Tag Archives: SoftBank

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

Tagged , , , , ,

Supplier Report: 8/11/2017

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

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

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

Acquisitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • SoftBank mulls Uber or Lyft investment

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

  • SAP Ariba adds IBM Watson technology to procurement processes

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

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

Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

Datacenter/Hardware

Software/SaaS

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

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

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

    IBM will appeal the decision.

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

Other

  • Wisconsin Governor Defends Foxconn Deal Amid Growing Concerns

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

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

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

  • Amazon owns a whole collection of secret brands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Mobility Officially Bumped From Microsoft’s Strategy

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

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

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

Photo: Raw Pixel

Tagged , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , ,

SourceCast: Episode 78: The Hard Line on SoftBank

Softbank has recently secured funding for their fabled vision fund. This week my guest John Silverwood joins me in discussing what a company with a 300-year-plan and billions to invest will do next.

Photo: Vitaly Taranov

 

Tagged , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , ,