Amazon released a finalist list of 20 cities that will compete to host Amazon’s HQ2. Philadelphia, Newark, and Boston are all in the running. As Amazon looks to grow in a new city, they have grown all over the internet, commanding 62% of the entire cloud market.
Google is trying to compete and differentiate from AWS by adding more capacity overseas via 3 massive underwater cables. They are also trying get AI to the masses with tools that require little to no experience programming AI. That solution is… a work in progress.
Google is also making friends with a potential fix for Meltdown and Spectre that won’t impact CPU performance.
Meanwhile, IBM is celebrating breaking the 22-quarter revenue losing streak! Revenue is up, but their stock was down 4%.
- What the JAGGAER/BravoSolution deal means for procurement
The focus of the acquisition, instead, seems to be to tap into the widely different client bases for both providers, and the potential to expand into a larger range of vertical markets. BravoSolution has a large body of public sector customers, and identified construction, utilities and oil as target areas, while JAGGAER has a strong presence among pharmaceutical and discrete manufacturing companies.
The drive to provide both direct, and indirect, procurement for a wider range of verticals seems to be the principal vision underpinning the move.
- Google’s new cloud service lets you train your own AI tools, no coding knowledge required
You might have heard of Google’s AutoML initiative before now. It was announced at the company’s I/O conference last year, and is focused on creating machine learning software that can design machine learning software, a hot area of research in the AI community. (The basic premise is simple: you make different algorithms compete with one another, pick the winners, and then make them compete. Rinse and repeat.) Cloud AutoML isn’t working with tools as sophisticated as this, but it does aim to solve the same underlying problem of making AI less painful to code.
Cloud AutoML does this by offering users a simple graphical interface for training their own machine learning model. So far, the service is limited to image recognition, letting users drag and drop a set of pictures, and then watching as the software starts picking out recurrent elements or items. Urban Outfitters, for example, is testing how Cloud AutoML might be used to identify items of clothing in their catalog, so users can filter by certain characteristics.
- Another Amazon Win: Two-Thirds of the Cloud
Research at KeyBanc reported that Amazon Web Services had 62% of the cloud market last year, followed by Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) at 20%. Its cloud business is called Azure. KeyBanc said that AWS lost a small amount of share last year, but its lead is still insurmountable for the foreseeable future.
The news could hardly be better for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his company’s shareholders. Amazon’s North American and International e-commerce divisions barely make money in many quarters. AWS has impressive margins. For Amazon as a whole to post strong earnings, AWS has to continue to grow and keep big margins.
- Google is building three new underwater cables to compete with Microsoft and Amazon in the cloud
In an effort to expand its cloud business and compete more effectively with rival Microsoft and Amazon, Google will build three new underwater fiber optic cables from the Pacific Ocean to the North Sea over the course of the next two years, according to The Wall Street Journal. These cables will extend Google’s private network into regions where its competitors have yet to stake their own claim, and should be finished before the end of 2019.
Each of the sub-sea cables have been given their own name: Curie is a private cable connecting Chile to Los Angeles; Havfrue is a consortium cable connecting the United States to Denmark and Ireland; and the Hong Kong-Guam cable system (HK-G) is another consortium cable that will link major underwater communication hubs in Asia.
- Comcast Cable Partners with Amazon Web Services for Cloud Computing
Comcast Cable has announced today that they will be partnering with Amazon Web Services for cloud computing infrastructure.
This partnership will help Comcast Cable utilize the server technology with AWS.
Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal are currently connected with AWS to provide them with new and engaging revenue-generating products within the competitive entertainment industry.
- No One is Sure Why Amazon Needs a HIPAA Compliance Officer
The HIPAA Compliance Officer will be asked to create “a HIPAA security and compliance program to ensure that technology and business processes meet our HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) requirements.” The listing doesn’t specify what projects it is planning, or what data it will be handling, that will fall under HIPAA or HITECH regulation.
Amazon could be exploring legitimate medical applications for its Alexa-powered talking cylinders, like the Echo, and their underlying technology, according to speculation. “Experience with FDA and the 510K process” is listed as a preferred qualification—510(k) applies to premarket certification of medical devices.
