Tag Archives: Oracle

Supplier Report: 9/1/2017

Google’s main mission statement has been “don’t be evil”, but is that still the case?  Last month, I covered that Google has been caught funding pro-google studies (via universities and other research firms) and not disclosing that fact. This week Google had someone fired from a think tank they funded for supporting the EU’s stance that Google is a monopoly.

Apple is getting more daring… they announced a new application development deal with Accenture (where does that leave IBM?) and CEO Tim Cook has been taking some swipes at the US government regarding economic growth.

Observation: I want to point out a quirky trend in this week’s news: Almost all of the news feed items about Dell are about golf and all of the HPE news was about Meg Whitman not getting the Uber job (hundreds of articles for both).  Why aren’t these companies generating any other news and controlling their own narratives?

Artificial Intelligence

  • Shark-detecting drones to patrol Australian beaches

    Drones equipped with a shark detection system powered by artificial intelligence will start patrolling some Australian beaches from next month in a bid to improve safety.

    The battery-powered drones will provide a live-video feed to a drone operator who then uses the shark-spotting software to identify sharks in real time and with more accuracy than the human eye.

    Studies have shown that people have a 20-30 percent accuracy rate when interpreting data from aerial images to detect shark activity. Detection software can boost that rate to 90 percent, said Dr Nabin Sharma, a research associate at the University of Technology Sydney’s School of Software.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-sharkdrone-idUSKCN1B51KB

  • How Google and Microsoft Use AI to Turn Your Clicks Into Ad Dollars

    Google couldn’t make anyone available for interview before publication. Microsoft tells WIRED that it constantly tests new machine learning technologies in its advertising system. “Online advertising is perhaps by far the most lucrative application of AI [and] machine learning in the industry,” says John Cosley, director of marketing for Microsoft search advertising. Bing recently started using new deep learning algorithms to better understand the meaning of search queries and find relevant ads, he says.

    Research papers on using deep learning for ads may undersell both its true power and the challenge of tapping into it. Companies carefully scrub publications to avoid disclosing corporate secrets. And researchers tend to describe simplified versions of the problems faced by engineers who must target and serve ads at huge scale and speed, says Suju Rajan, head of research at computational advertising company Criteo. The company has released anonymized logs of millions of ad clicks that Google and others have used in papers on improving click predictions.

    https://www.wired.com/story/big-tech-can-use-ai-to-extract-many-more-ad-dollars-from-our-clicks/

Cloud

  • VMware is hedging its bets with its AWS partnership plus true private cloud

    “Fast forward to today. It’s growing at 10 to 12 percent a year; license is up 13 percent; it’s throwing off operating cash flow at $3 billion a year,” Vellante said. “Wall Street’s talking about VMware now being an undervalued stock.”

    Does this signal a shift in customer mindset? Do they want to bring the cloud operating model on-premises instead of migrating their businesses to cloud? VMware appears to think so.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/08/28/vmwares-hedging-bets-with-aws-partnership-plus-true-private-cloud-say-analysts-vmworld/

  • Amazon Has A Major Expense Storm Coming Its Way, Even If You Can’t Really See It

    …Effectively all of the servers used to run Amazon’s entire business, which have a three-year useful life, will never be counted as an expense when determining the reported operating cash flow number. The Capital Leases will never factor into their definition of free cash flow, since the original transaction is recorded under the Supplemental Cash Flow information and the payments on the Capital Leases are included in the Financing section of the Cash Flow Statement. The debt associated with purchasing the assets is never disclosed as a separate line item on the Balance Sheet, but rather buried in Other Liabilities and a footnote.

    https://seekingalpha.com/article/4102800-amazon-major-expense-storm-coming-way-even-really-see

  • Oracle to Hire 5K Executives for Cloud Operations in 2017

    Moreover, Oracle has introduced a number of cloud services like the retail merchandising solution , security solution over the last few quarters that have helped it to gain customers.

    However, with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) still being one of the weaklings in the portfolio, the company is expected to spend more on it. This might affect gross margin in the near term. Nevertheless, the company anticipates SaaS gross margin to eventually rise to 80% in the long haul, thereby leading to an improvement in the bottom line.

    http://www.nasdaq.com/article/oracle-to-hire-5k-executives-for-cloud-operations-in-2017-cm839227

Datacenter

  • IBM talks about alphas instead of betas in storage
  • So… Cisco probably spent a good sum of money to make a commercial with Peter Dinklage (from Game of Thrones)

    In a blog post, Cisco CMO Karen Walker writes, “Peter Dinklage is the perfect messenger because of his global fame and ability to speak in a bold, intelligent, and captivating way. As he wanders through the streets of London, you hang on to each of his words as he describes just how simple–and monumental–the new network is.”

