Tag Archives: HPI

Supplier Report: 2/11/2017

It was an eclectic news week for IT suppliers.  Microsoft cut their cloud prices for certain services and is also starting to protect customers against patent trolls, promising to assist small companies should a nonsense lawsuit occur.

Google found themselves in federal court being asked to provide the FBI access to emails. The company hoped to use Microsoft’s successful defense in a similar trail as grounds to drop the request, but it was denied.  When Google isn’t in court, they are expanding the use of complex games to vet and teach their AI better ways to solve for problems.

Acquisitions

  • The Case For IBM Buying Nvidia, Xilinx, And Mellanox

    We know what you are thinking. This might be a good thing for IBM, but it might not be a good thing for Nvidia, Xilinx, and Mellanox, who are the key three hardware partners in the OpenPower consortium that IBM formed with the help of hyperscale datacenter operator Google back in August 2013. Fair enough. All three companies seem to be doing fine against their respective competition, and the OpenPower effort might be a tight enough coupling to get interesting and innovative systems to market. But, we might argue, this effort to build a flexible platform – for that is what the OpenPower consortium is ultimately about – could be significantly enhanced and accelerated by a tighter coupling of the core technologies created by all four of these companies. The fourth being, of course, the Power family of processors created by IBM, which would be married to Nvidia Tesla compute GPUs, Mellanox InfiniBand and Ethernet switching, and Xilinx UltraScale Virtex and Kintex FPGAs.

    https://www.nextplatform.com/2017/02/07/case-ibm-buying-nvidia-xilinx-mellanox/

Artificial Intelligence

  • DeepMind is using games to test AI aggression and cooperation

    The findings are important as humanity releases multiple AI into the world. It’s likely some will clash and try to either co-operate or sabotage one another. What happens, for instance, if an AI is managing traffic flow across the city, while another is trying to reduce carbon emissions in the state? The rules of the “game” which govern their behavior then become vital. Setting parameters, and being mindful of other agents, will be crucial if we’re to balance the global economy, public health and climate change.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/02/09/google-deepmind-ai-cooperation-research/

  • In major AI win, Libratus beats four top poker pros

    Marking a major step forward for artificial intelligence (AI), Libratus, an AI developed by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), has resoundingly beaten four of the best heads-up no-limit Texas hold’em poker players in the world in a marathon, 20-day competition.

    After 20 days and a collective 120,000 hands played, Libratus closed out the competition Monday leading the pros by a collective $1,766,250 in chips.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3164228/artificial-intelligence/in-major-ai-win-libratus-beats-four-top-poker-pros.html

Cloud

  • Senior Google Cloud Exec Departs After Reorg

    Schachter joined the Internet search giant in 2012 from Salesforce.com, according to his LinkedIn profile. Initially he worked on Google for Work, formerly the overall brand for Google applications and devices. It is now part of the Google Cloud group. Schachter was promoted to head Google Cloud’s sales effort two years ago.

    According to that story, there was a sales reorganization earlier this year in which Schachter got responsibility for North America sales while another executive took on Europe and the Middle East.

    http://fortune.com/2017/02/02/google-cloud-vp-leaves/

  • Microsoft cuts cloud prices again

    The Redmond., Wash., software group dropped prices by up to 61% on some of its products, though other offerings will not carry a discount.

    https://www.thestreet.com/story/13995452/1/microsoft-kicks-off-the-2017-cloud-wars-with-some-big-price-cuts.html

  • Microsoft Adds Patent Suit Protections For Cloud Customers

    Microsoft, the second-biggest cloud infrastructure services vendor behind Amazon.com Inc., will help customers fight back by offering them one of its own patents to deter or defeat such suits. The software giant will also expand a program in which Microsoft provides funds or legal resources to fend off claims, known as indemnification.

    http://talkincloud.com/cloud-computing/microsoft-adds-patent-suit-protections-cloud-customers

Datacenter

Software/SaaS

  • Open source users: It’s time for extreme vetting

    Open source won. It won because it’s used everywhere now. But now we have a supply chain problem we need to start thinking about and that is, where did you get it and how is it being taken care of, because software doesn’t age well. This is something that you have to take care of and you have to pay attention to. You can’t just pull software into your project and you’re done.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3167527/linux/open-source-users-its-time-for-extreme-vetting.html

Other

  • IBM’s Marissa Mayer moment: Staff ordered to work in one of 6 main offices – or face the axe

    According to sources, the six “strategic” offices US marketing staff must work from are in: Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; New York City, New York; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Atlanta, Georgia; and Raleigh, North Carolina. El Reg understands that employees will not get to choose a nearby office, but will instead be assigned a location based on where their team is predominantly situated. The first wave of workers were informed of the changes on Monday. The next wave will be instructed in early March, we’re told.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/08/ibm_no_more_telecommuting/

  • Google told to hand over foreign emails in FBI search warrant ruling

    The ruling is notable because it goes against an appeals court judgement last year — recently upheld — pertaining to Microsoft customer data held in servers outside the US. In that instance a federal court ruled the company did not have to hand over data stored on its servers in Ireland to the US government, declining to “disregard the presumption against extraterritoriality,” as the judge put it.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/04/google-told-to-hand-over-foreign-emails-in-fbi-search-warrant-ruling/?ncid=rss

  • Oracle settling with ex-worker over alleged fiddling of cloud accounts

    In a joint submission Wednesday to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, lawyers for Oracle and the former employee Svetlana Blackburn asked for the vacation of a case management conference scheduled for Thursday, while submitting a notice of settlement to notify the court “that the lawsuit has been settled in principle, and to request thirty (30) days in which to file a dismissal.”

