Tag Archives: IBM

Supplier Report: 1/19/2018

Amazon released a finalist list of 20 cities that will compete to host Amazon’s HQ2.  Philadelphia, Newark, and Boston are all in the running.  As Amazon looks to grow in a new city, they have grown all over the internet, commanding 62% of the entire cloud market.

Google is trying to compete and differentiate from AWS by adding more capacity overseas via 3 massive underwater cables. They are also trying get AI to the masses with tools that require little to no experience programming AI.  That solution is… a work in progress.  

Google is also making friends with a potential fix for Meltdown and Spectre that won’t impact CPU performance.

Meanwhile, IBM is celebrating breaking the 22-quarter revenue losing streak! Revenue is up, but their stock was down 4%.

Acquisitions

  • What the JAGGAER/BravoSolution deal means for procurement

    The focus of the acquisition, instead, seems to be to tap into the widely different client bases for both providers, and the potential to expand into a larger range of vertical markets. BravoSolution has a large body of public sector customers, and identified construction, utilities and oil as target areas, while JAGGAER has a strong presence among pharmaceutical and discrete manufacturing companies.

    The drive to provide both direct, and indirect, procurement for a wider range of verticals seems to be the principal vision underpinning the move.

    https://www.procurementleaders.com/blog/guest/what-the-jaggaerbravosolution-deal-means-for-procurement–681579

Artificial Intelligence

  • Google’s new cloud service lets you train your own AI tools, no coding knowledge required

    You might have heard of Google’s AutoML initiative before now. It was announced at the company’s I/O conference last year, and is focused on creating machine learning software that can design machine learning software, a hot area of research in the AI community. (The basic premise is simple: you make different algorithms compete with one another, pick the winners, and then make them compete. Rinse and repeat.) Cloud AutoML isn’t working with tools as sophisticated as this, but it does aim to solve the same underlying problem of making AI less painful to code.

    Cloud AutoML does this by offering users a simple graphical interface for training their own machine learning model. So far, the service is limited to image recognition, letting users drag and drop a set of pictures, and then watching as the software starts picking out recurrent elements or items. Urban Outfitters, for example, is testing how Cloud AutoML might be used to identify items of clothing in their catalog, so users can filter by certain characteristics.

    https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/17/16901126/google-cloud-ai-services-automl

Cloud

  • Another Amazon Win: Two-Thirds of the Cloud

    Research at KeyBanc reported that Amazon Web Services had 62% of the cloud market last year, followed by Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) at 20%. Its cloud business is called Azure. KeyBanc said that AWS lost a small amount of share last year, but its lead is still insurmountable for the foreseeable future.

    The news could hardly be better for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his company’s shareholders. Amazon’s North American and International e-commerce divisions barely make money in many quarters. AWS has impressive margins. For Amazon as a whole to post strong earnings, AWS has to continue to grow and keep big margins.

    http://247wallst.com/technology-3/2018/01/13/another-amazon-win-two-thirds-of-the-cloud/

  • Google is building three new underwater cables to compete with Microsoft and Amazon in the cloud

    In an effort to expand its cloud business and compete more effectively with rival Microsoft and Amazon, Google will build three new underwater fiber optic cables from the Pacific Ocean to the North Sea over the course of the next two years, according to The Wall Street Journal. These cables will extend Google’s private network into regions where its competitors have yet to stake their own claim, and should be finished before the end of 2019.

    Each of the sub-sea cables have been given their own name: Curie is a private cable connecting Chile to Los Angeles; Havfrue is a consortium cable connecting the United States to Denmark and Ireland; and the Hong Kong-Guam cable system (HK-G) is another consortium cable that will link major underwater communication hubs in Asia.

    http://bgr.com/2018/01/16/google-underwater-cables-cloud-business-expansion/

  • Comcast Cable Partners with Amazon Web Services for Cloud Computing

    Comcast Cable has announced today that they will be partnering with Amazon Web Services for cloud computing infrastructure.

    This partnership will help Comcast Cable utilize the server technology with AWS.

    Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal are currently connected with AWS to provide them with new and engaging revenue-generating products within the competitive entertainment industry.

    https://crescentvale.com/2018/01/comcast-cable-partners-amazon-web-services-cloud-computing/

  • No One is Sure Why Amazon Needs a HIPAA Compliance Officer

    The HIPAA Compliance Officer will be asked to create “a HIPAA security and compliance program to ensure that technology and business processes meet our HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) requirements.” The listing doesn’t specify what projects it is planning, or what data it will be handling, that will fall under HIPAA or HITECH regulation.

    Amazon could be exploring legitimate medical applications for its Alexa-powered talking cylinders, like the Echo, and their underlying technology, according to speculation. “Experience with FDA and the 510K process” is listed as a preferred qualification—510(k) applies to premarket certification of medical devices.

    Alexa does have some health-related “skills,” like a basic medical app that delivers Mayo Clinic guidance on basic conditions like fevers or burns. Those are a far cry, however, from the sort of application that would handle protected health information and require HIPAA oversight.

    http://www.hcanews.com/news/no-one-is-sure-why-amazon-needs-a-hipaa-compliance-officer
    Foolish headline. This position could be for Alexa, or it could be as simple as ensuring their web services are better positioned for insurance and medical entities.

Datacenter

  • Apple will boost its spending on data centers by $10 billion over the next 5 years

    Apple is increasing the amount it plans to spend on data centers by $10 billion over the next five years, the company said in its announcement on Wednesday about contributing $350 billion to the U.S. economy.

    The buildout will help Apple support its growing web services, like the App Store and Apple Music. Services is Apple’s fastest growing business, outpacing revenue growth in key products like iPhones and iPads. Apple has said it aims to double its services revenue from $24 billion in its 2016 fiscal year to $48 billion by 2020.

    Perhaps more important, the new spending could make room for Apple to spend less money on other companies’ cloud services. Apple has relied on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure to meet its computing needs, despite that it competes with those companies in certain areas.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/17/apple-to-boost-data-center-capex-by-10-billion.html

Software/SaaS

  • City of Barcelona will replace Microsoft’s Windows with Linux

    The users of the City of Barcelona will have to use alternatives to Microsoft products like Open-Xchange instead of Microsoft Exchange Server, LibreOffice or OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office, etc. which is a bummer. Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer would also be replaced by other alternative browsers like Mozilla Firefox, etc.

    As reported by the newspaper, the City Council wants to avoid paying or spending money on services with licensing cost. That’s where open source software come where anyone can modify the source provided and there is no need to pay anything for the license. The City Council is also committed to investing 70% of the budget in software for open source software.

    https://www.windowslatest.com/2018/01/13/city-barcelona-will-replace-microsofts-windows-linux/

  • Snap Inc. lays off at least two dozen amid slowed user growth and engagement

    Snap Inc. has laid off at least two dozen people across several divisions within the company, according to the Information, which first reported the news.

    Snap has since confirmed these layoffs, which largely affect those on the content teams in the New York and London offices. Over half of the two dozen employees laid off today were part of the content team.

    Snap tells TechCrunch that what’s left of the content division will now move to the company’s Venice, California location and that it will continue to hire on the content team. According to Snap, this is just part of finding the right people for the job.

    These layoffs may also not have been unexpected as they are part of a reorganization effort to cut costs due to the lackluster growth at the six-year old company.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/18/snap-inc-lays-off-at-least-two-dozen-amid-slowed-user-growth-and-engagement/?ncid=rss

Security

  • Google claims to have a Spectre fix that doesn’t slow down PCs

    According to Google, its patch, code-named Retpoline and which is software-implemented, has no or little impact on performance. “Retpoline sequences are a software construct which allow indirect branches to be isolated from speculative execution. This may be applied to protect sensitive binaries (such as operating system or hypervisor implementations) from branch target injection attacks against their indirect branches,” explained Retpoline creator Paul Turner.

    “This confirmed our internal assessment that in real-world use, the performance-optimized updates Google deployed do not have a material effect on workloads,” Google VP Ben Treynor Sloss wrote. “We believe that Retpoline-based protection is the best-performing solution for Variant 2 on current hardware. Retpoline fully protects against Variant 2 without impacting customer performance on all our platforms. In sharing our research publicly, we hope that this can be universally deployed to improve the cloud experience industry-wide.”

    http://bgr.com/2018/01/12/google-spectre-patch-retpoline-explainer-analysis/

Other

  • Amazon Narrows Choices for ‘HQ2’ to 20

    Atlanta
    Austin, Texas
    Boston
    Chicago
    Columbus, Ohio
    Dallas
    Denver
    Indianapolis
    Los Angeles
    Miami
    Montgomery County, Md.
    Nashville
    Newark, N.J.
    New York City
    Northern Virginia
    Philadelphia
    Pittsburgh
    Raleigh, N.C.
    Toronto
    Washington D.C.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-narrows-choices-for-second-headquarters-to-20-1516284607?mg=prod/accounts-wsj

  • IBM’s year-over-year revenue didn’t decline in the last quarter

    Virtually all IBM business units reported increased revenues, including 32 percent growth in the “Systems” unit, which includes hardware and operating systems software — and which interestingly was an area where IBM definitely struggled in the past, though its z Systems and storage line is showing some clear growth now.

    IBM’s hybrid cloud services, as well as security and mobile service, which fall under the “Technology Services & Cloud Platforms” segment, saw 15 percent growth in the last quarter, even as the overall segment saw a 1 percent drop in revenue, to $9.2 billion.

    The company also notes that it took a $5.5 billion charge because of the enactment of the U.S.’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. IBM’s GAAP tax rate, including this one-time charge, was 124 percent for Q4 and 49 percent for the full year. That’s not unexpected, but it may hurt the company as it’s looking to grow its revenue over the next few quarters.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/18/ibms-year-over-year-revenue-didnt-decline-in-the-last-quarter/?ncid=rss

Photo: Ken Goulding

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Supplier Report: 1/12/2018

The tech industry is still dealing with the fallout of the Spectre and Meltdown bugs as companies scramble to patch the vulnerability.

A consequence of such hasty actions is that the patches are 1.) introducing new bugs, 2.) breaking some AMD-powered computers, and 3.) most computers that are patched will see permanent performance impact.

There is a rumor that IBM is looking to reduce global services headcount by another 10,000 employees as news of a new CFO is announced.

To complete this wonderful news cycle, it seems that Boston might be the front-runner to host Amazon’s HQ2.

Acquisitions

  • Verizon acquires autonomous threat detection startup Niddel

    Niddel’s primary product, Niddel Magnet is a subscription service that uses machine learning to locate infected or compromised machines inside an organization. It works completely autonomously and doesn’t require customers to generate their own code, rules, searches or even any kind of content.

    “Using machine learning to improve information accuracy significantly reduces false positives and significantly improves our detection and response capabilities,” Alexander Schlager, Verizon’s executive director for security services explained in a statement. Those capabilities were one of the primary reasons the company made the acquisition.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/05/verizon-acquires-autonomous-threat-detection-startup-niddel/?ncid=rss

  • Google acquired Redux, a U.K. startup focused on audio and haptics

    Alphabet, the umbrella corporation of Google, Inc. etc., has quietly acquired a UK-based startup called Redux, reports Bloomberg.

    Redux was founded in 2013 out of Cambridge, and built technology that uses vibrations to turn surfaces of phones or tablets into speakers or provide haptic feedback.