Software/SaaS

  • Apple takes another step into Microsoft’s core territory with Accenture deal

    For Apple, the partnership is part of a continued push to win over business clients and try to knock Microsoft from its long-held throne as the default operating system in the corporate world. To that end, Apple has established partnerships with IBM, Cisco, Deloitte and SAP aimed at moving more business applications over to iOS devices and making them easier to use in corporate settings.

    The engineering teams will focus on apps that are used by front-line workers and consumers, such as apps that run on iPads for the lobbies of retail banks, where a teller and a customer might both interact with the app.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/29/apple-takes-another-step-into-microsofts-core-territory-with-accenture-deal.html
    Wasn’t the IBM deal supposed to do the same thing? I wonder how Big Blue feels about a major competitor partnering with Apple to do the same thing they were supposed to do.

  • IBM, Food Giants Harness Blockchain Tech to Improve Supply Chain Traceability

    Together with its partners, IBM will identify and prioritize new areas where blockchain can benefit food ecosystems and inform new IBM solutions. This work will draw on multiple IBM pilots and production networks in related areas that successfully demonstrate ways in which blockchain can positively impact global food traceability.

    The tech giant says that parallel trials with Walmart in China and the US have demonstrated that blockchain can be used to track a product from the farm through every stage of the supply chain, right to the retail shelf, in seconds instead of days or weeks. The trials also demonstrated that stakeholders throughout the global food supply chain view food safety as a collaborative issue, rather than a competitive one and are willing to work together to improve the food system for everyone.

    http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/startups/sustainable_brands/ibm_harnesses_blockchain_technology_improve_supply_chain_

Other

  • Tim Cook: Since the government isn’t doing it, Apple has a “moral responsibility to help grow the economy”

    “The reality is that government, for a long period of time, has for whatever set of reasons become less functional and isn’t working at the speed that it once was. And so it does fall, I think, not just on business but on all other areas of society to step up.”

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40460059/tim-cook-since-the-government-isnt-doing-it-apple-has-a-moral-responsibility-to-help-grow-the-economy

  • Google Critic Ousted From Think Tank Funded by the Tech Giant

    “Google is very aggressive in throwing its money around Washington and Brussels, and then pulling the strings,” Mr. Lynn said. “People are so afraid of Google now.”

    Google rejected any suggestion that it played a role in New America’s split with Open Markets. Riva Sciuto, a Google spokeswoman, pointed out that the company supports a wide range of think tanks and other nonprofits focused on information access and internet regulation. “We don’t agree with every group 100 percent of the time, and while we sometimes respectfully disagree, we respect each group’s independence, personnel decisions and policy perspectives.”

    New America’s executive vice president, Tyra Mariani, said it was “a mutual decision for Barry to spin out his Open Markets program,” and that the move was not in any way influenced by Google or Mr. Schmidt.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/us/politics/eric-schmidt-google-new-america.html

  • Warren Buffett says the future belongs to new age Apple, not to doyen of past IBM

    Warren Buffett had previously voiced a preference to avoid investing in technology stocks, but began building a stake in Apple in 2016. CNBC had earlier reported that the Oracle of Omaha added nearly 76 million more shares in January. The iconic investor had said back then, “Apple strikes me as having quite a sticky product, and an enormously useful product to people that use it.”

    In comparison, Berkshire Hathaway sold off nearly 33% of its total holdings in IBM in the first and second quarters of 2017. At the end of 2016, Berkshire Hathaway had 81 million shares of IBM. In may this year, he told the channel, “I don’t value IBM the same way that I did six years ago when I started buying. I’ve revalued it somewhat downward.”

    http://www.financialexpress.com/market/warren-buffett-says-the-future-belongs-to-new-age-apple-not-to-doyen-of-past-ibm/834658/

Photo: Nicolas Picard

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Supplier Report: 8/18/2017

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

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

Acquisitions

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

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

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

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

  • Microsoft acquires Cycle Computing

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

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

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

  • Google buys health monitoring startup

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

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

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

    Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

  • Google hires a legendary Apple engineer to tackle AI

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cloud

  • How Oracle Engineered Its Sales Staff for the Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Datacenter/Hardware

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

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

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

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

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

Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Also:

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

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

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

Photo: Samuel Scrimshaw

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Supplier Report: 8/4/2017

Apple and Amazon are starting to feel the weight of China’s data restrictions.  Apple was forced to remove VPN software from the Chinese app store.  AWS customers are being told they can no long bypass China’s data restrictions with software and VPN services.

