Tag Archives: Google

Supplier Report: 9/22/2017

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

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

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

Acquisitions

  • Google to Buy Part of Phone Maker HTC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

  • Computers Are Taking Design Cues From Human Brains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Software/SaaS/Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: ANGELA FRANKLIN

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Supplier Report: 9/15/2017

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

Simply put, the entire situation is a mess.

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

 Acquisitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Datacenter

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

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

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

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

Software/SaaS

  • Oracle: Pullback Is An Opportunity

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

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

  • MicroFocus updates its security portfolio after HPE merger

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

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

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

  • Why Blockchain May Be Key to IBM’s Future

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

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

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

  • Oracle prepares to spin off Java EE to Eclipse Foundation

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

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

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

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

  • The Equifax hack is really good for Symantec

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

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

Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Google appeals $2.4 billion EU antitrust fine

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

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

  • There’s Blood In The Water In Silicon Valley

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

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

Photo: Katie Frego

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Supplier Report: 9/8/2017

HPE had a crazy week where they finally cast off their software division, they purchased a cloud migration company, and saw their stock jump in value.  As all of these good things occured, Meg Whiteman announced another simplification of HPE’s strategy called HPE Next.  So I am not the one to say it, many IT journalists highlighted that’s what the last two years were supposed to be.

IBM is making smart moves as they committed to spending $240M with MIT on AI projects over the next decade. Big Blue also secured the US Army for another 33 months on their secure cloud platform.

Locally, Microsoft announced they are closing their Philadelphia Reactor office after 16 months. Philly might have a shot at a massive rebound as Amazon is looking for a city to create a 2nd HQ.

Acquisitions

  • HPE Shopping Spree Continues With Purchase of This Cloud Specialist

    Hewlett-Packard Enterprise said Tuesday that it will acquire Cloud Technology Partners, a Boston-based company that helps business customers plan and build cloud computing capabilities.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Seven-year-old CTP works with businesses to determine which cloud technology—be it from Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Google, or the non-vendor aligned OpenStack—is best for the customer’s needs. It then helps corporate customers plan out how they will run their information technology on that cloud (or clouds, if spread out across multiple vendors).

    http://fortune.com/2017/09/05/hpe-buys-cloud-technology/

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise to complete software spin-off

    Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE.N) completed the spin-off of much of its software business early on Friday, closing the door on the disastrous 2011 acquisition of British firm Autonomy and narrowing the company’s focus to data center hardware and software.

    The enterprise software businesses, which include the widely used ArcSight security platform, have been merged with Micro Focus International Plc (MCRO.L), a British software company. HPE was formed when the company once known as Hewlett-Packard split into HPE and HP Inc in November 2015.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-hewlett-packard-spinoff/hewlett-packard-enterprise-to-complete-software-spin-off-idUSKCN1BC40S

  • 10 of the most-funded startups to fail in 2017

    Juicero shut down after launching just 16 months prior. The company managed to raise more than $118 million from prominent VCs like Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins and even Campbell Soup Company.

    Yet the company suffered greatly from a Bloomberg article that revealed the company’s proprietary juice packs did not require the $400 machine and could be squeezed by hand. Raised $118.5 million in 4 Rounds from 17 Investors.

    https://techcrunch.com/gallery/10-of-the-most-funded-startups-to-fail-in-2017/?ncid=rss

  • Amazon is looking for a 2nd headquarter city, a ‘full equal to Seattle’

    At full-capacity, the site would be expected to be of similar, or even bigger, size to the Seattle operation, which today is a major cornerstone of Seattle’s business life, employing 40,000 people, covering 8.1 million square feet with 33 buildings including 24 restaurants. HQ2, as Amazon is calling the new headquarters, is expected to employ 50,000 and will get $5 billion in investment, the company said.

    “We expect HQ2 [the name Amazon is using] to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a statement. “Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. We’re excited to find a second home.”

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/07/amazon-is-looking-for-a-2nd-headquarter-city-a-full-equal-to-seattle/?ncid=rss

    No, I am not biased at all…

  • Is Symantec getting ready to buy Splunk?

