Tag Archives: Google

SourceCast: Episode 98: How Google is turning into Microsoft

In last Friday’s Supplier Report, I presented an article covering a Microsoft employee moving to Google. That news made me recall another article documenting a large exodus of Microsoft employees over to Google during the last 4 years.

This week’s podcast drills down into what those migrations mean for Google’s culture and long term health.

Photo: Arthur Osipyan

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Supplier Report: 12/1/2017

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

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

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

Acquisitions

  • A Broadcom-Qualcomm Deal Would Face a Regulatory Minefield

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

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

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

  • WeWork to Buy Meetup, Targeting Off-Hours Gatherings

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

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Microsoft Adds SAP as Cloud Partner to Challenge Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Software/SaaS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Apple sues Qualcomm for violating chip patents

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

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

  • IBM to build Boulder’s largest solar array

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Joshua Earle

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News You Can Use: 11/29/2017

  • Google Is Filtering News for the Wrong Reason

    Google decided to downgrade links to RT and Sputnik just as members of Congress investigate whether U.S. technology platforms helped facilitate a Russian disinformation campaign during the presidential election. Until the possibility of regulation arose, the company was fine with those links, even though RT’s and Sputnik’s content was always as pungent as it is today.

    The bottom line is that Google will downgrade any kind of content that can cause a backlash against it. That’s important to understand even if you don’t want to see alt-right, alt-left, pro-Russian, pro-Iran or any other biased “news stories.” What you do want can end up being censored, too, if Google’s finely tuned corporate nose smells complications.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-11-22/google-is-filtering-news-for-the-wrong-reason

  • Uber is now facing multiple lawsuits over its huge data breach

    After it was revealed that the ride-hailing giant paid hackers $100,000 to stay silent about the data breach of 57 million account holders, regulators around the world–including the U.K., Australia, and the Philippines–announced that they were investigating the company. Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission joined that list, saying it was “closely evaluating the serious issues raised.”

    Today, Uber can add three potential class-action lawsuits to the difficult issues it has to deal with, reports the Washington Post. In addition, the attorneys general of New York, Missouri, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Connecticut are also launching an investigation.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40500244/uber-is-now-facing-multiple-lawsuits-over-its-huge-data-breach

  • Your Life in 2027: A Look at the Future (Vivek Wadhwa)
  • Tai Lopez Reveals the Secrets He Used to Make Millions From Social Media

    To make money, Lopez estimates you need at least 5,000 to 10,000 followers on Instagram; 1,000 on YouTube; 5,000 to 10,000 on Snapchat; 10,000 on Facebook; and 2,000 to 5,000 on Twitter. For a podcast and email, the magic number is 5,000 subscribers respectively. But the followers, he cautions, must be “highly targeted.” In other words, true fans.

    “It doesn’t matter if you have a million followers if they’re all ghost followers,” Lopez says, citing the importance of audience quality, not quantity.

    Expand your reach:

    Lopez recommends “shoutout for shoutout” exchanges as the least expensive way to grow a decent Instagram following of 10,000 to 100,000. How it works: repost another user’s post and say “Repost” or “Follow my friend.”

    “Start with acquaintances who have a couple thousand Instagram followers. Just say, ‘I love your post. I’m going to repost it on my Instagram and tag you.’ Don’t ask for anything in return. Many people are happy if you get them only 100 followers. Then you can come back a week later and say, ‘I have this post, would you mind posting it for me?’”

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/304903

  • The Out-Of-Office Template You Should Use This Holiday Season

    Hi there,

    Thanks so much for your email. I’ve decided to take advantage of the holiday weekend and truly take [Monday/Friday] off. In an effort to come back fully recharged, I won’t be checking my email. Don’t worry though, if it’s urgent, you can reach out to [name] at [email address].

    I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible when I’m back in the office.

    [Your Name]

    The article contains another example as well.
    https://www.fastcompany.com/40499110/the-out-of-office-template-you-should-use-this-holiday-season

Photo: Roman Kraft

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Supplier Report: 11/24/2017

As everyone sleeps off the last traces of tryptophan, IT companies are also taking this time to pause and reflect… except for Uber who is in trouble AGAIN.

The ride share company announced a massive breach that happened last year (which they did not inform the public of until this week).  The company also paid the hackers that breached their security $100K to delete the stolen data (and let’s take the hacker’s word that they complied with that gentlemen’s agreement) and not make any public statements.

Uber’s CSO has been terminated.

In other news, FCC chairman Ajit Pai seems poised to overturn net neutrality rules on December 14th which could greatly impact the way companies and consumers interact with each other on the internet.