    The acquisition is reflected on Crunchbase, and in confirmed transfer of shares within U.K. regulatory filings. Google has made no mention of the acquisition as of yet.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/11/google-acquired-redux-a-u-k-startup-focused-on-audio-and-haptics/?ncid=rss

  • Accenture: Large-scale agency M&A is ‘not our game’ as we have ‘amazing momentum’

    However, Pierre Nanterme, the chairman and chief executive of Accenture, gave a strong signal on his most recent quarterly earnings call that he is not interested in large-scale M&A.

    “This is not our game at Accenture,” he said in response to a question from a Wall Street analyst about whether Accenture Interactive might make “larger deals, rather than tuck-ins”.

    Nanterme explained: “Our game is to drive organic growth on top of acquisitions of very specific companies with very specific and differentiated capabilities.

    “And then what Accenture is offering to these companies we’re acquiring is our unique access to the best brands in the world and our unique geographic footprint.”

    https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/accenture-large-scale-agency-m-a-not-game-amazing-momentum/1453907
    Accenture to acquire Germany based visualization firm Mackevision

    Accenture has entered into an agreement to acquire Germany-based Mackevision, a leading global producer of 3D-enabled and immersive product content. The acquisition will add visualization capabilities to Accenture Interactive’s digital services portfolio – strengthening its ability to create compelling, next-generation customer experiences and industrial, extended reality applications. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

    https://techobserver.in/article/enterprise-it/accenture-acquire-germany-based-visualization-firm-mackevision

Artificial Intelligence

  • Japanese scientists just used AI to read minds and it’s amazing

    But the scientists from Kyoto developed new techniques of “decoding” thoughts using deep neural networks (artificial intelligence). The new technique allows the scientists to decode more sophisticated “hierarchical” images, which have multiple layers of color and structure, like a picture of a bird or a man wearing a cowboy hat, for example.

    “We have been studying methods to reconstruct or recreate an image a person is seeing just by looking at the person’s brain activity,” Kamitani, one of the scientists, tells CNBC Make It. “Our previous method was to assume that an image consists of pixels or simple shapes. But it’s known that our brain processes visual information hierarchically extracting different levels of features or components of different complexities.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2018/01/08/japanese-scientists-use-artificial-intelligence-to-decode-thoughts.html

Cloud

  • Why Oracle can’t buy its way to success in the cloud wars

    For such modern cloud applications, Oracle proves a poor fit. Not only does the company offer a comparatively malnourished catalog of cloud services compared to leading vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, even its former strengths become weaknesses in the brave new cloud world. For example, one of its best selling points—vertical scale—proves its Achilles Heel in modern application infrastructure, where horizontal scale at levels simply impossible in an Oracle environment becomes the norm.

    Oracle’s immediate answer seems to be to stick to its old game plan, leveraging its legacy database to broker a role in modern workloads. It’s not working. As Rishidot Research’s founder and chief research advisor Krishnan Subramanian has called out, “[Oracle] needs to shore up higher order services…to compete effectively with AWS and Azure. They cannot just rely on their database service as the path to cloud success and they need to compete with AWS on the breadth and depth of higher order services.”

    https://www.techrepublic.com/article/why-oracle-cant-buy-its-way-to-success-in-the-cloud-wars/

Datacenter

  • Intel reveals possible slowdowns from ‘Meltdown’ processor fix

    Your personal computers will be less than 10 percent slower after you install the Spectre/Meltdown fix, Intel has revealed in a blog post. Intel has come to that conclusion after assessing the performance changes in computers using 6th, 7th and 8th Generation Intel core processors with Windows 10. Systems equipped with 8th generation (Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake) chips and SSDs will be the least affected, with the expected impact being less than 6 percent. Devices using the 7th Gen Kaby Lake-H mobile processors will be around 7 percent slower, while the performance impact on systems with the 6th Gen Skylake-S platform is approximately 8 percent.

    Depending on how you use your computer, you may not even notice a difference. Based on Intel’s benchmark results, though, you will notice some slowdown if you browse the web and use applications, and it’s safe to say that most people do. Obviously, if you use your computer for heavy applications, the slowdown will be more noticeable.

    https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/11/intel-reveals-meltdown-processor-benchmark-slowdown/

Software/SaaS

  • Why Microsoft’s Cosmos DB may displace AWS’s cloud databases

    While Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft SQL Server stand supreme at the top of the database heap, their cloud competitors have been gaining steam—and fast. It’s probably not yet accurate to say that databases like DynamoDB and Azure Cosmos DB are gaining ground on the old guard, given that Oracle remains more than 100 times as popular as Cosmos, for example. But for new applications largely born in the cloud, these cloud-first databases dominate.

    This matters because, as Gartner analyst Thomas Bittman has written, there’s a pronounced (and accelerating) shift from private datacenters to public cloud environments: “New stuff tends to go to the public cloud, while doing old stuff in new ways tends to go to private clouds. And new stuff is simply growing faster.” Not just a little bit faster, either: We’re talking about a 20X growth rate for the public cloud versus a 3X growth rate for private datacenters, by his analysis. Of course, legacy workloads dwarf these new cloud-friendly applications, but that won’t be true for long.

    https://www.itworld.com/article/3245808/database/why-microsofts-cosmos-db-may-displace-aws-cloud-databases.html

  • Barry Padgett Appointed as New SAP Ariba President

    SAP announced two leadership changes Thursday, with Alex Atzberger moving to president of SAP Hybris and Barry Padgett taking over the helm at SAP Ariba, according to a press release. SAP Hybris solutions “comprise the omnichannel customer engagement and commerce business at SAP” and include offerings for commerce, marketing, sales, service and revenue. Padgett, who joined SAP through the acquisition of Concur, will focus on the oversight of SAP’s business network strategy as Ariba’s new president.

