Tag Archives: Microsoft

SourceCast: Episode 87: The Philadelphia Experiment

As Philadelphia loses a critical Microsoft incubator, will Amazon swoop in and make the city HQ2?

This week I discuss my concerns about the city’s future and if Philly has a legitimate chance to woo a company that is literally changing how society functions.

Photo: Jay Dantinne

Update: Check out my exchange with Philadelphia Mayor Kenney

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Supplier Report: 9/8/2017

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

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

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

Acquisitions

  • HPE Shopping Spree Continues With Purchase of This Cloud Specialist

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

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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

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

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise to complete software spin-off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    No, I am not biased at all…

  • Is Symantec getting ready to buy Splunk?

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cloud

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

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

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

Datacenter

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

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

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

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

  • Dell Technologies Announces Multi-Year Agreement with GE

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

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

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

Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Should Procurement Be Negotiating Harder With Oracle?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Redd Angelo

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Supplier Report: 8/18/2017

I have been making jokes for weeks that companies haven’t been making acquisitions, and this week we saw Google announce the purchase of two companies, Microsoft picking up one, and Workday snagging a company founded by former Google employees.

As Microsoft celebrates a new acquisition, they are also dealing with the fallout of a very bad review for their new Surface laptops by Consumer Reports.  Meanwhile Oracle is getting compliments on the overhaul of their sales teams to better sell cloud services.

Acquisitions

  • Google acquires AIMatter, maker of the Fabby computer vision app

    The search and Android giant has acquired AIMatter, a startup founded in Belarus that has built both a neural network-based AI platform and SDK to detect and process images quickly on mobile devices, and a photo and video editing app that has served as a proof-of-concept of the tech called Fabby.

    We’d had wind of the deal going down as far back as May, although it only officially closed today.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/16/google-acquires-aimatter-maker-of-the-fabby-computer-vision-app/?ncid=rss

  • Microsoft acquires Cycle Computing

    Microsoft today announced that it has acquired Cycle Computing, a twelve-year-old Connecticut-based company that focuses on helping enterprises orchestrate high-performance computing jobs, large data workloads and other “big computing” jobs in the cloud. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

    While Microsoft plans to use the company’s expertise to improve its Azure service for these kind of high-end workloads, Cycle Computing’s flagship CycleCloud service always supported a wide range of cloud and on-premises platforms, including AWS and the Google Cloud Platform. Microsoft notes that the Cycle Computing tech will help it improve its support for Linux-based high-performance computing workloads.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/15/microsoft-acquires-cycle-computing/?ncid=rss

  • Google buys health monitoring startup

    Google on Monday bought Senosis Health, a startup that creates products used to monitor diseases.

    The startup makes tools focused on tracking lung function, taking hemoglobin counts and helping treat newborn jaundice, according to Geekwire.

    According to Geekwire, Senosis will not be part of the Verily team, even though the company also makes smartphone-based health apps.

    Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    http://thehill.com/policy/technology/346485-google-purchases-healthcare-startup

  • WeWork acquires Israeli startup Unomy to boost its enterprise sales efforts

    Global co-working behemoth WeWork is best known for providing flexible office rentals to startups and other small businesses, but enterprise clients are becoming an increasingly large portion of its business. With that in mind, WeWork has acquired Israeli startup Unomy to help its team sell enterprise clients on the idea of opening offices in its workspaces around the world.

    With plenty of new funding, WeWork has been investing heavily in opening new shared co-working spaces in places like China, Japan and Southeast Asia. In the meantime, it’s hoping to get more large businesses using its real estate.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/10/wework-unomy/?ncid=rss

  • Workday acquires the team behind Pattern, a young startup founded by ex-Googlers

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Pattern CEO Derek Draper, who announced the acquisition to his network on LinkedIn, declined to comment further. As part of this transition, Pattern ended the Pattern service late last week.

    Pattern had aimed to lighten the load of managing customer relationships for salespeople and was backed by Felicis Ventures, SoftTech VC, First Round Capital, and various angel investors, who last year provided the company with $2.5 million in seed funding. (If Pattern raised subsequent funding, it never announced it.).

