Tag Archives: SoftBank

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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Supplier Report: 8/18/2017

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

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

Acquisitions

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

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

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

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

  • Microsoft acquires Cycle Computing

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

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

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

  • Google buys health monitoring startup

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

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

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

    Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artificial Intelligence

  • Google hires a legendary Apple engineer to tackle AI

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cloud

  • How Oracle Engineered Its Sales Staff for the Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Datacenter/Hardware

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

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

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

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

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

Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Also:

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

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

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

Photo: Samuel Scrimshaw

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Supplier Report: 8/11/2017

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

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