Amazon.co.uk sees no Britexit fall out yet

amazonsAmazon says that its British site has not seen any sales dip since the vote to leave the European Union, and in fact it is planning to create a further 1,000 jobs across the UK this year.

UK country manager Doug Gurr said that the site’s sales were in line with expectations and it was business as usual.

Gurr, who became Amazon’s UK head in May after a stint in China, said it was too early to say what the impact of the June 23 Brexit vote would be.

“There’s a lot of details to be worked out … We don’t know exactly what the regulatory environment will be, we don’t know exactly what the terms of the new separation will be,” he said.

A survey published last week showed confidence among British consumers fell sharply in the days after the referendum, while on Tuesday department store retailer John Lewis said its sales grew more slowly last week.

On Tuesday the boss of Sainsbury’s, Britain’s second largest supermarket group, said there was a danger of Britain talking itself into another recession.

Gurr said Amazon’s plans for the UK had not changed on the Brexit vote.

“We’re continuing with the plans, we haven’t suddenly invented new plans,” he said.

The additional jobs will take Amazon’s full time permanent employees in the UK to over 15,500 by the end of the year.

The status of EU nationals currently living in Britain has been clouded by the Brexit vote.

“What we’ve said to all of our teams is: ‘As far as we’re concerned nothing changes. We’re still part of the EU as of today, we’ll continue to operate on that basis,” said Gurr.

Dell jacks up Brexit prices

michael-dell-2UK suppliers are already having to pay the cost for the UK’s Brexit referendum result – Michael Dell is already jacking up his prices by eight percent.

Dell increased UK prices across its portfolio by eight or nine percent, according to its partners. He is not the only one.  Canalys warned that US vendors will begin hiking the prices of its products feared the UK IT market could shrink by as much as 15 percent next year.

Dell tends to hedge everything against the dollar on a quarterly basis. It was expected that he would do it in August but it was brought forward.

Fortunately, all the suppliers are in the same boat and no one is going to get an advantage out of this. However, it does makes sales teams look a bit stupid if they quoted a price one morning and are having to jack up the prices a few days later.

The worry is that clients will start looking at their budgets again and wonder about suspending projects until things have settled down a bit.

In a statement, Dell said:

“Dell’s priority is always to provide great value to our customers and partners. We carefully consider price moves for our customers and partners, and have worked diligently over the past several months to postpone any increases pending the outcome of the EU referendum. In line with the rest of the industry, our component costs are priced in US dollars, and unfortunately, the recent strengthening of the US dollar versus the euro and other currencies in the EMEA region, following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, will have a direct impact on the price we sell to our EMEA customers and partners.

“We understand that this is an uncertain time for many British businesses and we will continue to work closely with our customers and partners to provide great value products and services,” a spokesDell said.

EU starts €1.8 billion cyber security plan

european-commissionThe EU has signed an agreement with industry on cybersecurity and stepped up efforts to tackle cyber-threats which it hopes will trigger €1.8 billion of investment by 2020. It would be a big help to security suppliers, if the UK remained in the EU.

The new public-private partnership is part of a series of new initiatives to better equip Europe against cyber-attacks and to strengthen the competitiveness of its cybersecurity sector.

According to a recent survey, at least 80 percent of European companies have experienced at least one cybersecurity incident over the last year and the number of security incidents across all industries worldwide rose by 38 percent in 2015.

As part of its Digital Single Market strategy the Commission wants to reinforce cooperation across borders, and between all actors and sectors active in cybersecurity, and to help develop innovative and secure technologies, products and services throughout the EU.

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: “Without trust and security, there can be no Digital Single Market. Europe has to be ready to tackle cyber-threats that are increasingly sophisticated and do not recognise borders. Today, we are proposing concrete measures to strengthen Europe’s resilience against such attacks and secure the capacity needed for building and expanding our digital economy.”

Under the plan the EU will invest €450 million, under its research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. Cybersecurity market players, represented by the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO), are expected to invest three times more. This partnership will also include members from national, regional and local public administrations, research centres and academia. The aim of the partnership is to foster cooperation at early stages of the research and innovation process and to build cybersecurity solutions for various sectors, such as energy, health, transport and finance.

The Commission also sets out different measures to tackle the fragmentation of the EU cybersecurity market. Currently an ICT company might need to undergo different certification processes to sell its products and services in several Member States. The Commission will therefore look into a possible European certification framework for ICT security products.

A myriad of European SMEs have emerged in niche markets  and in well-established markets with new business models (like antivirus software), but they are often unable to scale up their operations. The Commission wants to ease access to finance for smaller businesses working in the field of cybersecurity and will explore different options under the EU investment plan.

Of course this does not apply to the UK. By the time the scheme is ready to go, the UK will have Brexited and will have to find its own source of funds, or not have any cyber security schemes of its own. But at least it can make up its own mind and it still has royality.

Microsoft about to knock Amazon off of its cloud

Every silver has a cloudy liningBeancounters at Morgan Stanley think that Microsoft’s Azure will edge out Amazon Web Services by 2019 for both Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

The 2016 CIO Survey worked out that  31 percent of the CIOs will be using Azure for IaaS, versus roughly 30 percent using AWS. Today, about 21 percent are using AWS and 12 percent are using Azure. While nearly 55 percent of the surveyed CIOs said they’re using no public-cloud IaaS today, that number will drop to less than 10 percent by the end of 2019.

Azure is already leading AWS in PaaS and it is used by 18 percent of the respondents, versus AWS’s 16 percent. Azure’s lead will grow slightly by 2019, growing 9.8 percent versus 6.4 percent, Morgan Stanley said.

Software as a Service (SaaS) spending is looking promising with 95 percent of the 100 respondents predicting it will be flat or will increase, up from 90 percent last year.  Its key driver will be marketing applications from the likes of Adobe, HubSpot and Salesforce.

Nearly one-third of all applications will be migrated to the public cloud by the end 2017, up from 14 percent today, the survey said. On-premises apps will decline to 58 percent, from 71 percent today.

Hardware vendors, including conventional and flash storage makers, will continue to suffer as their market is eaten by the cloud. Hardware spending growth is down this year to 3.2 percent, from 3.4 percent last year.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise and NetApp face the largest threats, the study said. Biggish Blue might be saved by its cloud investments and cognitive-computing offering.

Oracle, EMC, Dell, VMWare and Cisco, in that order, all face declines in their share of the next three years’ IT budgets, ranging from -17 percent to -9 percent.

Dell gives up on Android tablets

tabletDell has stopped selling Android devices as it moves to Windows 2-in-1 devices.

It has said that it is giving up on its Venue line of Android tablets, and will no longer offer the Android-based Wyse Cloud Connect, a thumb-size computer that can turn a display into a PC.

Dell has long said that the slate tablet market is over-saturated and declining. They appear to be being replaced by  2-in-1s which provide a more spiritual  blend of PC capabilities with tablet mobility.

Dell won’t be offering OS upgrades to Android-based Venue tablets already being used by customers.

Customers who own Android-based Venue products, Dell will continue to support currently active warranty and service contracts until they expire, but will not be pushing out future OS upgrades.

Dell now mostly has laptops and 2-in-1s with Windows on its books with a smattering of Chromebooks, which run Chrome OS. These can run Android apps through access to the Google Play Store but not Android.

If you don’t want Windows, Dell also sells XPS and Precision laptops with Ubuntu to developers, and thin clients with Linux, Windows Embedded and Wyse’s ThinOS operating systems.

Venue is a brand often placed on the chopping block by Dell.  It killed off Venue smartphones in 2012, but reintroduced the brand through the tablets. You can find Venue tablets with Windows but the product has not been upgraded in a while.

