Tag Archives: Microsoft

Supplier Report: 7/14/2017

IBM is coming under fire by Jefferies and competitor OpenText over their AI success (or lack of it).  Jefferies says IBM customers are suffering from complicated implementations and OpenText claims that their AI platform is better and cheaper.

Google is hoping to leverage AI technology to make the world a better place.  And what better way to improve the world than to buy a small AI company in India (…that does have a social  focus).

Meanwhile Verizon made the world a slightly worse place by announcing a security breach that could impact up to 14 million customers.

Acquisitions

Artificial Intelligence

  • Microsoft to use AI to assist the blind, fix bias, and rescue the planet

    In order to make sure that further developments are pursued in the proper fashion—accessible and inclusive to everyone—Microsoft also noted that it is working on an Ethical Design Guide for AI product development, based on CEO Satya Nadella’s 10 principles for AI development.

    “As technology that uses AI gets smarter, we want to ensure that we take a responsible approach to our progress – and one that will ultimately provide the most benefit to our customers and to society as a whole,” Shum said at the event.

    http://www.techrepublic.com/article/microsoft-to-use-ai-to-assist-the-blind-fix-bias-and-rescue-the-planet/

  • Jefferies gives IBM Watson a Wall Street reality check

    Jefferies pulls from an audit of a partnership between IBM Watson and MD Anderson as a case study for IBM’s broader problems scaling Watson. MD Anderson cut its ties with IBM after wasting $60 million on a Watson project that was ultimately deemed, “not ready for human investigational or clinical use.”

    The MD Anderson nightmare doesn’t stand on its own. I regularly hear from startup founders in the AI space that their own financial services and biotech clients have had similar experiences working with IBM.

    The narrative isn’t the product of any single malfunction, but rather the result of overhyped marketing, deficiencies in operating with deep learning and GPUs and intensive data preparation demands.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/13/jefferies-gives-ibm-watson-a-wall-street-reality-check/?ncid=rss
    IBM’s Watson, Despite Hype, Outgunned in A.I., Says Jefferies

    Kisner compiles his own estimates for Watson and finds them “somewhat disappointing for investors,” with IBM in the best scenario “barely recouping its cost of capital.”

    “From an EPS perspective, it seems unlikely to us under almost any scenario that Watson will generate meaningful earnings results over the next few years,” he writes. “In our Base case, Watson and associated “pull-through revenue” contributes 3% to Consensus EPS in 2019; in the Bull case, it’s still only 5%.”

    http://www.barrons.com/articles/ibms-watson-despite-hype-outgunned-in-a-i-says-jefferies-1499896835

  • OpenText launches Magellan, an AI platform aimed at IBM’s Watson

    OpenText is using an open source approach with Magellan with integration with Apache Spark and MLlib, a machine learning library. “We are combining the strengths of OpenText and the open source community,” said Adam Howatson, chief marketing officer at OpenText.

    Magellan’s approach will be to enable customers to leverage open source intellectual property and algorithms as well enabling companies to build their own models. Howatson added that OpenText’s Magellan platform will have a lower price point, be available as an appliance and be available on premises or via the cloud.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/opentext-launches-magellan-an-ai-platform-aimed-at-ibms-watson/
    OpenText CEO on AI: Buying IBM may cost you your job (LMAO Mark Barrenechea)

    In a press conference following the announcement, Channelnomics asked Barrenechea how opportunities Magellan enables for resellers differs from those enabled by IBM Watson. The CEO responded by saying that while he’s doubtful of the idea of robots resulting in the loss of IT jobs, buying IBM technology may yield a different result.

    “I do think you lose your job if you buy IBM, and it’s our mission to crush that theme,” Barrenechea said. “That old adage ‘If you buy IBM you won’t lose your job’, I think, is dead. They are locked into their little swim lanes, and opening up insights into all those transactional systems is going to be very hard for them. It’s certainly proving to be massively expensive.”

    The CEO claimed that IBM Watson’s information lake is a “swamp of data”, adding that Magellan is different in its centric applications, focus on automation, AI and APIs and integration between transaction and AI system.

    https://www.channelnomics.com/channelnomics-us/news/3013620/opentext-launches-ai-rival-to-ibm-watson

Cloud

  • Workday finally pops for a PaaS – 10 questions it needs to answer

    In an unusual move, Aneel Bhusri Workday CEO took to the company’s blog to announce an intention for Workday to offer a platform upon which partners can extend the core Workday applications.

    If we take the example of Salesforce, that company has never had intentions of entering certain verticals or, for that matter, certain horizontals but by offering a platform (Force.com) upon which developers can knock themselves out, Salesforce has spawned a multi-billion dollar ecosystem from which it too benefits. The most immediate examples that spring to mind are Apttus in CPQ, FinancialForce in financials and Rootstock in manufacturing, all of which are built upon Salesforce’s PaaS.

    http://diginomica.com/2017/07/11/workday-finally-pops-paas/

Datacenter

  • Dell struggling after EMC purchase

    The $67-billion deal closed last September, so the new partnership is still in its very early stages, but early indications are that the arrangement hasn’t yet fared well, said Will Mitchell, a professor of strategic management at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

    “It doesn’t mean that he can’t turn it around, but it better happen fast,” Mitchell said of Dell Founder, Chairman and CEO Michael Dell.

