Tag Archives: Samsung

Supplier Report: 10/20/2017

Google is getting called out for their acquisition practices. Some politicians and journalist think the company set back AI several years by aqui-hiring key talent in the field and holding them back with their business practices.

The big security news this week is that WiFi, specifically WPA2 protocols, have a vulnerability that can be exploited.  This vulnerability impacts both routers and devices.  Check all of your WiFi enabled devices for updates.

IBM made news this week by stopping the profit bleeding (they didn’t make their numbers, but they beat expectations)… the street rewarded the company with an almost 9% stock value increase.  No sarcasm here… it is nice to see IBM get a win after so many months of reporting bad news.

Acquisitions

  • DXC to Merge US Public Sector Business With Vencore, KeyPoint; Mac Curtis to Lead Combined Firm

    DXC Technology has agreed to merge its U.S. public sector business with Vencore and KeyPoint Government Solutions to establish a “top five” independent, publicly traded contractor within the government information technology services sector.

    All three companies expect to complete the merger by the end of March 2018, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, DXC said Wednesday.

    The combined company is expected to have more than 14,000 employees and generate approximately $4.3 billion in annual revenue with a focus on cybersecurity, big data analytics, systems engineering, enterprise IT and cloud engineering services.

    https://www.govconwire.com/2017/10/dxc-to-merge-us-public-sector-business-with-vencore-keypoint-mac-curtis-to-lead-combined-firm/

  • Infinidat raises $95m, becoming latest Israeli ‘unicorn’

    Last week, Herzliya and Waltham, Massachusetts-based Infinidat announced it had closed a $95 million Series C financing round, led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing with participation from existing investor TPG Growth.

    The latest round brings the total raised by the company to $325 million. Infinidat is valued at $1.6 billion, making it the latest Israeli “unicorn” – a private startup with a valuation of $1 billion or more (although the company was claiming a billion-dollar valuation two years ago already).

    https://www.israel21c.org/infinidat-raises-95m-becoming-latest-israeli-unicorn/

Artificial Intelligence

  • Companies Leave Bean Counting to the Robots

    Roberta doesn’t have a last name, a face, or arms. She is the first piece of robotic software to work in the Norwegian company’s treasury department, part of Statoil’s push toward automation, robotics and artificial intelligence, said Mr. Kjøllesdal, acting head of internal treasury.

    Finance executives at companies including Nokia Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Orange SA are developing their own Robertas. Two thirds of large global companies expect to automate some or most of their finance-department tasks over the next two to three years, according to new research by The Hackett Group Inc. Hackett’s report is based on benchmark and performance studies at hundreds of large global companies.

    But finance executives aren’t turning to robots just for savings. Automation can cut error rates by up to 66%, according to the Hackett report. It would also facilitate more analysis and smarter decisions by allowing employees to reduce the time spent on data collection by 24%.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/companies-leave-bean-counting-to-the-robots-1508407203

  • Google pledges $1 billion to prepare workers for automation

    While the initiative’s offerings are for US residents, Google has also pledged $1 billion in grants to non-profits that also aim to help people prepare for the changing nature of work in an increasingly high-tech world. The big G isn’t the only tech giant aiming to prevent massive job losses brought about by automation and technology in general. In Michigan, Facebook also pledged $25.5 million in training the state’s workers for high-tech jobs.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/13/grow-with-google/

  • Google Has Made a Mess of Robotics

    None of the acquired companies have robots in use beyond the offices of Google’s now-parent company, Alphabet Inc. At least three key robotics chiefs who joined in that 2013 wave left the company in the last few months, and, because four years is the typical vesting period for Google stock options, they probably won’t be the last. At this point, Myers says, the exodus counts as a win for robotics, since many of the brightest minds in the field have essentially spent the past few years trapped in a time capsule. Ultimately, Google’s run on roboticists “held the industry back more than moving it forward,” she says. Alexa Dennett, a spokeswoman for Alphabet’s skunk works, X, says its robotics projects will likely take at least five more years to come to market because substantial technological advances take time.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-12/google-has-made-a-mess-of-robotics

Datacenter/Desktop

  • Samsung’s phone-as-desktop concept now runs Linux

    Samsung’s DeX is a clever way to turn your phone into a desktop computer. However, there’s one overriding problem: you probably don’t have a good reason to use it instead of a PC. And Samsung is trying to fix that. It’s unveiling Linux on Galaxy, an app-based offering that (surprise) lets you run Linux distributions on your phone. Ostensibly, it’s aimed at developers who want to bring their work environment with them wherever they go. You could dock at a remote office knowing that your setup will be the same as usual.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/19/samsung-introduces-linux-on-galaxy/

Software/SaaS

  • IBM is using the blockchain to speed up and simplify cross-border payments

    The computing giant has teamed up with blockchain startup Stellar and payment company Kickex to launch a cross-border payment system for banks which uses the blockchain to “reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers.”

    Currently, international transactions take days, if not weeks, to be completed. Frustration with that has seen services like TransferWise rise, but, great as they are, they remain solutions for savvy consumers or small businesses rather than all.

    A blockchain solution for banks addresses the root cause, and it could minimize the potential for errors thanks to the ledger-based system while also providing transparency and flexibility to banks.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/16/ibm-cross-border-payments-blockchain/?ncid=rss

Security

  • Severe flaw in WPA2 protocol leaves Wi-Fi traffic open to eavesdropping

    The proof-of-concept exploit is called KRACK, short for Key Reinstallation Attacks. The research has been a closely guarded secret for weeks ahead of a coordinated disclosure that’s scheduled for 8am Monday, East Coast time. A website disclosing the vulnerability said it affects the core WPA2 protocol itself and is effective against devices running the Android, Linux, Apple, Windows, and OpenBSD operating systems, as well as MediaTek Linksys, and other types of devices. The site warned attackers can exploit it to decrypt a wealth of sensitive data that’s normally encrypted by the nearly ubiquitous Wi-Fi encryption protocol.

    The site went on to warn that visiting only HTTPS-protected Web pages wasn’t automatically a remedy for the risk.

    “Although websites or apps may use HTTPS as an additional layer of protection, we warn that this extra protection can (still) be bypassed in a worrying number of situations,” the researchers explained. “For example, HTTPS was previously bypassed in non-browser software, in Apple’s iOS and OS X, in Android apps, in Android apps again, in banking apps, and even in VPN apps.”

    https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/10/severe-flaw-in-wpa2-protocol-leaves-wi-fi-traffic-open-to-eavesdropping/

Other

  • Foxconn Deal in Wisconsin Hits Snag Over Guarantees

    The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. delayed a vote Tuesday to give final approval to a contract that would provide the Taiwanese firm with $3 billion in economic incentives.

    On Wednesday, a Democratic state representative who opposed the deal told a local Wisconsin news organization the delay was over a “nuclear bomb” in the contract that wouldn’t sufficiently protect taxpayers in the case that Foxconn didn’t fulfill its promises, sparking concerns the deal could be in trouble.

    WEDC CEO Mark Hogan said the delay was to ensure the deal was done right. “WEDC continues to do due diligence on a complex deal,” said WEDC CEO Mark Hogan in a statement. “We will take the time necessary to ensure taxpayers are protected and Foxconn is able to create tens of thousands of family-supporting jobs in Wisconsin.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/foxconn-deal-in-wisconsin-hits-snag-over-guarantees-1508353362

  • Apple and GE announce deep partnership

    Apple and GE have committed to build a set of development tools and to develop apps together using Apple’s design sensibility and deep understanding of iOS, but the deal doesn’t stop there. Apple’s sales team will also push the GE Predix platform with its industrial customers when it makes sense, and GE has committed to standardizing on the iPhone and iPad for its 330,000 employees, while offering the Mac as a computer choice. All of this adds up to a level of cooperation we have not seen in Apple’s previous enterprise partnerships.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/18/apple-and-ge-announce-deep-partnership/?ncid=rss

  • IBM Revenue Drops Again, But Mainframe, AI Units Beat Expectations

    Revenue was down 0.4% from a year earlier to $19.15 billion, a minor slide but enough to make it the 22nd consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines.

    Still, revenue from the hardware division, which rolled out new mainframe computers over the summer, marked its first gain from a year earlier since 2015.

    Profit fell 4.5% to $2.73 billion. Margins narrowed over all and in most business units, though progressively less since the beginning of the year—a hopeful sign of stabilization.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/ibm-has-another-revenue-drop-during-its-transition-1508273024
    IBM’s stock surge is one for the history books

    The stock IBM, +8.86% rocketed $12.99, or 8.9%, Wednesday to the highest close in nearly six months, after the information technology company reported third-quarter profit and revenue the beat Wall Street expectations.

    Beating profit projections wasn’t a surprise, since IBM has now done so for 12 straight quarters, but the stock rallying after results is a relative rarity. And Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said the latest beat marks “a real inflection point,” as it came amid “low investor expectations” and helps support the belief that the gross margin trend is now rising.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ibms-stock-surge-is-one-for-the-history-books-2017-10-18

  • Samsung vice chairman quits amid leadership ‘crisis’

    Kwon has been the face of Samsung after Jay Y. Lee was arrested and eventually found guilty of bribery and embezzlement. Lee, who was sentenced to five years in prison, apparently bribed officials to ensure that the controversial merger of two Samsung-controlled companies would go smoothly in spite of shareholders’ disapproval. While he was only a vice chairman when he was arrested, Lee was considered the company’s de facto leader after his father, Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, suffered a heart attack in 2014. The younger Lee is responsible for conjuring up the company’s long-term strategic vision.

    Samsung had a great quarter, thanks mainly to the increasing demand for memory chips with large storage capacities. The mobile division’s performance also got a boost from Galaxy Note 8’s sales, but we won’t know by how much until the full earnings come out. If the conglomerate wants to top Q3’s profit, though, it has to find a way to solve the “unprecedented crisis” it’s going through.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/13/samsung-vice-chairman-quits-earnings-guidance-q3-2017/

Photo: rawpixel.com

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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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