Both companies know that China is critical to their long term growth, so for now, they have to play nice.

Amazon is also starting to get the US government’s attention regarding competition.  Can Jeff Bezos avoid President Trump’s attacks over Amazon’s market position?

Acquisitions

  • Sprint could sell pieces to Comcast and Charter before attempting T-Mobile merger

    Details are scarce, but the deal isn’t likely to be a full-on merger, according to a Reuters source. Instead, Sprint would likely be selling a minority stake to the ISPs in exchange for providing access to its network infrastructure. Think hotspots, last mile service, non-compete agreements, that sort of thing.

    The cash from the deal would allow a still SoftBank-controlled Sprint to invest a bit more, and possibly give it some leverage in its merger negotiations with T-Mobile.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/28/sprint-could-sell-pieces-to-comcast-and-charter-before-attempting-t-mobile-merger/?ncid=rss
    Update: Charter Says It Isn’t Interested in Acquiring Sprint

    On Sunday, Charter rejected the merger idea and indicated it would stick with an existing wireless reseller agreement with Verizon Communications Inc. —known as an MVNO pact—rather than switch to one with Sprint.

    “We understand why a deal is attractive for SoftBank, but Charter has no interest in acquiring Sprint,” Charter spokesman Alex Dudley said in an emailed statement. “We have a very good MVNO relationship with Verizon and intend to launch wireless services to cable customers next year.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/charter-says-it-isnt-interested-in-acquiring-sprint-1501466664

  • SoftBank Bets $250 Million on Small-Business Lender Kabbage

    SoftBank Group has invested $250 million to take a stake in online small-business lending startup Kabbage Inc.

    Kabbage was previously valued at $1 billion in a 2015 equity round, according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal. Robert Frohwein, the Atlanta-based company’s chief executive, said the new deal, a strategic-growth investment, marks “a material increase in the share price,” without giving specifics.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/softbank-bets-250-million-on-small-business-lender-kabbage-1501756200

Artificial Intelligence

  • A Robot Can Be a Warehouse Worker’s Best Friend

    Deutsche Post AG’s DHL is testing “swarming” robots at a facility in Memphis, Tenn. These machines help workers pick out medical devices that need to be shipped quickly. Quiet Logistics Inc., which fulfills online orders for retailers like Bonobos and Inditex SA’s Zara, uses the same type of mobile robots in one of its warehouses.

    Known as “collaborative” robots, they are small and relatively cheap—costing tens of thousands of dollars—compared with miles of conveyor belts and automation systems that run into the tens of millions. The new robots are designed with the majority of warehouses world-wide in mind, where orders continue to be fulfilled manually by people pushing carts up and down aisles.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-robot-can-be-a-warehouse-workers-best-friend-1501752600

Cloud

  • Amazon Cloud Customers Are Told: Don’t Bypass China’s Internet Gates

    Customers of Amazon, along with those of Apple Inc., AAPL 4.73% are facing pressure in China to comply with the Chinese government’s desire to further tighten the screws on its already heavily policed internet.

    On Saturday, Apple removed software from its app store in China that allowed users to circumvent the country’s web filters. The Cupertino, Calif., technology company cited new rules that require providers of VPNs, which are often used to get around Chinese internet firewalls, to obtain licenses from regulators.

    Complaints of disruptions affecting users of overseas VPNs in China have multiplied recently. Facebook Inc.’s encrypted WhatsApp messaging service has also been affected, with users finding it difficult or extremely slow to send messages.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-cloud-customers-are-told-dont-bypass-chinas-internet-gates-1501626197

  • What is Motley Fool’s Accuracy on SAP Overtaking Oracle in Cloud?

    SAP and Oracle have fiscal calendars which end at different times of the year, but taking the latest 12 months of results for each company shows that SAP is growing at a much faster rate than Oracle. As a German company, SAP also reports its results in euros. Converting those figures to U.S. dollars results in annual cloud revenue of over $2.5 billion.

    http://www.scmfocus.com/saaseconomy/2017/07/23/motley-fools-accuracy-sap-overtaking-oracle-cloud/

  • Oracle delivers bevy of updates to its cloud suite

    The latest version certainly has a more modern look and feel, and that was the idea, says Steve Miranda, executive vice president of applications development at Oracle. Miranda says it’s a brand new experience compared to the previous version of the software. The company not only overhauled the design, it also wanted to improve workflows, working to take out unnecessary steps when possible.

    What’s more, Oracle has turned to a responsive design approach, where the interface adjusts depending on screen size. It’s a marked improvement over the previous mobile experience, Miranda says, which used different colors and visualizations and a different navigation paradigm. He says previously they had some apps designed specifically for mobile, but some simply were presented in the browser, and didn’t always translate well to a smaller screen. Today’s update is designed to address that.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/02/oracle-makes-bevy-of-updates-to-its-cloud-suite/?ncid=rss

  • Could Amazon’s cloudy appetite crush your startup dreams?

    Not only does AWS (and Amazon) have a voracious appetite for new markets, but once it enters a market, it is both content with and adept at running at razor-thin margins. AWS margins have buoyed up the company’s overall profitability lately, but make no mistake: If Bezos sees a long-term opportunity to own a valuable market, he’s going to cut prices (and costs) relentlessly to do so.

    Competing with AWS, in short, is brutal.

    http://www.techrepublic.com/article/could-amazons-cloudy-appetite-crush-your-startup-dreams/

Datacenter

  • Samsung topples Intel as world’s largest chipmaker

    But Samsung didn’t get there by outselling processors — it’s been diversifying its chip offerings for years. While Intel has focused on CPUs for computers and servers after burying its wearables division last November, Samsung has broadened into making chips for mobile devices, as well as connected chips for IoT and smart vehicles. But the company also got ahead of Intel on the strength of its flash memory with more popular SSD products. Intel isn’t giving up on the rivalry, and claimed its next generation of long-delayed Cannon Lake 10nm chips will feature twice as many transistors as Samsung’s or TMSC’s, putting them “light years” ahead.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/28/samsung-topples-intel-as-world-s-largest-chipmaker/

  • IBM’s new palm-sized tape prototype can store 330 terabytes of data

    Despite the fact that consumers have transitioned through several storage technologies over the past few decades to the high-speed, flash-based drives of today, tape still finds usage in long-term and high-capacity storage. While commercially available magnetic tape cartridges offer up to 15TB of storage, IBM and Sony have created a new standard that’s capable of storing as much as 330TB in a much smaller form factor.

    To give that some context, IBM suggests that such a cartridge would be able to store as many as 330 million books in a form factor the same size as your palm. The last generation of the same sort of tape technology could ‘only’ handle 220 million.

    https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/ibm-sony-magnetic-tape-330tb-storage/

Other

  • Amazon’s stock falters after missing profit target by $1 a share

    Revenue at the online retailer rose 24.8 percent to $37.6 billion, while net income declined to 40 cents a share from $1.87 a share a year ago. Analysts were expecting Amazon to see revenue of $37.2 billion and net income of $1.42 a share in the quarter. The company also forecast an operating income of $300 million to a loss of $400 million for the current quarter.

    Amazon has been expanding into countries like India, which has been taking its toll on margins. The operating loss of its international operations rose more than fivefold to $742 million, while international revenue rose by only 17 percent. Revenue in North America, by contrast, rose by a more robust 27 percent.

    https://venturebeat.com/2017/07/27/amazons-stock-falters-after-missing-profit-target-by-1-a-share/

  • After Meg Whitman’s exit, Uber’s CEO search is down to only male candidates — as its board struggles and Travis Kalanick meddles

    But once he returned from the South Seas, his ardor for meddling in the company did not end. According to numerous insiders, the pugnacious entrepreneur has continued to try to involve himself in daily operating decisions, so much so that top execs have been mulling how to get help from the board to rein him in.

    “It’s not stopped,” said one top exec about Kalanick up in the grill of the operating group that is running Uber. “None of us know what to do since it is Travis.”

    In addition, to cut off Kalanick’s access, the Uber board has reinforced a policy that all directors get the same limited access to information about Uber’s ongoing operations. “We have had to put guardrails on him,” said one person involved. “Even if he keeps trying to break through them.”

    https://www.recode.net/2017/7/30/16066332/uber-ceo-search-travis-kalanick-meg-whitman-steve-jobs-board

Photo: Liming Huang

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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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Supplier Report: 6/23/2017

It feels like Amazon is taking over the world – they are buying Whole Foods, they are Gartner’s #1 IaaS provider, they are building a new cloud region in Hong Kong, and they managed to get Wal-mart so mad that the ol’ mart is banning suppliers from doing business with AWS.

I guess it’s good to be the king?

Red Hat is thinking about the future as they grow their services business while Oracle beat market expectations and had quite the stock rally.

Acquisitions

  • Amazon to Buy Whole Foods for $13.7 Billion

    Amazon.com Inc. said on Friday it would buy Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 billion, including debt, instantly transforming the online giant into a major player in the bricks-and-mortar retail sector it has spent years upending.

    The acquisition, Amazon’s largest by far, gives it a network of more than 460 stores that could serve as beachheads for in-store pickup and its distribution network. It would make Amazon an overnight heavyweight in the all-important grocery business, a major spending segment in which it has struggled to gain a foothold because consumers still largely prefer to shop for food in stores.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-to-buy-whole-foods-for-13-7-billion-1497618446?mg=prod/accounts-wsj

  • Tokyo Takes Lead in Toshiba Chip-Unit Sale Over China Fears

    The Japanese government-led group wasn’t the highest bidder, according to people briefed on the bids. Taiwan-based iPhone assembler Foxconn Technology Group, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. , was ready to offer more, but Japanese government officials said its large China operations raised the risk that technology would leak.

    Toshiba said the Japanese government-led plan is the “best proposal, not only in terms of valuation, but also in respect to certainty of closing, retention of employees, and maintenance of sensitive technology within Japan.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/toshiba-picks-government-led-group-as-preferred-bidder-for-chip-unit-1498015576

Artificial Intelligence

  • SAP Ariba and IBM – Global Strategic Alliance to Deliver Cognitive Procurement Solutions
  • Inside Microsoft’s AI Comeback

    Indeed, Microsoft first rolled out its developer tools for bots in the spring of 2016, as did other large tech companies like Facebook. They were billed as a replacement for apps, and many stakeholders really wanted that to be the case. By last spring, most people used the same small group of apps on their smartphones; the promise of bots was that developers and brands could reach new users again, much like they could in the early days of mobile via the app store. But users didn’t play along. And the deep learning that enabled bots to perform the equivalent of magic was improving faster than a paradigm for how to use them could evolved. “Bots are like apps before the file menu existed,” says Cheng. She explains there isn’t a common set of commands, so users are confused about where to find them and how they work. “Web pages, for example, all have back buttons and they do searches. Conversational apps need those same primitives. You need to be like, ‘Okay, what are the five things that I can always do predictably?’” These understood rules are just starting to be determined.

    https://www.wired.com/story/inside-microsofts-ai-comeback

Cloud

  • Wal-Mart to Vendors: Get Off Amazon’s Cloud

    Wal-Mart is telling some technology companies that if they want its business, they can’t run applications for the retailer on Amazon.com Inc.’s leading cloud-computing service, Amazon Web Services, several tech companies say.

    Amazon’s rise as the dominant player in renting on-demand, web-based computing power and storage has put some competitors, such as Netflix Inc., in the unlikely position of relying on a corporate rival as they move to the cloud.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/wal-mart-to-vendors-get-off-amazons-cloud-1498037402

  • As Amazon, Microsoft and Google Keep Taking Cloud Share, Rivals Are Learning to Specialize

    But whereas Google was alone in the Challengers quadrant last year — everyone besides the big-3 was labeled a Niche Player — Alibaba Group (BABA) , IBM Corp. (IBM) and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) managed to break into the quadrant this year. Some of this may be due to a more lenient attitude towards ranking smaller players on Gartner’s part. But it also might say a thing or two about how each company has learned how to stand out.

    IBM’s ranking appears to have gotten a boost from its efforts to create a next-gen cloud infrastructure for enterprises that relies on proprietary IBM hardware and management software. Gartner also took note of IBM’s ability to use its global footprint to set up cloud data centers in 16 countries, and the potential to use its developer ecosystem to drive adoption of infrastructure services built on top of its Bluemix platform, which initially focused just on cloud app platform (PaaS) services for developers.

    http://realmoney.thestreet.com/articles/06/19/2017/amazon-microsoft-and-google-keep-taking-cloud-share-rivals-are-learning-specialize

  • Amazon announces new AWS Region in Hong Kong

    Amazon announces plans to open an Amazon Web Services Region in Hong Kong next year to make the eighth AWS Region in Asia Pacific.

    https://www.investing.com/news/stock-market-news/amazon-announces-new-aws-region-in-hong-kong-497816

  • Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd says you need these three things to transition to the cloud

    “We historically used to write big contracts,” Hurd gave as an example. “Now we’re going to do a contract with a company that’s a startup. We’re going to go contract with Lyft for financials, but Lyft doesn’t have a procurement department. They don’t have even an IT department, per se. We can’t show up with a bunch of lawyers and a big, thick document. So we changed our process to go to ‘click to accept.’”

    “That single decision, around here, is like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’” he added. “It’s just the way we’ve been trained, it’s what’s in our DNA.”

    https://www.recode.net/2017/6/19/15826776/oracle-co-ceo-mark-hurd-says-you-need-these-three-things-transition-cloud-recode-decode

Datacenter/Hardware

Other

  • Microsoft says “fireball” threat overblown

    Today, Microsoft countered Check Point’s initial analysis that 250 million computers and 20 percent of corporate networks were infected with Fireball.

    “While the threat is real, the reported magnitude of its reach might have been overblown,” said Hamish O’Dea of the Windows Defender research team. Check Point said today that it has been working with Microsoft since being notified of the new analysis.

    “We tried to reassess the number of infections, and from recent data we know for sure that numbers are at least 40 million, but could be much more,” said Maya Horowitz, Group Manager, Check Point Threat Intelligence.

    https://threatpost.com/microsoft-says-fireball-threat-overblown/126472/

  • Oracle leaps to record as cloud transition hits turning point

    Oracle Corp. was late to the cloud revolution, allowing upstarts like Salesforce.com Inc. to find significant market share with software delivered over the internet, and has suffered while making an acquisition-fueled push into the space.

    The Band-Aid appears to have come off Oracle’s wound, however, and the company seems assured that its healed finances will be better than ever. Investors showed belief after Oracle’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report Wednesday evening, sending shares that had never cracked $47 in regular trading, adjusted for splits, to more than $51 in after-hours action. If that move holds, Oracle would be worth more than $200 billion.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oracle-leaps-to-record-as-cloud-transition-hits-turning-point-2017-06-21

  • Former EMC Chief Joe Tucci Is Joining This VC Firm

    Joe Tucci, who left his long-time gig as chairman and CEO of EMC after selling the company to Dell, is now special adviser to 83North, an investment firm focusing on European and Israeli startups.

    83North, formerly known as Greylock IL, has offices in London, New York, and Tel Aviv. It has backed startups including Hybris, the German e-commerce company bought by SAP in 2013, and Israeli storage startup ScaleIO, which EMC acquired the same year.

    http://fortune.com/2017/06/19/emc-joe-tucci-vc-83-north/

  • Meg Whitman Cedes One of Her HPE Titles To This Exec

    Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has promoted a 22-year veteran of the company to president. The move comes as HPE continues to sort out its businesses after a series of acquisitions, divestitures, and layoffs.

    The new president, Antonio Neri, was most recently executive vice president and general manager of HPE’s Enterprise group, which sells data center servers, storage, networking to corporate customers.

    http://fortune.com/2017/06/21/meg-whitman-names-new-hpe-president/

  • Red Hat’s comeback rolls on, thanks to a surging application development business

    The Raleigh, North Carolina-based company actually quickened growth in sales of subscriptions for application development tools from the pace it set in its fiscal first quarter. Application development-related and other emerging technology subscription revenues were $139 million, up 41 percent year-over-year and slightly above the previous quarter’s 40 percent growth pace. Subscription revenue for Red Hat’s core infrastructure business rose 14 percent, to $458 million, an impressive gain on top of an already large base.

    Chief Executive Jim Whitehurst  said Red Hat is shifting its business from being a low-cost provider of open-source alternative software to a strategic platform for cloud migration. “We’ve moved from having a seat the table with the purchasing department to having a seat at the table with the CIO,” he said. Sales of core infrastructure platforms like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenStack, he added, “provides a tailwind for our other offerings.”

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/06/20/red-hat-continues-comeback-strong-quarterly-results-driven-surging-application-development-business/

Photo: Benjamin Davies

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