Tag Archives: Microsoft

Supplier Report: 1/12/2018

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

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

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

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

Acquisitions

  • Verizon acquires autonomous threat detection startup Niddel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

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

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

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

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

Cloud

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

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

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

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

Datacenter

  • Intel reveals possible slowdowns from ‘Meltdown’ processor fix

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

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

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

Software/SaaS

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

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

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

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

  • Barry Padgett Appointed as New SAP Ariba President

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

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

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

  • Signal Partners With Microsoft to Encrypt Skype Messages

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

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

Security

  • Intel Fumbles Its Patch for Chip Flaw

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

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

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

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

  • AMD Hits a Snag Over Patch for Chip Flaw

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other

  • China Swats Jack Ma’s Ant Over Customer Privacy

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

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

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

  • IBM names James Kavanaugh as CFO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Amazon could be leaning toward Boston for new HQ2

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

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

Photo: Robert Szadkowski

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Supplier Report: 1/5/2018

Here we go again… there is another security flaw that could impact almost all connected computers.  This time the issue is at the CPU kernel level and it could take some time to completely correct.

Amazon is one of the companies impacted by this flaw, but on the bright side, their bets on home speakers, video and music services, and grocery stores are paying off. The company also seems to be making progress on ridding themselves of Oracle software internally and in their service offerings.

And last but not least, Google is saving billions of dollars in another off-shore tax shelter plan.

Acquisitions

  • Microsoft acquires Avere Systems, file-storage vendor for Windows and Linux

    Microsoft announced intentions to buy the Pittsburgh, Penn.-based vendor on Jan. 3 for an undisclosed amount.

    Avere has developed file system and caching technologies designed to speed access to compute and storage in hybrid environments. Avere provides NFS and SMB file storage for Windows and Linux clients running in the cloud, hybrid, and on-premises environments.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-acquires-avere-systems-file-storage-vendor-for-windows-and-linux/

  • How FANG Stocks Left the Media Business Snakebitten: A 2017 Retrospective

    But media moguls aren’t taking all this lying down; to defang FANG, they’re fighting with fire. They are remaking their companies in the same mold as their tech rivals, first by striking the deals necessary to scale into a group of fewer but bigger businesses that can at least approach the size of a quartet boasting a combined market capitalization of $1.9 trillion. They are also pivoting toward their rivals’ style of data-driven streaming direct to the consumer. As Murdoch summed it up in the wake of the Disney deal, “Silicon Valley is spending tens and tens of billions on entertainment programming,” he told NPR. “So it makes sense to bulk up the entertainment side, so that we’ve got a company that can go direct to consumers in a big way.”

    Nothing defined the media sector more in 2017 than the mergers and acquisitions that have been the order of the day to appease an increasingly skeptical Wall Street. In addition to the Fox-Disney stunner, there was the $14.6 billion union of Discovery and Scripps completed in November. More such deals seem inevitable next year, such as the potential for Shari Redstone to engineer the reunion of CBS Corp. and Viacom. Maybe someone in Silicon Valley will finally buy one of the content companies as well.

    http://variety.com/2017/digital/news/fang-facebook-amazon-netflix-amazon-2017-1202645607/

  • Inside the Eccentric, Relentless Deal-Making of Masayoshi Son

    Chris Lane, an analyst with Sanford Bernstein, says about eight in 10 of the investors he talks with are skeptical of Son. They see him as a solid telecom operator who is taking enormous risks with his investments and has demonstrated no special skill in technology investment. Lane sees clear evidence of that disbelief: SoftBank’s stock in Alibaba and other assets are worth more than 19 trillion yen after subtracting all its debt, but SoftBank’s market cap is only 9.8 trillion yen. It’s like your neighbor having a suitcase stuffed with $1 million in cash, but you’ll only pay him $500,000 for it because you think he’ll lose the rest on the way to your house. Critics not only don’t believe Son can pick the next Alibaba; they’re convinced he’s going to squander what he already has.

