Tag Archives: SoftBank

Supplier Report: 1/5/2018

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

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

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

Acquisitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

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

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

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

Cloud

  • The CPU catastrophe will hit hardest in the cloud

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

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

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

Software/SaaS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Supplier Report: 12/29/2017

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

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

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

Acquisitions

  • Amazon buys Blink wire-free connected camera startup

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

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

  • SoftBank Succeeds in Tender Offer for Large Stake in Uber

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

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

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

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

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

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

Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

Software/SaaS

  • Oracle: A Classic Case Of Cannibalization

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

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

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

  • Goldman is reportedly getting into bitcoin and crypto trading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Security

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Tristan Gassert

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Supplier Report: 10/27/2017

Cisco is all over the news this week: they spent at least $2B on two companies (terms were not disclosed on the Perspica deal) and they entered into a partnership with Google on cloud and network services.

Companies looking to expand their AI programs are finding an unexpected barrier… a complete lack of available talent.  Due to this shortage, those people in the AI field are commanding massive salaries.

Softbank is advancing their goal of buying all the things.

Acquisitions

  • WeWork acquires Flatiron School

    Flatiron School is a coding education platform that offers both online and offline classes to folks who want a career in the world of tech. The coding academy was launched in 2012 and has raised more than $14 million since inception, according to Crunchbase.

    The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/23/wework-acquires-flatiron-school/?ncid=rss

  • Cisco snaps up streaming-data startup Perspica (terms not disclosed)

    One of the reasons it was attracted to Perspica is because of the company’s ability to monitor data in real-time, Cisco says. Being able to process data as it’s created or very soon afterwards can speed the time that end users are able to gain insights from the data, the company says. “Perspica is known for its stream-based processing with the unique ability to apply machine learning to data as it comes in instead of waiting until it’s neatly stored,” says Bhaskar Sunkara, VP of Engineering at AppDynamics.

    https://www.networkworld.com/article/3234329/lan-wan/cisco-snaps-up-streaming-data-startup-perspica.html

  • Cisco scoops up BroadSoft for $1.9 billion to boost communications tools portfolioa

    The purchase gives Cisco a new way to sell its communications tools as it shifts its focus from a pure networking hardware company to one focused on software and services delivered in the cloud. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of an announcement last week that it intended to purchase Perspica and fold the engineering team into AppDynamics, a company it purchased earlier this year for $3.7 billion. If you’re thinking, this is an acquisitive company, you’re right. It just purchased its 200th company.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/23/cisco-scoops-up-broadsoft-for-1-9-billion-to-boost-communications-tools-portfolio/?ncid=rss

  • When $100BN is not enough… Softbank is planning Vision Fund sequels

    In comments to Nikkei, Son did set out his expectations for the funds’ size and likely investment reach over the next decade.

    “We are creating a mechanism to increase our funding ability from 10 trillion yen to 20 trillion yen to 100 trillion yen,” he said, adding that, all told, the funds “will probably have invested in at least 1,000 companies within 10 years”.

    According to Nikkei, all the Vision Funds are expected to chiefly target unicorns — aka tech startups that haven’t gone public yet but have an estimated valuation above $1BN.

    The average scale of investment by the funds is likely to reach about $888 million, it said.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/20/when-100bn-is-not-enough-softbank-is-planning-vision-fund-sequels/?ncid=rss

Artificial Intelligence

  • Tech Giants Are Paying Huge Salaries for Scarce A.I. Talent

    Tech’s biggest companies are placing huge bets on artificial intelligence, banking on things ranging from face-scanning smartphones and conversational coffee-table gadgets to computerized health care and autonomous vehicles. As they chase this future, they are doling out salaries that are startling even in an industry that has never been shy about lavishing a fortune on its top talent.

    Typical A.I. specialists, including both Ph.D.s fresh out of school and people with less education and just a few years of experience, can be paid from $300,000 to $500,000 a year or more in salary and company stock, according to nine people who work for major tech companies or have entertained job offers from them. All of them requested anonymity because they did not want to damage their professional prospects.

    Well-known names in the A.I. field have received compensation in salary and shares in a company’s stock that total single- or double-digit millions over a four- or five-year period. And at some point they renew or negotiate a new contract, much like a professional athlete.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/22/technology/artificial-intelligence-experts-salaries.html

Cloud

  • Amazon’s $18 billion cloud business continues to crush Microsoft and Google

    Amazon Web Services reported $4.6 billion in revenue for the quarter. AWS has already brought in $12.3 billion in 2017 so far, with a quarter left to go.