    Dell’s losses have actually only grown since the EMC deal went through. The company lost $1.5 billion In the first quarter of fiscal 2018, which ended in May. In the same quarter the year prior, Dell lost $139 million.

    http://www.wbjournal.com/article/20170712/NEWS01/307129996

  • HPE wants to grow again, announces new products and services to do it

    Whitman said that, according to IDC, more than half of enterprises have, or are considering bringing workloads back on-prem from the public cloud, thanks to what she referred to as the cloud cliff.

    “The cloud is absolutely the right choice for certain applications and use cases,” she said. But at some point, “they hit what we call the cloud cliff, where either for reasons of control, security, performance or cost, the platform they went with is no longer the best option.” That’s when moving to a hybrid environment makes sense.

    Also:

    While HPE has spun off its enterprise services into DXC, it still retains a robust technology services organization. Now branded Pointnext, HPE says it “helps customers harness the power of hybrid IT, real-time data and analytics, and mobile solutions to enhance customer experiences, create and deliver new digital product and services, and improve core operations at unprecedented speed and efficiency.”

    http://business.financialpost.com/technology/cio/hpe-wants-to-grow-again-announces-new-products-and-services-to-do-it/wcm/8d8cd127-3d07-4eee-a516-485b49251099

Software/SaaS

  • IBM: A Future Blockchain Leader?

    Given the low level of blockchain maturity in general, as well as specific IBM blockchain projects (more on these in the succeeding sections) being in their initial stages, it is too early to assess revenue from specific solutions. However, given the traction that IBM’s cloud-as-a-service offering seems to be getting with over 400 client engagements, blockchain has the potential to become one of the fastest-growing sources of revenue starting in 2017, when many of the first IBM enterprise applications are scheduled to roll out.

    https://seekingalpha.com/article/4086778-ibm-future-blockchain-leader

Other

  • Millions of Verizon customers affected by security breach

    Verizon confirmed that a recent security incident exposed the personal identification numbers and other private information pertaining to millions of telecom customers.

    Six million unique Verizon user accounts were affected by a data breach suffered by a third-party vendor detected last month, Verizon said Wednesday.

    UpGuard, a Silicon Valley security firm that first reported the data breach, said as many as 14 million Verizon accounts may have been affected.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jul/13/millions-verizon-customers-impacted-security-breac/

  • Paying Professors: Inside Google’s Academic Influence Campaign

    Google has paid professors whose papers, for instance, declared that the collection of consumer data was a fair exchange for its free services; that the company didn’t use its market dominance to improperly steer users to Google’s commercial sites or its advertisers; and that it hasn’t unfairly quashed competitors. Several papers argued that Google’s search engine should be allowed to link to books and other intellectual property that authors and publishers say should be paid for—a group that includes News Corp, which owns the Journal. News Corp formally complained to European regulators about Google’s handling of news articles in search results.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/paying-professors-inside-googles-academic-influence-campaign-1499785286?mg=prod/accounts-wsj

  • Microsoft CIO Jim DuBois departs amid layoffs; Kurt DelBene named chief digital officer

    DuBois was on sabbatical and decided to leave Microsoft as part of the reorganization of its global sales staff, which also includes thousands of job cuts. DuBois was named CIO in 2013, and he had been with Microsoft since 1993, where he worked in a variety of roles, mostly focused on information technology.

    Kurt DelBene is stepping up to fill the void of DuBois’ departure under his new title of chief digital officer. DelBene currently focuses on corporate strategy, and his new role will also see him working closely with core engineering teams across the company as well as IT. DelBene will also oversee the company’s digital transformation efforts.

    https://www.geekwire.com/2017/microsoft-cio-jim-dubois-departs-amid-layoffs-kurt-delbene-named-chief-digital-officer/

  • Microsoft’s Calibri font is at the center of a political scandal

    Pakistan’s government is in trouble. And its fate may hinge on a Microsoft font. Judicial investigators probing the financial assets of the country’s Prime Minister and his family allege his daughter (and apparent successor) forged documents to hide her ownership of overseas properties. How did they reach that conclusion? The documents from 2006 submitted by Maryam Nawaz (daughter of PM Nawaz Sharif) were in the Calibri font. That font, according to the investigation team’s leaked report, wasn’t publicly available until 2007.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/12/microsoft-calibri-pakistan-fontgate/

  • Accenture handed $26M in Centrelink payments system overhaul

    Accenture Australia has been granted just over $26 million by the Government for the provision of systems integration services as part of the Department of Human Services’ landmark Centrelink payments system overhaul.

    Accenture’s latest purchase order for the project, the contract terms of which run from 26 May to 28 February 2018, was awarded via the Department of Human Service’s ‘Systems integrators for the provision of services related to WPIT [Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation]’ procurement panel, according to tender documents.

    https://www.arnnet.com.au/article/621596/accenture-handed-26m-centrelink-systems-overhaul/

Photo: danist soh

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Supplier Report: 7/7/2017

Microsoft is looking to reduce their sales force by 3000 heads in order to streamline cloud sales. Several reports are stating that this is not a cost cutting move by Microsoft, but rather a refocus.

