Google’s main mission statement has been “don’t be evil”, but is that still the case? Last month, I covered that Google has been caught funding pro-google studies (via universities and other research firms) and not disclosing that fact. This week Google had someone fired from a think tank they funded for supporting the EU’s stance that Google is a monopoly.
Apple is getting more daring… they announced a new application development deal with Accenture (where does that leave IBM?) and CEO Tim Cook has been taking some swipes at the US government regarding economic growth.
Observation: I want to point out a quirky trend in this week’s news: Almost all of the news feed items about Dell are about golf and all of the HPE news was about Meg Whitman not getting the Uber job (hundreds of articles for both). Why aren’t these companies generating any other news and controlling their own narratives?
- Shark-detecting drones to patrol Australian beaches
Drones equipped with a shark detection system powered by artificial intelligence will start patrolling some Australian beaches from next month in a bid to improve safety.
The battery-powered drones will provide a live-video feed to a drone operator who then uses the shark-spotting software to identify sharks in real time and with more accuracy than the human eye.
Studies have shown that people have a 20-30 percent accuracy rate when interpreting data from aerial images to detect shark activity. Detection software can boost that rate to 90 percent, said Dr Nabin Sharma, a research associate at the University of Technology Sydney’s School of Software.
- How Google and Microsoft Use AI to Turn Your Clicks Into Ad Dollars
Google couldn’t make anyone available for interview before publication. Microsoft tells WIRED that it constantly tests new machine learning technologies in its advertising system. “Online advertising is perhaps by far the most lucrative application of AI [and] machine learning in the industry,” says John Cosley, director of marketing for Microsoft search advertising. Bing recently started using new deep learning algorithms to better understand the meaning of search queries and find relevant ads, he says.
Research papers on using deep learning for ads may undersell both its true power and the challenge of tapping into it. Companies carefully scrub publications to avoid disclosing corporate secrets. And researchers tend to describe simplified versions of the problems faced by engineers who must target and serve ads at huge scale and speed, says Suju Rajan, head of research at computational advertising company Criteo. The company has released anonymized logs of millions of ad clicks that Google and others have used in papers on improving click predictions.
- VMware is hedging its bets with its AWS partnership plus true private cloud
“Fast forward to today. It’s growing at 10 to 12 percent a year; license is up 13 percent; it’s throwing off operating cash flow at $3 billion a year,” Vellante said. “Wall Street’s talking about VMware now being an undervalued stock.”
Does this signal a shift in customer mindset? Do they want to bring the cloud operating model on-premises instead of migrating their businesses to cloud? VMware appears to think so.
- Amazon Has A Major Expense Storm Coming Its Way, Even If You Can’t Really See It
…Effectively all of the servers used to run Amazon’s entire business, which have a three-year useful life, will never be counted as an expense when determining the reported operating cash flow number. The Capital Leases will never factor into their definition of free cash flow, since the original transaction is recorded under the Supplemental Cash Flow information and the payments on the Capital Leases are included in the Financing section of the Cash Flow Statement. The debt associated with purchasing the assets is never disclosed as a separate line item on the Balance Sheet, but rather buried in Other Liabilities and a footnote.
- Oracle to Hire 5K Executives for Cloud Operations in 2017
Moreover, Oracle has introduced a number of cloud services like the retail merchandising solution , security solution over the last few quarters that have helped it to gain customers.
However, with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) still being one of the weaklings in the portfolio, the company is expected to spend more on it. This might affect gross margin in the near term. Nevertheless, the company anticipates SaaS gross margin to eventually rise to 80% in the long haul, thereby leading to an improvement in the bottom line.
- IBM talks about alphas instead of betas in storage
- So… Cisco probably spent a good sum of money to make a commercial with Peter Dinklage (from Game of Thrones)
In a blog post, Cisco CMO Karen Walker writes, “Peter Dinklage is the perfect messenger because of his global fame and ability to speak in a bold, intelligent, and captivating way. As he wanders through the streets of London, you hang on to each of his words as he describes just how simple–and monumental–the new network is.”
- Apple takes another step into Microsoft’s core territory with Accenture deal
For Apple, the partnership is part of a continued push to win over business clients and try to knock Microsoft from its long-held throne as the default operating system in the corporate world. To that end, Apple has established partnerships with IBM, Cisco, Deloitte and SAP aimed at moving more business applications over to iOS devices and making them easier to use in corporate settings.
The engineering teams will focus on apps that are used by front-line workers and consumers, such as apps that run on iPads for the lobbies of retail banks, where a teller and a customer might both interact with the app.
Wasn’t the IBM deal supposed to do the same thing? I wonder how Big Blue feels about a major competitor partnering with Apple to do the same thing they were supposed to do.
- IBM, Food Giants Harness Blockchain Tech to Improve Supply Chain Traceability
Together with its partners, IBM will identify and prioritize new areas where blockchain can benefit food ecosystems and inform new IBM solutions. This work will draw on multiple IBM pilots and production networks in related areas that successfully demonstrate ways in which blockchain can positively impact global food traceability.
The tech giant says that parallel trials with Walmart in China and the US have demonstrated that blockchain can be used to track a product from the farm through every stage of the supply chain, right to the retail shelf, in seconds instead of days or weeks. The trials also demonstrated that stakeholders throughout the global food supply chain view food safety as a collaborative issue, rather than a competitive one and are willing to work together to improve the food system for everyone.
- Tim Cook: Since the government isn’t doing it, Apple has a “moral responsibility to help grow the economy”
“The reality is that government, for a long period of time, has for whatever set of reasons become less functional and isn’t working at the speed that it once was. And so it does fall, I think, not just on business but on all other areas of society to step up.”
- Google Critic Ousted From Think Tank Funded by the Tech Giant
“Google is very aggressive in throwing its money around Washington and Brussels, and then pulling the strings,” Mr. Lynn said. “People are so afraid of Google now.”
Google rejected any suggestion that it played a role in New America’s split with Open Markets. Riva Sciuto, a Google spokeswoman, pointed out that the company supports a wide range of think tanks and other nonprofits focused on information access and internet regulation. “We don’t agree with every group 100 percent of the time, and while we sometimes respectfully disagree, we respect each group’s independence, personnel decisions and policy perspectives.”
New America’s executive vice president, Tyra Mariani, said it was “a mutual decision for Barry to spin out his Open Markets program,” and that the move was not in any way influenced by Google or Mr. Schmidt.
- Warren Buffett says the future belongs to new age Apple, not to doyen of past IBM
Warren Buffett had previously voiced a preference to avoid investing in technology stocks, but began building a stake in Apple in 2016. CNBC had earlier reported that the Oracle of Omaha added nearly 76 million more shares in January. The iconic investor had said back then, “Apple strikes me as having quite a sticky product, and an enormously useful product to people that use it.”
In comparison, Berkshire Hathaway sold off nearly 33% of its total holdings in IBM in the first and second quarters of 2017. At the end of 2016, Berkshire Hathaway had 81 million shares of IBM. In may this year, he told the channel, “I don’t value IBM the same way that I did six years ago when I started buying. I’ve revalued it somewhat downward.”
Photo: Nicolas Picard