    With sales growing quickly and projected to jump again next quarter, AWS is expected to hit $18 billion in revenue for the full year. As a bonus, it’s already the single most profitable part of Amazon’s business.

    Microsoft doesn’t disclose the revenue it generates from Azure, its product that competes directly with AWS. However, it did say Azure’s sales grew 90% from the same period last year.

    Google Cloud is the biggest cipher of the three, in terms of financial performance. Instead of breaking out the amount of revenue it generates from its cloud business, Google lumps together its cloud sales with the revenue it generates from the Google Play app store and from its hardware business. That combined category posted $3.4 billion in revenue last quarter.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-web-services-is-battling-microsoft-azure-and-google-cloud-2017-10

  • Google and Cisco Strike Cloud Partnership

    Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., is contributing cloud-development expertise and tools that run on the Google Cloud Platform, a suite of services for the cloud including computing, storage, databases and analytics. Cisco is bringing networking, security and infrastructure technologies to the mix. Both companies are using open-source technologies to give customers more flexibility.

    “It really does help companies avoid lock-in,” Cisco Chief Executive Chuck Robbins said in an interview.

    Mr. Robbins is counting on new cloud services to help turn around Cisco by moving further away from its legacy hardware. Cisco’s customers are increasingly using cloud services instead of investing in hardware for their own data centers.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-and-cisco-strike-cloud-partnership-1508932804

Datacenter

  • HPE Is Exiting the Cloud Server Business

    Hewlett-Packard Enterprise is getting out of the cloud server business. That means it will no longer sell low-end “commodity” servers to large cloud computing customers like Microsoft.

    It has proven to be an exceedingly tough business for traditional hardware makers because while they may sell huge volumes of cloud servers, profits are slim to none. The target customers are companies like Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, or Google, each of which can (and do) negotiate huge discounts. Insult to injury, most of these cloud companies go directly to contract manufacturers in Taiwan or China to have servers built to their specifications at low cost. They don’t need or want to pay for name-brand servers

    http://fortune.com/2017/10/19/hpe-cloud-servers/

  • Michael Dell on cloud infrastructure:

    Wow… Mike says Boomerang kind of weird…
  • The heart of “The Cloud” is in Virginia

    This data center is in Loudoun County, Virginia. Buddy Rizer, the county’s head of business development, helped turn Loudoun County into the largest concentration of data centers in the world — 10 million square feet in 70 enormous buildings.

    According to Rizer, 70 percent of all web traffic from the world, on a daily basis, passes through a Loudoun County data center.

    AWS is growing at 40 percent a year, and Loudoun County can’t build data centers fast enough. Buddy Rizer says that seven new ones are under construction right now. A new RagingWire data center will add another two million square feet of data center space.

    And even though it will be nearly two years until construction is completed, the space is already 100 percent leased. “It’s not getting ahead; we’re just barely keeping up,” Rizer said. “There’s no empty space in our data centers. By and large they are all 100% filled.”

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cloud-computing-loudoun-county-virginia/

Software/SaaS

  • SAP earnings fall short on slower cloud and business software growth

    “Overall it was not a good quarter,” said Andrew Bartels, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc. “The growth was not as strong as in previous quarters,” particularly in North America.

    One culprit was the source of strong growth in previous quarters: its business network group, which includes acquired businesses such as Ariba Inc., Concur Technologies Inc., Fieldglass Inc. and SuccessFactors Inc. Bartels noted that SAP had been depending on that growth to the extent that “success may have bred some complacency” in applications such as Ariba, which is said is “not really best-in-class in its category anymore.” That may have allowed competitors to gain some ground, he said.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/10/19/sap-earnings-fall-short-slower-cloud-business-software-growth/

  • Tech IPO Trends Worked In Mongo DB’s Favor, But Could Work Against Stitch Fix

    On Oct. 19, MongoDB Inc. (MDB) joined the ranks of fast-growing, money-losing, enterprise software names to see a strong 2017 debut. After pricing its 8 million-share offering at $24 (above an elevated $20 to $22 range), shares opened at $33 and as of the Oct. 20 close are at $30.68, up 28%. That leaves the company valued at $1.85 billion after accounting for outstanding stock options and warrants, or about 15 times trailing sales.

    MongoDB sells on-premise and cloud versions of a popular open-source database under the same name, while leading the community responsible for developing the database. Thanks partly to its popularity among developers, startups and big-name Internet companies, it’s arguably the most popular NoSQL database on the market.

    Also:

    Many other companies, including Cisco, SAP, Verizon, Adobe and Intuit, have embraced MongoDB, which it should be noted is often run on major third-party cloud platforms. The company claimed 4,300 clients as of the end of July, including over half the Fortune 100. With the help of 1,100 customer adds, revenue (mostly from software subscriptions) rose 51% annually to $68 million during the 6 months ending in July. Net loss — the result of big sales and R&D investments — rose fractionally to $45.8 million, or $36.4 million excluding stock expenses.

    https://realmoney.thestreet.com/articles/10/20/2017/tech-ipo-trends-worked-mongo-dbs-favor-could-work-against-stitch-fix

  • Oracle Joins The Blockchain Party

    Oracle’s Blockchain Cloud Service is a new solution that will be included in the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) family of offerings. The service is claimed to be based on a comprehensive distributed ledger platform which will create opportunities for businesses to enhance their processes by several means.

    First of all, the solution will support deploying and running smart contracts. A smart contract is an automated contract which does not require a middleman, and where the terms and conditions are written as a code. This type of technology is being increasingly adopted by the financial sector, especially in securities trading, where smart contracts can cut costs and save time and money. For instance, Bank of America (BAC) revealed earlier this year a new platform based on Etherium for automating the process of creating a standby letter of credit.

    https://seekingalpha.com/article/4115483-oracle-joins-blockchain-party

Security

  • New Ransomware ‘Bad Rabbit’ Spreading Quickly Through Russia and Ukraine

    The malware, dubbed Bad Rabbit, has hit three Russian media outlets, including the news agency Interfax, according to Russian security firm Group-IB. Once it infects a computer, Bad Rabbit displays a message in red letters on a black background, an aesthetic used in the massive NotPetya ransomware outbreak.

    The ransom message asks victims to log into a Tor hidden service website to make the payment of 0.05 Bitcoin, valued at around $282 at the time of writing. The site also displays a countdown of a little bit over 40 hours before the price of decryption goes up.

    A researcher from Proofpoint said that Bad Rabbit spread via a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. Researchers from Kaspersky Lab confirmed this, and added that the malware dropper—the file that launches the malware—was distributed via booby-trapped legitimate sites, “all of which were news or media website.”

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/59yb4q/bad-rabbit-petya-ransomware-russia-ukraine

  • How I Socially Engineer Myself Into High Security Facilities

    We became best buds. I was given complete and unaccompanied access to the facility where I stayed for several hours.

    I gained network access and stole several thousands of dollars in physical primitives by picking my way through cheap locks (credit to Deviant Ollam for the rad lockpicking animations.)

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/qv34zb/how-i-socially-engineer-myself-into-high-security-facilities

Other

  • Amazon Says 238 Places Want to Host Its New Headquarters

    Opening a second, equal headquarters is believed by management experts to be an unprecedented move by an American corporation, and it presents unique cultural challenges for the company.

    While Amazon continues to grow in Seattle, experts say it would be difficult for the company to essentially double its footprint there. In addition, hiring thousands more software developers will almost certainly be cheaper and easier in a different city, they say.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-says-238-places-want-to-host-its-new-headquarters-1508772669?mg=prod/accounts-wsj

  • Bitcoin breaks above $6,000, and $100 billion in value for the first time in its history

    The cryptocurrency hit an all-time high of $6,147.07 just a day after pushing through the $6,000 mark, according to data from industry website CoinDesk.

    Much of the rise can be attributed to another upcoming split in bitcoin known as a “fork”. This will lead to the creation of a new cryptocurrency called bitcoin gold. Holders of bitcoin will get some bitcoin gold when it is issued, essentially giving them free money.

    But Alex Sunnarborg, founding partner of cryptocurrency fund Tetras Capital, told CNBC on Friday that bitcoin investors were betting on bitcoin holding its status despite the split. Bitcoin already underwent a fork in August when a new cryptocurrency called bitcoin cash was created. Despite this, bitcoin has continued to perform strongly.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/21/bitcoin-price-6100-new-record-high.html

  • Cortana Gets A Speaker Of Its Own

    Aside from the fact that it works best with Microsoft’s own services and doesn’t support others, Cortana’s biggest limitation is that it can only support one account at this time. Calendar information, reminders, and to-dos will all be pulled from the account the Invoke was set up with, which makes it difficult to use as a shared device for those functions. Both Alexa and Google’s Assistant have added features that attempt to identify the person making the voice request and serve up personalized information to them. And while the Invoke does sound good on its own, it can’t be paired in stereo or be used in a multi-room system, like Google, Amazon, or Sonos speakers can.

    https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/20/16505468/harman-kardon-invoke-cortana-microsoft-smart-speaker-review
    I hate to say it, but I called it.

