Tag Archives: IBM

Supplier Report: 6/2/2017

Should investors lay IBM’s current problem’s at Ginni Rometty’s feet or is her predecessor Sam Palmisano truly to blame? While investors are busy finger-pointing, IBM’s global services division declined another 2%.

But it wasn’t all bad news for big blue, they acquired a company to help bolster their “Connections” platform and another news source is touting just how good Watson is at suggesting cancer treatments.

Meanwhile in Japan, Toshiba is still struggling to sell off their memory chip business in a last-ditch effort to keep the company afloat and NTT quietly invested in NoSQL database provider MarkLogic.

Acquisitions

  • IBM Acquires XCC Digital Work Hub to Strengthen IBM Connections

    Armonk, NY-based IBM acquired the XCC technology from its partner, Cologne, Germany-based TIMETOACT GROUP. XCC is a digital workplace hub that IBM officials said will create a “single destination” personalized homepage for employees. The company made the announcement at its DNUG44 collaboration conference in Berlin this morning.

    XCC’s hub will be renamed the IBM Connections Engagement Center and will live under the portfolio of IBM Connections, IBM’s enterprise collaboration suite that competes with the likes of Microsoft, Slack and Atlassian.

    http://www.cmswire.com/digital-workplace/ibm-acquires-xcc-digital-work-hub-to-strengthen-ibm-connections/

  • Micro Focus’ $8.8bn software acquisition approved by investors

    The approval for the $8.8bn deal comes only weeks after Micro Focus issued a damaging warning on its growth prospects because of a slowdown in sales at the former Hewlett-Packard assets.

    The investor meeting, held near St Pauls in London, was attended by only one shareholder. Approval for the multibillion merger and a $500m return of cash to shareholders was passed without objection in less than 10 minutes. The vote was passed with a 99.9 per cent approval.

    https://www.ft.com/content/976c93f8-4221-11e7-82b6-896b95f30f58

  • Dell further ties itself to VMware

    Initial reports set the price at $67 billion, but Dell now says it was just over $58 billion. Either way, a good portion of the funding was borrowed.Selling off VMware – at its current market cap of about $34 billion – would certainly change the math, but so too would losing VMware’s future potential contributions.

    VMware still functions as its own publicly traded company, as it did under EMC, but it is now majority-owned by Dell Technologies. And unlike other parts of Dell’s new empire, VMware is growing at 10 percent a year.

    http://www.wbjournal.com/article/20170529/PRINTEDITION/170529955/1002

  • Intel CEO explains why he spent $15 billion on Mobileye

    Krzanich said that someday “if you get a ransomware or some kind of virus on one portion of the device,” Intel will not only have backups, but they could “refresh your car on the fly.” While he acknowledged that there are some potential privacy concerns, Krzanich believes that connected cars will be “much safer.”

    “In order for those cars to drive, they do have to look,” said Krzanich about self-driving cars. “There’s a lot of social good that can come out of this.”

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/01/intel-ceo-explains-why-he-spent-15-billion-on-mobileye/?ncid=rss

  • NTT Data announces strategic investment in NoSQL database provider MarkLogic

    MarkLogic positions itself as a database system for integrating data from various data silos, something that’s a growing problem for large enterprises as they look into how they can get the most value out of their data. Over the years (and often because of acquisitions), different groups in a company often use different database systems, and now they are looking for ways to bring all of this information together again. Typically, the way to do that is by bringing that data into a schema-less NoSQL database, which is where MarkLogic comes in.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/31/ntt-data-announces-strategic-investment-in-nosql-database-provider-marklogic/?ncid=rss

  • Toshiba Fights to Clear Way for Chip-Unit Sale

    Toshiba said it would transfer the joint venture back to the core Toshiba group, and remove that part of its chip unit from a sale. The company says the joint venture includes manufacturing equipment, but not the key NAND flash manufacturing processes or the plants or engineers in Japan.

    The move defuses Western Digital’s claim that the sale of the chip unit to a third party would be a breach of its joint venture rights, Toshiba’s lawyers said in a letter dated Wednesday.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/toshiba-makes-legal-concession-on-sale-of-memory-chip-unit-1496239072?mg=prod/accounts-wsj

Artificial Intelligence

  • IBM’s Watson is really good at creating cancer treatment plans

    In a handful of studies being presented at ASCO, researchers show that Watson for Oncology is pretty dang good at recommending treatments for a variety of different cancers. From research done in India, Watson’s treatment recommendations were in agreement with those of physicians 96 percent of the time for lung cancer, 93 percent of the time for rectal cancer, and 81 percent of the time for colon cancer.