Some news outlets are questioning IBM’s understanding of potential problems widespread AI implementation could cause.  IBM’s position of AI acting as job-enhancers instead of an instrument of elimination is coming under fire.

More stories of inappropriate behavior of Silicon Valley leadership are making the news. It this really a systematic cultural issue or perception caused by a handful of bad people?

Acquisitions

  • Baidu acquires natural language startup Kitt.ai, maker of chatbot engine ChatFlow

    China’s search giant Baidu has made another acquisition to continue its push into artificial intelligence, and specifically to help it carve out a place for itself as a platform for developers who want to create chatbots and other services based on natural language technology.

    Baidu has acquired Kitt.ai, a profitable startup based out of Seattle that has developed a framework to build and power chatbots and voice-based applications across multiple platforms and devices (presumably named after this Kitt).

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/05/baidu-acquires-natural-language-startup-kitt-ai-maker-of-chatbot-engine-chatflow/
    Baidu forms global alliance to accelerate AI adoption in self-driving cars

    Rather than produce self-driving cars itself, Baidu is banking on the open-source platform to “export its technology capability and integrate resources” for a “win-win situation” as artificial intelligence is set to reshape the entire car manufacturing industry, said Lu Qi, chief operating officer of the Nasdaq-listed Baidu.

    http://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/2101384/baidu-forms-global-alliance-accelerate-ai-adoption-self-driving

  • Cisco is relieved the FTC stepped in to protect it from its competitor

    The problem is Broadcom makes a lot of chips for all sorts of networking products, and one of its big customers is Cisco. Right from the start, Broadcom said it would sell off Broadcom’s general networking equipment business. It didn’t want to give the impression that it was competing with its customers. It wanted Brocade for its storage business.

    But Cisco wasn’t exactly comfortable with that idea and the FTC agreed. Broadcom proposed one more restriction: it said it would also “firewall off” the chip-making unit working with Cisco products from Brocade. It agreed that any information about the chips it manufacturers for Cisco cannot somehow find their way into the hands of the Brocade unit, to be used to compete against Cisco.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/cisco-happy-ftc-will-limit-broadcom-with-brocade-2017-7

  • Forrester: Apple Should Buy IBM (LMAO)

    A critical weapon in this war is natural language processing, a form of artificial intelligence. NLP enables machines to accurately understand the human voice, make sense of personal requests, and form credible answers. Amazon leads with Alexa, Google is a close second with Google Home, and Microsoft’s entry is Cortana. Apple’s perpetually annoying and undependable Siri has fallen behind.

    http://www.dabcc.com/forrester-apple-should-buy-ibm/

Artificial Intelligence

  • IBM Is Clueless About AI Risks

    “The crux of its argument is that IBM knows more about AI and about economics than the ‘fearful prophets’ and that any mention of risks is a dangerous, Luddite fallacy,” said Russell.

    On the economics of employment risks, Russell pointed to several “fearful prophets,” including Nobel laureates Robert Shiller, Mike Spence, and Paul Krugman; Klaus Schwab, head of the World Economic Forum; and Larry Summers, former Chief Economist of the World Bank and Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton. “I don’t think one can dismiss their arguments with ad hominem insults,” said Russell. As these thinkers have taken great pains to point out, the pending automation revolution is poised to eliminate countless jobs and displace workers.

    http://gizmodo.com/ibm-is-clueless-about-ai-risks-1796549532

  • Why old tech is scarier than Hollywood AI

    “We have the sci-fi depictions of sentient networks that will turn against us, but the problem is, we’ve already built something way too complex for us to be able to manage as a society,” according to Wendy Nather, principal security strategist at Duo Security. “This is a very shaky foundation that we have to clean out and redo.”

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/06/30/technology/cyberattack-old-tech-hackers-infrastructure/index.html?section=money_topstories

  • Salesforce ‘Einstein’ AI can tell when people are angry in texts and emails

    The Einstein Intent tool allows programmers to understand the intent of customer inquiries, which could make it easier to automatically route leads, escalate service cases or personalize a marketing campaign through a custom app. This could be particularly useful for prioritizing customer service inquiries.

    Traditional keyword-based tools have trouble with complex wording or sarcasm, but this tool is designed to deal with these.

    http://www.netimperative.com/2017/07/salesforce-einstein-ai-can-tell-people-angry-texts-emails/

Cloud

  • Microsoft reorganizing its sales organization around cloud strategy

    Bloomberg reported Friday that Microsoft will cut some jobs and move others around in a reorganization directly impacting two separate divisions of the company. The Worldwide Commercial Business group, led by Judson Althoff, and the global sales and marketing group, led by Jean-Philippe Courtois, will be affected by moves that Bloomberg called “some of the most significant in the sales force in years.”

    https://www.geekwire.com/2017/report-microsoft-reorganizing-sales-organization-around-cloud-strategy/
    WSJ cuts right to the point: Microsoft to Cut Sales Jobs Next Week

    The exact number of layoffs is unclear, though they will hit staff in offices around the world, this person said. Microsoft more than 121,000 employees at the end of March, the last time the company disclosed its head count.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/microsoft-to-cut-sales-jobs-next-week-1498866092
    Microsoft plans up to 3,000 job cuts in a sales staff overhaul to fuel cloud growth

    The job cuts amount to less that 10 percent of the company’s total sales force, and about 75 percent of them will be outside the U.S., the company said.