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/16/workday-acquires-the-team-behind-pattern-a-young-startup-founded-by-ex-googlers/?ncid=rss

Artificial Intelligence

  • Google hires a legendary Apple engineer to tackle AI

    Legendary programmer Chris Lattner has had a roller coaster of a year. He left Apple (where he developed the Swift programming language) to help build Tesla’s Autopilot technology, only to leave months later after realizing that he wasn’t a good fit. However, Lattner might be settling down. He just announced that he’s joining Google (namely, the Brain team) to make AI “accessible to everyone.” While Lattner doesn’t specify exactly what he’ll be doing, Bloomberg sources say he’ll be working on the TensorFlow language Google uses to simplify AI programming.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/08/14/google-hires-apple-swift-creator-for-ai/

  • Why Everyone Is Hating on IBM Watson—Including the People Who Helped Make It

    But the “cognitive computing” technologies under the Watson umbrella aren’t as unique as they once were. “In the data-science community the sense is that whatever Watson can do, you can probably get as freeware somewhere, or possibly build yourself with your own knowledge,” Claudia Perlich told Gizmodo, a professor and data scientist who worked at IBM Watson Research Center from 2004 to 2010 (at the same time Watson was being built), before becoming the chief scientist at Dstillery, a data-driven marketing firm (a field that IBM is also involved with). She believes a good data-science expert can create Watson-like platforms “with notably less financial commitment.”

    http://gizmodo.com/why-everyone-is-hating-on-watson-including-the-people-w-1797510888
    Thanks JD!

  • How Watson’s AI is helping companies stay ahead of hackers and cybersecurity risks

Cloud

  • How Oracle Engineered Its Sales Staff for the Cloud

    In four years, more than 4,500 representatives have gone through the five-week Class Of program. Mr. Hurd figures that in a decade or so all of Oracle’s sales leaders will be graduates of Class Of

    The program didn’t initially sit well with some Oracle veterans, who worried mentoring duties would pull them away from managing their own accounts.

    “Everybody thought, ‘What the hell is this?’” said Mike Mansouri, a manager in the company’s El Segundo, Calif., office, who has worked two decades in sales, the last three years at Oracle. “I thought it would do more harm than good.”

    Two years later, Mr. Mansouri said he was wrong. Recruits he managed were scooping up smaller customers, and he received commissions from deals they closed. He estimated his commission compensation has jumped 25% since the program began.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-oracle-engineered-its-sales-staff-for-the-cloud-1502875803

  • Oracle’s Hurd, AT&T’s Donovan on their massive cloud migration deal

    In this case we didn’t buy what Mark was selling off the shelf. We didn’t look at where Oracle was. We looked at what we were trying to accomplish as a company, how vast the job at hand was, and then we looked at the evolution and the architecture of what Oracle was doing in their cloud strategy in order to find a territory where we could buy and they had to build. Oracle is going to address our specific need: How do you tear down a massive database and regionally distribute it so that you can be really fast in how you’re managing your IT application changes that rest on top of this data?

    http://www.cio.com/article/3216545/cloud-computing/oracles-hurd-atts-donovan-on-their-massive-cloud-migration-deal.html

Datacenter/Hardware

  • Surfacegate: Microsoft execs ‘misled Nadella’, claims report

    Veteran Microsoft-watcher Paul Thurrott has made the sensational allegation that Microsoft’s senior management “misled” their CEO about the cause of serious launch issues with its flagship Surface Pro 4 PC.

    Microsoft defended the reliability of the Surface range after Consumer Reports withdrew its Buy recommendation last week. Microsoft said return rates have fallen, and don’t resemble anything like the 25 per cent breakdown figure cited by the publication.