    “Positioning these proven leaders, both with deep customer empathy and a business vision rooted in a beautiful customer experience, will have a tremendous, positive impact for customers worldwide,” said Robert Enslin, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE and president of Cloud Business Group, SAP. “The business acumen and expertise both Alex and Barry bring to their respective roles, coupled with the engineering innovation agendas already underway, will greatly advance SAP’s leadership pursuits in the areas of procurement, customer engagement and commerce.”

    http://spendmatters.com/2018/01/09/afternoon-coffee-barry-padgett-appointed-new-sap-ariba-president-whole-foods-places-new-limitations-suppliers/

  • Signal Partners With Microsoft to Encrypt Skype Messages

    The newest Skype preview now supports the Signal protocol: the end-to-end encrypted protocol already used by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Allo, and, of course, Signal. Skype Private Conversations will support text, audio calls, and file transfers, with end-to-end encryption that Microsoft, Signal, and, it’s believed, law enforcement agencies cannot eavesdrop on.

    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/01/skype-finally-getting-end-to-end-encryption/

Security

  • Intel Fumbles Its Patch for Chip Flaw

    Intel is quietly advising some customers to hold off installing patches that address new security flaws affecting virtually all of its processors. It turns out the patches had bugs of their own.

    The glitch underscores the complexity of Intel’s challenge as it scrambles to fix the unprecedented vulnerabilities, which were disclosed more than a week ago.

    In a confidential document shared with some customers Wednesday and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Intel said it identified three issues in updates released over the past week for “microcode,” or firmware—software that is installed directly on the processor. The updates are separate from patches produced by operating system companies such as Microsoft Corp.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/intel-warns-its-patches-for-chip-flaws-are-buggy-1515715212

  • AMD Hits a Snag Over Patch for Chip Flaw

    Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday said some customers found their AMD-powered computers were unusable after applying the latest security patches for the Windows operating system.

    On an online support page, Microsoft said it would “temporarily pause” sending updates to some devices running AMD processors. After investigating, the software giant said it found “some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/amd-hits-a-snag-over-patch-for-chip-flaw-1515528197

  • Oracle app server hack let one attacker mine $226,000 worth of cryptocoins

    These attackers aren’t stealing data from victims, however—at least as far as anyone can tell. Instead, the exploit is being used to mine cryptocurrencies. In one case, according to analysis posted today by SANS Dean of Research Johannes B. Ullrich, the attacker netted at least 611 Monero coins (XMR)—$226,000 dollars’ worth of the cryptocurrency.

    The attacks appear to have leveraged a proof-of-concept exploit of the Oracle vulnerability published in December by Chinese security researcher Lian Zhang. Almost immediately after the proof of concept was published, there were reports of it being used to install cryptominers from several different locations—attacks launched from servers (some of them likely compromised servers themselves) hosted by Digital Ocean, GoDaddy, and Athenix.

    https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/01/hackers-turn-weblogic-peoplesoft-servers-into-cryptocoin-miners/

Other

  • China Swats Jack Ma’s Ant Over Customer Privacy

    Chinese internet regulators scolded the country’s leading mobile-payments company for compromising its customers’ privacy, putting pressure on firms to better protect personal data in a society subject to heavy state surveillance.

    The Cyberspace Administration of China said Wednesday that it had summoned representatives of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. affiliate Ant Financial Services Group to dress them down for automatically enrolling users in its credit-scoring system.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-swats-jack-mas-ant-over-customer-privacy-1515581339

  • IBM names James Kavanaugh as CFO

    IBM chief financial officer Martin Schroeter will move to a new role and will be replaced by company veteran James Kavanaugh, effective immediately.

    Schroeter, who has been with the company for more than 25 years and has been finance chief for the last four years, will become senior vice-president for global markets.

    His replacement, Kavanaugh, joined IBM in 1996 from AT&T and is currently a senior vice-president heading IBM’s transformation efforts.

    While the announcement was unexpected, the logic behind the move is not and Kavanaugh would be a logical replacement for Schroeter, said Stifel analyst David Grossman.

    https://www.itweb.co.za/content/j5alrMQgae9vpYQk

  • IBM reportedly will reassign 30,000+ staffers in services division and possibly cut 10,000 jobs

    According to a report in The Register Thursday, IBM is planning to reassign more than 30,000 staff from its Global Technology Services division, which primarily offers hardware and infrastructure consulting services, to other roles within the company.

    That amounts to about 30 percent of GTS’ overall staff, who are set to be “productively redeployed,” according to a leaked document (pictured). About 10,000 of the affected staff are said to be based in the U.S., The Register added.

    The staff reassignments, expected to take place later this year, could ultimately see about 10,000 jobs lost through “attrition,” with no plans to replace departing employees. However, the overall head count could be even higher, as a document leaked to The Register shows that 5,000 staff have yet to be assigned new positions, which means they could ultimately be laid off. And of those that have been reassigned, some may only be moved to “short term” positions, said one unnamed employee.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2018/01/11/ibm-reassign-30000-staff-gts-division-10000-jobs-lost/

  • Amazon could be leaning toward Boston for new HQ2

    Boston has already been floated as a prime candidate for the new HQ2 because it is one of the U.S. cities where Amazon has research and development operations. Amazon, according to The Business Journals, has almost 1,000 workers in Boston who focus on Amazon Web Services, Audible, Alexa and speech-recognition software. Later this year, the opening of its Fort Point office will add 900 employees to the company’s Boston ranks.

    https://www.constructiondive.com/news/amazon-could-be-leaning-toward-boston-for-new-hq2/514674/

Photo: Robert Szadkowski

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Supplier Report: 12/15/2017

It was a bad week. 

Net Neutrality was repealed, GE is cutting 12,000 jobs, Microsoft is reportedly underpaying women and hurting their careers, IBM is looking to eliminate more jobs, and the Amazon boon in Seattle is finally slowing down.