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/3168035/cloud-computing/oracle-settling-with-ex-worker-over-alleged-fiddling-of-cloud-accounts.html

Photo: Oliver Cole

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Supplier Report: 10/22/2016

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Big IT firms are clearly focused on the cloud, but as these companies grow out their infrastructure, we will focus on the differences between the cloud providers and try to find sweet spots.

SalesForce had some very sensitive M&A information leaked.  Will Pega Systems and Tableau get bought or was this some kind of trick to drive up stock prices?

And are the days of the Chinese factory workers numbered?

Acquisitions

  • Wipro To Buy Salesforce Superstar Appirio for $500 Million

    Business process services goliath Wipro says it will spend half a billion dollars to purchase cloud services powerhouse Appirio so it can improve its market share and position around Salesforce and Workday.

    The $500 million all-cash acquisition is expected to close by the end of the year, according to a statement. Wipro did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.

    http://www.crn.com/news/channel-programs/300082500/wipro-to-buy-salesforce-superstar-appirio-for-500-million.htm

  • Salesforce.Com, Inc To Buy Tableau Software Inc (NYSE:DATA) Shortly After Declining Twitter Inc Buyout

    Tableau Software Inc. explored a potential sale in recent months, according to people familiar with the matter, as technology companies scramble for partners amid a wave of mergers in the industry.

    The Seattle company was working on a potential sale as recently as this summer before the effort stalled, the people said.

    The Wall Street Journal reported on the document in a front-page article Wednesday that pushed up shares of Tableau as much as 7%, giving it a market value of nearly $4 billion.

    http://www.nasdaq.com/article/software-maker-tableau-explored-a-sale–wsj-20161020-00076

  • HP Enterprise services merger with CSC could ‘mean more churn’ for company’s federal contractors

    “The combination of these two companies will create a new company with billions in global revenue, including a sizable U.S. federal government business,” it added. “However, the government sector of the new, yet unnamed company may be impacted by the cost take-outs planned by the merger and the distraction of yet another major company reorganization.”

    http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2016/10/20/report-hp-enterprise-services-merger-with-csc.html

  • Salesforce’s M&A Target List Had 14 Names, But Not Twitter Inc

    Citing an internal presentation allegedly obtained from former Secretary of State and Salesforce Director Colin Powell the WSJ lists 14 companies, including Marketo, Adobe Systems, Hubspot, PegaSystems, Demandware, Tableau, and LinkedIn, as possible candidates.

    According to the presentation, Box and Zendesk were mentioned as well, but their chief executives had less interest. The presentation, which was marked “draft and confidential” and titled “M&A Target Review,” is a 60-slide document which identified 14 possible acquisition targets.

    http://www.valuewalk.com/2016/10/salesforces-list-14-names-not-twitter/

Artificial Intelligence

  • DeepMind’s differentiable neural computer helps you navigate the subway with its memory

    DeepMind’s technique merges notions of memory with more traditional neural networks using a “controller.” The controller saves information by either storing it in a new location or overwriting a previously occupied location. Throughout this process, an association between the information is formed via the timeline of when new data was written in.

    The controller uses that same chronology along with the actual content of what has been saved to retrieve information. The framework created is navigable and proves itself effective for drawing insights from graph data structures.

    https://techcrunch.com/2016/10/13/__trashed-2/

  • Fighting Diabetes with Watson: Medtronic and IBM Health
  • No More Humans: Foxconn Deploys 40,000 Robots In China

    Dai said currently Foxconn can produce 10,000 robots annually. In the future, those robots are all potential replacements for human labor. For the Kunshan factory alone, Foxconn has cut 60,000 employees.

    Prior to this, labor costs in mainland China were lower than robots; therefore, Foxconn maintained nearly one million workers. However, with the increase of labor costs and the younger generation’s lack of interest in production line work, many companies have launched huge investments in automation.

    https://www.chinatechnews.com/2016/10/13/24329-no-more-humans-foxconn-deploys-40000-robots-in-china
    What I predicted in this post is starting to come true

  • IBM Watson Will Run On IBM and IBM Alone

    You’ve got to give UBS analyst Steven Milunovich major props. During IBM’s earnings call on Monday, he asked whether IBM Watson, the company’s golden child, will run on rival Amazon Web Services—and he was promptly shot down. “No. Watson runs on our cloud, and our technology will run on IBM’s cloud,” IBM chief financial officer Martin Schroeter responded tersely.

    http://fortune.com/2016/10/17/ibm-watson-belongs-to-ibm/

Cloud

Datacenter

  • IBM and other giants to reform servers and make them faster

    Servers current circuitry is not fast enough, and International Business Machines Corp. has promised to speed the data transfer in servers up to ten times. The group hopes more companies will be part of the team to improve servers speed. Standard microprocessors are getting faster, but their performance is usually delayed because they need to fetch data from nearby memory chips, graphic chips or other elements used to handle certain tasks.

    http://www.pulseheadlines.com/ibm-giants-reform-servers-faster/52692/

  • Lenovo’s attack plan against Dell EMC? A partnership with Nimble Storage

    The Chinese company, which has what it calls its “dual” headquarters in Morrisville and its server division in Research Triangle Park, just signed a deal with Nimble that allows it to sell Nimble’s all-flash array technology, as well as to use the firm’s predictive analytics capabilities.

    Also:

    And it’s a segment of the business that has seen major change, particularly as its relationship with longtime partner EMC severed completely when rival technology firm Dell acquired it. Since Dell announced the buy last year, Lenovo has been working to fill the gap. McRae says it’s been a systematic effort.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2016/10/17/lenovo-nimble-storage-partnership.html

Other

  • IBM Shares Fall Despite Higher-Than-Expected Sales

    Revenue from those areas, which the company calls “strategic imperatives,” rose 16% to $8 billion in the third quarter. Cloud revenue jumped 44% compared with a 30% rise in the second quarter, it said. However, shares of IBM, which reported its 18th straight quarter of declining revenue, were down 3.1% at $150.60 in after-market trading.

    http://fortune.com/2016/10/18/ibm-shares-fall-beat-estimates/
    sn_ibm_realist_2016_10

  • HP: We’ll Put Laid-Off Workers on Contract

    In light of massive job cuts, HP Inc. has indicated to Business Insider that it may offer affected workers the opportunity to continue their roles as employees at contract agencies. The company stated, “HP has a strong record of success in placing employees in outsourced roles to mitigate the headcount number.” HP has a track record of shifting employees to positions as contract workers from before its 2015 split with Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.

    http://www.investopedia.com/news/hp-well-put-laidoff-workers-contract-hpq/

  • HP Enterprise announces more layoffs as cloud business struggles

    The layoffs in the Stackato may indicate HPE is further retreating from the ultra-competitive cloud market amidst tough competition from AWS and Microsoft. Last year, HPE pulled the plug on its Helion hybrid cloud offering. In August, Bill Hilf, HPE’s current cloud leader,announced he was leaving the company to “pursue other opportunities.”

    http://www.ciodive.com/news/hp-enterprise-announces-more-layoffs-as-cloud-business-struggles/428563/

  • Microsoft employees love Satya Nadella a lot more than they did Steve Ballmer

    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella looks especially good, by the report’s reckoning. At the close of 2013, the final days of former chief executive Steve Ballmer’s reign, Microsoft only gave a 51% rating for CEO approval. Nadella took the reigns in February 2014, and the CEO approval rating hit 88% by the end of 2015.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-employees-love-satya-nadella-2016-10

  • Broadcom, Harris Vet Bill Miller Joins NetApp as CIO

    Bill Miller, former senior vice president and chief information officer at Broadcom, has joined NetApp in the same role of CIO and will be responsible for both the company’s information technology organization and ongoing transformation initiatives.

    http://www.govconexecutive.com/2016/10/broadcom-harris-vet-bill-miller-joins-netapp-as-cio/

Photo: Rob Roy

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Supplier Report: 10/15/2016

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Large IT companies are running into some M&A trouble. Verizon wants a discount on their Yahoo acquisition, Saleforce is trying to block the Microsoft’s purchase of Linkedin, and Oracle is struggling to make their purchase of Netsuite a reality.

Cloud was a big topic this week – Google has officially rebranded their cloud offerings as “Google Cloud” due to customer confusion (good move), IBM CEO Ginni Rometty explains her company’s position on blockchain (and discusses if AI can replace her), and VMWare is available on AWS.

HP Inc is cutting 4,000 jobs but former EMC CEO Joe Tucci found one!

Acquisitions

Artificial Intelligence

  • Could Watson Replace Ginni Rometty? What She’s Not Saying About AI, Jobs & Disruption

    IBM has bet it’s future on AI, cloud computing and data/information/knowledge management. All three areas are about reducing costs and improving productivity by decreasing human labor.Cloud computing, for example, could easily be described as the technology delivery model that kills software developers, applications support professionals and data center managers. There’s a straight line from the number of jobs IBM eliminates and its stock price. If Watsonbecomes a friendly assistant that charges for its pedantic services, IBM will fail. But if Watson enables large-scale labor replacement, IBM’s stock will rise.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveandriole/2016/10/10/could-watson-replace-ginni-rometty-what-shes-not-saying-about-ai-jobs-disruption/2/#60361b211579

  • Artificial intelligence positioned to be a game-changer (follow link for the video)

    One of the technologies just hatched is called Gabriel. It uses Google Glass to gather data about your surroundings and advises you how to react. It’s like an angel on your shoulder whispering advice or instructions. In this case trying to direct us how to win a game of ping pong but the possibilities go beyond bragging rights.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-artificial-intelligence-charlie-rose-robot-sofia/

Cloud

  • IBM wins $62 million contract to run private cloud pilot at Army’s Redstone Arsenal

    IBM won the work as a task order under the Army’s Private Cloud II indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract. The $62 million award includes one base year and four option years, during which the company will build, then own and operate a data center on Army property at Redstone Arsenal, near Huntsville, Alabama.

    http://federalnewsradio.com/army/2016/10/ibm-wins-62-million-contract-run-private-cloud-pilot-armys-redstone-arsenal/

  • VMware and AWS Announce New Hybrid Cloud Service, “VMware Cloud on AWS”

    Amazon and VMWare today announced a strategic alliance to build and deliver a seamlessly integrated hybrid offering that will give customers the full software-defined data center (SDDC) experience from the leader in the private cloud, running on the world’s most popular, trusted, and robust public cloud. VMware Cloud™ on AWS will enable customers to run applications across VMware vSphere®-based private, public, and hybrid cloud environments. Delivered, sold, and supported by VMware as an on-demand, elastically scalable service, VMware Cloud on AWS will allow VMware customers to use their existing VMware software and tools to leverage AWS’s global footprint and breadth of services, including storage, databases, analytics, and more

    http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161013006574/en/VMware-AWS-Announce-Hybrid-Cloud-Service-%E2%80%9CVMware

  • IBM CEO Rometty’s position on blockchain

    Good to hear IBM’s direct stance on the platform and what their vision is
  • IBM’s Cleversafe storage platform is becoming a cloud service

    Cleversafe’s innovation in object storage was to combine encryption with erasure coding and geographic dispersal of data. SecureSlice encrypts unstructured data, stores the key with the data, and then breaks up that data and puts it on several different storage nodes. In IBM Cloud Object Storage, those nodes can be in data centers spread across an entire continent.

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/3130792/ibms-cleversafe-storage-platform-is-becoming-a-cloud-service.html

  • Google’s Diane Greene providing a status on Google’s cloud platform:
  • IBM says its new Cloud Object Storage allows easily moving and splitting data

    The service is built on technology dubbed SecureSlice, which combines encryption, erasure coding and geographic dispersal of data. Erasure coding is a form of data protection. IBM acquired the SecureSlice technology when it bought Cleversafe last year for $1.3 billion. The technology automatically encrypts each segment of data before it’s erasure-coded and dispersed, and the data can only be reassembled where it was originally received.

    http://www.geekwire.com/2016/ibm-says-new-cloud-object-storage-allows-easily-moving-splitting-data/

  • Amazon cloud boss Andy Jassy fires back at Oracle’s Larry Ellison, says stats were ‘made up’

    Instead, Jassy pointed to what analysts are saying about AWS. For example, Gartner said in its Magic Quadrant report last year that AWS is 10-times bigger than its next 14 competitors combined, while putting it at the top of the list against this year.

    Deutsche Bank also wrote in a recent note, “Oracle talked up its ‘next-gen’ infrastructure as a cheaper rival to AWS, but we don’t believe it will be competitive anytime soon.

    http://www.ctpost.com/technology/businessinsider/article/Amazon-cloud-boss-Andy-Jassy-fires-back-at-9970490.php

Datacenter

  • IBM, Google, others to unveil new open interface to take on Intel

    The new standard, called Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI), is an open forum to provide a high bandwidth, low latency open interface design specification.

    The open interface will help corporate and cloud data centers to speed up big data, machine learning, analytics and other emerging workloads.

    The consortium plans to make the OpenCAPI specification available to the public before the end of the year and expects servers and related products based on the new standard in the second half of 2017, it said in a statement.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-technology-consortium-idUSKCN12E0C5

  • Dell shows off new logo…

    This looks like something Silicon Valley would do to make fun of an IT company.

Other

  • Joe Tucci Named Chairman of Bridge Growth Partners

    Bridge Growth Partners, LLC, a sector-focused, growth-oriented private equity firm, today announced that Joseph M. Tucci, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EMC Corporation and former Chairman of VMWare, has been named Chairman of the firm. Tucci has served on the firm’s Investment Committee and Advisory Board since Bridge Growth Partners was established in late 2013.

    http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161011005926/en/Joe-Tucci-Named-Chairman-Bridge-Growth-Partners

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise will have approximately $9 billion in net cash at the end of FY17

    Hewlett Packard Enterprise is expected to host analyst meeting event on October 18, and according to Mr. Hosseini, the management will surely divulge information regarding the high level of cash in the company’s balance sheet. Furthermore, the analyst expects insight regarding growth initiatives and the strategy used by the company in order to promote secular growth trends in key areas of business.

    http://www.thecountrycaller.com/22995-hewlett-packard-enterprise-co-hpe-liquidity-situation-continues-to-improve/

  • HP Inc will cut up to 4,000 jobs by 2019

    The world’s second-largest PC supplier has struggled in a dwindling market, and hopes the cutbacks will save the company between $200 to $300 million annually by 2020.

    However, HP will also incur an estimated $350 million to $500 million in restructuring costs.

    The announcement comes during a global decline in PC sales, dropping 5.7% in the third quarter compared to last year according to a report by Gartner. This represents the longest period of decline in the history of the PC industry.

    http://www.itpro.co.uk/strategy/27410/hp-will-cut-up-to-4000-jobs-by-2019

Photo: Tao Wen

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Supplier Report: 10/1/2016

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As IBM’s plans to build the most versatile AI continues thanks to the purchase of Promontory Financial Group, their competitors are starting to get serious about AI too.

IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google are so serious about their AI plans, they are agreeing to work together to create standards and transparency.  But as they buddy up, Microsoft is forming a huge team to center the company around machine learning.

Acquisitions

  • Now Disney might be interested in twitter…

    All of which adds up to a persuasive case that Disney and Twitter have … some things in common. Less clear is how that justifies Disney spending more than $20 billion on a company that produces infinite PR headaches and—at the moment—zero profit. It takes a lot of hand-waving to get from “They both live-stream sports!” to “Disney should own Twitter.” A Yahoo! Finance columnist took a stab at explaining the potential synergy last week.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2016/09/26/why_no_one_should_buy_twitter_not_disney_and_not_salesforce.html

  • Oracle buys San Mateo Marriott

    The hotel was purchased through Hospitality Investment LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Oracle. The previous owner was Atrium Plaza, a limited liability company owned by Tarsadia Investments of Newport Beach (Orange County).

    This is Oracle’s first hotel purchase. Larry Ellison, the company’s executive chairman, personally owns several hotels, including the Four Seasons Resort on the Hawaiian island of Lanai and the Epiphany Hotel in Palo Alto.

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/networth/article/Oracle-buys-San-Mateo-Marriott-9455940.php

  • IBM Announces Planned Acquisition of Promontory to Transform Regulatory Compliance with Watson

    ARMONK, N.Y. – 29 Sep 2016: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced plans to acquire Promontory Financial Group, a global market-leading risk management and regulatory compliance consulting firm.  Upon close, the capabilities of Promontory combined with IBM’s deep industry expertise and Watson’s cognitive capabilities will directly address the massive operational effort and manual cost of escalating regulation and risk management requirements.

    http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/50599.wss
    Watson Financial Services is born out of IBM’s purchase of Promontory Financial Group

    To make sense of this deal, you have to avoid relegating Promontory into the small box of financial services. Instead, it’s most practical to think of it as a big data company that also has a services business. While it’s true that it works with some of the largest banks in the world, it has slowly amassed a collection of regulatory and compliance data. Promontory also has a workforce that includes over 600 experts in the space.

    https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/29/watson-financial-services-is-born-out-of-ibms-purchase-of-promontory-financial-group/?ncid=rss

  • Salesforce tries to block Microsoft’s LinkedIn acquisition

    Salesforce Chief Legal Officer Burke Norton will argue to the EU’s competition authority that Microsoft’s control of LinkedIn’s dataset following an acquisition would be anticompetitive. EU competition chief Margarethe Vestager said in January that her agency would be looking directly at whether a company’s use of data is bad for competition, and these complaints seem aimed squarely at those comments.

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/3126095/legal/salesforce-tries-to-block-microsofts-linkedin-acquisition.html

Artificial Intelligence

  • Microsoft’s Satya Nadella: ‘We’re not pursuing AI to beat humans at games’

    As Nadella explained, Microsoft isn’t “pursuing AI to beat humans at games,” a clear dig at Google’s AlphaGo computer which beat Korean grandmaster Lee Sedol.

    Instead, he said, the company is trying to democratize information and access to intelligence to “empower every person and every institution that people build with the tools of AI, so that they can go on to solve the most pressing problems of our society and economy.”

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/microsofts-satya-nadella-were-not-pursuing-ai-to-beat-humans-at-games-221122184.html

  • IBM releases DataWorks to give enterprise data a home and a brain

    IBM’s new Project DataWorks is built with both Spark and IBM Watson at its core to prioritize speed and usability without sacrificing robust analytics. The best way to think about DataWorks is as a sort of Google Docs for data analytics. In practice, companies have huge data libraries that often end up in a variety of decentralized locations. IBM’s new product eats all this company data and puts it in one intuitively accessible place.

    https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/27/ibm-releases-dataworks-to-give-enterprise-data-a-home-and-a-brain/?ncid=rss

  • Facebook, Google, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft created a partnership to make AI seem less terrifying

    The organization’s goals are objectively noble: to create standards for transparency, algorithmic accountability, fairness, and ethics, while teaching everyone from users to the US government how the technology works. Member companies say they’ll conduct and publish open research on these topics, and contribute financial support to further study. The frequency and content of these studies have not been solidified, and the organization isn’t launching with any initial studies or findings.

    http://qz.com/795034/facebook-google-amazon-ibm-and-microsoft-created-a-partnership-to-make-ai-seem-less-terrifying/

  • Microsoft creates artificial intelligence, research group

    Microsoft has created a 5,000-person engineering and research team focused on artificial intelligence, an effort to reposition the company to capitalize on the rapid growth of software aided by machine-learning algorithms.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/microsoft/microsoft-creates-artificial-intelligence-research-group/

Cloud

Datacenter

  • NetApp’s CEO Sees More Growth in the Year Ahead

    And Kurian sees more growth in the year ahead, even though one of his biggest competitors, EMC, just completed a $65 billion merger with Dell. “The history of large mergers in the technology industry are ripe with lessons learned—they’re not easy to pull off,” he tells Fortune’s Susie Gharib. “We see this as a real opportunity to take share at least over the next couple of years.”

    http://fortune.com/video/2016/09/26/netapps-ceo-sees-more-growth/

Software/SaaS

Other

  • The EFF calls on HP to remove DRM from its printers

    In an open letter to HP Inc. President and CEO, Dion Weisler, activist Cory Doctorow calls on the company to take five steps immediately including apologizing to its customers and resorting the original functionality to its printers. HP seemingly knowingly activated the printer ink DRM under the guise of a security update, simultaneously removing features from its printers and violating the trust of its customers.

    https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/27/the-eff-calls-on-hp-to-remove-drm-from-its-printers/?ncid=rss

  • Oracle cuts pay of top executives [somewhat bogus headline]

    Co-founder and Chairman Larry Ellison received $41.5 million, a 35 percent decrease from last year. Co-Chief Executive Officers Safra Catz and Mark Hurd each received about $41 million, a 23 percent decline. The drop for the co-CEOs is accentuated by one-time stock awards valued at $9 million that they received when they were promoted at the end of 2014.

    The three executives were among the 20 highest-paid in the U.S. last year, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index, which values equity awards at the end of the fiscal year, continuing a trend of generous pay for Oracle’s bosses. More than half the company’s investors have voted against its pay practices in each of the last four years, making the company an outlier. About 1 percent of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies have lost in their most recent nonbinding votes, and the average support level is 93 percent.

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Oracle-cuts-pay-of-top-executives-9280119.php

  • Why Salesforce might be interested in Twitter

    “Salesforce’s competitors are snapping up [data sources] and will integrate them into their platforms to add additional perspective and intelligence,” Brent Leary, co-founder at CRM Essentials told TechCrunch. “If this deal with Twitter happens, it’s to add a constant flow of information into their AI platform, to marry it with their transactional and customer information,” he added. That combination could provide additional data fuel for Einstein.

    https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/24/why-salesforce-might-be-interested-in-twitter/
    Why Google Needs Twitter More Than Salesforce — and What Facebook Has to Do With It

    But in other circumstances there is a different way to target customers and that’s using ads based on demographics, in Google’s case that’s called display ads. With demographics essentially you can reach users who you know have an interest in what you have to offer. When it comes to this type of advertising, Facebook (FB) is king. Facebook knows your age, sex, behaviors, what you like, it knows what you like to talk about and even what you’ve said. On top of all that, Facebook buys information about its users from third parties to know even more about them.

    https://www.thestreet.com/story/13750679/1/why-google-needs-twitter-more-than-salesforce-and-what-facebook-has-to-do-with-it.html

  • Meg Whitman and HP Five Years Later: Mission Accomplished?

    “We haven’t done anything stupid in the last four years,” she noted on a September 2015 analyst call, “and we don’t intend to do anything stupid in the future.” (These remarks came four years and one month after HP announced the Autonomy deal.) HP insiders still refer to August 18, 2011, the date that the Autonomy deal was announced, as a dark day in the company’s history.

    http://fortune.com/2016/09/27/whitman-hp-five-year/

  • Kustomer, founded by Salesforce alums, nabs $12.5M to repair customer care

    A new startup called Kustomer is getting ready to come out of stealth with an aim to fix all that by rebuilding the CRM from the point of view of the customer rep. Ambitiously, it is also trying to change the general business mindset in the process. By building a platform that is easy enough for everyone to use and holistic in the data it contains, Kustomer believes that anyone in a company, not just those relegated to the CRM silo, could act as a customer service rep.

    https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/27/kustomer-customer-care/?ncid=rss

  • Lenovo undergoes another big layoff round, mostly impacting Motorola

    The company is at it again, and while the number is less than list time, it’s still fairly significant, primarily impacting its Motorola Mobility smartphone business. In a statement issued early today, the company is looking to downplay things a bit in contrast to its overall numbers, noting that the moves “[impact] less than two percent of its approximately 55,000 employees globally.”

    https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/26/lenovo-layoffs/?ncid=rss

Photo: Jason Blackeye

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Supplier Report: 9/24/2016

sn_wheatmaze_peter-lobozzo

This week is Oracle World which means Larry Ellison is talking epic piles of trash against his competitors (IBM and Amazon). While Larry drops his truth bombs from his throne of garbage, Microsoft, SalesForce, and IBM take further steps in advancing AI.

In between sound-bytes, Oracle did manage to pick up a security automation company named Palerra. Google and Amazon both purchased companies to help develop and improve chatbots and even Apple grabbed a machine learning company named Tuplejump.

Blockchain was hot news this week as IBM secured paying customers in Japan to deploy their version of blockchain technology. As companies look to leverage blockchain for their own use, many early adopters are calling foul due to Accenture’s attempts to introduce the ability to edit transaction tables.

Acquisitions

  • Apple acquires another machine learning company: Tuplejump

    We’re hearing that Apple was particularly interested in “FiloDB”, an opensource project that Tuplejump was building to efficiently apply machine learning concepts and analytics to massive amounts of complex data right as it streamed in. According to its github page, FiloDB was primarily headed up by Evan Chan; Chan’s LinkedIn page says he’s been with Tuplejump since August of 2015.

    https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/22/apple-acquires-another-machine-learning-company-tuplejump/?ncid=rss

  • Oracle buys Palerra to boost its security stack

    Palerra’s business currently focuses on providing security automation for enterprise apps, covering not just data in the apps but as that data “moves across services and it offers several layers of protection across infrastructure and software services,” as we wrote about them last year. Given how many apps today integrate and exchange data by way of APIs, that makes for a significant business.

    https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/18/oracle-buys-palerra-to-boost-its-security-stack/?ncid=rss

  • Google’s new acquisition makes building chatbots easier

    Google took a shot at Facebook’s chatbot-building services on Monday with its acquisition of API.ai, a company that helps developers build and improve conversational interfaces for their services.

    API.ai has more than 60,000 developers using its platform to create conversational user interfaces for apps like Slack, Facebook Messenger and Kik. Its tools make it easier for programs to parse human language and translate it into action. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3121952/googles-new-acquisition-makes-building-chatbots-easier.html

  • Amazon wants a piece of the chatbot action too…

    It looks like Google, which yesterday acquired API.ai, a company that helps developers build conversational interfaces, isn’t the only major tech company hoovering up chat bot talent. TechCrunch understands that Angel.ai (formerly known as GoButler) has, at least partially, been acqui-hired by Amazon.

    The e-commerce giant confirmed that Angel.ai co-founder and CEO Navid Hadzaad has joined the company. “I can confirm that Navid started at Amazon, and that his first day was yesterday. We don’t have anything further to share at this time,” an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch.

    https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/20/angel-ai-a-company-that-builds-chat-bots-acqui-hired-by-amazon/?ncid=rss

  • Cisco and IBM Both Evaluate the Security Company Imperva

    An analyst note penned by Mitch Steves of RBC Capital Markets says a purchase by Cisco would align with its stated strategy to boost their security portfolio. He said that Cisco’s portfolio is “maximized in terms of attacks from the outside.” Imperva’s technology would be a “next step” in boosting its portfolio with hybrid cloud security, writes Steves.

    Imperva’s flagship product is its SecureSphere Data Security Suite, which can protect on-premises data as well as data in private, public, and hybrid clouds.

    https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/cisco-ibm-evaluate-security-company-imperva/2016/09/

  • Twitter shares spike on rumors of acquisition by Google, Microsoft, Salesforce or Verizon

    Twitter’s board of directors wants to sell, and a formal bid may come “shortly,” said CNBC, citing unnamed “people close to the situation.” But CNBC also said “no sale is imminent,” without accounting for the discrepancy.

    Negotiations are picking up steam and could be concluded by year-end, CNBC quoted one source as saying. The would-be buyers are said to be as interested in Twitter’s data as they are in its status as a media company.

    http://www.geekwire.com/2016/twitter-shares-spike-rumors-acquisition-google-microsoft-salesforce-verizon/

Artificial Intelligence

  • Microsoft Enlists AI, Cloud in Battle Against Cancer

    Microsoft is exploring multiple approaches, including a cloud-based tool called the Bio Model Analyzer, which creates a model of healthy cells and compares it against cells that grow cancerous, evaluating the interactions in the genes and proteins, offering researchers a window into how cancer spreads. The technology could help detect cancer earlier and may help doctors design effective treatments, cope with rare cancers and determine when and if a cancer will become resistant to a given treatment.

    Another cloud-based system called Literome trawls through millions of research papers, enabling oncologists to spend more time easing their patients’ suffering and less time combing through thick volumes of medical research. “To build Literome, [Microsoft researcher Hoifung] Poon and his colleagues used machine learning to develop natural language processing tools that require only a small amount of available knowledge to create a sophisticated model for finding those different descriptions of similar knowledge,” wrote Linn.

    http://www.eweek.com/enterprise-apps/microsoft-enlists-ai-cloud-in-battle-against-cancer.html
    sn_ai_arnold

  • Salesforce thinks AI will help it beat Microsoft and Oracle

    At next month’s Dreamforce, Salesforce’s mammoth annual customer conference that takes over downtown San Francisco, the company will introduce technology called Einstein, which it’s describing as the “world’s first comprehensive AI for CRM.”

    On the company’s second-quarter conference call in August, Benioff called it “AI for everyone.”

    Salesforce executives on Thursday gave a group of reporters an early look at Einstein in preparation for the unveiling. The general idea, as the name implies, is that sales tools are getting a whole lot smarter.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/19/salesforce-thinks-ai-will-help-it-beat-microsoft-and-oracle.html
    More:

    Powered by advanced machine learning, deep learning, predictive analytics, natural language processing and smart data discovery, Einstein’s breakthrough innovations allow models to be automatically customized for every single customer. These models learn, self-tune and get smarter with every interaction and additional piece of data. Einstein will automatically discover relevant insights, predict future behavior, proactively recommend best next actions and even automate tasks. Now every Salesforce user will be able to leverage AI capabilities to deliver more personalized and predictive customer experiences.

    https://mspoweruser.com/salesforce-announces-einstein-ai-platform-take-microsoft-others/

  • Microsoft surpasses IBM Watson, achieves lowest error rate for speech recognition

    WER, in case you are unaware of it, is a commonly used metric of the performance of voice based systems, including speech recognition or machine translation. Until now, the IBM Watson had the lowest WER of 6.9, although IBM had at a recent interspeech conference claimed achieving 6.6 percent error rate. However, Microsoft’s new systems are even better.

    https://thetechportal.com/2016/09/18/microsoft-surpasses-ibm-watson-voice/

  • IBM Watson is just ‘an advertisement’ for AI while Amazon Aurora is ‘not very good’ – Oracle’s Mark Hurd was on fire today

    Nothing we haven’t heard before, perhaps, but then things got really weird, as someone brought up AI. Hurd said artificial intelligence is “nothing more than pattern matching” and called IBM Watson an “advertisement”.

    “I look through a bunch of videos and say ‘Those two images are the same, or those two pieces of text are the same, or those two numbers are the same’. The real trick to this isn’t where you see it with advertisements like Watson, but the ability to get it into my day-to-day work,” said Hurd, alluding to yesterday’s keynote, when Ellison used a chatbot to order some business cards and make a crack about no longer being CEO, as the bot spotted his “change of title”.

    http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/news/2471270/ibm-watson-is-just-an-advertisement-for-ai-while-amazon-aurora-is-not-very-good-oracles-mark-hurd-was-on-fire-today

Cloud

Datacenter

  • Falling flash prices are a boon to enterprise storage buyers

    That was the big trend in the second quarter of this year, according to IDC. Enterprise storage systems factory revenue was US$8.8 billion, flat compared with last year’s second quarter, but the total capacity that vendors shipped increased 12.9 percent.

    Much of the credit goes to the falling price of a gigabit of flash storage, IDC analyst Liz Conner said. It’s amplified by the growing popularity of flash, which enterprises are adopting for both speed and space-saving. Technology advancements help: Where enterprises last year were ordering SSDs (solid-state drives) with up to 3TB, now they can buy in bulk with units as big as 15TB.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3121328/falling-flash-prices-are-a-boon-to-enterprise-storage-buyers.html

  • EMC: King of storage needs to shore up defenses

    EMC (18.1 per cent) lost -5.5 per cent points of revenue share in the year, HPE (17.6 per cent) gained 8.8 per cent, Dell (11.5 per cent) a relative monster increase of 13.8 per cent, IBM (6.8 per cent) lost -15.6 per cent (recently-appointed storage boss Ed Walsh has a mountain to climb) with NetApp (6.7 per cent) losing -3.2 per cent. The market amounted to $8.83 BN, with ‘Others’ taking 30.3 per cent of that and ODM direct 9 per cent.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/09/19/weakness_appears_in_emcs_storage_dominance/

  • As Dell and HPE revamp, Lenovo sets sights on enterprise cloud servers

    Lenovo wants a bigger chunk of that market and is working toward offering custom-built converged servers targeted at specific tasks. The company is also looking for a larger opportunity with custom hardware for large-scale customers.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3120742/as-dell-and-hpe-revamp-lenovo-sets-sights-on-enterprise-cloud-servers.html
    I called this out on SourceCast Episode 38

  • IBM focuses on a hybrid-cloud future with latest hardware and software

    In support of its emphasis on the hybrid approach, IBM cited its own recent survey of 1,000 respondents, who said 45 percent of workloads will remain on the premises despite cloud growth.

    IBM also announced new or strengthened relationships with partners Canonical, Hortonworks, Mirantis, NGINX and Red Hat. In particular, IBM and Red Hat together said they plan to deliver offerings built on open-source products including Red Hat’s enterprise Linux, its virtualization and its enterprise Linux High Availability.

    Research firm Gartner last month put IBM in the lower-left corner of its most recent Infrastructure-as-a-Service magic quadrant, well behind market-leader Amazon Web Services and behind Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

    http://www.geekwire.com/2016/ibm-focuses-hybrid-cloud-future-latest-hardware-software/

Software/SaaS/IaaS

  • Microsoft is shutting down Skype’s HQ in London as part of large-scale terminations

    Surprisingly, the Financial Times also reported an insider working in the Skype HQ stating that the move was not a surprise. Many in the office anticipated the same and had been leaving the company since the past few years. The layoffs so far have been attributed to the Microsoft’s struggling smartphones business.

    http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/microsoft-is-shutting-down-skypes-hq-in-london-as-part-of-large-scale-terminations-335844.html

  • Cisco and Salesforce join forces for sales, service and IoT solutions

    The two companies will tie up on both Salesforce and Cisco products to offer enhanced capabilities in Salesforce’s Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, Salesforce IoT Cloud and Cisco’s Unified Contact Center Enterprise.

    Helping organisations collaborate better, Cisco and Salesforce’s first announcement will see Cisco Spark and WebEx integrated into Salesforce’s Sales Cloud and Service Cloud via the Salesforce Lightning Framework. It will help colleagues communicate better via chat, video, and voice without leaving Salesforce.

    http://www.cloudpro.co.uk/sales-crm/6327/cisco-and-salesforce-join-forces-for-sales-service-and-iot-solutions

Other

  • Employees, not outsiders, are responsible for most cyber threats, IBM says

    Sixty percent of all attacks in 2015 were made by insiders – employees, contractors, consultants and third-party vendors – with malicious intent or inadvertent actors. Inadvertent actors are initiated or instigated by trustworthy people within an organization.

    Two-thirds of these attacks were fueled by malicious intent and the rest were the result of inadvertent actions.

    http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/employees-not-outsiders-are-responsible-most-cyber-threats-ibm-says
    sn_officespace

  • Silicon Valley layoffs beat any dot.com bust records

    An additional 62,917 jobs were lost in June 2016 from Silicon Valley alone. And then there were veiled threats from Apple, Google, Amazon and more that use Ireland as a tax haven.

    Tech recruitment company Challenger commented, “Companies that do not adapt to changing trends will be left behind. Nobody knows this better than technology firms, where the very nature of the business means constantly evolving and shifting resources. We are seeing this play out with Cisco, just as it has played out with Intel, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and several other tech giants in recent months.”

    http://www.itwire.com/recruitment/74825-silicon-valley-layoffs-beat-any-dot-com-bust-records.html

  • HP printers block third party print cartridges

    HP printers are no longer recognising unofficial and cheaper printer ink cartridges after a firmware update, according to third party Dutch printer ink vendor 123inkt.

    HP admits that as a result of the update, settings had been changed so HP printers would only communicate with cartridges with HP chips.

    http://www.channelbiz.co.uk/2016/09/19/hp-printers-block-third-party-print-cartridges/
    Translation: HPI doesn’t make any money on the printers so they are doing everything they can to make you buy their ink.

  • Oracle Receives Favorable Ruling, Awarded $100 Million

    The United States District Court for the District of Nevada not only granted Oracle’s motion for a permanent injunction but also ordered Rimini and its CEO to pay more than $100 million in punitive charges.

    The favorable ruling is quite a breather after Oracle’s recent litigation setbacks against Alphabet Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise

    http://www.nasdaq.com/article/oracle-receives-favorable-ruling-awarded-100-million-cm683847

Photo: Peter Lobozzo

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