    Clark definitely plans to go whale hunting to regain Symantec’s long-lost security position. Symantec expects to grow 3 percent to 5 percent in 2018. Compare that to Splunk, which projects to grow upwards of 20 percent this year and generate $1.2 billion revenues, up from $950 million last year, and it’s not hard to see why Clark is interested.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/06/is-symantec-getting-ready-to-buy-splunk/?ncid=rss

Artificial Intelligence

  • Oracle adds new AI, data tools for harnessing connected devices

    The Digital Twin capability is rolling out alongside new AI features designed to ease the task of analyzing operational data. Oracle executive Bhagat Nainani told VentureBeat that they provide drag-and-drop controls, which should help accommodate regular business workers. Users can harness the tools to look for operational anomalies and predict potential technical problems in advance.

    These features are joined by several offerings that focus on more specialized tasks. The first is Digital Thread, a framework that Oracle has built to simplify the flow of operational data among a company’s backend systems. The rest are prepackaged solutions that apply existing IoT Cloud services to automating field support, fleet management and factory work.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/08/31/oracle-adds-new-ai-data-tools-harnessing-connected-devices/

  • IBM and MIT pen 10-year, $240M AI research partnership

    IBM and MIT came together today to sign a 10-year, $240 million partnership agreement that establishes the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab at the prestigious Cambridge, MA academic institution.

    The lab will be co-chaired by Dario Gil, IBM Research VP of AI and Anantha P. Chandrakasan, dean of MIT’s School of Engineering.

    Big Blue intends to invest $240 million into the lab where IBM researchers and MIT students and faculty will work side by side to conduct advanced AI research. As to what happens to the IP that the partnership produces, the sides were a bit murky about that.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/06/ibm-and-mit-pen-10-year-240m-ai-research-partnership/?ncid=rss
    Smart move by IBM… get the future thinkers to get hooked on their platform early.

Cloud

  • Army Re-Ups with IBM for $135 Million in Cloud Services

    The 33-month, $135 million contract represents a successful re-compete of work that LOGSA signed with IBM in September 2012. Under that managed services agreement, the Army pays only for cloud services that it actually consumes. The efficiencies created by this arrangement have enabled the Army to avoid about $15 million per year in operational costs – a significant yield for the Army and taxpayers.

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/army-re-ups-with-ibm-for-135-million-in-cloud-services-300514471.html

Datacenter

  • Oracle cuts hundreds of hardware jobs in Silicon Valley amid cloud push

    Oracle Corp. is cutting 983 jobs, mostly in its hardware division in Santa Clara, the Mercury News reported, citing filings with the state labor department. The cuts come as Oracle is adding thousands of jobs globally in its cloud computing division and follow hardware layoffs earlier this year.

    The Redwood City-based company is cutting 615 jobs in its hardware division in Santa Clara and the rest in its Solaris operating system division, the Mercury News reported. Oracle declined to comment on the layoffs to the publication.

    https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2017/09/06/oracle-layoffs-hardware-santa-clara-cloud-hiring.html

  • Dell Technologies Announces Multi-Year Agreement with GE

    Dell Technologies announces that GE, the world’s largest digital industrial company, has signed a multi-year commitment to use Dell Inc. infrastructure and end-user computing solutions to support GE’s ongoing digital transformation efforts. Under the agreement, Dell Inc. becomes the primary IT infrastructure supplier for GE. The deal is one of the largest non-government contracts in Dell Technologies, Dell or EMC history.

    GE will use Dell EMC servers, storage, backup and related professional services, enabling the company to enhance the reliability and efficiency of its IT infrastructure with automated and flash-optimized solutions. In addition, GE will use Dell client solutions and peripherals to drive workforce transformation and an improved end-user experience for GE employees worldwide.

    http://www.fox34.com/story/36309393/dell-technologies-announces-multi-year-agreement-with-ge

Other

  • Follow-up: Yes, Google Uses Its Power to Quash Ideas It Doesn’t Like—I Know Because It Happened to Me

    After the meeting, I approached Google’s public relations team as a reporter, told them I’d been in the meeting, and asked if I understood correctly. The press office confirmed it, though they preferred to say the Plus button “influences the ranking.” They didn’t deny what their sales people told me: If you don’t feature the +1 button, your stories will be harder to find with Google.

    With that, I published a story headlined, “Stick Google Plus Buttons On Your Pages, Or Your Search Traffic Suffers,” that included bits of conversation from the meeting.

    Google never challenged the accuracy of the reporting. Instead, a Google spokesperson told me that I needed to unpublish the story because the meeting had been confidential, and the information discussed there had been subject to a non-disclosure agreement between Google and Forbes. (I had signed no such agreement, hadn’t been told the meeting was confidential, and had identified myself as a journalist.)

    It escalated quickly from there. I was told by my higher-ups at Forbes that Google representatives called them saying that the article was problematic and had to come down. The implication was that it might have consequences for Forbes, a troubling possibility given how much traffic came through Google searches and Google News.

    http://gizmodo.com/yes-google-uses-its-power-to-quash-ideas-it-doesn-t-li-1798646437

  • Wells Fargo Admits To Nearly Twice As Many Possible Fake Accounts — 3.5 Million

    On Thursday, the bank acknowledged it had created more bogus customer accounts than previously estimated. An outside review discovered that 1.4 million more potentially unauthorized accounts were opened between January 2009 and September 2016.

    That brings the total to 3.5 million potentially fake accounts — two-thirds more than the 2.1 million the bank had previously acknowledged.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/31/547550804/wells-fargo-admits-to-nearly-twice-as-many-possible-fake-accounts-3-5-million

  • Should Procurement Be Negotiating Harder With Oracle?

    But as a procurement person, of course we were drawn to the size of Ms Wilson’s bonus. So just short of 10% of the value of the deal went straight into the pockets of the Oracle sales person. Now we don’t begrudge Ms Wilson her reward and reading some of the details (fascinating for anyone interested in employment law, software or sales commissions) we tend to agree with her case. We also resisted the temptation to stalk her through LinkedIn and ask for a loan.

    However, just think about those amounts as a procurement person. If Wilson had merely received her basic salary, and Pearson had negotiated well, the firm might have got another million dollars on their bottom line that year and Oracle could still have made the same profit. With a typical company P/E ratio of 15, that gives a shareholder value of some $13 million that Pearson lost by failing to drive Oracle down by that $800K on the price.

    http://spendmatters.com/uk/procurement-negotiating-harder-oracle/

  • Microsoft closes Philly ‘Reactor’ for innovators after just 15 months

    The Microsoft Reactor Philadelphia — one of only three in the nation — hosted about 100 programs with 3,200 participants over its 15-month existence. Its departure is a setback for a city seeking to modernize its economy with a vibrant high-tech sector.

    Microsoft spokesman Curtis Lee said Friday that the Reactor will close because of a corporate restructuring, but the company will remain active with the Science Center and its partners, promoting skills for women and minorities and supporting entrepreneurs and tech companies in Philadelphia.The Reactor programs in New York and San Francisco will continue unchanged, Lee said.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/business/microsoft-swiftly-closes-philly-reactor-after-16-months-20170901.html

Photo: Redd Angelo

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SourceCast: Episode 85: Is Google Evil?

While Google has been defending itself against the EU on monopoly claims, a think tank funded by Eric Schmidt and Google published an article supporting the EU decision.  The author of that post was terminated from the think tank organization.

Is that the action of an organization that supports free thought?  Or is Google just protecting their assets?

Photo: Edho Pratama

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Supplier Report: 9/1/2017

Google’s main mission statement has been “don’t be evil”, but is that still the case?  Last month, I covered that Google has been caught funding pro-google studies (via universities and other research firms) and not disclosing that fact. This week Google had someone fired from a think tank they funded for supporting the EU’s stance that Google is a monopoly.

Apple is getting more daring… they announced a new application development deal with Accenture (where does that leave IBM?) and CEO Tim Cook has been taking some swipes at the US government regarding economic growth.