At least Google is slashing their machine learning prices…

Acquisitions

  • Apple is acquiring music recognition app Shazam

    One source describes the deal as in the nine figures; another puts it at around £300 million ($401 million). We are still asking around. Notably, though, the numbers we’ve heard are lower than the $1.02 billion (according to PitchBook) post-money valuation the company had in its last funding round, in 2015.

    In all, Shazam has raised $143.5 million from investors that include Kleiner Perkins, London’s DN Capital, IVP and strategic investors Sony Music, Universal Music and Access Industries (which owns Warner Music). Kleiner Perkins also invested in competitor SoundHound.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/08/sources-apple-is-acquiring-music-recognition-app-shazam/?ncid=rss

  • Coupa Acquires Simeno to Augment Catalog Search and Management Capabilities

    Coupa has acquired procure-to-pay (P2P) provider Simeno, extending the platform’s marketplace strategy to provide deeper and pre-integrated supplier connections and opening key markets to support continued expansion.

    Financial terms of the transaction were not immediately disclosed, though Spend Matters estimates that buying Simeno will be accretive to Coupa, based on the various metrics by which investors measure the firm today.

    http://spendmatters.com/2017/12/11/coupa-acquires-simeno-augment-catalog-search-management-capability/

  • Google, Microsoft concerned that a Broadcom acquisition of Qualcomm will benefit Apple

    Google and Microsoft are concerned about the long shadow that Apple is casting across the deal. Apple and Qualcomm are enmeshed in a number of lawsuits and the relationship between the two is so bad that Apple is said to be looking elsewhere for a new supplier of modem chips for 2018 CDMA iPhone models. Currently, Intel modem chips are used inside GSM variants of the iPhone, and that will probably remain the case next year.

    Microsoft has started to compete with the Apple iPad by producing a series of hybrid tablet/laptops that are the first Windows 10 PCs to be powered by Qualcomm chips. Google has plenty of skin in this game with the majority of Android phone manufacturers using Qualcomm chips as well. The pair are afraid that if Broadcom buys Qualcomm, the newly merged company would favor Apple over their interests. For example, Broadcom Chief Executive Hock Tan has reportedly said that he is optimistic about settling the multiple lawsuits with Apple if his company buys Qualcomm. And with Broadcom’s reputation as a cost cutter, Microsoft and Google fear that a merger will sharply curtail innovation in the industry.

    https://www.phonearena.com/news/Google-Microsoft-concerned-that-a-Broadcom-acquisition-of-Qualcomm-will-benefit-Apple_id100598

Artificial Intelligence

  • Microsoft starts own ‘AI University’ to address skills shortage

    “We try to work with them [universities] to fuel that talent pipeline,” said Bishop. “So for example we’re a major sponsor of a masters programme at Cambridge University.”

    Microsoft currently funds around 200 PhD scholarships at Cambridge University, significantly more than other companies like Google.

    “One of the things we’re trying to avoid doing is simply going into a university, hoovering up all the top professors and then just leaving tumbleweed blowing down the corridors,” he said.

    “That might be a short term fix for some companies but I don’t think it serves even the industry itself very well, let alone academia or the nation, to take that rather short term view.”

    https://mspoweruser.com/microsoft-starts-ai-university-to-address-skills-shortage/

  • Accenture’s Advice on Using AI to Succeed in the “New Business Process Era”

    There are three things to consider here. First: transformation takes time. Companies need to collect the relevant data, develop the necessary systems, and build the underpinning analytics and AI. Second: digital procurement requires investment. Fortunately, digital procurement capabilities are increasingly available as a service, which could reduce upfront investments and accelerate transformation. Finally: transformation takes vision. This is big departure from how procurement has traditionally operated. Companies need to have an internal champion who can define what the future procurement organization will look like and how the company can make it a reality.

    http://www.scmr.com/article/accentures_advice_on_using_ai_to_succeed_in_the_new_business_process_era

  • Google slashes prices for its machine learning service as AWS steps up competition

    The company has introduced massive price reductions for its Cloud Machine Learning Engine managed services. For example, customers using basic-tier compute for training a machine learning system will pay 43 percent less than they did earlier this year. Google also offered customers more clarity on what they’ll be paying for those jobs.

    Information of the price reductions was first included in a blog post that appeared briefly yesterday on Google’s website, then vanished. A representative for the company declined to comment further on the news when reached for comment.

    https://venturebeat.com/2017/12/12/google-slashes-prices-for-its-machine-learning-service-as-aws-steps-up-competition/

Cloud

  • AWS just opened another cloud computing region in China

    AWS said its China (Ningxia) Region, operated by Ningxia Western Cloud Data Technology (NWCD), is now up and running and provides customers another option to run applications and store data on AWS in China.

    Whereas in most of the world AWS owns and operates its own cloud infrastructure, in China the situation is more complicated. Chinese law forbids non-Chinese companies from owning or operating cloud computing infrastructure.

    To comply with China’s legal and regulatory requirements, AWS has formed a strategic technology collaboration with NWCD to operate and provide services from the AWS China (Ningxia) Region.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/aws-just-opened-another-cloud-computing-region-in-china/

  • Google, Looking to Tiptoe Back Into China, Announces A.I. Center

    On Wednesday, it unveiled a small but symbolically significant move toward that end: a China-based center devoted to artificial intelligence. The move nods to the country’s growing strength in A.I., thanks to substantial government funding prompted by Beijing’s ambition of having a say in the technologies of the future.

    Google said the center would have a team of experts in Beijing, where the company has hundreds of employees in research and development, as well as other roles. The center will be led by Fei-Fei Li, who runs Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab and leads the artificial intelligence arm of Google’s Cloud business, and Jia Li, the head of research and development for the A.I. division of Google Cloud.