    And there were comparable rates of agreement for colorectal, lung, breast and gastric cancer treatments in a Thai-based study. Additionally, Watson was able to screen breast and lung cancer patients for clinical trial eligibility 78 percent faster than a human, reducing screening time from 110 minutes down to just 24.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/06/01/ibm-watson-cancer-treatment-plans/

  • Google has reportedly launched a new AI-focused venture capital program

    According to Axios, Patterson and company will reportedly be co-investing with GV when it makes sense to do so. Check sizes, it says, will range from $1 million and $10 million to start, though it isn’t yet clear how much Google plans to commit to the program, yearly or otherwise.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/26/google-has-reportedly-launched-a-new-ai-focused-venture-capital-program/?ncid=rss

Cloud

  • VMware to rally nearly 20% on Amazon partnership, analyst says

    “The recent partnership between VMware and AWS [Amazon Web Services] has been received with great positivity and excitement, according to our channel work,” analyst Jayson Noland wrote in a note to clients Wednesday. “Naturally, a co-development between the respective leaders in private and public clouds should offer an unparalleled level of seamlessness in hybrid cloud mobility, which to date remains one of the largest challenges to enterprise cloud deployment.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/31/cloud-play-vmware-to-rally-nearly-20-percent-on-amazon-partnership-analyst-says.html

  • Oracle Bucks the Pricing Trend in the Cloud

    Oracle has been acting as if to buck cloud computing pricing trends. Amazon and Microsoft have been waging cloud pricing wars, with Amazon recently trimming AWS costs by as much as 21% on certain services.

    However, Oracle has been hiking prices. Earlier this year, the company updated its licensing policy in a fashion that dramatically increased the cost of running Oracle software on AWS and Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform. Oracle doubled the cost of running its database on these foreign clouds.

    http://marketrealist.com/2017/05/oracle-bucks-pricing-trend-cloud/

Datacenter

  • MongoDB Taking Share From Oracle In $40 Billion Market

    When you take into account the full cost to a company, MongoDB offered an irresistible bargain. “We believe that the cost of the software should equal that of the hardware. We typically charge $5,000 per server per year for the software to run on a server that costs about $5,000. Our competition charges hundreds of thousands of dollars per server-year plus $50,000 a year in maintenance and their software runs on $10,000 servers,” said Schireson.

    Regrettably, MongoDB declined to provide revenue growth details. But its headcount growth suggested that demand for the product was soaring. Schireson argued, “When I joined as CEO in 2011, the company had 20 employees. That went to 100 by the end of 2011 and 200 by the end of 2012. [As of October 2013] we have 320 people and expect to end the year at between 350 and 400. And we plan to add 200 more in 2014. We now have 600 customers.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2017/05/30/mongodb-taking-share-from-oracle-in-40-billion-market/#2e06dd5a3156

  • IBM believes that hybrid cloud is the future of computing

    “When we work with private and public clouds on workload assessment, customers think of what would go Hybrid. We do studies and assessment with our customers every day. So, there is no doubt or question in our mind that hybrid is the way to go,” Vikas Arora, Cloud Business Leader for IBM India and South Asia, told IANS.

    He said IBM believes that it has the best of enterprise cloud and hybrid is a very core capability that it has, adding that there is a need of a global footprint of datacenters.

    http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/ibm-believes-that-hybrid-cloud-is-the-future-of-computing-378615.html

  • Red Hat director talks Reactive and changing middleware layer

    Sharples also shared his opinion on how the middleware layer is changing, such as the shift away from enterprise service buses (ESBs). The ESB, he said, became a burden in the eyes of many software administrators who saw it as a single “choke point” and potential source of universal failure.

    “It became that part of your application code was now embedded within this infrastructure,” Sharples said. “So, it didn’t provide a good separation of concerns.”

    http://searchmicroservices.techtarget.com/video/Red-Hat-director-talks-Reactive-and-changing-middleware-layer

  • HPE meets lowered expectations as execs insist worst is over, but investors not so sure

    HPE’s results were expected to be dismal, and the company surprised no one with earnings that met Wall Street expectations on a 13 percent plunge in revenue compared to the same quarter last year. About the only positive news was that net revenues of $9.9 billion slightly exceeded consensus estimates of $9.64 billion, and that the company reaffirmed its earnings guidance for the rest of the year.

    Exact comparisons to last year’s figures aren’t practical because HPE completed the sale of its services business to Computer Sciences Corp. just last month, shedding 100,000 employees in the process. In after-hours trading, the stock declined a little more than 2 percent.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/05/31/hpe-meets-lowered-expectations-execs-insist-worst/

Software/SaaS

  • Blockchains are the new Linux, not the new Internet

    Decentralized blockchain solutions are vastly more democratic, and more technically compelling, than the hermetically-sealed, walled-garden, Stack-ruled Internet of today. Similarly, open-source Linux was vastly more democratic, and more technically compelling, than the Microsoft and Apple OSes which ruled computing at the time. But nobody used it except a tiny coterie of hackers. It was too clunky; too complicated; too counterintuitive; required jumping through too many hoops — and Linux’s dirty secret was that the mainstream solutions were, in fact, actually fine, for most people.

    Sound familiar? Today there’s a lot of work going into decentralized distributed storage keyed on blockchain indexes; Storj, Sia, Blockstack, et al. This is amazing, groundbreaking work… but why would an ordinary person, one already comfortable with Box or Dropbox, switch over to Storj or Blockstack? The centralized solution works just fine for them, and, because it’s centralized, they know who to call if something goes wrong. Blockstack in particular is more than “just” storage … but what compelling pain point is it solving for the average user?

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/28/double-double-cryptocoin-bubble/?ncid=rss

  • Concord wants to become the Google Docs of contracts

    Concord wants to centralize everything related to contract management into one service, and this service is supposed to work for all sorts of teams. Companies like Just Eat have been using it across the board, from the sales team to the HR team.

    And it starts with writing new contracts. Concord lets you create and edit contracts directly in your browser. If you want to send it to a coworker, you just share the Concord document. The platform then tracks changes and versions so that everybody across your organization stays on the same page. And those contracts are legally binding.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/31/concord-wants-to-become-the-google-docs-of-contracts/?ncid=rss

Other

  • What’s Stopping IBM’s Global Business Services from Growing?

    The GBS segment’s revenue fell 2% to $4.0 billion in the quarter. The segment encompasses consulting, global process services, and application management services. It provides customers with these services by integrating them with the company’s offerings, including Watson, cloud, blockchain, and technology services.

    The migration of customers from big on-premises projects and models to the cloud system has led to a fall in IBM’s traditional back office implementation business.

    http://marketrealist.com/2017/06/whats-stopping-ibms-global-business-services-from-growing/

  • Is Management Really to Blame for IBM’s Woes?

    Shares of IBM have declined 8% this year, while the S&P 500 has gained 8%. The reasons are easy to see — the company’s revenue has fallen annually for 20 straight quarters, Warren Buffett sold about 30% of Berkshire’s stake in February, and Moody’s downgraded its credit rating in early May.

    Amid all those negative headlines, it’s easy to blame IBM’s management for its current woes. However, it makes more sense to blame former CEO Sam Palmisano for most of those problems. Rometty initially waited too long to abandon Palmisano’s quixotic plan, but her moves over the past three years indicate that she knows how to turn around the aging company. Therefore, investors should keep those facts in mind before assuming that IBM would fare better under new management.

    https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/05/27/is-management-really-to-blame-for-ibms-woes.aspx

Photo: Hermes Rivera

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SourceCast: Episode 73: Adios Emptoris

IBM announced that they are retiring their procurement suite Emptoris and moving customers over to their (former) competitor Ariba.

Having used the system for several years, I provide thoughts on the Emptoris’ demise and where the focus needs to be on procurement tools in the future.

Photo: Michael Mroczek

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Supplier Report: 5/26/2017

The keystone topics that drive this blog (AI and cloud) were quiet this week, while concepts like security and software claimed more space.

WannaCry was a dominant topic early in the week highlighting the need for IT security focus throughout the entire organization.

IBM has been making headlines not for cloud or AI, but for their remote work policies (again) and product line retirements.

AWS is getting good press for showing the value of experience in a culture that “doesn’t trust anyone over 30”.

Acquisitions

  • Red Hat to acquire Codenvy as part of its growing container strategy

    Codenvy is the company built on top of the open source project, Eclipse Che, which fits with Red Hat’s overall strategy to build commercial tools on top of open source projects. It offers a cloud-based integrated development environment (IDEs) for individual developers, teams or enterprises. IDEs are essentially workspaces for coding, building and testing apps.

    The company did not reveal the purchase price.

    http://wwpi.com/2017/05/25/red-hat-set-to-acquire-agile-and-cloud-native-development-tools-vendor-codenvy/

  • Microsoft to buy security firm Hexadite for $100M as Cloudyn still in progress

    Hexadite has to date raised $10.5 million in funding, according to Crunchbase, with investors including HP Ventures, YL Ventures, TenEleven Ventures and Moshe Lichtman of Israel Venture Partners. Notably, Lichtman is a ten-year veteran of Microsoft, which could point to one connection between the startup and its alleged acquirer. Its last round, of $8 million, was raised last year.

    If accurate, the Hexadite acquisition would be one of a series of security acquisitions that Microsoft has made in Israel. Past deals include Aorato, Adallom and Secure Islands.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/24/microsoft-hexadite-100m-cloudyn/?ncid=rss

  • Softbank’s Nvidia stake is reportedly worth $4BN

    When Softbank announced the first close of its Vision Fund this weekend — securing an initial commitment of $93 billion, from investors including Apple, Qualcomm and Foxconn — it also quietly disclosed it had taken a stake in Nvidia.

    Bloomberg is today reporting the size of that stake is $4 billion, for 4.9 per cent of the company, which it says would make Softbank the fourth largest investor in the chipmaker.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/24/softbanks-nvidia-stake-is-reportedly-worth-4bn/?ncid=rss

Artificial Intelligence

  • Lawmakers aim to ‘get smart’ about A.I. with help from giants like Amazon, Google, and IBM

    On Wednesday, he announced the launch of the bipartisan Congressional Artificial Intelligence Caucus, which will look to inform lawmakers on the current state of AI and then push for policy that could boost economic activity around AI and help citizens whose jobs are being replaced by automation.

    Regarding potential job loss:

    Despite some fears about the effects of automation and AI on the workforce, Delaney is optimistic. “Data clearly demonstrates that innovation creates more jobs than it takes away,” Delaney told CNBC. The trouble is that people don’t understand the nature of the jobs that will be created, he said. The caucus will focus on these issues, as well as education, immigration reform and funding basic research.

