’s primary sourcing of energy is burning coal

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Burning coal is dirty (as seen in the video above)

China’s apparent demand for crude oil will reach 550 million tonnes (11 million barrels per day) and apparent demand for natural gas will hit 205 billion cubic meters, Nur Bekri, head of the National Energy Administration (NEA), said, according to Xinhua.

Electricity consumption will rise to 5.7 trillion kilowatt-hours and coal consumption will be 3.96 billion tonnes.

Burning coal and running factories is such dirty business that China has a tendency to shut down production when visitors arrive. They shut down factories for the Beijing Olympics, and they are planning to do so again for the G20 Summit in September.

Since this is a supply chain focused webpage, I am curious to see how the supply chain will be impacted by this production shut down. If you think you could be impacted, check to see which of your suppliers (n-Tier) are receiving goods from the affected region (especially from chemical, electro mechanical, building material, and pharmaceutical industries).

Conclusion
This is not a condemnation of China. America has a long and horrible history of mistreating workers and our natural resources:
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Cuyahoga River Fire (Cleveland), 1952

In the coming years, Americans won’t be moaning about China taking their jobs, because the Chinese don’t want them. Those jobs will taken by automation and robots.

There is actually an opportunity for America to re-emerge as a manufacturing leader, but powered by the same robots and AI that will replace Chinese workers.

China is at a critical point in their own history: they have a massive population with needs that are going unmet and they don’t have the infrastructure in place to address those needs. Additionally, the poor treatment of their own natural environment is going to lead to even more medical and social distress.

As the country grows and becomes more connected with the rest of the world, the people who are making the stuff you love, are going to want stuff to love for themselves. It is already happening.

China is going to grow and evolve regardless of what I type here.  But will the country continue to be the hands and feet of the global economy or will they clean up their cities, open their borders (for workers and for brides), and create something new?

It is going to very interesting to see how this plays out.

Note: Here is the Fair Labor Report referenced in the video.

Photo: Travel Coffee Book

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