    The Silicon Valley company, which announced the center’s opening at a software developer conference in Shanghai, cited China’s growing academic and technical contributions to the A.I. field, and said the new center would be “working closely with the vibrant Chinese A.I. research community.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/business/google-ai-china.html

Security

  • Kaspersky Lab is closing its Washington, DC office

    Kaspersky Lab Inc. has had a rough time with the US government this year and now Bloomberg reports that the company will be closing its Washington, DC office. However, while its government business seems to be dead in the water, Kaspersky still plans to sell to non-federal US customers and will be opening offices in Chicago and Los Angeles next year.

    In July, the Trump administration removed Kaspersky from its list of approved IT vendors and in August reports surfaced that the FBI was trying to convince companies to ditch Kaspersky’s products. These moves were a result of US government suspicions that Kaspersky funnels information from its customers to the Russian government. Best Buy pulled Kaspersky products from its shelves shortly thereafter and the US government ultimately banned federal agencies from using the company’s security software in September.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/12/08/kaspersky-lab-closing-washington-dc-office/

  • The Bitcoin Whales: 1,000 People Who Own 40 Percent of the Market

    About 40 percent of bitcoin is held by perhaps 1,000 users; at current prices, each may want to sell about half of his or her holdings, says Aaron Brown, former managing director and head of financial markets research at AQR Capital Management. (Brown is a contributor to the Bloomberg Prophets online column.) What’s more, the whales can coordinate their moves or preview them to a select few. Many of the large owners have known one another for years and stuck by bitcoin through the early days when it was derided, and they can potentially band together to tank or prop up the market.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-08/the-bitcoin-whales-1-000-people-who-own-40-percent-of-the-market

Other

  • The FCC officially votes to kill net neutrality

    Chairman Pai trotted out the same talking points he’s been pushing since 2015. That the law that dictates the internet remain “unfettered by federal and state regulation” (that part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act is advisory, and also about porn); that the 2015 rules were “designed in the ’30s to regulate Ma Bell” (they were rebuilt from the ground up in 1996, as he explained moments earlier); that the regulations had destroyed jobs (the jobs never existed); that small ISPs were harmed (I’ve asked the ones he’s cited repeatedly and they have never explained how) — and how edge providers are a bigger threat than ISP discrimination.

    Ironically, he asked that the internet be “driven by engineers” and not “lawyers and accountants” — ironic because hundreds of prominent engineers have pointed out the technical shortcomings of the order, which is largely based on economic analysis and legal hair-splitting.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/14/the-fcc-officially-votes-to-kill-net-neutrality/?ncid=rss
    What’s Next:

    There are two tacks they might take. First is the possibility of using the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to undo recently instituted regulations, to nix the FCC’s plan; Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) just announced he will do this. This is the most straightforward solution, and one the Republican Congress recently deployed in order to kill several Obama-era regulations, including the Broadband Privacy Rule. That action was particularly unpopular, and Republicans aiming to look progressive may hop on board a Democratic bill. Bipartisan talks will have to take place — this can’t be done without work on both sides of the aisle.

    A CRA repeal of Restoring Internet Freedom would be devastating to the FCC’s plans, but likely would leave intact the legislative ambiguities that gave rise to today’s issues.

    A true solution would involve amending the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The critical part of all this is the classification of broadband under Title II of the act, and if that could be accomplished by legislation — it would only take a few words — it would put an end to these questions once and for all. However, to amend a major bill is not something a minority party is likely to attempt. And with the threat of a veto hanging over them, it’s very unlikely that this will come to pass until a Democratic president is elected.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/14/the-fcc-just-repealed-net-neutrality-what-happens-next/?ncid=rss

  • GE is cutting 12,000 jobs

    The jobs are in the electrical power division, which makes the giant turbines and generators that the company estimates provide about one-third of the electricity produced around the world.

    GE (GE) is by far the worst-performing stock in the Dow this year, down 44%, and CEO John Flannery, who took over in August, has been trying to slash costs.

    The company says the job cuts will mostly be outside the United States. The power division’s headcount will be reduced about 18%. About 295,000 people worked for GE overall at the end of last year, but the company has cut jobs and costs throughout this year. It hopes to reduce costs by $1 billion next year.

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/12/07/news/companies/ge-job-cuts/index.html?section=money_topstories

  • Cost-hurling IBM seeks more volunteers for employment bonfire

    As revealed by us in recent weeks, IBM told staff in TSS and ISD to form Employee Consultation Committees ahead of entering a 45-day consultation to discuss ways to improve margins – i.e. by cutting jobs.

    The length of the consultation, which started on December 6, indicates at least 100 people from each of the two departments will be kicked to the curb once the period ends. Before that happens, IBM is giving employees a chance to apply to leave. Applicants that are accepted will be out on December 31.

    The ISD memo, like TSS, stated: “We are now launching an Open Voluntary Separation Programme. The programme is open to all in-scope UK IBM regular employees working in the IS Delivery business area in the UK.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/12/08/ibm_isd_voluntary_redundancies/

  • Amazon’s Seattle hiring frenzy slows sharply; what’s going on?

    Still, the pullback is a reminder that Amazon’s frantic expansion during the last few years — contributing to a boom that nudged the city’s unemployment rate near record lows, pushed housing costs to a record high, and sparked a debate about the company’s civic role in Seattle — won’t last forever.

    The slowdown also comes as the company seeks space to expand outside Seattle. Amazon is evaluating 238 bids it received from municipalities interested in welcoming Amazon’s second, “equal,” headquarters dubbed HQ2, which the company has indicated it could begin staffing as early as 2019.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/amazons-seattle-hiring-frenzy-slows-sharply-whats-going-on/

  • Two New Reports Say Microsoft Overwhelmingly Underpays Women and Stifles Their Career Advancement

    The plaintiffs filed to make the lawsuit a class action at the end of October and recently released two reports that detail pervasive gender-based discrimination at the $649 billion tech company. One, by Henry Farber, an economics professor at Princeton, analyzed data on more than 16,000 employees’ compensation, age, tenure, geographic location, performance ratings, and other factors between 2010 and 2016. Faber found that women in technical roles in low- to mid-level positions at Microsoft “receive lower compensation on average, than otherwise-similar men, and this difference in pay is statically significant.” Moreover, the report finds that women in mid-level jobs at Microsoft have a statistically significant lower probability of getting promoted.

    The other study filed in the case, conducted by Ann Marie Ryan, a psychology professor at Michigan State University, found that Microsoft “does not provide clear, job-related guidance as to how to distinguish levels within a career stage for compensation decisions,” which opens doors for managers to make subjective, and potentially sexist, decisions about career advancement.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2017/12/09/two_new_reports_say_microsoft_overwhelmingly_underpays_women_and_stifles.html

Photo: Cooper Smith

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Supplier Report: 12/8/2017

Amazon and Google are fighting this week and end users are suffering.  This fight isn’t about cutting off access to YouTube, it is about two companies finding themselves competing in cloud hosting, digital assistants, customer behaviors, forked operating systems, and now advertising.

As companies like Google, Amazon, Oracle, and Microsoft fight with each other, China is quietly growing their AI capabilities and they are applying them to areas that the US would never (publicly) be able to admit.

CVS is trying to out-run the business black hole that is Amazon. As rumors swirl that Amazon might get into pharmaceuticals, CVS is attempting to purchase healthcare company Aetna.  These are certainly interesting times.

Acquisitions

  • CVS buys health insurer Aetna to counter Amazon

    Neither CVS nor Aetna has explicitly mentioned Amazon. However, it’s no secret that Amazon looms large over the proposed merger. The New York Times reports that CVS and Aetna met “several times” for talks with Amazon’s potential competition in mind. Also, CVS is in a prime position to change its strategy. It makes the most money from its pharmacy benefits business (which serves companies and insurers), not its stores, so it could continue to thrive even if Amazon swoops in and destroys its retail sales.

    Aetna isn’t under the gun in the same way. It was recently blocked from buying a key competitor, Humana, and has been looking for a way to expand without invoking the wrath of antitrust regulators. CVS makes sense in that regard — the two firms operate in related areas, but they wouldn’t be shrinking the markets for health insurance or pharmacies. There is a concern that they might hurt choices for Medicare, since both are key to offering prescriptions to Medicare recipients.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/12/03/cvs-buys-aetna-to-counter-amazon/

Artificial Intelligence

  • COMB+ announces a $77M fund to help AI startups enter China

    The fund, which was announced at Slush in Helsinki this week, is run by COMB+ and the Beijing Institute of Collaborative Innovation (BICI). COMB+ launched its Sino Track accelerator program last year, which is based in Beijing and Helsinki and helps early-stage firms grow in China, and this is the second part of its strategy.

    So far more than half of the €65 million target has been raised, COMB+ CEO Leo Zhu told TechCrunch via interpreters in an interview. He didn’t name any confirmed LPs but said the fund is backed by government funds, government institutions, private enterprises and big corporates most of which are from China.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/01/comb-china-ai-fund/?ncid=rss
    China’s A.I. Advances Help Its Tech Industry, and State Security

    As China tests the frontiers of artificial intelligence, iFlyTek serves as a compelling example of both the country’s sci-fi ambitions and the technology’s darker dystopian possibilities.

    The Chinese company uses sophisticated A.I. to power image and voice recognition systems that can help doctors with their diagnoses, aid teachers in grading tests and let drivers control their cars with their voices. Even some global companies are impressed: Delphi, a major American auto supplier, offers iFlyTek’s technology to carmakers in China, while Volkswagen plans to build the Chinese company’s speech recognition technology into many of its cars in China next year.

    At the same time, iFlyTek hosts a laboratory to develop voice surveillance capabilities for China’s domestic security forces. In an October report, a human rights group said the company was helping the authorities compile a biometric voice database of Chinese citizens that could be used to track activists and others.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/03/business/china-artificial-intelligence.html

  • IBM unveils ‘game-changing powerhouse’ for AI

    POWER9 has the ability to improve the training times of deep learning frameworks by almost four times faster and allows enterprises to build more accurate applications at a much faster rate.

    As a result of the better performance, data scientists are able to build applications faster, from deep learning insights across scientific research to real-time fraud detection and credit risk analysis.

    https://www.cbronline.com/news/ibm-power9-game-changing-ai

  • Elon Musk says Tesla is making A.I. hardware that could be ‘the best in the world’

    Several other automakers, including Ford and GM, are developing self-driving technology. Alphabet, which has developed custom chips that can be used instead of Nvidia graphics cards, operates the Waymo self-driving car division. Apple has pursued autonomous driving, and it has also developed custom silicon to handle AI workloads on mobile devices.

    In the Thursday talk, Keller suggested that with custom hardware it’s possible to boost efficiency, while Musk talked about power and cost advantages, according to one report about the event on Twitter.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/08/elon-musk-talks-up-teslas-upcoming-artificial-intelligence-hardware.html

Cloud

  • Amazon is an 800-pound gorilla that moves like a cheetah, says analyst

    In a week that featured 22 product and services announcements (according to Andy Jassy, AWS chief executive officer), industry analysts were left to assess the significant position in the IT ecosystem that AWS has staked out for itself. “This is a real merging of application developers and the more traditional kinds of companies,” Warren said. “It feels like re:Invent this year is a blending of the entire IT ecosystem.”