    Delaney is familiar with the idea of universal basic income, where the government would pay all citizens a basic stipend to let them buy necessities. Some Silicon Valley leaders have discussed this as a way to help workers whose jobs will increasingly be replaced by automation.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/24/congressional-ai-caucus-working-with-amazon-google-ibm.html

Cloud

  • Marc Benioff Touts Amazon as Salesforce’s New Best Friend

    It is now clear that Salesforce sees AWS as a strategic ally as it battles all of those rivals. Salesforce had formerly been quite chummy with Microsoft, but that relationship soured fast when Microsoft outbid Salesforce in its $26.2 billion bid to buy LinkedIn. While Microsoft had always competed somewhat with Salesforce in sales software known as customer relationship management or CRM, the competition has heated up since that development. Speaking with Jim Cramer on CNBC Thursday, Benioff made sure to say that 21st Century Fox is moving 20,000 employees from Microsoft Office to Quip, business software that Salesforce acquired two years ago.

    http://fortune.com/2017/05/19/salesforce-amazon-benioff/

Security

  • Almost all WannaCry victims were running Windows 7

    According to data released today by Kaspersky Lab, roughly 98 percent of the computers affected by the ransomware were running some version of Windows 7, with less than one in a thousand running Windows XP. 2008 R2 Server clients were also hit hard, making up just over 1 percent of infections.

    https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/19/15665488/wannacry-windows-7-version-xp-patched-victim-statistics
    For WannaCry Victims, a Possible Way Out (not really)

    By Friday, a second French computer-security researcher, Benjamin Delpy, built a tool called Wannakiwi that does the heavy lifting of unscrambling the encrypted files. Europol, the European Union’s police agency, said Friday its cybercrime center had tested the tool and succeeded in recovering data in some circumstances.

    Because the Wannakiwi tool works by grabbing data from the computer’s memory, it only will work for a small number of fortunate users.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/for-wannacry-victims-a-possible-way-out-1495226045

  • All IT Jobs Are Cybersecurity Jobs Now

    Despite all the money we’ve spent—Gartner estimates $81.6 billion on cybersecurity in 2016—things are, on the whole, getting worse, says Chris Bronk, associate director of the Center for Information Security Research and Education at the University of Houston. “Some individual companies are doing better,” adds Dr. Bronk. “But as an entire society, we’re not doing better yet.”

    The article provides several suggestions on how to deal with security issues, especially for smaller companies:

    Retrain IT staff on security—or replace them. In today’s world of ever-multiplying threats and dependence on connected assets, all IT staff must now be cybersecurity staff first. “The good news is that you don’t need that dedicated person to run your email server anymore—they can run security,” says Dr. Bronk.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/all-it-jobs-are-cybersecurity-jobs-now-1495364418

  • Microsoft’s Old Software Is Dangerous. Is There a Duty to Fix It?

    All of this raises the question of whether Microsoft, which declined to comment for this story, should have done more to fix the faulty software in the first place. The company’s after-the-fact approach to safety differs from other industries, such as car companies, where manufacturers have faced massive liability for failing to warn people about faulty ignition switches and other defective products.

    There’s also the fact Windows is a closed software platform. This means any defects in its source code are hard to detect because the internal workings that make it run—the source code—are all but invisible to those outside the company. This is why some people like Eban Moglen, a noted computer law professor at Columbia University, considers platforms like Windows to be intrinsically dangerous.

    http://fortune.com/2017/05/20/microsoft-ransomware-legal/

Software/SaaS

  • IBM’s ShinyHappy™ SAP Ariba deal papers over SaaS fail

    IBM’s product is called “Emptoris”, from a company of the same name, and was reported to have come with a US$600m price tag when Big Blue acquired it in 2011. Big Blue bought Emptoris to advance the “Smarter Commerce” play it ran a few years ago, in pursuit of what it described as “a $20 billion market opportunity in software alone.”

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/23/ibm_discontinues_emptoris/
    Never knew the investment IBM made on Emptoris…

  • Hadoop: It Offers Rich Technology With Slimmer-Than-Expected Margins

    As technology, Hadoop is broadly used across the computing infrastructure of web service providers. Big Data is proliferating as well in commercial uses. As it is increasingly adopted in Enterprise computing, its attractiveness as a business will become increasingly clear. Hadoop is far less costly than present comparable Enterprise technologies such as Data Warehousing. Surely it offers strong growth. Yet for some specific reasons, Hadoop is relatively less profitable than other types of software, mainly because so much of the technology is Open Source and freely available.  There is no fee in its licensing, as we noted above. No fee revenue, less profit

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnsonpierr/2017/05/19/the-elephant-in-the-room-with-hadoop-it-offers-rich-technology-with-slimmer-than-expected-margins/#f137831518a1

  • Java creator James Gosling leaves Liquid Robotics (Boeing) to join AWS

    James Gosling plans to join Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a “distinguished engineer,” according to a Facebook post penned by Gosling on Monday. Gosling did not say what he’ll do at AWS. But in addition to programming, Gosling is also familiar with the process of deploying IoT systems, according to Venture Beat.