    “If you think of this as a telco making unrelated investments and likely to lose money, then maybe the discount is right,” Lane says. “If you think this is a sophisticated technology investment firm with a strong track record, then this is an unbelievable opportunity.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-01-02/inside-the-eccentric-unstoppable-deal-making-of-masayoshi-son

Artificial Intelligence

  • China emerges as a hotbed for artificial intelligence (thanks JD!)

    The rapid growth of AI in China can also be partly attributed to government support. Beijing laid out a development plan in July to become a world leader in AI, aiming to build a domestic AI industry worth at least 1 trillion yuan (around $1.5 billion), according to a government document. Chirag Dekate, research director of high-performance computing for Gartner, thinks China is getting into AI for the long haul. “The U.S. is driving AI innovation across the spectrum, in software and hardware,” said Dekate in an interview with Investor’s Business Daily. “Early use cases and early adopters are happening more in the U.S. than any geography in the world. But China is looking at it from a marathon perspective.”

    https://digiday.com/marketing/china-emerges-hotbed-artificial-intelligence/

Cloud

  • The CPU catastrophe will hit hardest in the cloud

    But privilege escalation is much scarier in the cloud, where the same server could be working for dozens of people at once. Platforms like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud let online companies spread a single program across thousands of servers in data centers across the world, sharing hardware the same way you’d share an airplane or a subway car. Collective hardware isn’t a security problem because even when different users are on the same server, they’re in different software instances, with no way to jump from one instance to another. Spectre could change that, letting attackers steal data from anyone sharing the same chip. If a hacker wanted to perform that kind of attack, all they’d have to do is start their own instance and run the program.

    Cloud services are also a lucrative target for anyone hoping to cash in on Spectre. Lots of midsize businesses run their entire infrastructure on AWS or Google Cloud, often trusting the platform with sensitive and potentially lucrative information. Bitcoin exchanges, chat apps, even government agencies all keep passwords and other sensitive data on cloud servers. If you’re running a modern web service, there’s simply no other choice. If someone did set a new exploit running on a cloud instance, there’s no telling what kind of data might shake out.

    https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/4/16850120/meltdown-spectre-vulnerability-cloud-aws-google-cpu

Software/SaaS

  • Facebook has a 100-person engineering team that helps advertisers build tools and infrastructure

    You’d expect any digital media business to offer some degree of technical support to its biggest advertisers, but the solutions engineering team is actually building products.

    For example, it was involved in creating Facebook’s dynamic ads format (where ads show different products to different users based on their activities and interests). Mehta said dynamic ads were first inspired by the complaints of an advertiser he was meeting with in Hamburg, Germany, and he then worked with the Facebook Ads team to create a prototype, eventually leading to a more polished product and broader availability.

    It’s probably safe to say that not every client meeting leads to a new ad format — sometimes Mehta’s team is just helping advertisers understand how to use their existing tools in a more effective way. But that other option, working with the rest of Facebook to build something new, is also on the table.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/29/facebook-solutions-engineering/?ncid=rss

  • Amazon and Salesforce are reportedly making ‘significant progress’ moving away from Oracle technology

    Salesforce is developing its own alternative to Oracle’s database, while Amazon is moving toward open-source technology called NoSQL, sources told The Information. If Amazon and Salesforce could move away from Oracle, it could be proof that other big businesses could, too, one consultant told The Information.

    Oracle’s database technology, as well as the coding language Java, have been the market standard in many industries since at least the 1990s, as one of the first databases to support “http” technologies online.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/02/amazon-salesforce-moving-away-from-oracle-technology-report.html

Security

  • Kernel panic! What are Meltdown and Spectre, the bugs affecting nearly every computer and device?

    In modern architectures, there are inviolable spaces where data passes through in raw, unencrypted form, such as inside the kernel, the most central software unit in the architecture, or in system memory carefully set aside from other applications. This data has powerful protections to prevent it from being interfered with or even observed by other processes and applications.

    Meltdown and Spectre are two techniques researchers have discovered that circumvent those protections, exposing nearly any data the computer processes, such as passwords, proprietary information, or encrypted communications.

    Meltdown affects Intel processors, and works by breaking through the barrier that prevents applications from accessing arbitrary locations in kernel memory. Segregating and protecting memory spaces prevents applications from accidentally interfering with one another’s data, or malicious software from being able to see and modify it at will. Meltdown makes this fundamental process fundamentally unreliable.

    Spectre affects Intel, AMD, and ARM processors, broadening its reach to include mobile phones, embedded devices, and pretty much anything with a chip in it. Which, of course, is everything from thermostats to baby monitors now.

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/03/kernel-panic-what-are-meltdown-and-spectre-the-bugs-affecting-nearly-every-computer-and-device/
    Cloud infrastructure vendors begin responding to chip kernel vulnerability

    “We’re aware of this industry-wide issue and have been working closely with chip manufacturers to develop and test mitigations to protect our customers. We are in the process of deploying mitigations to cloud services and are releasing security updates today to protect Windows customers against vulnerabilities affecting supported hardware chips from AMD, ARM and Intel. We have not received any information to indicate that these vulnerabilities had been used to attack our customers.”

    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/03/cloud-infrastructure-vendors-begin-responding-to-chip-kernel-vulnerability/?ncid=rss

  • Intel was aware of the chip vulnerability when its CEO sold off $24 million in company stock

    But while the public is just being informed about the security problem, tech companies have known about it for months. In fact, Google informed Intel of the vulnerability in June, an Intel representative told Business Insider in a statement.

    That means Intel was aware of the problem before Krzanich sold off a big chunk of his holdings. Intel’s CEO saw a $24 million windfall November 29 through a combination of selling shares he owned outright and exercising stock options.

    The stock sale raised eyebrows when it was disclosed, primarily because it left Krzanich with just 250,000 shares of Intel stock — the bare minimum the company requires him to hold under his employment agreement.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/intel-ceo-krzanich-sold-shares-after-company-was-informed-of-chip-flaw-2018-1

Other

  • Amazon did a lot of funky stuff this year and it’s paying off

    The bet paid off, with AWS now on track to generate more than $10 billion annually. More importantly, that $10 billion annually comes with a pretty healthy margin — though, over time, that margin may slip down. For the time being, though, it’s an impressive business compared to the razor-thin profits that Amazon might generate from its retail operations and a good data point as its media services like video or music start to play out.

    And, as usual, recurring revenue is a story that Wall Street loves. Amazon is a company that people will often tell you not to bet against, and its stock is up more than 50 percent on the year thanks to an array of businesses that all appear to be showing growth and the company’s recent-ish ability to turn a profit. Amazon can thank AWS a lot for that.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/29/amazon-did-a-lot-of-funky-stuff-this-year-and-its-paying-off/?ncid=rss

  • Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund Makes Monster Bet on Bitcoin

    Relatively few mainstream investors have bought large sums of bitcoin, scared off by concerns about cybersecurity and liquidity, as well as more mundane fears of investment losses. Even some of those who do own it are cautious about speaking too publicly, lest they draw the attention of hackers.

    The recent price plunge has also spooked some. On Dec. 22, the prominent investor Michael Novogratz said he was delaying launching a crypto-focused hedge fund for outside investors, stating “we didn’t like market conditions for new investors.” South Korea announced last week it would crack down on cryptocurrency trading, an ominous sign given that the country at one point accounted for as much as one-fourth of global bitcoin trading activity.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/peter-thiels-founders-fund-makes-big-bet-on-bitcoin-1514917433

  • Google used a popular tax trick to shelter $19.2 billion

    Newly published Netherlands regulatory filings show that Google shielded €15.9 billion (about $19.2 billion) in 2016 using the popular “Dutch Sandwich” tax trick, saving it about $3.7 billion in taxes. The maneuver involves shifting revenue from an Irish subsidiary to a Dutch firm with no staff, and promptly moving the funds to a Bermuda mailbox owned by another Ireland-listed company. And this practice isn’t slowing down — Google moved 7 percent more cash through this approach in 2016 than it did a year earlier.

    https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/02/google-dutch-sandwich-tax-maneuver/

 

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Supplier Report: 12/29/2017

Amazon is still hustling late into the year. They announced the acquisition of wireless camera company Blink. There is also more information about Amazon’s plans to get into online advertising… Google and Facebook should be concerned.