    A key message that emerged from the various AWS releases is that the company has made major strides to debunk “fear, uncertainty and doubt” that it could not be taken seriously as a major player in enterprise cloud computing. “The big story this year is legitimacy across the board in every vertical and every category,” Furrier said. “Re-engineering and re-imagining are happening, and Amazon is just feeding the marketplace.”

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/12/01/amazon-is-an-800-pound-gorilla-that-moves-like-a-cheetah-says-analyst-reinvent/
    Nothing really new, I just like the headline.

  • Microsoft CFO sees Google’s cloud as a threat and praises its chief: ‘She’s always been a winner’

    In her Tuesday remarks — which came after Wells Fargo analyst Philip Winslow specifically asked about Google — Hood also praised Greene, the head of Google’s cloud efforts for the past two years. Greene, who was formerly CEO of VMware, announced last week that she hired Diane Bryant from Intel to be operating chief of Google’s cloud.

    “We’ve seen more of them in the past few quarters than we’ve seen before,” Hood said. “I think they’re making a good effort. I think Diane Greene is an excellent leader and an established enterprise CEO.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/05/microsoft-cfo-amy-hood-says-google-cloud-becoming-a-bigger-competitor.html

    I always call out the s**t-talking, I should highlight the acts of class as well.

  • Cheapest enterprise cloud storage providers not always best

    Bala’s public recommendation to conference attendees was the following: “Think about the number of years that a vendor has been in this market and their commitment to the market. The last thing you want to do is go with a vendor who says, ‘Well, the v1 version of our service didn’t work, and we’re going to scrap it, and we’re going to restart over again.’ There are a lot of customers in that boat.”

    Although Bala’s cautionary advice did not note specific enterprise cloud storage providers that abandoned the original versions of their cloud storage services, he did offer frank assessments of each of the major challengers to dominant player AWS.

    “Oracle did something very smart. They opened a large office in Seattle, and they’ve hired a bunch of AWS engineers. So, they’ve got several hundred AWS engineers that are building v2 of Oracle service,” Bala said. “After having failed the first time, they’re doing some really thoughtful things the second time.”

    Bala said IBM’s public cloud storage, also based on OpenStack, “didn’t really go anywhere” and “had lots of problems,” leaving the company “trying to rebuild it.” He said IBM spent lots of money trying to buy companies, as well as trying to rebuild in-house.

    http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/news/450431495/Cheapest-enterprise-cloud-storage-providers-not-always-best

Software/SaaS

  • Three Uber security managers reportedly resigned today

    Three senior-level security managers resigned from Uber today, Reuters reported earlier today. One of the three who resigned, Pooja Ashok, was chief of staff to now-former Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan. Sullivan was fired last week for trying to hide the security breach that affected about 57 million riders and 600,00 drivers.

    The other two who resigned were Prithvi Rai, a senior security engineer, and Jeff Jones. Both Ashok and Jones are planning to stay at Uber until January to help with the transition.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/01/three-uber-security-managers-reportedly-resigned-today/?ncid=rss

  • Inside Oracle’s cloak-and-dagger political war with Google

    For the past year, the software and cloud computing giant has mounted a cloak-and-dagger, take-no-prisoners lobbying campaign against Google, perhaps hoping to cause the company intense political and financial pain at a time when the two tech giants are also warring in federal court over allegations of stolen computer code.

    Since 2010, Oracle has accused Google of copying Java and using key portions of it in the making of Android. Google, for its part, has fought those claims vigorously. More recently, though, their standoff has intensified. And as a sign of the worsening rift between them, this summer Oracle tried to sell reporters on a story about the privacy pitfalls of Android, two sources confirmed to Recode.

    https://www.recode.net/2017/12/6/16721364/oracle-google-political-war-location-track-android-safra-catz-java-lawsuit

Other

  • Now on Oracle’s Campus, a $43 Million Public High School

    “Nobody has done anything like this before,” said Colleen Cassity, the executive director of the Oracle Education Foundation, a nonprofit funded by the company. The foundation oversees the company’s partnership with the school.

    Design Tech High School, known as d.tech, was founded in 2014 with the aim of steeping students in design thinking, a creative problem-solving strategy popularized by Stanford University’s design school. It teaches students to empathize with people before trying to devise solutions to their problems.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/03/technology/now-on-oracles-campus-a-43-million-public-high-school.html

  • Why Amazon and Google just can’t get along

    At this point, it’s easy to see why Amazon wouldn’t want to support Google’s products, and vice versa: Each company is using hardware to fortify themselves while attacking their rival’s core business. Without some broad-ranging truce, in which each company agrees to treat each other’s services equally and let consumers decide what’s best, Amazon and Google would only be undermining themselves.

    https://www.techhive.com/article/3240966/streaming-hardware/why-amazon-and-google-just-cant-get-along.html

  • IBM to invest $200 million in climate change research

    Not all businesses, however, take a short-term view of their operations, with increasing numbers of CEOs seeing reason, as a destroyed planet will even impact them and their shareholders in the long-run. In this vain, IBM recently announced it will direct around $200 million into five climate-related projects. Despite a rocky year financially, which saw global revenues further stagnate at the global technology giant, the organisation still saw fit to support scientists in their pursuit to better understand the consequences of humanity’s current uncritical climate forcing experiments.

    The funds will be awarded to projects that are judged to have the greatest potential impact on our understanding of climate change, and that consider strategies to mitigate its effects. The five projects would also be able to take advantage of IBM’s World Community Grid, an IBM Citizenship initiative that taps into the combined computing power of 730,000 worldwide volunteers. A similar project was recently run on such a network, allowing Harvard University to identify 36,000 carbon-based compounds that may approximately double the efficiency of most organic solar cells currently in production.

    https://www.consultancy.uk/news/14900/ibm-to-invest-200-million-in-climate-change-research

Photo: CloudVisual

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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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