    Companies like AWS and Google are increasingly dependent on programmers to help them make technologies more useful to the general public by creating applications. Both companies have been known to give away cloud credits and other gifts to developers willing to help them. Bringing Gosling on board helps show programmers that AWS is programmer-friendly and could help the company attract more of them.

    http://www.ciodive.com/news/java-creator-james-gosling-to-join-aws/443407/

Other

  • China’s Lenovo to Reboot After Losing PC Crown to HP

    For the first time in four years, Lenovo—a company that gained acclaim a decade ago for turning around storied U.S. personal-computer maker IBM — slipped from the top spot this year to No. 2 in the personal-computer market, behind rival Hewlett-Packard. Lenovo has also fallen to No. 8 in the number of smartphones shipped globally, from No. 3 when it acquired another U.S. brand, Motorola, in late 2014.

    Lenovo’s Hong Kong-listed stock has fallen nearly 60% since the Motorola acquisition.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-lenovo-to-reboot-after-losing-pc-crown-to-hp-1495702920

  • SAP has designs on new government business

    “Imagine you’re a government employee and you take a trip. In the U.S., as soon as it’s approved and before you’ve even taken it, the government needs to set aside the money and record the liability for that approved spend, and then they need that approval to flow into all the impacted cost centers,” he said. “How you encumber, how you take that spend and how you put it as a liability, it starts to look like a core ERP use case.”

    Koch sees a billion-dollar opportunity for SAP and its integration partners in the 90,000 U.S. government entities that are potential users of ByDesign.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3197826/software-as-a-service/sap-has-designs-on-new-government-business.html

  • The FCC’s case against net neutrality rests on a deliberate misrepresentation of how the internet works

    This analysis is like saying that because someone built a bridge, they also created the entire city on far side of it. It’s absurd, and in fact the argument was already tried and found wanting in a federal court just three weeks ago. Anyone with a modicum of technical knowledge will find this explanation of how the internet and web work truly wrongheaded and entirely incorrect. It’s hard to think of this as anything other than a willful misrepresentation of the facts.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/23/the-fccs-case-against-net-neutrality-rests-on-a-fundamental-deliberate-misunderstanding-of-how-the-internet-works/?ncid=
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  • How SoftBank and Saudi Arabia Settled Their Differences to Birth the World’s Biggest Tech Fund

    Although some level of wrangling is common in such deals, the back-and-forth from the Saudi negotiators, mostly PIF lawyers, made SoftBank executives begin to wonder if the Saudis were stalling. On at least one occasion, SoftBank executives sought assurance from PIF that the fund wouldn’t be scuttled. PIF negotiators assured their Japanese counterparts that MbS was 100% committed to its success.

    SoftBank, which has 80 people in Silicon Valley and London looking for and processing deals, already has lined up a dozen deals of a billion dollars or more for the fund to invest in, with plans to work on “blockbuster” transactions of tens of billions of dollars in the future, said a person who helped set up the fund.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/behind-the-long-painful-birth-of-the-worlds-biggest-tech-fund-1495214782

Photo: Flash Bros

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Supplier Report: 5/20/2017

IT security professionals had a rough week due to the proliferation of the WannaCry ransomware virus. The virus locked the IT systems of several corporations and hospitals over the weekend.

IBMers also had another rough week. Even more employees are being asked to abandon work from home and come back into the office. IBM also announced that they are sun-setting their procurement platform Emptoris and moving customers over to rival Ariba.

Ariba owner SAP recently announced compatibility with the big three cloud providers AWS, Google, and Azure… which should give those migrating customers more options.

Acquisitions

  • Apple acquires AI company Lattice Data, a specialist in unstructured ‘dark data’, for $200M

    Specifically, Apple has picked up Lattice Data, a company that applies an AI enabled inference engine to take unstructured, “dark” data and turn it into structured (and more usable) information. We’ve heard from a single source that Apple has paid a price of around $200 million.

    The deal was closed a couple of weeks ago, the source said, and about 20 engineers have joined the larger company.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/13/apple-acquires-ai-company-lattice-data-a-specialist-in-unstructured-dark-data/?ncid=rss

Cloud

  • SAP Cloud now compatible with AWS, Google and Azure

    With this announcement, SAP has positioned itself as the first end-to-end digital enterprise platform to allow customers to choose between the major infrastructure-as-a-service providers. SAP will provide full multi-cloud support for the cloud platform, and all cloud actions can be controlled by the client through a simple, unified command center.

    Customers may select infrastructure powered by SAP, or by Amazon Web Services. Microsoft Azure is currently available as a public preview and Google Cloud Platform as a demo showcase, and all may be managed using the new SAP Cloud Platform cockpit.

    https://thestack.com/cloud/2017/05/17/sap-cloud-now-compatible-with-aws-google-and-azure/

  • EMEA 2017: Google Cloud Keynote

    This is 90 minutes, but they go into real details about the platform

Datacenter

  • IBM builds its most powerful universal quantum computing processors

    Launched in March 2017, IBM Q is an industry-first initiative to build commercially available universal quantum computing systems for business and science applications. IBM Q systems and services will be delivered via the IBM Cloud platform. IBM first opened public access to its quantum processors one year ago, to serve as an enablement tool for scientific research, a resource for university classrooms, and a catalyst of enthusiasm for the field. To date users have run more than 300,000 quantum experiments on the IBM Cloud.