    “Microsoft is implementing changes to better serve our customers and partners,” a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC. “Today, we are taking steps to notify some employees that their jobs are under consideration or that their positions will be eliminated. Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis. This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time-to-time, re-deployment in others.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/06/microsoft-will-layoff-thousands-of-employees.html

  • This chart shows how painful the shift to cloud computing is for IBM and Oracle

    The two technology vendors are set to lose out considerably in IT budgets over the next three years as the result of the shift to cloud, according to the June AlphaWise/Morgan Stanley CIO report. CIOs expect that 46% of their workloads will be in the cloud by the end of 2020, while only 34% will be on-premise.

    Between now and then, the 100 US and European CIOs surveyed expect to decrease spending on IBM by 13%, and to decrease spending on Oracle by 11%.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/ibm-and-oracle-may-be-the-biggest-losers-when-it-comes-to-shifts-in-it-spending-2017-6?r=UK&IR=T

Other

  • Europe Is Becoming a Bigger Problem for Silicon Valley

    Just Friday, Germany approved new legislation imposing €50 million fines on social-media companies that fail to quickly remove hate speech and terrorist content—over strident opposition from Facebook Inc. and other tech companies, which advocate self-regulation to tackle those problems. That step followed the €2.42 billion ($2.76 billion) fine that the European Union’s executive arm levied this week against Alphabet Inc.’s Google for abusing its dominance as a search engine.

    Also

    One factor in the policing has been tech firms’ disruption of traditional industrial giants in Europe. In response, many legacy players have lobbied for new rules and tougher enforcement against the interlopers—and found open ears. European telecom firms, angry about seeing their revenue from text messages undercut by chat apps, were among the first to advocate new legislation to mandate a “level playing field.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/europe-is-becoming-a-bigger-problem-for-silicon-valley-1498849603

  • Amazon Plans to Join Red Hat and GE in Boston’s Hottest Tech Hub

    Seattle-based Amazon, a giant in retail and cloud computing, will take 150,000 square feet former warehouse right by the Fort Point Channel, which separates Boston from South Boston, according to the report.

    This week, Red Hat (RHAT) officially launched a new engineering lab and briefing center in South Boston. And part of the reason Progress Software bought Kinvey, an application development specialist, is to use that company as a downtown Boston center. Progress, itself, is based in the Boston suburbs.

    http://fortune.com/2017/06/30/amazon-boston-fort-point/

  • Dave McClure resigns as general partner of 500 Startups funds

    Dave McClure has resigned as a general partner of all funds and entities managed by 500 Startups, the seed investment group he founded in 2010, Axios has learned. The move comes after several women accused McClure of inappropriate behavior.

    https://www.axios.com/exclusive-dave-mcclure-resigns-as-general-partner-of-500-startups-2452701900.html
    McClure: I’m a Creep. I’m Sorry.

    I made advances towards multiple women in work-related situations, where it was clearly inappropriate. I put people in compromising and inappropriate situations, and I selfishly took advantage of those situations where I should have known better. My behavior was inexcusable and wrong.

    https://500hats.com/im-a-creep-i-m-sorry-d2c13e996ea0

  • Samsung Reduces Its Global Workforce Due To Restructuring

    Samsung, one of the largest electronics company in the world, was forced to reduce its global workforce due to the restructuring of its business operations in China, based on company data. The data shows that the electronics giant has reduced the number of its employees in 2016 by 5.2 percent, from 325,677 down to 308,745. In its South Korean home base, Samsung has cut down its workforce by 3.8 percent and is now down to 93,204 while it slashed the number of its employees abroad by 5.8 percent and is now currently 215,541. It was in China where the largest workforce reduction was implemented in 2016 where the labor force was slashed down by 17.5 percent and is now down to just 37, 070. However, the North and South American workforce experienced an increase in employee numbers by 8.5 percent, and now count 25,988 employees.

    https://www.androidheadlines.com/2017/07/samsung-reduces-global-workforce-due-restructuring.html

Photo: Alexandre Chambon

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Supplier Report: 6/30/2017

There is another ransomware threat that has been unleashed upon unsuspecting corporations. “Petya” is even more focused on locking down corporate infrastructure than predecessor “WannaCry”.

IBM is recovering nicely from their WhatsApp loss a few weeks back.  They are finally scoring some blockchain wins on Wall Street, they are working on an AI super computer with the Air Force, and they landed (pun intended) a cloud contract with American Airlines.

The EU is hitting Google with a $2.7B fine over anti-trust concerns at the same time the company announced they aren’t scanning your email for personalized ad targeting anymore. Google also announced they are removing medical records from search results because… that was a thing apparently?

Acquisitions

  • SoftBank’s $100 billion vision fund eyes quantum computing

    SoftBank Group Corp.’s $100 billion Vision Fund is scouting for possible investments in quantum computing, an experimental science being researched by companies such as Google and IBM to succeed current computer processor technology. Shu Nyatta, who helps invest money for the fund, said the group wanted to find and back the company whose quantum computing hardware or software that runs atop it would become the “de facto industry standard.” “We are happy to invest enough to create that standard around which the whole industry can coalesce,” Nyatta said, speaking during a panel discussion at a conference on quantum computing in Munich Thursday.

    http://www.financialexpress.com/industry/softbanks-100-billion-vision-fund-eyes-quantum-computing/733555/

  • Sprint Enters Into Exclusive Talks With Charter, Comcast On Wireless
    Deal

    One arrangement that has been considered is for Charter and Comcast to invest in improving Sprint’s network in exchange for favorable terms to offer wireless service using the carrier’s network, the people said. Such a deal could involve the companies taking an equity stake in Sprint, some of the people said. The cable companies already have such a network-resale agreement with Verizon Communications Inc., but the Sprint deal could provide much better terms.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/sprint-enters-into-exclusive-talks-with-charter-comcast-on-wireless-deal-1498524087

  • Apple acquires SMI eye-tracking company

    Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI), an eye-tracking firm, MacRumors reports.

    The German company, which was founded in 1991, has done significant work in eye-tracking research with proprietary eyeglass hardware while also working on consumer-focused applications like eye-tracking for virtual reality. Last year, the company announced it had created an eye-tracking development kit for the HTC Vive VR headset.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/26/apple-acquires-smi-eye-tracking-company/?ncid=rss

  • Microsoft To Acquire Cloud Cost Optimization Vendor Cloudyn

    Microsoft said the acquisition fits with its commitment to provide customers with the tools they need to govern their cloud adoption and realize the strategic benefits of a global, intelligent cloud system.

    In April Calcalist, an Israeli business web site, said Microsoft and Cloudyn were discussing an acquisition for between $50 million and $70 million.

    http://www.crn.com/news/cloud/300088031/microsoft-to-acquire-cloud-cost-optimization-vendor-cloudyn.htm

Artificial Intelligence

  • The Air Force and IBM are building an AI supercomputer

    IBM and the USAF announced on Friday that the machine will run on an array of 64 TrueNorth Neurosynaptic chips. The TrueNorth chips are wired together like, and operate in a similar fashion to, the synapses within a biological brain. Each core is part of a distributed network and operate in parallel with one another on an event-driven basis. That is, these chips don’t require a clock, as conventional CPUs do, to function.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/06/23/the-air-force-and-ibm-are-building-an-ai-supercomputer/

  • Leveraging cloud for AI success

    The cloud can be configured to use GPU accelerators for machine learning algorithms. GPU is a form of accelerated computing that allows graphic processors to supplement traditional processors on complex calculations – such as those involved in machine learning and algorithm training. GPUs break the previous barriers that limited parallel processing of AI applications.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/leveraging-cloud-for-ai-success/

  • IBM, Cornell University To Use Artificial Intelligence To Make Dairy Safe

    By sequencing and analyzing the DNA and RNA (genetic code) of food microbiomes, researchers plan to create new tools that can help monitor raw milk to detect anomalies that represent food safety hazards and possible fraud.

    While many food producers already have rigorous processes in place to ensure food safety hazards are managed appropriately, this pioneering application of genomics will be designed to enable a deeper understanding and characterization of microorganisms on a much larger scale than has previously been possible.

    http://www.inquisitr.com/4323505/ibm-cornell-university-to-use-artificial-intelligence-to-make-dairy-safe/

  • Microsoft says its AI took a data scientist’s job

    Much of the conversation about machine learning taking jobs focuses on the future, but Microsoft boasted its cloud service has already managed to claim one human’s position. The Custom Decision Service, which the company introduced at its Build conference last month, took over at one of Microsoft’s customers, according to Jennifer Chayes, a distinguished scientist at the company’s research arm.

    “One of the startups, they were really pressed for funds, got rid of their one data scientist because this worked so much better than their data scientist,” she said during an on stage interview at a Bloomberg event in San Francisco today.

    https://venturebeat.com/2017/06/22/microsoft-says-its-ai-took-a-data-scientists-job/

Cloud

  • Oracle CEO Mark Hurd: ‘We’re different than Amazon’

    “We’re different than Amazon. Amazon offers infrastructure, and they started in infrastructure. We’re a differentiated intellectual property company. We make applications. We make platforms, databases, Java, business intelligence, analytics, machine-to-machine capability embedded in those applications,” he said.

    “I would guess a quarter of the world’s infrastructure has a piece of Oracle IP running on top,” said Hurd.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/22/ceo-mark-hurd-oracle-is-different-than-amazon.html

  • American Airlines taps IBM once again for ‘massive’ cloud shift

    The airline industry has struggled to modernize its infrastructure, and as a result has suffered a number of recent computer failures. By moving to the cloud, AA hopes to avoid similar problems while also improving the customer experience, business processes and communications.

    Once the airline is migrated off its legacy infrastructure, it can rely on IBM as its services provider to ensure applications stay running. With more bandwidth, and dedicated infrastructure staff, AA will hopefully not have to deal with large-scale and damaging outages.

    http://www.ciodive.com/news/american-airlines-taps-ibm-once-again-for-massive-cloud-shift/445876/

Datacenter

  • IBM: Is The Cloud Swallowing the Mainframe?

    “A key near-term debate among investors is whether the anticipated release of a new mainframe can help IBM achieve a back-end-loaded second half.”

    Mainframes are just 3% of total revenue, and 2% of profit, he notes, annually, but the whole “platform” of a mainframe, including storage, software, support contracts, and services that go with it, were nearly a quarter of IBM’s revenue last year, and 40% of profits.

    If mainframe sales “decline steadily” in coming years,” it could hurt profit: “if mainframe is ~40% of company profits, and mainframe hardware falls in half over the next 15 years (about a 4% decline per year), this would negatively impacting IBM’s installed base of mainframes by about 25%, and impact mainframe profits by potentially 30%.”

    http://www.barrons.com/articles/ibm-is-the-cloud-swallowing-the-mainframe-asks-bernstein-1498251908

Software/SaaS/Security

  • ‘Petya’ Ransomware Hits At Least 65 Countries; Microsoft Traces It To Tax Software

    Like WannaCry, the Petya ransomware demands a $300 bitcoin payment to retrieve encrypted files and hard drives. As of Wednesday morning Eastern time, the account had received around $10,000. But in a move that has caused some controversy, German email company Posteo blocked the email address the Petya hackers were using to confirm ransom payments. While some cybersecurity experts have praised the approach, others note that users whose files are held hostage have now lost their sole point of contact.

    WannaCry was largely undone by the discovery of a “kill switch” that could shut it down. No such kill switch has been found so far with Petya, and experts are still working to find a way to stop it.

    http://kaxe.org/post/petya-ransomware-hits-least-65-countries-microsoft-traces-it-tax-software#stream/0

  • IBM landed a big win in the race to sell blockchain to Wall Street

    IBM has been selected to build a new blockchain-based international trading system for a consortium of global banks, a major win for the tech giant in the race to sell blockchain to Wall Street.

    The contract is a significant win for IBM as it means the tech company’s blockchain platform — dubbed Hyperledger Fabric — will be used to build the system. That likely means lucrative servicing contracts for IBM and may make banking execs more likely to commission more Hyperledger-based products and services once they’re familiar with the system.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/blockchain-digital-trade-chain-ibm-hyperledger-deutsche-bank-hsbc-soc-gen-2017-6

  • Box, Microsoft announce partnership to co-sell products

    The companies will cooperate to co-sell Box with Azure and will work to integrate Azure’s AI and machine learning tech with Box’s content management platform.

    Box’s document storage service competes with some Microsoft Office 365 products and uses Amazon Web Services, Azure’s competitor, as a backup.

    https://seekingalpha.com/news/3275746-box-microsoft-announce-partnership-co-sell-products


    Wait… doesn’t IBM have a strategic partnership with Box to do the same exact thing? Box must be doing something right to have all these companies doing their sales work for them.

Other (aka the Google section)

  • Google Slapped With $2.7 Billion EU Fine Over Search Results

    Antitrust experts and tech executives say that question arises in areas where tech giants have introduced major innovations—like Google’s search engine—that become gateways to the internet. EU regulators worry that tech firms, by inserting themselves into such a key role of funneling and directing consumer traffic, could take unfair advantage.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-slapped-with-2-7-billion-eu-fine-over-search-results-1498556971

    Yelp, Oracle and News Corp have signed a letter supporting EU action against Google

    Seven U.S. companies and industry groups have signed a letter in support of the European Union fining Google more than $1 billion for allegedly favoring its own shopping service over others in search results.

    https://www.recode.net/2017/6/26/15878518/yelp-oracle-news-corp-letter-supporting-eu-action-against-google-antitrust
    Of course Oracle signed the letter…

  • Google begins removing private medical records from search results

    The leaking of private medical records can be extremely damaging to the victims, both financially and emotionally, with future prospects affected and private lives of the vulnerable exposed. Given that Google’s indexing system will capture anything that’s publicly accessible on the internet, leaks such as those created by an Indian pathology lab which uploaded more than 43,000 patient records in December, including names and HIV blood test results, can be particularly damaging.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/23/google-begins-removing-private-medical-records-from-search-results

  • Google now has all the data it needs, will stop scanning Gmail inboxes for ad personalization

    Google won’t stop showing ads in Gmail, though, and it’s worth noting that given how much the company already knows about all of its users, it just might not need these additional signals from Gmail. And maybe they even turned out to be relatively useless or even detrimental for ad performance.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/23/google-has-all-the-data-it-needs-will-stop-scanning-gmail-inboxes/?ncid=rss

  • Toshiba misses self-imposed deadline for chip unit sale, sues Western Digital

    On one hand, Tsunakawa lambasted the Western Digital at the shareholders meeting, saying it had been interfering in the sale. But the head of Toshiba’s chip unit also said the Japanese company was prepared to make concessions and hoped to resolve the dispute as soon as possible.

    Toshiba argues that Western Digital’s bid for the memory unit presents anti-trust issues and is too low in price.