Observation: I want to point out a quirky trend in this week’s news: Almost all of the news feed items about Dell are about golf and all of the HPE news was about Meg Whitman not getting the Uber job (hundreds of articles for both).  Why aren’t these companies generating any other news and controlling their own narratives?

Artificial Intelligence

  • Shark-detecting drones to patrol Australian beaches

    Drones equipped with a shark detection system powered by artificial intelligence will start patrolling some Australian beaches from next month in a bid to improve safety.

    The battery-powered drones will provide a live-video feed to a drone operator who then uses the shark-spotting software to identify sharks in real time and with more accuracy than the human eye.

    Studies have shown that people have a 20-30 percent accuracy rate when interpreting data from aerial images to detect shark activity. Detection software can boost that rate to 90 percent, said Dr Nabin Sharma, a research associate at the University of Technology Sydney’s School of Software.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-sharkdrone-idUSKCN1B51KB

  • How Google and Microsoft Use AI to Turn Your Clicks Into Ad Dollars

    Google couldn’t make anyone available for interview before publication. Microsoft tells WIRED that it constantly tests new machine learning technologies in its advertising system. “Online advertising is perhaps by far the most lucrative application of AI [and] machine learning in the industry,” says John Cosley, director of marketing for Microsoft search advertising. Bing recently started using new deep learning algorithms to better understand the meaning of search queries and find relevant ads, he says.

    Research papers on using deep learning for ads may undersell both its true power and the challenge of tapping into it. Companies carefully scrub publications to avoid disclosing corporate secrets. And researchers tend to describe simplified versions of the problems faced by engineers who must target and serve ads at huge scale and speed, says Suju Rajan, head of research at computational advertising company Criteo. The company has released anonymized logs of millions of ad clicks that Google and others have used in papers on improving click predictions.

    https://www.wired.com/story/big-tech-can-use-ai-to-extract-many-more-ad-dollars-from-our-clicks/

Cloud

  • VMware is hedging its bets with its AWS partnership plus true private cloud

    “Fast forward to today. It’s growing at 10 to 12 percent a year; license is up 13 percent; it’s throwing off operating cash flow at $3 billion a year,” Vellante said. “Wall Street’s talking about VMware now being an undervalued stock.”

    Does this signal a shift in customer mindset? Do they want to bring the cloud operating model on-premises instead of migrating their businesses to cloud? VMware appears to think so.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/08/28/vmwares-hedging-bets-with-aws-partnership-plus-true-private-cloud-say-analysts-vmworld/

  • Amazon Has A Major Expense Storm Coming Its Way, Even If You Can’t Really See It

    …Effectively all of the servers used to run Amazon’s entire business, which have a three-year useful life, will never be counted as an expense when determining the reported operating cash flow number. The Capital Leases will never factor into their definition of free cash flow, since the original transaction is recorded under the Supplemental Cash Flow information and the payments on the Capital Leases are included in the Financing section of the Cash Flow Statement. The debt associated with purchasing the assets is never disclosed as a separate line item on the Balance Sheet, but rather buried in Other Liabilities and a footnote.

    https://seekingalpha.com/article/4102800-amazon-major-expense-storm-coming-way-even-really-see

  • Oracle to Hire 5K Executives for Cloud Operations in 2017

    Moreover, Oracle has introduced a number of cloud services like the retail merchandising solution , security solution over the last few quarters that have helped it to gain customers.

    However, with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) still being one of the weaklings in the portfolio, the company is expected to spend more on it. This might affect gross margin in the near term. Nevertheless, the company anticipates SaaS gross margin to eventually rise to 80% in the long haul, thereby leading to an improvement in the bottom line.

    http://www.nasdaq.com/article/oracle-to-hire-5k-executives-for-cloud-operations-in-2017-cm839227

Datacenter

  • IBM talks about alphas instead of betas in storage
  • So… Cisco probably spent a good sum of money to make a commercial with Peter Dinklage (from Game of Thrones)

    In a blog post, Cisco CMO Karen Walker writes, “Peter Dinklage is the perfect messenger because of his global fame and ability to speak in a bold, intelligent, and captivating way. As he wanders through the streets of London, you hang on to each of his words as he describes just how simple–and monumental–the new network is.”