    With the introduction of two new processors today for IBM Q, the company is building the foundation for solving practical problems in business and science that are intractable even with today’s most powerful classical computing systems.

    https://phys.org/news/2017-05-ibm-powerful-universal-quantum-processors.html

  • Cosmos DB launches Microsoft Azure databases at Oracle

    For those lost on the type of cloud computing tasks that Azure handles: Microsoft Azure is not your typical cloud computing service that allows you to directly upload your selfies and work on documents. Cosmos DB is designed for “planet-scale” applications, giving developers fine control over the replication policies and reliability.

    Cloud-computing providers like Microsoft and Amazon often use examples like Black Friday to pitch their services.

    http://normangeestar.net/2017/05/14/cosmos-db-launches-microsoft-azure-databases-at-oracle/

Software/SaaS

  • SAP Ariba and IBM Join Forces to Transform Procurement with SAP Leonardo and Watson

    “We’ve built a cognitive procurement platform trained specifically to understand procurement transactions and unstructured data such as weather, non-standard part numbers in contracts and complex pricing structures,” said Jesus Mantas, General Manager, Cognitive Process Transformation, IBM Global Business Services. “By combining the power of IBM Watson on the IBM Cloud with SAP Ariba, we are leaping existing procurement benchmarks and delivering unprecedented value to our joint clients.”

    http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170517005157/en/SAP-Ariba-IBM-Join-Forces-Transform-Procurement
    Emptoris: A Eulogy for a Great Company

    Rather than tossing barbs at IBM in this final chapter as we slowly bury Emptoris over the coming years — or complain about what did and did not work in earlier Emptoris releases — we should remember everything the firm did to lead the technology charge for procurement. It’s easy to forget that Emptoris got its start back when FreeMarkets was still running auctions over a dedicated IP network and Ariba was still proving out the market opportunity for its operational resource management solution (ORMS).

    http://spendmatters.com/2017/05/17/emptoris-a-eulogy-for-a-great-company/

  • Oracle crushed in defeat as Java world votes ‘No’ to modular overhaul

    The database goliath has lost a Java Community public-review ballot by 13 to 10 that was to have approved its Java Platform Module System (JPMS) specification as a final draft. Executive Committee members ignored dire warnings from Oracle spec lead Mark Reinhold in an open letter where he claimed that a “no” vote would not only delay Java 9 but also be a “vote against the Java Community Process itself”.

    The JSR, number 376, needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

    In that bluntly worded letter, Oracle’s Java platform chief also chastised IBM and Red Hat for suggesting that they might vote against JPMS.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/12/oracle_loses_jpms_vote/

  • Microsoft Guns for Oracle Customers with Database Migration Service

    In a blog post, Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie, executive vice president in the cloud and enterprise group, said the new service “seamlessly migrates third-party and SQL Server databases into Azure SQL Database with near-zero application downtime.”

    The Azure database migration service sounds like a similar play by Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2015, which saw companies move 1,000 databases over to AWS in week one, according to Business Insider. Not all of these were Oracle customers.

    But as the database leader in customer-run data centers, Oracle is most at risk from the new Microsoft offerings, Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with the research firm Moor Insights & Strategy, told Fox Business.

    https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/microsoft-guns-oracle-customers-database-migration-service/2017/05/

Other

  • IT Giant IBM to layoff 5000 Employees (India)

    The ongoing layoffs by the leading IT companies in India is continuing, in fact on an increasing note with IBM joining the league newly. In a major development, sources close to IBM disclosed that the company may release at least 5,000 employees over the next few quarters.

    “The process has already started. Managers have been asked to identify under performers,” says a person close to the development.

    http://www.gulte.com/trending/58125/IT-Giant-IBM-to-layoff-5000-Employees
    IBM rubbishes reports of firing 5000 employees; says “re-skilling”, “re-balancing” workforce

    “This is factually incorrect. We are not going to comment further on rumours and speculation. Re-skilling and rebalancing is an ongoing process as we accelerate the benefits of cognitive and cloud technologies for clients around the world,” a spokesperson for IBM told ET.

    ET quotes a source saying IBM had handed over pink slips to 200 employees in a business unit last year.

    http://www.businessinsider.in/IBM-rubbishes-reports-of-firing-5000-employees-says-re-skilling-re-balancing-workforce/articleshow/58711741.cms

  • Hospitals Across England Infected With Ransomware, Leaving Patients Without Care

    In a statement, NHS Digital said it believed the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor, a Trojan virus that employs AES-128 encryption to render files inaccessible.

    The BBC reports the attack struck hospitals in London, Blackburn, Cumbria, Hertfordshire, and Nottingham. Phone systems in certain areas also appear to be down.

    Without computer access, many healthcare providers are resorting to pen and pads to keep track of their patients. A physician in Liverpool told the Guardian that his unit manually severed its connection to the broader NHS system in an attempt to stave off the infection. “[N]o computers means no records, no prescriptions, no results,” he said.

    http://gizmodo.com/hospitals-across-england-infected-with-ransomware-leav-1795165579
    Today’s Massive Ransomware Attack Was Mostly Preventable—Here’s How To Avoid It

    If you think you might be vulnerable to WannaCry, or you don’t remember installing any updates over the past month, your first step is to address that issue immediately. As Sean Dillon, the RiskSense security analyst who reverse engineered DoublePulsar, told ThreatPost: “This is the most critical Windows patch since [Conficker],” which is one the largest similar infections to date.