Acquisitions

  • AT&T Faces U.S. Antitrust Suit Over Time Warner Deal

    The U.S. Justice Department is poised to sue to block AT&T’s $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner, according to a person familiar with the matter, culminating more than a week of sparring over the deal and dealing a major blow to the carrier’s bid to create a media and telecommunications empire, Bloomberg News’ Sara Forden and David McLaughlin report.

    The Justice Department said it plans to make a major antitrust announcement Monday afternoon, without specifying the topic. The person familiar with the matter said the news regards the government’s plan to sue to block the proposed AT&T merger with Time Warner.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-20/at-t-faces-u-s-antitrust-suit-over-time-warner-deal

  • 5 Companies That Microsoft Could Put on Its Shopping List

    Workday Inc. (WDAY) and ServiceNow Inc. (NOW) , as the largest SaaS pure-plays not named Salesforce, could catch its attention. Workday, worth $23 billion, is the top provider of cloud human capital management (HCM) and financials apps for enterprises, and it has also rolled out analytics tools and apps meant for universities.

    ServiceNow, worth $22 billion, is the top provider of cloud-based IT service desk software and is also now a meaningful player in the IT operations management (ITOM) and IT business management (ITBM) software spaces. Buying the company would extend Microsoft’s reach within corporate IT departments and yield some synergies with the company’s System Center systems management software platform.

    https://www.thestreet.com/story/14399919/1/companies-microsoft-could-buy.html

Artificial Intelligence

  • AI Can Help Hunt Down Missile Sites in China

    The deep learning algorithms proved capable of helping people with no prior imagery analysis experience find surface-to-air missile sites scattered across nearly 90,000 square kilometers of southeastern China. Such AI based on neural networks—layers of artificial neuron capable of filtering and learning from huge amounts of data—matched the overall 90 percent accuracy of expert human imagery analysts in locating the missile sites. Perhaps even more impressively, the deep learning software helped humans reduce the time needed to eyeball potential missile sites from 60 hours to just 42 minutes.

    https://www.wired.com/story/ai-can-help-hunt-down-missile-sites-in-china/

Cloud

  • Amazon’s cloud is about to announce a huge health-care deal with Cerner, sources say

    As part of his keynote at re:Invent, AWS CEO Andy Jassy is planning to announce that Amazon is teaming up with Cerner, one of the world’s largest health technology companies, to help health-care providers better use their data to make health predictions about patient populations, according to sources familiar with the matter.

    The sources, who asked not to be named because the discussions are still in the final stages, said the partnership is initially focused on Cerner’s so-called population health product — HealtheIntent — which enables hospitals to gather and analyze huge volumes of clinical data to improve patients’ health outcomes and lower treatment costs.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/22/aws-is-partnering-with-cerner-on-cloud-deal-for-healtheintent.html

  • Google Cloud Platform cuts the price of GPUs by up to 36 percent

    Google today announced that it’s cutting the price of using Nvidia’s Tesla GPUs through its Compute Engine by up to 36 percent. In U.S. regions, using the somewhat older K80 GPUs will now cost $0.45 per hour while using the newer and more powerful P100 machines will cost $1.46 per minute (all with per-second billing).

    The company is also dropping the prices for preemptible local SSDs by almost 40 percent. “Preemptible local SSDs” refers to local SSDs attached to Google’s preemptible VMs. You can’t attach GPUs to preemptible instances, though, so this is a nice little bonus announcement — but it isn’t going to directly benefit GPU users.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/20/google-cloud-platform-cuts-the-price-of-gpus-by-up-to-36-percent/?ncid=rss

  • HPE and Rackspace bring pay-as-you-go service to OpenStack Private Cloud

    “The launch of OpenStack Private Cloud with pay per use infrastructure delivered by Rackspace and HPE marks a pivotal moment in the private cloud market and in the industry at large,” said Antonio Neri, president of HPE. “This experience is the best of the cloud and on-premises worlds, and we fully expect this simple pay-per-use technology model to change the way enterprises make technology decisions.”

    The move is meant to respond to increased interest in public cloud services. The offering allows customers to pay only for what they use like a utility bill using HPE’s Flexible Capacity, making it easier to manage growth and bursts in workloads without paying for fixed capacity. The companies said providing the pay-as-you-go service will make private cloud 40% less expensive than the leading public cloud, an estimate based on Rackspace internal pricing analysis.

    https://www.rcrwireless.com/20171120/pay-as-you-go-model-inspires-hpe-rackspace-private-cloud-tag27

Security

  • Uber admits massive data breach

    CEO Dara Khosrowshahi confirmed Tuesday that, in late 2016, hackers stole the data of 57 million of the company’s riders and drivers from around the world, including names, email addresses, phone numbers and driver’s license numbers. Khosrowshahi also confirmed that the $70 billion ridehailing giant has kept the cyberattack quiet for more than a year, in violation of laws that regulate such breaches.