HP is also doing something similar. It now offers just a handful of Android tablets, mainly for businesses. Lenovo is offering fewer Android tablets and has expanded its Windows-based, 2-in-1 lineup.  So much for Steve Job’s “game changing” technology which was going to change the world.

Dixon Carphone plays down Brexit worries

carphone-warehouseDixon Carphone attempted to play down the personal impact of market volatility that a post-Brexit vote will “inevitably” cause.

Dixon Carphone CEO Seb James talked bullishly about the business and its prospects but noted that things could get a bit edgy since Friday’s EU referendum.

“The nation has spoken and there has been a vote to exit the EU in due course. As you can imagine, we have been giving some thought to this,” he said.

“Our view is that, as the strongest player in our market and despite the volatility that is the inevitable consequence of such change, we expect to find opportunities for additional growth and further consolidate our position as the leader in the UK market,” said James.

Dixon Carphone said group sales edged up three per cent year-on-year to £9.78bn for the year ended 30 April. Sales in its UK heartland went up one per cent to £6.4bn, reflecting stores closure.

Demand for white box goods offset weaker trade in computing, TV sales benefited from the Rugby World Cup last year it said. The mobile element saw market share gains helped by the store within a store concept, the launch of a 4G network branded iD and lasting benefits of Phones4You going pop in the prior financial year, the company said.

Connected World Services jumped to £152m from £121m. Dixon has a deal to roll out CWS in Sprint stores across the pond.

Profit for the year was £337m, up from £285m in the prior financial year.

 

Cisco writes a cheque for cloud-lock

Cisco Kid Networking Tsar Cisco has written a $293 million cheque for cloudy security outfit CloudLock.

CloudLock provides cloud access security tech, and analytics on user behaviour and sensitive data for cloud services.  Cisco said that the acquisition will close in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 and the  CloudLock team will join Cisco’s Networking and Security Business Group.

It will be ruled by Senior VP and general manager David Goeckeler.

Cisco Corporate Development’s Rob Salvagno said the acquisition will boost security for companies seeking to migrate to the cloud. In fact Cisco is buying rather a lot of cloudy security outfits lately.

It bought Lancope for $452 million, the Portcullis Computer Security for an undisclosed sum, and OpenDNS for $635 million.

 

 

Intel culls sales and marketing staff

Bent AxeIntel is ordering its sales and marketing staff to clean out their desks as part of its glorious campaign on restructuring.

In April, Chipzilla announced it would lay off 12,000 employees worldwide saying that there was no more money in this PC lark. It also stopped work on its Atom chip and those working on it were the first to be escorted from the building with their belongings in an old photocopy paper box.

But now sales and marketing in Intel’s distribution channel operation are having to face the music. Ironically a corporate PR person who has not been sacked yet issued a statement saying:

“To support our transformation, we are restructuring our sales organization to drive tighter alignment with Intel’s business units and fuel our growth engines. Customers can expect to see more specialized technical support, faster decision making, and streamlined processes with a strong focus on enabling a consistent and personalized customer experience.”

Still it is early days yet. The cuts are not being completed until the end of the month, so maybe the person who wrote the above comment is still blissfully unaware that there is a corporate axeman waiting in the corridor waiting to pounce.

It looks like regional head offices will be the target. Intel offices will now report direct to the US headquarters rather than to their nearest regional head office. Big processor buyers, such as China-based Lenovo and Taiwan’s Acer, will also deal direct with teams in California from now on

 

UK’s tech channel bewildered over Brexit

euThe UK’s tech channel is in a panic this morning as its managers try to get their head around Friday’s Brexit decision.

Gartner has forecast that Britain’s tech buyers will now stop spending in 2016 and 2017, turning earlier growth numbers negative and the industry will fall into recession. There is also a fear of the cost of hiring EU workers, taxes and tariffs which is enough to send the industry into a tail spin.

Still at least we won’t have those nasty foreigners telling us what to do, we can just sit around muttering there will always be an England as the French start turning off the power.

Most of the tech companies have said that they needed Brexit like a hole in the head and are wondering how they can recover their position.  Basically the issue is that global business value chains are more integrated, while Brexit envisages a market which was out of date 40 years ago with Britannia ruling the waves.

SAP has said that things might be alright if the country pulls finger quick and makes its escape as fast as possible.

However, outfits like Alfresco Software moan about the huge uncertainties which gets more than half its business from the EU.

 

 

Government likely to water down EU data regulations

ukflagNow that the UK has voted for Brexit the government is almost certain to water down the EU’s proposed tough data regulations to allow US companies to snoop on UK citizens.

The EU alarmed the US tech companies by drawing up rules, which would insist that European data stay in Europe. The US government wanted its companies operating in Europe to be able to hand over data with a court order. Essentially this meant that any Euro cloud data could end up in the hands of Uncle Sam.

While the Germans and French thing this is a bad idea, the British are less keen. Not only are they closer to the US intelligence communities, but they are also chummier with big US tech.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was due to come into place by 2018 and have been should be a huge shake-up of EU data protection laws. It included tougher penalties for companies in breach of EU data protection law. The UK government had wanted to water down the legislation, but it was not sure if it could get the EU to agree.

With Brexit that has all gone by the wayside. With the UK is out, the government can ignore bringing the laws in completely and can push ahead with its own data sharing plans. These could give data to whoever it likes and spy on whoever it wants. From a supplier perspective it means it will be easier to house data in the UK, but UK customers might have to be happy to have their data snuffled by US spooks.

Suppliers could also be forced to hand over data to US courts, if the UK really does need to suck up to the US government.

Nutanix shows a different sort of channel plan

Nutanix-Product-Shot-3US outfit Nutanix has decided to take on an unusual approach to the channel which has got vendors across the pond sitting up and taking notice.

The outfit does not have a three tier program with clip levels and does not pay back end rebates. What it does is sort out an investment strategy with channel partners that will see the company work in lock-step with 40 solution providers globally.

It still has a channel of more than 4,000 solution providers, but these are served through distribution.

Nutanix channel chief of Chris Morgan told  CDN that the company practices the 80/20 rule; it’s just applied mostly to the 20.

“The investment strategy with partners are based on which partners are ready on what we are doing and take it to the customer. Partners can still be transactional with distributors but we are focused on a small number and we want to help them transition their business. What has to happen is they need to break from the past and go to the future,” he said.

Incentives for the 40 partners include a strict deal registration program that ensures price protection. Morgan added that these partners also have the freedom to sell anything else.

The cunning plan appears to be working and putting the fear of god into outfits like Cisco.

Paypal dumps cloud supplier for not spying

paypal-logoGermany’s Seafile cloud suppler  claims it was forced to stop using PayPal because it refused the payment company’s illegal demands to spy on its users’ data.

Seafile is a Dropbox rival and it told its customers that they would no longer be able to pay for the service using PayPal—the only payment method that the company had in place.

CEO Silja Jackson said the outfit was looking into alternative payment services, but currently it was running a cloud service and not being paid.

Seafile was founded in 2009 by students at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and has gained enough traction in Germany to form a subsidiary there. It offers an open-source file-synchronization system that organisations can install on their own servers—for a fee, if they want enterprise features—and last October the firm decided to also start offering a paid version that’s hosted on Seafile’s German servers, for individuals and small businesses.

Jackson said PayPal contacted Seafile in early June with a questionnaire about its service, and by posting a notice on Seafile’s PayPal account to say it was violating an unspecified part of PayPal’s terms of use.

Jackson thought that PayPal classified Seafile as a service for illegal file sharing. She told them that since it did not offer free accounts and that customers needed to disclose their address when signing up.

PayPal then demanded that Seafile monitor its customers’ data traffic and files for illegal content, and send the payment firm detailed statistics about the types of files synchronised over the service.

Jackson said that would violate privacy laws as giving PayPal statistical information would violate customers’ privacy rights.”

Legal experts have confirmed that had Seafile done as it was told it would have been taken to the cleaners under EU and German privacy laws. When Jackson told PayPal that Seafile was being required to break EU privacy laws, the outfit dropped them like a hot potato.

Dell flogs his software arm to the House of Elliott

elliotTin box-shifter Michael Dell is about to flog his software division to buyout firm Francisco and the private equity arm of activist hedge fund Elliott Management.

Dell needs to get rid of its software assets so that it can buy data storage company EMC for $67 billion. EMC owns a controlling stake in VMware and other software assets, so Dell does not need its own.

One of the things that Dell wants to off-load is Quest Software, which helps with information technology management and SonicWall, an e-mail encryption and data security provider. It is keeping Boomi, which is cloud-based software integration software.

The deal is expected to be formally announced this week, although it is possible that the whole thing could go tits up and never happen. Neither Dell nor Francisco are commenting.

Dell’s software division is not particularly profitable and Dell needs as much cash as he can get his paws on to reduce the debt he took on when took the outfit private.

 

Ellison believes SaaS market is a key to the cloud

Larry EllisonAlthough he is not backward about coming forward at the best of times, Oracle Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison has been talking up his outfit’s Cloud business lately, claiming it is doing rather well because if its SaaS presence.

Ellison claims Oracle’s cloud business is “defying conventional wisdom” by accelerating while it expands and this is because of its presence in the SaaS market where rivals are not competing.

“We think we have a fighting chance to be the first SaaS company to make it to $10 billion in annual revenue,” Ellison said.

Oracle is a number two SaaS vendor and had a total SaaS and PaaS revenue of $2.2 billion during fiscal 2016, up 49 percent from the year before. The top SaaS vendor, Salesforce made $6.67 billion in 2016 and expects its 2017 revenue to be $8.08 billion.

Public cloud IaaS leader Amazon Web Services said in April that it’s on track to hit $10 billion in revenue this year.

The cloud accounted for around eight percent of Oracle’s quarterly revenue, but this business to continue growing even faster in Oracle’s fiscal 2017.

Ellison also said Oracle is seeing “a huge amount of demand” for IaaS from its existing SaaS and database customers, which wish to avoid the data migration costs associated with AWS and other cloud vendors.

Oracle has made significant data centre efficiency advancements and can now offer lower costs, better security and superior reliability than any other provider in the market, he added.

 

Government procurement system is just the old system in drag

_68879492_3164103The UK government’s new procurement process, G-Cloud, is failing to cut through enough red tape to be of any use at all.

The government hit on the idea of G-Cloud to encourage small vendors to pitch against the larger IT companies by using an online “App Store”.

But Memset founder Kate Craig-Wood – who became involved in 2009 – said the plan is falling short.

Writing in her bog she said: “We passionately believed in the dream of G-Cloud and kept doing so despite the goalposts being repeatedly moved, the marketplace continuing not to function properly and buyers continuing to behave in the same old ways.”

Since 2011, the G-Cloud has totalled more than £1 billion in sales, which is more than enough to get the government spinners claiming it is a success.  But it would appear that some

However, the Infrastructure-as-a-service sector in which Craig-Wood operates has been tricky than other areas of the framework, which don’t need so much supplier investment.

Memset has had to make huge investments to job through the government’s hoops on security. It has had to invest £2 million on a high-security data centre.

But if you invest you should get more money back right?  Memset only saw  a return of £100,000 per year and no new business since 2013.

Now it is getting too late for small business.  Microsoft and Amazon cloud services will knock all the small providers out of the market because they can produce economies of scale. The government is not really interested in propping up the small businesses, it wants to reduce the costs. It also is not moving much stuff to the cloud as it originally thought.

Craig-Wood  thinks that the old procurement practices are still at work and this requires armies of sales teams to tackle.  This was exactly the sort of thing that G-Cloud was supposed to bring to an end.