    Despite having been patch nearly a decade ago, the Conficker worm is still in circulation. “I find it everywhere,” says Dillon, adding that WannaCry, too, “is going to be on networks for years.”

    http://gizmodo.com/today-s-massive-ransomware-attack-was-mostly-preventabl-1795179984
    Microsoft president blasts NSA for its role in ‘WannaCry’ computer ransom attack

    “This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem,” Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, wrote in the wake of the “WannaCry” computer virus attack, which crippled computers worldwide.

    He compared it to the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. “And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today — nation-state action and organized criminal action,” he added.

    http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-europe-computer-virus-20170514-story.html

  • Amazon made landline phones trendy again

    You can shout “Alexa, call grandma” and your grandmother will appear on the screen of the device. You know that if your grandmother is not at home she won’t even get notified, so it won’t feel like you’re interrupting something.

    More importantly, everyone will be able to use the device, young kids and elderly people included. It’s much easier to buy an Echo Show and give it to the grandparents than explaining to them how to use a smartphone if they aren’t using one already. The Echo Show will be at the center of the living room or kitchen. It’s going to bring the family together and people are going to love this thing.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/13/amazon-made-landline-phones-trendy-again/?ncid=rss

  • IBM, a Pioneer of Remote Work, Calls Workers Back to the Office

    The company won’t say how many of its 380,000 employees are affected by the policy change, which so far has been rolled out to its Watson division, software development, digital marketing, and design—divisions that employ tens of thousands of workers.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/ibm-a-pioneer-of-remote-work-calls-workers-back-to-the-office-1495108802
    Why IBM’s Move To Rein In Remote Workers Isn’t The Answer

    It’s not about where people work. Where people work isn’t as important as how or why they work. Remember from Daniel Pink’s research on Motivation 2.0 that autonomy is one of three main drivers for people, along with purpose and mastery. If employees don’t feel their autonomous needs are being met, then off to another job they go.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffboss/2017/05/19/why-ibms-move-to-rein-in-remote-workers-isnt-the-answer/#304583fa3de0

    Shameless plug: I covered this topic on SourceCast Episode 59 

Photo: Tyson Dudley

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Supplier Report: 5/13/2017

Last week we covered Oracle’s strategic partnership with AT&T, this week Oracle announced support to eliminate the 2015 net neutrality regulations… coincidence? I think not.

AT&T needs all the support they can get after having 5G bandwidth company Straight Path ripped right from their grasp by competitor Verizon.

Oracle isn’t having a great week either as Microsoft announced a new database platform designed “for the future”.

Acquisitions

  • Will the tech acquisition spree continue?

    But there was some disappointment with cross-border acquisitions. “Deal activity from Asian-Pacific investors declined notably in Q1 2017, illustrating uncertainty in American markets due to the new administration,” according to the PwC report. A recent survey by law firm Morrison & Foerster similarly found that “M&A between the two largest economies in the world, the U.S. and China, is expected to be particularly difficult in the coming years.”

    The challenge with Chinese buyers stems from a “a combination of uncertainty introduced by Trump’s policies and restrictions imposed by Chinese authorities on outflow of capital from China,” said Robert Townsend, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Global M&A Practice Group. But ample technology deal activity in the U.S. is expected to continue.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/07/will-the-tech-acquisition-spree-continue/?ncid=rss

  • Verizon reportedly wins bidding war for Straight Path with $3.1 billion offer

    AT&T announced last month that it had agreed to buy Straight Path for $1.6 billion, but after Verizon placed a bid for nearly double that amount on Monday, AT&T declined to match it, reports the Wall Street Journal.

    The telecoms are interested in Straight Path because the Virginia-based company holds valuable spectrum licenses that will play an important role in laying the groundwork for 5G services. Straight Path began reviewing “strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value” (i.e. searching for a buyer) in January after it was fined $100 million by the Federal Communications Commission for failing to deploy the wireless services required by its spectrum licenses, a practice called “spectrum squatting.”

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/11/verizon-reportedly-wins-bidding-war-for-straight-path-with-3-1-billion-offer/

  • Cisco acquires conversational AI startup MindMeld for $125 million

    This morning Cisco announced that it is buying MindMeld for $125 million. Founded in 2011, MindMeld helps businesses to build conversational interfaces with cloud-based services.

    MindMeld, originally called Expect Labs, was launched on the stage of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012. At that time the startup wanted to build an iPad app that could listen in on your conversations and provide relevant contextual information. Since then the company has expanded its offerings to include a suite of APIs for parsing, reasoning about and generating language.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/11/cisco-acquires-conversational-ai-startup-mindmeld-for-125-million/?ncid=rss

Artificial Intelligence

  • A.I. is in a ‘golden age’ and solving problems that were once in the realm of sci-fi, Jeff Bezos says

    At Amazon, Bezos said that “cool” developments like Alexa and its Prime Air delivery drones use “tremendous amounts” of AI. But machine learning is being deployed across the company.