    The launch of the Surface Pro 4 was plagued with high returns caused by thermal issues, dubbed “Surfacegate”. Our SP4 review unit was swapped out after dying, and the replacement overheated.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/08/14/surface_reliability_claims_microsoft_execs_misled_nadella/

Other

  • Amazon, SoftBank Battle for One of Last Untapped Internet Markets

    After failing to capture much of the market in China, Mr. Bezos is investing $5 billion to expand Amazon’s India operations. Since launching in 2013, the firm has used its technological expertise and slick advertising campaigns to pull neck-and-neck with homegrown e-commerce leader, Flipkart Group, in a country where many consumers are only now shopping online for the first time via inexpensive smartphones.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Son’s conglomerate is set to inject roughly $2.5 billion into Flipkart, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday. While declining to confirm the amount, Flipkart said the investment, combined with $1.4 billion raised in April from Tencent Holdings Ltd. , eBay Inc. and Microsoft Corp. , would lift Flipkart’s cash level to more than $4 billion.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-softbank-battle-for-one-of-last-untapped-internet-markets-1502443806

  • Dell Says CEO Will Continue to Advise Trump Even After Defense of Racist Rally

    His words apparently had little impact on Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell Technologies. The company tells Gizmodo that Trump’s press conference changed nothing, and that Dell will continue to advise Trump as a member of the White House manufacturing council—even as #QuitTheCouncil began trending on Twitter and another of his peers abandoned the president citing personal moral obligation

    Also:

    Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced his departure from the council on Tuesday, writing in a blog that his decision was intended to “call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing.” He added: “Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base.”

    Kenneth Frazier, chief executive of the drugmaker Merck, was the first to step down on Monday. As usual, Trump responded with an angry tweet, saying Frazier would now have “more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”

    http://gizmodo.com/dell-says-ceo-will-continue-to-advise-trump-even-after-1797876463

Photo: Samuel Scrimshaw

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Supplier Report: 8/11/2017

IBM is making legal news this week with their attempt to block their former CIO from joining Amazon. They are also gaining headlines for a $78M ruling in favor of the State of Indiana due to IBM’s reported failure to implement a welfare privatization system.

Yet another diversity issue flared up in Silicon Valley this week and Google was at the center of this controversy.  A (now former) employee posted a “manifesto” reinforcing gender stereotypes.  Google was quick to address the problem, but the document has sparked semi-political conversations that will be harder to suppress.

Meanwhile, Amazon sells product under several alternative brands so you think there are more options when purchasing items from the retail giant.

Acquisitions

  • Accenture Buys Digital Marketing Agency For Technical, Creative Skill Set

    Accenture, aiming to enhance its creative marketing prowess and talent, has acquired Wire Stone, a 200-person Boise, Idaho marketing agency whose client list includes several big IT firms, including Microsoft, HPE and HP Inc.

    The Dublin-based professional services giant said Wire Stone’s strategy, design, and technology expertise would help, particularly when it comes providing integrated campaigns, data-fueled insight and immersive digital customer experiences to big companies.

    http://www.crn.com/news/channel-programs/300090281/accenture-buys-digital-marketing-agency-for-technical-creative-skill-set.htm
    Accenture is stepping on IBM’s toes with the creative agency…

  • Tableau acquires ClearGraph, a startup that lets you analyze your data using natural language

    Business intelligence and analytics firm Tableau today announced that it has acquired ClearGraph, a service that lets you query and visualize large amounts of business date through natural language queries (think “this week’s transactions over $500”). Tableau expects to integrate this technology with its own products as it looks to make it easier for its users to use similar queries to visualize their data.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/09/tableau-acquires-cleargraph-a-startup-that-lets-you-analyze-your-data-using-natural-language/?ncid=rss

  • Markets are strong, but big startup M&A deals just aren’t happening

    It’s not just the unicorn space where big deals aren’t happening. So far this year, only 17 well-funded private technology companies (defined here as those that raised $20 million or more in venture investment) have gone on to be acquired for disclosed or reported valuations over $100 million. Meanwhile, in 2016, there were almost that many at valuations of $500 million or more.

    “It could be happenstance, or some sectors may be running into resistance due to high multiples,” says David Blumberg, managing partner at early-stage firm Blumberg Capital. He added that acquirers may also be waiting on the sidelines to see what happens with proposed tax reforms.

    A Trump administration plan to dramatically reduce taxes on repatriated earnings may be a factor in delaying M&A. Currently, big technology companies are holding hundreds of billions of dollars in overseas accounts to shelter their earnings from U.S. taxes. Apple alone is estimated to be holding on to a cash stockpile of more than $250 billion, most in non-U.S. accounts. The Trump proposal would reportedly cut public companies’ income tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent. It would also cut the tax on repatriated offshore earnings to 10 percent.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/05/markets-are-strong-but-big-startup-ma-deals-just-arent-happening/?ncid=rss

  • SoftBank mulls Uber or Lyft investment

    “We are interested in discussing with Uber, we are also interested in discussing with Lyft, we have not decided which way,” SoftBank’s CEO and founder Masayoshi Son said.

    “Whether we decide to partner and invest into Uber or Lyft, I don’t know what will be the end result,” he told reporters at SoftBank’s first-quarter earnings briefing on Monday.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-softbank-group-results-uber-idUSKBN1AN0XW

Artificial Intelligence

  • SAP Ariba adds IBM Watson technology to procurement processes

    This integration is happening in three waves, Rizza said. The first wave is accelerated response, which injects real-time response mechanisms into operational data, automating data capture and analysis for outcomes like personalized alerts for an operation that requires attention. The second wave is integrating intelligence into business processes like source-to-settle; for example, automating many of the routine tasks in the process that take up a buyer’s time. The third wave will encompass the entire enterprise ERP system, as intelligence goes beyond processes like source-to-settle and is built into processes like source-to-invoice or lead-to-cash.

    http://searchsap.techtarget.com/feature/SAP-Ariba-adds-IBM-Watson-technology-to-procurement-processes

Cloud

  • IBM sues to stop former executive from working at cloud computing rival

    Former IBM cloud computing executive Jeff S. Smith begins a new job today at a major rival, Amazon Web Services, much to the displeasure of his former employer.

    “Were he permitted to join the senior management of AWS on Aug. 7,” declared Arvind Krishna, director of research, he “would inevitably be involved in decision-making about how best to compete against IBM and would inevitably disclose or use IBM trade secrets.”

    Judge Cathy Seibel issued a temporary restraining order on Aug. 1, barring Smith, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, from starting work today at Amazon Web Services. He may not solicit customers, recruit former colleagues or disclose confidential information until a full hearing is held.

    https://westfaironline.com/92334/ibm-sues-stop-former-executive-working-cloud-computing-rival/

Datacenter/Hardware

Software/SaaS

  • Judge: IBM Owes Indiana $78M After Failed Welfare Privatization

    Now, Judge Heather Welch says IBM should pay the state $128 million in damages, and that the state still owes IBM nearly $50 million in various fees.

    The Daniels administration originally hired IBM to take over digital welfare services for the state Family and Social Services Administration. The contract was terminated in 2009 after numerous problems and has been tied up in court ever since.

    IBM will appeal the decision.

    http://www.wfyi.org/news/articles/judge-ibm-owes-indiana-78m-after-failed-welfare-privatization

Other

  • Wisconsin Governor Defends Foxconn Deal Amid Growing Concerns

    “Traditionally, these incentive packages, when we look back at them, tend to be expensive, inefficient and have a lot of unintended consequences,” said State Rep. Gordon Hintz, a Democrat whose district includes Oshkosh. “We all want to be seen as doing something proactive but there’s a large body of public policy research that lets you know you can’t buy sustainable economic development.”

    The state assembly has already begun discussions over the bill and its committee on jobs and the economy plans to vote Monday, said House Speaker Robin Vos. The senate is beginning internal discussions and a joint committee on finance is expected to start discussions in the next two weeks. But Mr. Walker, a Republican, said he is confident the bill will be passed before Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 4.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/wisconsin-governor-defends-foxconn-deal-amid-growing-concerns-1502381401

  • Amazon owns a whole collection of secret brands

    Perhaps what Amazon is trying to do as it rapidly expands into new businesses—especially business areas where it might not have forged partnerships with well-known brands—is to give the impression to customers that there are tons of options to choose from, when in fact, they’re really just choosing between different Amazon brands. “Consumers pay a premium for a brand, that’s why they’re not store-generic,” DiMassimo suggested.

    But as Amazon extends into new product lines, it risks overreaching and eroding trust. It has sold beef that’s “raised on a ranch in California” (with no more information available on its sourcing) and “96% USDA Certified” biologic detergent. In both cases it’s not entirely clear to customers that they’re buying products from Amazon, rather than companies that have made it their business to render meat or make chemical products longer than a year or two.

    https://qz.com/1039381/amazon-owns-a-whole-collection-of-secret-brands/
    Brands Strike Back: Seven Strategies to Loosen Amazon’s Grip

    Some manufacturers are enforcing minimum advertised prices to make it harder for online sellers to undercut local merchants, while others give local stores first dibs on new products or funnel customers from their own websites to local outlets.

    “The pendulum has swung,” said Rich Tauer, president of Quality Bicycle Products, a Bloomington, Minn., bicycle wholesaler that won’t sell to Amazon. The company’s sales representatives push brands that support local retailers by restricting advertised prices and enforcing restrictions on where products are being sold.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/brands-strike-back-seven-strategies-to-loosen-amazons-grip-1502103602

  • Google Employee’s Anti-Diversity Manifesto Goes ‘Internally Viral’

    The 10-page Google Doc document was met with derision from a large majority of employees who saw and denounced its contents, according to the employee. But Jaana Dogan, a software engineer at Google, tweeted that some people at the company at least partially agreed with the author; one of our sources said the same (Dogan’s tweets have since been deleted). While the document itself contains the thoughts of just one Google employee, the context in which they were shared—Google is currently being investigated by the Department of Labor for its gender pay gap and Silicon Valley has been repeatedly exposed as a place that discriminates against women and people of color—as well as the private and public response from its workforce are important.

    “The broader context of this is that this person is perhaps bolder than most of the people at Google who share his viewpoint—of thinking women are less qualified than men—to the point he was willing to publicly argue for it. But there are sadly more people like him,” the employee who described the document’s contents to me said.

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/kzbm4a/employees-anti-diversity-manifesto-goes-internally-viral-at-google
    Google’s New Diversity Chief Criticizes Employee’s Memo

    Danielle Brown, Google’s vice president for diversity and inclusion, sent a letter to employees Saturday saying the employee’s memo “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender” and is “not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages,” according to a copy of the statement published by Motherboard, which earlier reported on the employee’s memo.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/googles-new-diversity-chief-criticizes-employees-memo-1502037022
    Google Fires Author of Divisive Memo on Gender Differences

    Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley.

    James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He said he’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-08/google-fires-employee-behind-controversial-diversity-memo

  • Microsoft only paid $30 million income tax last year, lowest since 2003

    The Seattle Times story notes that the $30 million figure is somewhat alarming, as Microsoft paid $136 million in state and local income tax payments in 2016. According to the Tax Policy Center think tank, 44 states (and Washington, D.C.) require corporate income taxes. For companies that are headquartered out-of-state, state governments usually only tax companies for activities that occur in their particular state.

    Washington state taxes corporations through its business and occupation (B&O) tax, which imposes a tax on the value of products sold in state. According to Microsoft, the $30 million figure does not include Washington’s B&O tax. The lowered payment might be due to Microsoft moving much of its operations overseas, as Microsoft reported $142 billion in overseas income as of June 30, 2017, a 15% increase over 2016.

    https://www.onmsft.com/news/microsoft-only-paid-30-million-income-tax-last-year-lowest-since-2003

  • Mobility Officially Bumped From Microsoft’s Strategy

    Microsoft is making clear, however, that while it may be moving away from creating mobility, it wants to be inside that technology, pushing artificial intelligence as its next major effort.

    It’s not as if Microsoft won’t have a mobile presence whatsoever, of course. The AI assistant Cortana is enabled for use on iOS and Android; the majority of enterprise business professionals use LinkedIn’s mobile app; and Skype is available just about everywhere. This certainly isn’t a death knell for the company, but as CEO Satya Nadella said in the fall of 2016, Microsoft needs to remember its roots as a platform-first company.

    https://www.enterprisemobilityexchange.com/news/mobility-officially-bumped-from-microsoft%E2%80%99s

Photo: Raw Pixel

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Supplier Report: 7/28/2017

Jeff Bezos surpassed Bill Gates to become the richest man in the world.  Bezos’ company has long competed with Microsoft in cloud hosting and now it seems they will battle in the healthcare space. There are reports that Amazon has a secret project to address electronic records which Microsoft has also been investigating for some time.

Google is fighting with AWS and Microsoft to gain a footing in enterprise cloud. It seems that their plans might be working as contracts valued at $500K or more have tripled for them this year.

Apple is getting in President Trump’s good graces this week with the promise to work with Foxconn on building up to three manufacturing planets in the United States.

Acquisitions

  • Mitel to buy ShoreTel for $430 million to create unified communications powerhouse

    Combining the two companies catapults Mitel to number two in the Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market, according to the company.

    As for ShoreTel, while it will get absorbed in the deal, it looks like the shareholders did quite well, scoring a 28 percent premium over the closing stock price yesterday. The deal looks like this: Mitel will pay $7.50 a share for a total value of $430 million in an all-cash deal.

    With the stroke of a pen, Mitel now has almost doubled its UCaaS revenue to $263 million, and there will be other efficiencies achieved by combining the two companies with similar markets.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/27/mitel-to-buy-shoretel-for-430-million-to-create-unified-communications-powerhouse/?ncid=rss

  • KKR confirms it will buy WebMD for $2.8B in cash

    Some consolidation is afoot in the world on health-focused online media properties. Today, WebMD, one of the biggest sites in the world for health-related information — announced that it would be acquired by Internet Brands — the company that is controlled by KKR and owns a large portfolio of B2B and B2C websites in verticals like automotive, health, home, travel and legal — for a $66.50 per share in cash, or $2.8 billion. The news confirms a report from this weekend noting that the deal was on the cards.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/24/kkr-confirms-it-will-buy-webmd-for-2-8b-in-cash/

  • OpenText acquires forensic security vendor Guidance Software for $240 million

    OpenText, the content management company based in Waterloo, Ontario announced today that it was buying Guidance Software, a forensic security and eDiscovery vendor for $240 million.

    OpenText agreed to pay Guidance shareholders $7.10 a share. The price will be less Guidance’s cash on hand of approximately $18 million, making the final price just around $222 million, according to OpenText. Under the terms of the purchase, the company will become a wholly owned subsidiary of OpenText.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/26/opentext-acquires-forensic-security-vendor-guidance-software-for-240-million/?ncid=rss

  • Merger Talks Between BMC and CA End

    BMC, which is owned by private-equity firms Bain Capitaland Golden Gate Capital, is no longer exploring a deal with CA and the talks aren’t likely to heat up again soon, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The deal the companies were discussing would have been structured as a leveraged buyout and counted as one of the largest such deals in years, given CA’s market value of $14.6 billion Thursday morning.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/merger-talks-between-bmc-and-ca-end-1501169897

  • SoftBank is reportedly keen to buy ‘multi-billion dollar stake’ in Uber

    Less than a day after it agreed to put $2 billion into Southeast Asia’s Grab alongside Didi, now SoftBank is being linked with an investment in Uber, the U.S. firm that rivals those two aforementioned ride-sharing companies.

    A Wall Street Journal report claims SoftBank has been in touch with Uber with the apparent goal of buying a “multi-billion dollar stake” in the company. To date, Uber has raised close to $12 billion from investors, with its most recent valuation reportedly above $60 billion.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/25/softbank-is-reportedly-keen-to-buy-multi-billion-dollar-stake-in-uber/?ncid=rss
    John and I predicted this would happen on SourceCast episode 78

Artificial Intelligence

  • Google targets AI startups with Developers Launchpad Studio mentorship program

    Helpful perks to creators to be made available at the Developers Launchpad Studio include product validation support and introductions to AI investors, as well as feedback and advice from people like Google director of research Peter Norvig and Yossi Matias, head of Google’s R&D Research Center in Israel. Participants will also receive $50,000 in financial support without the need to give Google equity, as well as product credits for services like Google Cloud.

    https://venturebeat.com/2017/07/26/google-launches-developers-launchpad-studio-to-mentor-ai-startups/

  • IBM Watson Helps More Puppies Become Guiding Eyes for the Blind

    While this video provides no information on how Watson is being used to select helper puppies… who doesn’t like to look a puppies (damn you IBM, you knew what you were doing).

Cloud

  • The cloud wars explained: Amazon is dominating, but Microsoft and Google are striking back

    Still, Microsoft’s key advantage isn’t necessarily in technology, but rather in its enterprise know-how and established customer base. Lots of Microsoft’s biggest customers have contracts with the company that give them steep discounts on its software. Microsoft has been using those agreements to give customers big incentives to try Azure.

    Microsoft has also worked to make Azure more attractive to software developers. Under Nadella, the company has swallowed its pride and begun to support in Azure technologies it previously tried to crush. Most notably that includes the Linux operating system — a bit of software that developers absolutely love, but that ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once called “a cancer” and “communism,” because it’s available for free.

    That newfound openness to open-source code like Linux has won Microsoft a lot of appreciation from programmers. At last count, Linux accounted for about a third of all Azure usage, according to Microsoft.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/why-amazon-is-so-hard-to-topple-in-the-cloud-and-where-everybody-else-falls-2017-7

  • Google triples number of $500k cloud deals year over year as latest results announced

    “To be more specific about our momentum with big customers, in Q2 the number of new deals we closed worth more than $0.5 million is three times what it was last year,” Pichai added.

    This was about as specific as Pichai got, as Google puts cloud in its ‘other revenue’ bucket, alongside such products as the Google Play app store. Google’s other revenues for Q217 were at $3.1 billion, up 42% from this time last year but seeing a very slight decrease from Q1 this year.

    https://www.cloudcomputing-news.net/news/2017/jul/25/google-triples-number-500k-cloud-deals-year-over-year-latest-financial-results/

  • Amazon has set its sights on healthcare tech with a stealth lab it calls ‘1492’

    The e-commerce giant has set up a new, stealthy lab called “1492” that’s dedicated to healthcare technology, CNBC reported Wednesday.

    According to the report, the lab is exploring ways to tap into medical providers’ electronic records to make that data more accessible for consumers and their physicians, according to the report. The lab is also considering building a telemedicine system that could connect patients and doctors. And its looking into making health apps for Amazon devices, like the Echo, CNBC reported.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/report-amazon-pursues-healthcare-tech-1492-lab-2017-7
    Amazon may be going head-to-head with Microsoft in healthcare

    For those who may have forgotten (or never knew), Microsoft has been targeting some of these same spaces for years with its HealthVault patient-records service. Earlier this year, Microsoft extended HealthVault with a new Insights research project designed to provide users with analytics around patient-health.

    Microsoft’s AI + Research Group has a specific Healthcare NExT effort via which Microsoft is working with external partners to integrate research and health-technology product development.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/amazon-may-be-going-head-to-head-with-microsoft-in-healthcare/

Datacenter

  • Seagate Shares Slide After Earnings Miss

    Seagate Technology shares plunged 19% to $32.01 in early trading Tuesday after the company reported fourth-quarter profit and sales well below expectations.

    Separately, Seagate said that Chief Executive Steve Luczo will step down from his role effective Oct. 1. Mr. Luczo, who will stay with the company as executive chairman, will be succeeded by Chief Operating Officer Dave Mosley.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/seagate-shares-slide-after-earnings-miss-1500991020

  • Meg Whitman steps down from HP’s board (Not HPE)

    “I will be forever grateful to Meg for her many contributions,” said Dion Weisler, HP’s CEO in a statement. “She is a terrific friend and advisor and will remain so as we continue executing on our strategy of reinvention. I very much look forward to working closely with Chip as our new Chairman as we shepherd HP into the future.”