Alexa does have some health-related “skills,” like a basic medical app that delivers Mayo Clinic guidance on basic conditions like fevers or burns. Those are a far cry, however, from the sort of application that would handle protected health information and require HIPAA oversight.
Foolish headline. This position could be for Alexa, or it could be as simple as ensuring their web services are better positioned for insurance and medical entities.
- Apple will boost its spending on data centers by $10 billion over the next 5 years
Apple is increasing the amount it plans to spend on data centers by $10 billion over the next five years, the company said in its announcement on Wednesday about contributing $350 billion to the U.S. economy.
The buildout will help Apple support its growing web services, like the App Store and Apple Music. Services is Apple’s fastest growing business, outpacing revenue growth in key products like iPhones and iPads. Apple has said it aims to double its services revenue from $24 billion in its 2016 fiscal year to $48 billion by 2020.
Perhaps more important, the new spending could make room for Apple to spend less money on other companies’ cloud services. Apple has relied on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure to meet its computing needs, despite that it competes with those companies in certain areas.
- City of Barcelona will replace Microsoft’s Windows with Linux
The users of the City of Barcelona will have to use alternatives to Microsoft products like Open-Xchange instead of Microsoft Exchange Server, LibreOffice or OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office, etc. which is a bummer. Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer would also be replaced by other alternative browsers like Mozilla Firefox, etc.
As reported by the newspaper, the City Council wants to avoid paying or spending money on services with licensing cost. That’s where open source software come where anyone can modify the source provided and there is no need to pay anything for the license. The City Council is also committed to investing 70% of the budget in software for open source software.
- Snap Inc. lays off at least two dozen amid slowed user growth and engagement
Snap Inc. has laid off at least two dozen people across several divisions within the company, according to the Information, which first reported the news.
Snap has since confirmed these layoffs, which largely affect those on the content teams in the New York and London offices. Over half of the two dozen employees laid off today were part of the content team.
Snap tells TechCrunch that what’s left of the content division will now move to the company’s Venice, California location and that it will continue to hire on the content team. According to Snap, this is just part of finding the right people for the job.
These layoffs may also not have been unexpected as they are part of a reorganization effort to cut costs due to the lackluster growth at the six-year old company.
- Google claims to have a Spectre fix that doesn’t slow down PCs
According to Google, its patch, code-named Retpoline and which is software-implemented, has no or little impact on performance. “Retpoline sequences are a software construct which allow indirect branches to be isolated from speculative execution. This may be applied to protect sensitive binaries (such as operating system or hypervisor implementations) from branch target injection attacks against their indirect branches,” explained Retpoline creator Paul Turner.
“This confirmed our internal assessment that in real-world use, the performance-optimized updates Google deployed do not have a material effect on workloads,” Google VP Ben Treynor Sloss wrote. “We believe that Retpoline-based protection is the best-performing solution for Variant 2 on current hardware. Retpoline fully protects against Variant 2 without impacting customer performance on all our platforms. In sharing our research publicly, we hope that this can be universally deployed to improve the cloud experience industry-wide.”
- Amazon Narrows Choices for ‘HQ2’ to 20
Montgomery County, Md.
New York City
- IBM’s year-over-year revenue didn’t decline in the last quarter
Virtually all IBM business units reported increased revenues, including 32 percent growth in the “Systems” unit, which includes hardware and operating systems software — and which interestingly was an area where IBM definitely struggled in the past, though its z Systems and storage line is showing some clear growth now.
IBM’s hybrid cloud services, as well as security and mobile service, which fall under the “Technology Services & Cloud Platforms” segment, saw 15 percent growth in the last quarter, even as the overall segment saw a 1 percent drop in revenue, to $9.2 billion.
The company also notes that it took a $5.5 billion charge because of the enactment of the U.S.’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. IBM’s GAAP tax rate, including this one-time charge, was 124 percent for Q4 and 49 percent for the full year. That’s not unexpected, but it may hurt the company as it’s looking to grow its revenue over the next few quarters.
Photo: Ken Goulding