Uber gets another life-line as SoftBank purchases a 30% stake in the company.

Microsoft is making a push to replace traditional passwords with bio-metric solutions like iris scanning. It does sound less complicated, but there is something about having a IR laser blasting my eyeball that fills me with unease.

Acquisitions

  • Amazon buys Blink wire-free connected camera startup

    Amazon has acquired Blink, the wireless security camera company that launched back in 2014 and then subsequently closed a million-dollar Kickstarter campaign. The deal was announced today, and for the moment will see Blink continue to operate as-is, with no changes to the company’s line-up. That includes the recently announced Blink Video Doorbell.

    https://www.slashgear.com/amazon-buys-blink-wire-free-connected-camera-startup-22512665/

  • SoftBank Succeeds in Tender Offer for Large Stake in Uber

    SoftBank Group Corp. won its bid to buy a major stake in Uber Technologies Inc. at a steep discount to the company’s previous valuation in a deal that gives the world’s biggest tech investor sway over the most valuable U.S. startup.

    Uber investors and employees tendered shares equal to about 20% of the company in an offer by a SoftBank-led consortium that values Uber at $48 billion—a roughly 30% discount to its most recent valuation of about $68 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

    The group will end up acquiring slightly less: SoftBank itself will own about 15% of Uber, and other members of SoftBank’s bidding group will get a stake of around 3%, one of the people said.​ ​

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/softbank-succeeds-in-tender-offer-for-large-stake-in-uber-1514483283

Artificial Intelligence

  • What Amazon’s Alexa economy pays the people building its skills

    Wilson unexpectedly joined a new Alexa economy, a small but fast-growing network of independent developers, marketing companies and Alexa tools makers. They’re working to bring you voice-activated flash briefings, games and recipes through Amazon’s Echo speaker, Alexa’s primary home. By doing so, they hope to define the 3-year-old Alexa platform and make money from voice computing’s surging popularity.

    Two years ago, there wasn’t nearly as much to do on Alexa and the market for making Alexa skills was worth a mere $500,000. Now, with more than 25,000 skills available, the market is expected to hit $50 million in 2018, according to analytics firm VoiceLabs. That’s dwarfed by the mobile app economy, with global sales of over $50 billion, but Alexa is growing at a far faster rate.

    https://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-alexa-economy-echo-speaker-google-assistant-siri/

Cloud

  • Amazon is planning a push into digital advertising in 2018, challenging Google and Facebook

    Digital advertising was a $209 billion business globally in 2017, according to media buying research firm Magna Global. And it’s only increasing: The company predicts the industry will grow 13 percent to $237 billion next year. The U.S. is currently the most lucrative market, where advertisers spent $40.1 billion on digital advertising during the first half of 2017 alone, according to digital ad industry group Interactive Advertising Bureau.

    Although Amazon doesn’t break out revenues from its advertising business, eMarketer estimates Amazon was the fifth-largest digital advertiser in the U.S. in terms of revenue this year. Still, it makes up a little more than 2 percent of the market. It’s leagues below industry leaders Google and Facebook, which take home more than 70 percent combined, according to a recent estimate from analysts at Pivotal.

    But advertisers have been searching for a third large competitor in order to lower prices and force Google and Facebook to be more open about sharing user data. Amazon could be a major player, if only based on the sheer volume of consumer insights it has thanks to its robust e-commerce business.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/26/amazon-digital-advertising-push-in-2018.html

Software/SaaS

  • Oracle: A Classic Case Of Cannibalization

    If cloud computing is classified as a disruptor, Oracle (ORCL) is definitely the flag bearer for the incumbents that are being disrupted. One of the pioneers of the information technology industry, Oracle had conceded its dominance to the likes of Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft (MSFT) in the cloud computing space.

    Although Oracle’s total cloud revenues were up 60% in 2017 and have more than doubled in the last two years, they are at best substituting for the decline in its traditional revenue streams – software, hardware, and services. Revenues of new software licenses were down 32%, hardware revenues were down 34%, and service revenues were down 21% in the last five years. Hence, the total cumulative growth in revenues over the last five years is merely 1.64%. In fact, sales in 2017 were marginally lower than that in 2015 and 2014. Despite the scrimpy growth rates, the stock is up over 90% since May 2012. Shareholders are rewarded generously by increase in dividends and share repurchase programs over that period as well.

    https://seekingalpha.com/article/4134078-oracle-classic-case-cannibalization

  • Goldman is reportedly getting into bitcoin and crypto trading

    The bank is said to be in the early stages of setup, which means hiring and figuring out the logistics, including how the bank will hold the assets and keep them secure. The ultimate goal, Bloomberg claimed, is to begin trading by June 2018.

    “In response to client interest in digital currencies, we are exploring how best to serve them,” the bank told Bloomberg in a statement.

    The move would make it the first major bank to embrace trading bitcoin and cryptocoins, which have surged in value in 2017, with bitcoin itself getting close to the $20,000 mark before falling this week. It’s current price is $14,633, according to Coindesk, a huge jump on $998 on January 1 2017.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/21/goldman-bitcoin-crypto-trading/?ncid=rss

  • Blockchain Pumping New Life Into Old-School Companies Like IBM

    That’s creating new opportunities for some of the old warships of the technology world, companies like IBM and Microsoft Corp. that are making the transition to cloud services. And products that had gone out of vogue, such as databases sold by Oracle Corp., are becoming sexy again.

    “All of these things will get a new life because of blockchain,” said Jerry Cuomo, vice president of technology for IBM Blockchain. “Our sales team loves blockchain because a customer that is buying blockchain rarely walks out of the store with just blockchain. They walk out with multiple things in their cart.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-26/blockchain-pumping-new-life-into-old-school-companies-like-ibm
    I am sharing this article because it is a great example of media bias. “All of these things will be new life” because nobody is buying IBM software and Oracle DBs.

Security

  • Microsoft says it’s time to kill the traditional passwords system

    Windows Hello allows users to log in with their iris, thus the new system is slightly better than the passwords. In a blog post, Bret Arsenault, corporate vice president for Microsoft and chief information security officer highlighted the reason why it’s time to kill the traditional passwords system.

    According to Microsoft, Windows Hello is more convenient and easier to use. The software giant also claims that at least 70 percent of the Windows 10 users with biometric-enabled devices prefer Windows Hello over the password authentication system.

    “We are encouraging users to try it, and see for themselves that it is easier to use than passwords. I think one of the fears that people have is that new technology is just going to be more complicated, and not realize that we’ve pushed to make it simpler and better,” says Rob Lefferts, director of program management for Windows Enterprise and Security at Microsoft.

    https://www.windowslatest.com/2017/12/28/microsoft-says-time-kill-passwords-sucks/

Photo: Tristan Gassert

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Supplier Report: 12/15/2017

It was a bad week. 

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

At least Google is slashing their machine learning prices…

Acquisitions

  • Apple is acquiring music recognition app Shazam

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

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

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

  • Coupa Acquires Simeno to Augment Catalog Search and Management Capabilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cloud

  • AWS just opened another cloud computing region in China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Security

  • Kaspersky Lab is closing its Washington, DC office

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other

  • The FCC officially votes to kill net neutrality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • GE is cutting 12,000 jobs

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

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

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

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

  • Cost-hurling IBM seeks more volunteers for employment bonfire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Cooper Smith

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Supplier Report: 12/8/2017

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

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

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

Acquisitions

  • CVS buys health insurer Aetna to counter Amazon

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • IBM unveils ‘game-changing powerhouse’ for AI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Cheapest enterprise cloud storage providers not always best

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

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

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

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

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

Software/SaaS

  • Three Uber security managers reportedly resigned today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other

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

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

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

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

  • Why Amazon and Google just can’t get along

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

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

  • IBM to invest $200 million in climate change research

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

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

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

Photo: CloudVisual

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