  • What’s HPE Next? Now it’s unemployment for ‘thousands’ of staff

    The cuts were expected, but still cast a pall over the enterprise IT giant. In June, we revealed the existence of the HPE Next project: a radical three-year plan to overhaul HPE’s processes and investments, and optimize its people and overheads to make itself relevant again.

    And by optimize, it means it will cut or move positions to low-wage places to save the biz a pretty penny. In September, it emerged the axe was being sharpened for 5,000 of its 50,000 workforce, or one in ten.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/10/24/whats_hpe_next_an_unemployment_claim_for_thousands_of_workers_today/

Photo: Nicolas Picard

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Supplier Report: 10/13/2017

Artificial Intelligence is all the rage… and from a business perspective, it seems that consumer goods are innovating and reaching users faster than enterprise counterparts.  Between home assistants, ear buds with live translations, and advanced facial recognition – consumers have plenty of advances, but only 20% of large business have dabbled in AI/process automation.

With the announcement that Windows Mobile is dead, Microsoft seems to be running away from the consumer market. Last week, I said Microsoft is becoming the new IBM, but how do they prevent following in IBM’s fate?

Equifax might still be having security issues while Accenture recently experienced a significant data breach (which was completely self-inflicted).

Acquisitions

  • DXC Technology To Acquire Logicalis SMC To Boost Global ServiceNow Practice

    Logicalis SMC, a service management consultancy specialist that was the first European company to become a ServiceNow Master Solutions partner, will join DXC’s ServiceNow practice within Fruition Partners, a DXC Technology company and a leading global ServiceNow platform.

    http://www.crn.com/news/channel-programs/300093636/dxc-technology-to-acquire-logicalis-smc-to-boost-global-servicenow-practice.htm

  • SoftBank Leads $164 Million Bet on Digital-Mapping Startup Mapbox

    The Japanese investor, which has stakes in many ride-hailing services, is leading a $164 million investment in Mapbox Inc., a startup that provides mapping and location-search technology to a variety of companies including Snap Inc. and General Electric Co.

    The money comes from SoftBank’s nearly $100 billion tech-focused Vision Fund as well as several venture-capital firms including Foundry Group, DFJ Growth, DBL Partners and Thrive Capital. Mapbox said it would expand its efforts into autonomous cars and augmented and virtual reality and will accelerate international expansion, including in China.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/softbank-leads-164-million-bet-on-digital-mapping-startup-mapbox-1507640404
    SoftBank is investing in Uber, their Asian competitors, telecoms like Sprint and TMobile, and now they are investing in a mapping company that will feed those other companies a needed service.

Artificial Intelligence/Robotics

  • Google’s Pixel Buds translation will change the world

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/04/google-pixel-buds-translation-change-the-world/
  • Adidas will finally start selling shoes made by its robot factory

    The robot factory Adidas built in Germany is now fully functional and ready to start making the first Speedfactory shoe that will be sold to the public. Adidas has revealed that it plans to use its Speedfactory’s robots to manufacture a series of Adidas Made For (AM4) kicks designed specifically for six of the world’s biggest metropolises.

    The AM4 models are all lightweight and designed using athlete data to conjure up the most comfortable shape and form. If you want to see what Speedfactory’s robot workers are capable of, check out Futurecraft M.F.G. — it’s the very first model out of the facility, though it was never released to the general public.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/05/adidas-speedfactory-made-for-shoes/

Cloud

  • Microsoft and AWS could be the strangest cloud bedfellows yet

    Microsoft and AWS announced they were working on a project together.

    Project Gluon is an open source, deep learning project for building, deploying and managing machine learning models. It’s worth noting that AWS and Microsoft compete fiercely in the cloud market. In fact, they each have artificial intelligence toolkits that they are trying to sell customers, yet in this instance they saw it in their mutual best interest to work together instead of competing.

    Gluon is one of the big steps ahead in taking out some of the grunt work in developing AI systems by bringing together training algorithms and neural network models, two of the key components in a deep learning system.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/12/microsoft-and-aws-could-be-the-strangest-cloud-bedfellows-yet/?ncid=rss

  • Dell outlines IoT strategy, plans to spend $1 billion on R&D over three years

    Dell Technologies launched a new Internet of things division to integrate products and services across the company, new tools to speed up implementations and plans to invest $1 billion in research and development over the next three years.

    The new division within Dell Technologies will be run by VMware CTO Ray O’Farrell. His first mission will be to develop IoT products and services throughout the company and develop new technologies.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/dell-outlines-iot-strategy-plans-to-spend-1-billion-on-r-d-over-three-years/

Datacenter

  • Microsoft just purchased all of GE’s newest Irish wind farm capacity for the next 15 years

    This is a big deal on several levels. First of all, it means Microsoft will be using a clean energy source to power at least some of its cloud data centers in Ireland. That will likely result in a lower energy bill for Microsoft, while reducing the pollution related to running cloud services.

    But this could have an impact beyond the data centers as Microsoft and GE are working on a battery technology that captures excess energy from each wind turbine. If there is excess capacity captured by this method, Microsoft and GE could give it back to the Irish energy grid.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/09/microsoft-just-purchased-all-of-ges-newest-irish-wind-farm-capacity-for-the-next-15-years/?ncid=rss

Software/SaaS

  • Oracle’s Entrance: Database Giant Unveils Enterprise Blockchain Strategy

    The company wants to attract both large and small firms, but Frank Xiong, Oracle’s group vice president of Blockchain Cloud Service, argued that startups looking to test a smart contract or an application will be able to do so more cheaply using the cloud platform because pricing is based on transaction volume.

    “This will give them a very good reasonably priced way to start up their application,” he told CoinDesk. “I personally think this will be a big attraction to these startups.”

    For existing ERP customers, the platform will provide a way to connect with outside partners and customers, plugging them into internal channels and processes in a confidential and secure manner.

    https://www.coindesk.com/oracles-entrance-database-giant-unveils-enterprise-blockchain-strategy/

  • Regulate Facebook Like AIM

    Sixteen years ago, the FCC, the regulatory body responsible for things like television and radio, approved a merger between American Online and Time Warner, but with several conditions. As part of the deal, AOL was required to make its web portal compatible with other chat apps.

    The government stopped AOL from building a closed system where everyone had to use AIM, meaning it had to adopt interoperability—the ability to be compatible with other computer systems.

    The FCC required AOL to be compatible with at least one instant messaging rival immediately after the merger went through. Within six months, the FCC required AOL to make its portal compatible with at least two other rivals, or face penalties.

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mb7n7v/aim-aol-instant-messenger-regulation-facebook-ending

Security

  • Accenture left a huge trove of highly sensitive data on exposed servers

    The servers, hosted on Amazon’s S3 storage service, contained hundreds of gigabytes of data for the company’s enterprise cloud offering, which the company claims provides support to the majority of the Fortune 100.

    The data could be downloaded without a password by anyone who knew the servers’ web addresses.

    Chris Vickery, director of cyber risk research at security firm UpGuard, found the data and privately told Accenture of the exposure in mid-September. The four servers were quietly secured the next day.

    Also:

    Vickery said he also found Accenture’s master keys for its Amazon Web Service’s Key Management System (KMS), which if stolen could allow an attacker full control over the company’s encrypted data stored on Amazon’s servers.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/accenture-left-a-huge-trove-of-client-passwords-on-exposed-servers/

  • Russia Has Turned Kaspersky Software Into Tool for Spying

    The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Russian hackers used Kaspersky’s software in 2015 to target a contractor working for the National Security Agency, who had removed classified materials from his workplace and put them on his home computer, which was running the program. The hackers stole highly classified information on how the NSA conducts espionage and protects against incursions by other countries, said people familiar with the matter. An NSA spokesman didn’t comment on the security breach.

    Kaspersky Lab, founded by an engineer trained at a KGB technical school, has long insisted that it doesn’t assist the Russian government with spying on other countries. But many U.S. officials now think the evidence the U.S. has collected shows the company is a witting partner, said people familiar with the matter.

    “There is no way, based on what the software was doing, that Kaspersky couldn’t have known about this,” said a former U.S. official with knowledge of information gleaned in 2015 about how the software was used to search for American secrets. He said the nature of the software is such that it would have had to be programmed to look for specific keywords, and Kaspersky’s employees likely would have known that was happening, this former official said.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-hackers-scanned-networks-world-wide-for-secret-u-s-data-1507743874
    Also: Israeli intelligence discovered that Kaspersky was working with the Russian government. See SourceCast Episode 90 to learn more.

  • Equifax may have been hacked again

    Unfortunately, the company still seems to be lacking when it comes to security, because according to Ars Technica, it’s been hacked yet again. Independent security analyst Randy Abrams told Ars that he was redirected to hxxp:centerbluray.info and was met with a Flash download when he went to equifax.com to contest a false info on his credit report.

    The fake Flash installer apparently tricks people into downloading what Symantec identifies as Adware.Eorezo, an adware that inundates Internet Explorer with advertisements. Unfortunately, we can’t replicate the problem, but Abrams said he encountered the issue on three separate visits.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/12/equifax-hacked-again/

Other

  • Google parent Alphabet looks to restore cell service in Puerto Rico with Project Loon balloons

    Loon was developed by X, part of Alphabet’s innovation group.  It was able to help Peru earlier this year, amidst significant flooding and hopes to replicate this success. Yet before it proceeds with its plans in Puerto Rico, Loon needs to find a carrier network to partner with. Loon had already been working with Telefonica in Peru, which sped up the process.

    The Loon project consists of a network of high altitude balloons that rise like weather balloons to a height above 60,000 feet. Loon balloons are designed to “ride the wind” to get to a destination and are super-pressurized to withstand for over 100 days in the stratosphere.

    Signals are transmitted directly to LTE-enabled devices and are routed through a local carrier, and the balloons are raised and lowered to an altitude with winds blowing in the desired direction.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/07/google-parent-alphabet-looks-to-restore-cell-service-in-puerto-rico-with-project-loon-balloons/?ncid=rss

  • Amazon is on the brink of deciding if it will make a big move into selling drugs online

    The company will decide before Thanksgiving whether to move into selling prescription drugs online, according to an email from Amazon viewed by CNBC and a source familiar with the situation. If it decides to make that move, it will start expanding its senior team with drug supply chain experts.

    Amazon typically spends years researching opportunities before it telegraphs its intentions. The opportunity to sell drugs online is alluring given its market size — analysts have estimated the U.S. prescription drug market at $560 billion per year. Amazon is well aware of the complexities, say sources familiar with the company’s thinking.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/06/amazon-considering-selling-online-prescriptions-decision-coming-soon.html

  • IBM Should Cut Down On Outsourcing To India

    Outsourcing provides certain competitive advantages to early-movers – that is, to companies that adopt it first — but it isn’t proprietary. Others can adopt it, and therefore, isn’t a source of sustainable competitive advantage.

    Then there’s corporate complacency whereby leadership of these companies fails to renew the pioneering drive that characterizes market leaders.

    That’s what eventually happened in the PC industry, to companies like the old HP.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2017/10/06/ibm-should-cut-down-on-outsourcing-to-india/#57288b0e4116

  • This is not a drill: Microsoft admits Windows Phone is dead for real

    It’s time to say goodbye for real this time. Windows Phone’s death has been slow and painful, but, as CNET spotted, the head of Microsoft’s Windows division finally admitted you shouldn’t expect anything more when it comes to Windows Phone.

    Microsoft doesn’t plan to let existing Windows Phone users down — there will be security updates. But don’t expect anything new. Joe Belfiore admitted that Microsoft isn’t working on any software or hardware update.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/09/this-is-not-a-drill-microsoft-admits-windows-phone-is-dead-for-real/?ncid=rss

  • Oracle names IBM as strategic HR BPO provider

    Without specifically mentioning it IBM also brings several additional technical benefits to the table. The first is IBM Kenexa a competitor to Oracle’s Taleo it delivers more than just applicant tracking. Possibly of greater interest though is the cognitive computing stack that IBM offers in Watson. While Oracle has just launched its augmented intelligence and machine learning capabilities IBM already has some point solutions such as IBM Watson Talent. It will be interesting to see which customers use IBM’s BPO services with Oracle HCM Cloud.

    https://www.enterprisetimes.co.uk/2017/10/11/oracle-names-ibm-as-strategic-hr-bpo-provider/

    This is really odd. Oracle has never had much of a consulting presence to speak of, but the IBM selection who has been culling their global services business and focusing on automation is very odd.

Photo: Andy Kelly

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Supplier Report: 9/22/2017

Google is showing the world that crafting hardware is a major ambition for them with the purchase of phone maker HTC’s research division. Google seems to be developing a pattern of buying phone companies for intellectual property (see Motorola), but at least they didn’t buy the entire company this time.

Larry Ellison doing what he does best… making sound-bytes.  Larry talked about AWS pricing, the Equifax hack, and Oracle’s new autonomous database product. While I like to poke fun at Larry’s bombastic ways on the podcast, I agree with most of his statements this week.

Oh… and there are rumors of a Sprint and T-Mobile merger for the 1,000,000th time.

Acquisitions

  • Google to Buy Part of Phone Maker HTC

    With the acquisition, Google may get deeper access to HTC’s research and development, as well as sales and distribution channels, analysts said. That could help Google as it seeks to make a bigger splash in the increasingly competitive smartphone market as it prepares to launch an updated version of the Pixel this fall.

    The deal shows “Google is very serious about building its own hardware,” said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-is-set-to-buy-part-of-taiwanese-phone-maker-htc-1505934852
    So why did they sell Motorola again (they took a big loss on that sale)?

  • T-Mobile and Sprint are in active talks about a merger

    Both companies and their parents, Deutsche Telekom and Softbank, have been in frequent conversations about a stock-for-stock merger in which T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom would emerge as the majority owner.

    People close to the situation stress that negotiators are still weeks away from finalizing a deal and believe the chances of reaching an agreement are not assured. The two sides have not yet set an exchange ratio for a deal, but are currently engaged in talks to hammer out a term sheet.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/19/t-mobile-and-sprint-are-in-active-talks-about-a-merger.html

  • Slack lands $250M funding round led by Japan’s Softbank Group

    The company said on Sunday it has just closed on a $250 million funding round led by the Japanese telecommunications and Internet giant, which saw the participation of Accel Partners and other investors. The announcement confirms a rumor that first surfaced in July that said Softbank was looking to invest in the company.

    The new round means that Slack is now valued at $5.1 billion, up from its previous $3.8 billion valuation, Bloomberg reported. However, that figure remains well below the reported $9 billion takeover price that was bandied about when rumors emerged that cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services Inc. was interested in acquiring the company.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/09/17/slack-lands-250m-funding-round-led-japans-softbank-group/

Artificial Intelligence

  • Computers Are Taking Design Cues From Human Brains

    Now, computer engineers are fashioning more complex systems. Rather than funneling all tasks through one beefy chip made by Intel, newer machines are dividing work into tiny pieces and spreading them among vast farms of simpler, specialized chips that consume less power.

    Changes inside Google’s giant data centers are a harbinger of what is to come for the rest of the industry. Inside most of Google’s servers, there is still a central processor. But enormous banks of custom-built chips work alongside them, running the computer algorithms that drive speech recognition and other forms of artificial intelligence.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/16/technology/chips-off-the-old-block-computers-are-taking-design-cues-from-human-brains.html

  • Google’s AI chief thinks reports of the AI apocalypse are greatly exaggerated

    The company also needs to share the architecture of its AI products because Google wants to avoid biases as much as possible. “We have been spending a lot of time looking at machine learning fairness,” Giannandrea said. “If your data is biased, then you build biased systems. We have many efforts at Google and research collaboration around this question of fairness in machine learning and unbiased data.”

    And finally, the term artificial intelligence itself might not be the right one. According to Giannandrea, artificial intelligence doesn’t mean much. “I almost try to shy away from this term artificial intelligence — it’s kind of like big data,” he said. “It’s such a broad term, it’s really not well defined. I’ve been trying to use the term machine intelligence.”

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/19/googles-ai-chief-thinks-reports-of-the-ai-apocalypse-are-greatly-exaggerated/?ncid=rss

Cloud

  • Amazon Web Services will now charge by the second, its biggest pricing change in years

    The move is historically significant. Since AWS became available in 2006, it has charged by the hour. Then, in 2013, Alphabet’s Google, which had introduced its direct competitor to AWS a year earlier, said it would start charging by the minute, after a 10-minute minimum. Microsoft’s Azure followed suit shortly thereafter.

    Now Amazon is hitting back by becoming even more granular when it comes to making people pay only for the computing resources they use, with a one-minute minimum.

    The price change is only applicable for Linux virtual machines, AWS’ chief evangelist, Jeff Barr, wrote in a blog post.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/18/aws-starts-charging-for-ec2-by-the-second.html

  • Amazon’s AWS is Now Hosting the Defense Department’s Most Classified Data

    Earlier this week, the DoD granted Amazon a provisional authorization to host its Impact Level 5 workloads, which are the Pentagon’s and U.S. military’s most classified information. Only two other tech companies are allowed to store this data: Microsoft MSFT and IBM IBM .

    “This further bolsters AWS as an industry leader in helping support the DoD’s critical mission in protecting our security,” said Amazon in a statement . “The AWS services support a variety of DoD workloads, including workloads contained sensitive controlled unclassified information and National Security Systems information.”

    http://www.nasdaq.com/article/amazons-aws-is-now-hosting-the-defense-departments-most-classified-data-cm846402

  • Oracle’s Larry Ellison pokes Amazon again with new cloud pricing plan

    Actually, Ellison claimed that Oracle’s infrastructure runs faster and therefore ends up costing less, but it’s clear that the company is focusing more on its traditional strengths one tier up from the infrastructure: so-called platform as a service offerings such as the Oracle Database. So today, Oracle said it will allow customers to move their existing licenses for databases, middleware and analytics to Oracle’s platform services, just as they’ve allowed them to bring licenses to its infrastructure before.

    “The way we want to compete is to deliver a high degree of automation to our customers,” Ellison told press, customers and Oracle employees at the event. And the biggest payback, he said, will be in eliminating human error. “If you don’t patch the database at Equifax, thatoraclecloudpricing could be expensive,” he said pointedly.

    https://siliconangle.com/blog/2017/09/19/oracles-larry-ellison-pokes-amazon-new-cloud-pricing-plan/

Software/SaaS/Security

  • Equifax Breach ‘Won’t Be Isolated Incident,’ Says Oracle Founder Larry Ellison

    Warning that the world is in the midst of “a cyber war that’s going to be going on for a long, long time,” Ellison said the challenge for not only Oracle but the tech industry overall is to dramatically enhance its cybersecurity capabilities across two very different types of environments: the data centers many big customers currently operate, and the cloud-computing data centers to which many businesses are turning for their computing, applications, and storage needs.

    And the key technology in this counteroffensive, Ellison said, is machine learning—and specifically how it can enhance cybersecurity via extensive analysis of log data.

    “Based on machine learning, this new version of Oracle Database is a totally automated and self-driving system that does not require a human being either to manage the database or tune the database (emphasis mine),” Ellison said.

    “Using artificial intelligence to eliminate most sources of human error enables Oracle to deliver unprecedented reliability in the Cloud.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/bobevans1/2017/09/20/equifax-breach-wont-be-isolated-incident-says-oracle-founder-larry-ellison/#4d418e1fce3b

Other

  • Google Has Spent Over $1.1 Billion on Self-Driving Tech

    Now, a court filing in Waymo’s epic and ongoing lawsuit against Uber has accidentally revealed just how big a bet Google placed on autonomous vehicles. Between Project Chauffeur’s inception in 2009 and the end of 2015, Google spent $1.1 billion on developing its self-driving software and hardware, according to a recent deposition of Shawn Bananzadeh, a financial analyst at Waymo.

    Bananzadeh was testifying as part of the lawsuit, in which Uber stands accused misappropriating trade secrets and violating patents from Waymo, Google’s self-driving-car offshoot. Because Waymo has yet to commercialize any of its technology in a meaningful way, the company thinks any damages in the case should be calculated on the basis of how much it spent building the technology in question.

    https://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/self-driving/google-has-spent-over-11-billion-on-selfdriving-tech

  • Cisco Chairman John Chambers to Step Down, Ending an Era at Tech Company

    Mr. Chambers, who has been executive chairman for two years and chairman since 2006, notified board members of his decision in an email last Wednesday.

    “It is time for Cisco to move on to its next generation of leadership,” he said in the letter. “It is also time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life, on both a personal and business level.”

    Cisco plans to appoint Chief Executive Chuck Robbins, 51 years old, to fill the role.

    Mr. Chambers, 68, was Cisco’s CEO for more than 20 years ending in 2015, when Mr. Robbins took over. Neither Mr. Chambers nor Cisco shared details about his next plans.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/cisco-chairman-john-chambers-wont-stand-for-re-election-1505742050?mg=prod/accounts-wsj

  • Equifax Stock Sales Are the Focus of U.S. Criminal Probe

    The federal probes add a serious challenge to Equifax as lawmakers, state attorneys general and regulators scrutinize the breach that may have compromised the privacy of 143 million U.S. consumers. Equifax shares were little changed. The shares have fallen 35 percent since the breach was disclosed after market close in New York on Sept. 7.

    Investigators are looking at the stock sales by Equifax’s chief financial officer, John Gamble; its president of U.S. information solutions, Joseph Loughran; and its president of workforce solutions, Rodolfo Ploder, said two of the people, who asked not to be named because the probe is confidential.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-18/equifax-stock-sales-said-to-be-focus-of-u-s-criminal-probe

Photo: ANGELA FRANKLIN

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