    Western Digital has said it offer meets the 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) minimum demanded by Toshiba – a figure that appears to match the amount offered by the preferred bidder.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-toshiba-accounting-idUSKBN19I308

Photo: Stephanie McCabe

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News You Can Use: 6/14/2017

  • A breakdown of the US departure of the Paris Accord:
    Elon Musk, Google, Microsoft, and more decry Trump’s withdrawal from Paris accord

    In a speech delivered in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said withdrawing from the accord would “protect America and its citizens” and that he would seek new negotiations for terms more favorable to the U.S. “We are getting out,” Trump said. “But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great.”

    Also…

    Tesla’s Elon Musk and Apple’s Tim Cook reached out to the White House in recent weeks to underscore the reasons for remaining in the accord. This morning, Musk tweeted that he had “done all I can to advise directly” Trump and others in the White House. Musk sent another tweet shortly after Trump ended his lengthy speech, announcing his own departures from Presidential councils.

    https://venturebeat.com/2017/06/01/elon-musk-google-microsoft-and-more-decry-trumps-withdrawal-from-paris-accord/
    Why pulling out of Paris Accord damages America’s economic future

    If ending our participation in the Paris Accord slows the U.S. advanced energy market, our American companies will be at a huge competitive disadvantage globally. They won’t have a robust local market to build on. Before long, we will find ourselves buying energy technology from other countries, just as other countries now soak up our digital tech products.

    Worse, the damage can go beyond energy to all U.S. industry. New energy sources aren’t getting adopted just because they might stave off climate change — they’re getting adopted because they are becoming cheaper than carbon-based energy.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/02/why-pulling-out-of-paris-accords-damages-americas-economic-future/?ncid=rss

  • Supply Management Technical Difficulty

    But if we are talking about a true e-Procurement system that is going to be rolled out to everyone across a Global 3000 organization with the authority to make a requisition or spot buy, this will be tens of thousands of users, serviced by hundreds of Procurement professionals doing daily spot buys and MRO inventory management and dozens of strategic buyers and analysts looking for opportunities and conducting complex events using optimization and deep data mining, an average high end server is not going to do the trick. Multiple server instances are going to be needed, but they are all going to have to work off of the same data store, and a significant amount of this data is going to need to be accessed and updated in real time, so it’s not just a matter of replicating the database and allowing the users to go to town.

    http://sourcinginnovation.com/wordpress/2017/05/29/supply-management-technical-difficulty-part-vi/

  • Do you need to be a dick to be a successful leader?

    Crass title, but very interesting video (obviously there is some NSFW language)
  • Here Are the Airports You Can’t Fly From With Your Laptop

    In March, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a rule that requires passengers flying to the United States from 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries to put electronics bigger than a smartphone into their checked luggage. The DHS categorized cameras, e-readers, portable DVD players, tablets, travel printers and scanners and laptops as the devices that wouldn’t be allowed on board.

    The airports that were affected by the ban are Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dubai International Airport, Cairo International Airport, Queen Alia International Airport, Kuwait International Airport, Mohammed V Airport, Hamad International Airport, King Khalid International Airport, King Abdul-Aziz International Airport and Ataturk International Airport.

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/295172

  • What Really Happened with Vista (interesting read)

    Microsoft badly misjudged the underlying trends in computer hardware, in particular the right turn that occurred in 2003 to the trend of rapid improvements in single-threaded processor speed and matching improvements in other core elements of the PC. Vista was planned for and built for hardware that did not exist. This was bad for desktops, worse for laptops and disastrous for mobile.

    https://hackernoon.com/what-really-happened-with-vista-4ca7ffb5a1a

Photo: Paul Morris

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Supplier Report: 6/9/2017

This is starting to get repetitive… IBM had another rough week.

There are rumors that Facebook-owned Whatsapp is moving from their current IBM-hosted infrastructure to an in-house Facebook solution.  Lululemon is also considering moving away from IBM cloud due to a recent outage.

As always, it wasn’t all bad news, IBM did score a 10-year outsourcing deal with Lloyds and they introduced a new transistor type for 5nm silicon chips (there was an insane amount of coverage on this).

Google is betting big on AI, and it might backfire due to their “lack of enterprise focus”.  Meanwhile Verizon is finalizing their acquisition of Yahoo and is expected to reduce their workforce by 20%.

Acquisitions

Artificial Intelligence

  • Why Google is betting big on AI

    Google may not be the leader of cloud computing, but novel developments have spurred Sundar Pichai, the company’s CEO, to openly recognise this as an economic opportunity and possibly a challenge. The release of second generation cloud tensor processing units (TPU) is making cloud computing and machine learning faster and more efficient.

    Google’s TPUs deliver an open source machine learning framework allowing massive scaling and dissemination of applications through the cloud. This innovation will expedite the process of intake, normalization, model training and deployment by essentially using machine learning to automate algorithms. In effect, this is automating deep learning by using machine learning. Google is calling this creation AutoML, and it is the breakthrough of the company’s AI research group, Google Brain.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3198635/artificial-intelligence/why-google-is-betting-big-on-ai.html

  • Why Google might lose the enterprise AI wars

    Two major obstacles stand in Google’s way to cloud AI dominance: data gravity and lack of backwards compatibility. To illustrate the issue of data gravity, look no further than Amazon’s Snowball device. This chair-sized flash drive, capable of storing 80 TB of precious enterprise data, is physically shipped to a customer’s on-premise data centers to load petabytes of data and then shipped back to Amazon for upload to AWS servers. Ironically, manual transfer is significantly faster and cheaper for large data sets than any internet method. Enterprises with data-hungry AI applications will have an easier time running algorithms on-prem or on AWS and Azure, where their data already lives.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3200184/it-industry/why-google-might-lose-the-enterprise-ai-wars.html

Cloud

  • Lululemon CEO blames IBM for site outage, says it’s looking at other options

    Some of Lululemon’s sales happen via its website, which is hosted on IBM’s public cloud. The site went down midday on May 22 and came back online about 20 hours later.

    “I talked to Ginni [Rometty, IBM’s CEO]; our team was up 36 hours straight,” Potdevin told CNBC. “We’re not satisfied with what happened. We’re looking at our options.”

    Other public clouds include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Alphabet’s Google Cloud Platform. Lululemon could also opt to set up its own data center infrastructure and reduce its dependency on third-party cloud-computing resources. IBM’s other cloud customers include Citi, the U.S. Interior Department, Macy’s and Whirlpool.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/02/lululemon-ceo-blames-ibm-for-site-outage.html

  • Facebook is planning to move WhatsApp off IBM’s public cloud, source says

    The WhatsApp move, which could begin later this year, would result in IBM losing a high profile customer for its public cloud. A source claims that WhatsApp has been one of IBM’s top five public cloud customers in terms of revenue, and was at one point spending $2 million a month with IBM. (IBM says WhatsApp is not currently one of its top five public cloud customers.)

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/07/facebook-planning-to-move-whatsapp-off-ibms-public-cloud.html

  • Microsoft restructures cloud, data, AI organizations

    As part of a reorganization announced internally within the company on June 7th, Microsoft has chosen to restructure its cloud, data, and AI organizations. The changes reportedly take effect immediately and were reportedly announced by Scott Guthrie, and Harry Shum (via ZDNet.)

    Part of the changes include a new Cloud AI Platform organization, led by Corporate Vice President Joseph Sirosh. This division will be responsible for Azure Search, Azure Machine Learning, the Microsoft Bot Framework, R Server and the Algorithms and Data Science Solution team. Since Joseph Sirosh previously handled the Data Platform group at Microsoft, it now will be led by Corporate Vice President of Azure, Jason Zander, and be part of a new Azure + Data Platform Group.

    https://www.onmsft.com/news/microsoft-restructures-cloud-data-ai-organizations

Datacenter/Hardware

Other

  • Lloyds finally inks mega 10-year cloudy outsourcing deal with IBM

    Those talks concluded today, with Lloyds announcing to staff it has “signed one of the largest cloud transformation deals” within the financial sector. The shift to IBM’s private cloud will take three years.

    “Most colleagues working in Infrastructure Technology Services supporting these systems and delivering change will transition to IBM, with a number retained in Lloyds Banking Group to manage the relationship, service and governance of IBM,” said the memo.

    As a result, around 500 staff will transfer to IBM on 1 September 2017. Some 1,000 contractors who currently support Lloyds Banking Group will also move to support IBM.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/06/06/lloyds_confirms_ibm_cloudy_outsourcing/

  • Amazon Wins the Race to $1,000

    Soaring gains among tech and internet stocks have concerned some investors, particularly those who remember the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s. But others expect these stocks to continue to advance. Thomas Lee, a U.S. portfolio strategist at Fundstrat Global Advisors, on Friday forecast that Facebook, Amazon, Netflix Inc. and Alphabet—a group collectively known by the acronym FANG—could climb another 20% to 40% by the end of the year. These companies, he said, represent a dense concentration of earnings and sales growth that is hard to find elsewhere in the market.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-wins-the-race-to-1-000-1496440170

  • As the merger is completed, layoffs of up to 1,000 jobs at the combined AOL and Yahoo are expected

    According to sources, layoffs are expected to take place across AOL and Yahoo that could number up to 1,000 jobs. That is less than 20 percent of the combined company, according to sources.

    This action is not unexpected, given that both companies have a lot of redundancies, including in human resources, finance, marketing and general administration.

    https://www.recode.net/2017/6/7/15759274/merger-completed-layoffs-combined-aol-yahoo-could-reach-1000

  • IBM Community College Partnerships Support Next-Gen IT Training

    The technology company will collaborate with the participating institutions on curriculum design for next-generation IT skills; offer community college students opportunities for internships and apprenticeships; and hire students for IBM careers. The partnership will include schools in or near Columbia, MO, Rocket Center, WV, Dubuque, IA, Boulder, CO, Poughkeepsie, NY, Raleigh, NC, Austin, TX, Dallas and Houston — areas which the company notes have traditionally been underserved by high-tech employers.

    https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/06/07/ibm-community-college-partnerships-support-next-gen-it-training.aspx?admgarea=news

Photo: Dawid Zawiła

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