    The release did not indicate whether recent reports from Recode and Bloomberg are accurate, which suggested that she’s on the short list of candidates being considered for Uber’s CEO.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/26/meg-whitman-steps-down-from-hps-board/?ncid=rss

Software/SaaS

Other

  • Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Becomes World’s Richest Person

    Mr. Bezos, 53, reached a net worth of over $90.6 billion as the stock market opened Thursday, according to Forbes, which has tracked a list of wealthiest people since 1987. That allowed him to steal the title from Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates by $500 million. Stock prices increased from there, adding to his lead.

    Analysts expect Amazon to report another quarter of strong sales after the market closes, as the company continues to prove its dominance in everything from retail to cloud services.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazons-jeff-bezos-becomes-worlds-richest-person-1501169993

  • Should America’s Tech Giants Be Broken Up?

    They don’t engage in the predatory behavior of yore, such as selling goods below the cost of production to steal market share and cripple competitors. After all, the services that Facebook and Google offer are free (if you don’t consider giving up your personal data and privacy rights to be a cost). However, academics have documented how these companies employ far fewer people than the largest companies of decades past while taking a disproportionate share of national profits. As they grow and occupy a bigger part of the economy, median wages stagnate and labor’s share of gross domestic product declines. Labor’s shrinking share of output is widely implicated in the broader economic growth slowdown.

    Still others have shown that, as markets become more concentrated and established companies more powerful, the ability of startups to succeed declines. Since half of all new jobs spring from successful startups, this dampens job creation.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-20/should-america-s-tech-giants-be-broken-up

  • Why it might be ‘dangerous’ for IBM to turn itself around: professor

    “I think IBM has had a good run,” NYU Stern School of Business professor Aswath Damodaran told Yahoo Finance. “Not all companies last forever. There is a life cycle to a company. They are born grow and then decline. They [IBM] have been in decline for 10 or 12 years.”

    Damodaran, who teaches corporate finance and valuation, says trying to force growth in older companies like IBM could actually have a negative impact on them, because they might end up simply throwing good money away.

    “When you’re 75, you’d love to be 35 again, but you’re not going to,” Damodaran said. “So that’s the way I think of aging companies. Trying to turn them around might be the most dangerous thing you can do.”

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/might-dangerous-ibm-turn-around-professor-125001765.html

  • IBM Is One of 18 Companies That Could Soon Be Attacked by an Activist Investor

    International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)  reported its twenty-first consecutive quarter of year-over-year sales declines on July 19. IBM joined our list in May after reporting in April its 20th consecutive annual revenue decline and accelerated margin deterioration. It also reportedly recently began working with two investment banks to formulate an activist defense plan.

    https://www.thestreet.com/story/14239194/1/ibm-is-one-of-18-companies-that-could-soon-be-attacked-by-an-activist-investor.html

  • Apple Supplier Foxconn Looks at Producing Display Panels in Wisconsin

    Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., has said publicly that it is looking at seven states in the U.S., where it would invest a total of $10 billion or more to manufacture flat-panel screens and related equipment. In June, a company executive identified the seven as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

    In addition to Wisconsin, Foxconn is looking in the Detroit area for a possible plant, two people familiar with the plans said. It wasn’t clear what that plant would make.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/apple-supplier-foxconn-looks-at-producing-display-panels-in-wisconsin-1500884344

  • Trump Says Apple CEO Has Promised to Build Three Manufacturing Plants in U.S.

    Mr. Trump, in a 45-minute interview with The Wall Street Journal, said Mr. Cook promised him Apple would build “three big plants, beautiful plants.” Mr. Trump didn’t elaborate on where those plants would be located or when they would be built.

    “I spoke to [Mr. Cook], he’s promised me three big plants—big, big, big,” Mr. Trump said as part of a discussion about business-tax reform and business investment. “I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success. He called me, and he said they are going forward.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-apple-ceo-has-promised-to-build-three-manufacturing-plants-in-u-s-1501012372

Photo: Hieu Vu Minh

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