Software/SaaS

  • Apple takes another step into Microsoft’s core territory with Accenture deal

    For Apple, the partnership is part of a continued push to win over business clients and try to knock Microsoft from its long-held throne as the default operating system in the corporate world. To that end, Apple has established partnerships with IBM, Cisco, Deloitte and SAP aimed at moving more business applications over to iOS devices and making them easier to use in corporate settings.

    The engineering teams will focus on apps that are used by front-line workers and consumers, such as apps that run on iPads for the lobbies of retail banks, where a teller and a customer might both interact with the app.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/29/apple-takes-another-step-into-microsofts-core-territory-with-accenture-deal.html
    Wasn’t the IBM deal supposed to do the same thing? I wonder how Big Blue feels about a major competitor partnering with Apple to do the same thing they were supposed to do.

  • IBM, Food Giants Harness Blockchain Tech to Improve Supply Chain Traceability

    Together with its partners, IBM will identify and prioritize new areas where blockchain can benefit food ecosystems and inform new IBM solutions. This work will draw on multiple IBM pilots and production networks in related areas that successfully demonstrate ways in which blockchain can positively impact global food traceability.

    The tech giant says that parallel trials with Walmart in China and the US have demonstrated that blockchain can be used to track a product from the farm through every stage of the supply chain, right to the retail shelf, in seconds instead of days or weeks. The trials also demonstrated that stakeholders throughout the global food supply chain view food safety as a collaborative issue, rather than a competitive one and are willing to work together to improve the food system for everyone.

    http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/startups/sustainable_brands/ibm_harnesses_blockchain_technology_improve_supply_chain_

Other

  • Tim Cook: Since the government isn’t doing it, Apple has a “moral responsibility to help grow the economy”

    “The reality is that government, for a long period of time, has for whatever set of reasons become less functional and isn’t working at the speed that it once was. And so it does fall, I think, not just on business but on all other areas of society to step up.”

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40460059/tim-cook-since-the-government-isnt-doing-it-apple-has-a-moral-responsibility-to-help-grow-the-economy

  • Google Critic Ousted From Think Tank Funded by the Tech Giant

    “Google is very aggressive in throwing its money around Washington and Brussels, and then pulling the strings,” Mr. Lynn said. “People are so afraid of Google now.”

    Google rejected any suggestion that it played a role in New America’s split with Open Markets. Riva Sciuto, a Google spokeswoman, pointed out that the company supports a wide range of think tanks and other nonprofits focused on information access and internet regulation. “We don’t agree with every group 100 percent of the time, and while we sometimes respectfully disagree, we respect each group’s independence, personnel decisions and policy perspectives.”

    New America’s executive vice president, Tyra Mariani, said it was “a mutual decision for Barry to spin out his Open Markets program,” and that the move was not in any way influenced by Google or Mr. Schmidt.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/us/politics/eric-schmidt-google-new-america.html

  • Warren Buffett says the future belongs to new age Apple, not to doyen of past IBM

    Warren Buffett had previously voiced a preference to avoid investing in technology stocks, but began building a stake in Apple in 2016. CNBC had earlier reported that the Oracle of Omaha added nearly 76 million more shares in January. The iconic investor had said back then, “Apple strikes me as having quite a sticky product, and an enormously useful product to people that use it.”

    In comparison, Berkshire Hathaway sold off nearly 33% of its total holdings in IBM in the first and second quarters of 2017. At the end of 2016, Berkshire Hathaway had 81 million shares of IBM. In may this year, he told the channel, “I don’t value IBM the same way that I did six years ago when I started buying. I’ve revalued it somewhat downward.”

    http://www.financialexpress.com/market/warren-buffett-says-the-future-belongs-to-new-age-apple-not-to-doyen-of-past-ibm/834658/

Photo: Nicolas Picard

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