    “I would say, a lot of the value that we’re getting from machine learning is actually happening kind of beneath the surface. It is things like improved search results, improved product recommendations for customers, improved forecasting for inventory management, and literally hundreds of other things beneath the surface,” Bezos said.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/08/amazon-jeff-bezos-artificial-intelligence-ai-golden-age.html

  • Buffett says IBM’s Watson will have greatest value when it replaces human labor

    “I would think the biggest value will come in when it actually replaces human labor, and machines don’t come round annually and ask for higher wages, and they don’t need health care, and maybe a little maintenance,” Buffett said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

    “It should replace people in a big way, unless some other products do the same thing,” he said, noting Watson’s potential for reading X-rays faster and better than humans.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/08/buffett-says-ibms-watson-will-have-greatest-value-when-it-replaces-human-labor.html

  • Robots Aren’t Destroying Enough Jobs

    Monthly job creation has averaged 185,000 this year, more than double what the U.S. can sustain given its demographics. This has driven unemployment down to 4.4%, a 10-year low and below most estimates of “full employment.” Growing labor shortages have boosted the typical worker’s annual wage gain to more than 3% now from 2% in 2012, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

    If automation were rapidly displacing workers, the productivity of the remaining workers ought to be growing rapidly. Instead, growth in productivity—worker output per hour—has been dismal in almost every sector, including manufacturing.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/robots-arent-destroying-enough-jobs-1494434982

Cloud

  • Oracle’s next big business is selling your info

    All of that adds up to a database of 5 billion consumer profiles, fed by 15 million data sources. Not every profile corresponds to a unique person — people can have multiple profiles — but Oracle has information on billions of people, according to Eric Roza, the vice president of Data Cloud. Using data science techniques, Oracle works to match activity from one browser to others, so companies can make sure the same ads get shown to people on their smartphones, tablets, and computers.

    Oracle sees Data Cloud as a key part of its future. The service is being used to help advertisers and publishers better target ads, and it’s attractive to businesses because it’s not tied to a major advertising platform like Google’s or Facebook’s.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3195001/cloud-computing/oracles-next-big-business-is-selling-your-info.html

Software/SaaS

  • Micro Focus shares plunge on HP Enterprise software revenue warning

    “Whilst the short term decline in licence is disappointing it is not unusual given the level of change being undertaken.”

    Its shares – up more than 70% over the past year – were up to 12% down in early trading on Tuesday before later recovering some of those losses to close 5.6% lower.

    http://news.sky.com/story/micro-focus-drops-12-on-hp-enterprise-software-revenue-warning-10869878

  • With Cosmos DB, Microsoft wants to build one database to rule them all

    Cosmos DB is, in Shukla’s words, “a major leap forward” from what DocumentDB was able to offer. DocumentDB only offered a subset of the capabilities of what is now Cosmos DB. While DocumentDB was essentially a store for JSON data, Cosmos DB goes much further. It extends the idea of an index-free database system and adds support for various new data types that allows Cosmos DB enough flexibility to work as a graph database or key-value database, for example. And for those who are looking to store more traditional columnar relational data, Cosmos DB will also offer support for those.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/10/with-cosmos-db-microsoft-wants-to-build-one-database-to-rule-them-all/?ncid=rss

Other

  • Oracle Supports FCC In Net Neutrality Rollback

    According to Oracle, Pai’s plan to remove broadband providers from the FCC’s regulatory jurisdiction “will eliminate unnecessary burdens on, and competitive imbalances for, ISPs internet service providers while enhancing the consumer experience and driving investment.”

    Telecom companies, which have long opposed the rules, are urging Pai to roll them back, the report said.

    http://www.siliconindia.com/news/business/Oracle-Supports-FCC-In-Net-Neutrality-Rollback-nid-202804-cid-3.html

    Hmmm… this can’t possibly be related to Oracle’s recent strategic partnership announcement with AT&T could it?

  • ​CEO Whitman: HPE ready to move past ‘executional challenges’, refocus on growth

    She said the company would not be targeting specifically to make up for the revenue, but would instead focus on growing its footprint in edge and IoT, for instance, as well as through strategic acquisitions.

    In addition to the company’s recent buys, which included Nimble Storage, Niara, and Cloud Cruiser, she added that HPE would continue to look for potential acquisitions, including in the Asia-Pacific region, to further drive its strategy around edge and hybrid IT.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/ceo-whitman-hpe-ready-to-move-past-executional-challenges-refocus-on-growth/

  • Jim Cramer Talks IBM’s Future As Buffett Cuts His Stake

    Perhaps most important, Cramer believes that so long IBM had the “blessing” of its biggest shareholder in Buffett then the company had time to spur the necessary changes to move the company forward.

    But after Buffett cut his stake he is no longer IBM’s shareholder and that title goes to the index fund Vanguard. As such, IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty may not be as “protected as she tries to get the job done.” But on the other hand, Cramer thinks that Rometty could “feel liberated” to go out and acquire a cloud-based company that “would change the company’s complexion overnight.”

    https://www.benzinga.com/media/cnbc/17/05/9421246/jim-cramer-on-ibms-future-after-buffett-cut-stake
    Dear IBM, do not even think about buying twitter. Love, Joey

Photo: Dimitar Belchev

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