    As a result, Uber has fired chief security officer Joe Sullivan and one of his employees, according to Bloomberg. Sullivan was in charge of the company’s response when the attack took place. Former CEO Travis Kalanick reportedly learned about the hack roughly a month after it occurred.

    The breach was reportedly discovered by a team hired by Uber to investigate Sullivan and the security department as a whole. The outside law firm in charge of the investigation found that two hackers broke into Uber’s Amazon Web Services account to gain access to rider and driver data, then asked Uber for money to keep the information private. Uber reportedly paid the hackers $100,000 to delete the data and conceal the incident.

    https://pitchbook.com/news/articles/uber-admits-massive-data-breach
    New York attorney general launches investigation of Uber’s $100,000 hack cover-up

    The office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman confirmed to TechCrunch that it has opened an investigation into the incident.

    The new investigation won’t be the first time that Uber has tangled with Schneiderman. Flaunting laws over the course of its aggressive pursuit of growth, Uber often ran into conflict with city and state legal authorities, and New York is no exception. The company reached a settlement with Schneiderman’s office in January 2016 over its abuse of private data in a rider-tracking system known as “God View” and its failure to disclose a previous data breach that took place in September 2014 in a timely manner.

    Given the New York Attorney General’s interest in the latest Uber scandal, it follows that Uber will likely be in the hot seat in its home state of California, where under Civil Code 1798.82 businesses are required to disclose data breaches affecting more than 500 state residents to the Attorney General “in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay.”

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/21/ny-ag-schneiderman-uber-hack-cover-up/?ncid=rss

Other

  • Philip Hammond just declared war on tech firms like Amazon and Apple that avoid UK tax

    Amazon, for example, uses a intricate arrangement that involves paying itself royalty fees for its own intellectual property. Those royalty fees are shielded from tax, and mean the company can wipe out its taxable income.

    The Treasury source explained: “If you’re hosting your intellectual property in a country that doesn’t charge tax, and using that IP to make profit by interacting with UK customers, we will be taxing you at 20%.”

    Since the UK’s tax authority can’t tax an overseas subsidiary, it will charge a “withholding tax”, meaning the money will be deducted at source.

    Richard Murphy, a tax specialist who has previously written about the way tech firms avoid paying UK tax, described the announcement as “a good move.”

    http://www.businessinsider.com/treasury-to-tax-uk-generated-revenue-held-offshore-by-tech-firms-such-as-amazon-and-apple-2017-11

  • Meg Whitman out as CEO of HPE early next year

    Six years after taking the helm as head of HP, Meg Whitman will step down from her role as CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise in February 2018. Whitman’s spot will be filled by the company’s current President, Antonio Neri.

    Neri has been with HP since 1995, starting as a customer service engineer at at call center, ultimately rising the ranks to Executive Vice President of HPE in 2015 and then to President in June of this year.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/21/meg-whitman-out-as-ceo-of-hpe-early-next-year/?ncid=rss

  • What the End of Net Neutrality Means for You

    On Tuesday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his plan to gut net neutrality and hand over control of the internet to service providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon (which also happens to be Pai’s former employer).

    The new plan, titled the “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” promises to end government “micromanaging” of the internet in exchange for added transparency from service providers. However, it’s also ready been widely criticized for removing the consumer protections passed by the FCC in 2015.

    The FCC is set to vote on the proposal on December 14, and it’s expected to pass thanks to a 3-to-2 party split favoring the Republicans.

    https://lifehacker.com/what-the-end-of-net-neutrality-means-for-you-1820647171
    FCC plan would give Internet providers power to choose the sites customers see and use

    One major beneficiary of the rule-change may be AT&T, which is embroiled in a landmark legal dispute with the Justice Department over an $85 billion purchase of the entertainment conglomerate Time Warner. Should AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner be allowed to close, a repeal of the FCC’s net neutrality rules could give the telecom giant greater power to flex its new content properties in different ways, according to some analysts.

    The most immediate effect of the FCC’s plan “is that constraints limiting contractual arrangements [between Internet providers and other companies] … will be lifted for both AT&T and its competitors,” said Joshua Wright, a former Republican FTC commissioner.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/11/21/the-fcc-has-unveiled-its-plan-to-rollback-its-net-neutrality-rules/
    Net Neutrality II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Very NSFW!)

    I probably posted this before in the “News You Can Use” section, but this is a good summary of the situation… beware of colorful language and singing goats.

Photo: João Victor Xavier

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Supplier Report: 11/17/2017

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

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

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

Acquisitions

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

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

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Software/SaaS

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

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

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

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

Security

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

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

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

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

Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Derek Thomson

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