Oracle sues whistle-blower for suing

oracleOracle apparently has a way with people calling themselves whistle-blowers – it sues them.

Svetlana Blackburn complained in the US district court in San Francisco that she had been fired from the company for refusing to artificially inflate Oracle’s cloud division sales. She said that senior directors had been fudging its software-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service figures.

Blackburn said she was a “senior finance manager” at Oracle and accused the database giant of serious financial wrongdoing.

Oracle said that Blackburn worked at Oracle for less than a year and did not work in the accounting group. It insists that she was terminated for poor performance. Oracle will be suing her for malicious prosecution.

But Oracle’s lawyers might not be the only ones investigating the lawsuit – the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is rather interested. If Blackburn has the evidence for her claims, Oracle is going to be in hot-water. If she doesn’t then Oracle is going to want blood.

Oracle’s shares took a battering when she went to court dropping four per cent and wiping about $6 billion off Oracle’s market cap. Oracle is fond of suing people for funny money.

Salesforce demands Demandware

Salesforce_Logo_2009Cloudy Salesforce has written a $2.8 billion cheque for Demandware whose software is used by businesses to run e-commerce websites.

The move is part of a cunning plan to open a new front as Salesforce wants to take more market share from traditional software providers such as Oracle and SAP who offer cloud-based e-commerce services.

The e-commerce market has been growing  as retailers expand their online presence, boosting demand for software that helps manage functions such as payment processing and inventory management.

Salesforce appears to have paid rather a lot for the company to see off any of the other outfits which were bidding for the company. Word on the street is that Adobe and Oracle were also snuffling around.

Demandware has not been doing that well. Its shares, which have fallen about 21 percent in the past year. Its customers include Lands’ End, L’Oreal (because it is worth it) and Marks and Sparks. It has  reported sales growth of more than 30 percent for the last 10 quarters.

While Salesforce has beaten up everyone in the CRM war, it still needs to stay in front.  To do that it needs lots of products which is something it lacks.

Global spending on digital commerce platforms is expected to grow over 14 percent annually to about $8.5 billion by 2020, Salesforce.

The deal, slated to close in Salesforce’s second quarter ending July, is expected to increase the company’s 2017 revenue by about $100 million-$120 million.

Salesforce had forecast fiscal 2017 revenue of $8.16 billion-$8.20 billion in May.

 

Ingram’s UK boss recalled to US

661e3ccceba42ef30c43ba6432095197Ingram’s UK boss Brent McCarty has been recalled to the US to lead distributor’s global sales efforts.

Ingram Micro ANZ managing director Matt Sanderson will head up its UK division from July. Apparently McCarty, who was Ingram’s satrap for the UK and Ireland kingdoms, is being transitioned into a global sales role.

Sanderson was Ingram Micro UK’s managing director between 2009 until 2012, when he became vice president and MD in Australia and New Zealand. He headed to Sydney to take the job and now he is back.

McCarty has been in charge since January 2013. During his time he has integrated the mobility division in to the wider company. He also shuttered the Verwood office and oversaw several acquisitions. The recently announced takeover of Comms-care was one of his.

EVP and global group president Gerhard Schulz said: “We congratulate both Matt and Brent in their new roles and look forward to the continued development of Ingram Micro UK under Matt’s leadership.

“We cannot thank Brent enough for his commitment and believe his prior experience has fully prepared him to head up our global sales initiative.”

AppFormix launches channel with Rackspace

cloud (264 x 264)Startup AppFormix has created its own channel with industry heavyweight Rackspace.

The move breaks the tradition of startups launching partner programs with a handful of small VARs.

AppFormix has become a major distributor of OpenStack software and getting Rackspace’s support for its channel is a big win for the company which was only founded just three years ago.

Founder and CEO Sumeet Singh said the move will allow AppFormix to fully commit to a distribution channel strategy.

So far AppFormix has been selling its software directly, but with the launch of its channel program, “go on our predominant model is going to be to go through the partners,” Singh said, “especially Rackspace.”

“Rackspace is a dream partner. They are the founders of OpenStack, and we built this software initially to really simplify the OpenStack operations,” Singh said.

AppFormix focuses on hybrid environments and can monitor and optimise cloud infrastructure. Its technology evaluates the bare-metal servers, storage workloads orchestrated by Kubernetes platform originally developed by Google, and Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure platform.

The platform analysis tools offer a cross-layer visibility, measure resource utilization and monitor application performance for better orchestration of hybrid cloud environments.

Ingram Micro takes one to the bottom line from Tech Data

58850228bbb485cfb1859a8fbb9f8f98Tech Data has said it is countering the slowdown in IT spending across Europe by kicking its rivals in the market share.

It did not say which rivals it has been targeting but it is pretty likely to be Ingram Micro. The results appear to have netted the outfit a a a general one percent rise in the first quarter.

The IT distie titan reported group sales of $6 billion. In the Americas that figure was $2.4 billion and a two percent rise . European sales were $3.6 billion and up one per cent.

CEO Bob Dutkovsky told analysts on a conference call that its teams made the most of “pockets of demand and delivered above market sales growth”.

Dutkovsky  said that the cunning plan in the Americas was based around the “right mix of business, gained select market share” and “deselected less profitable business.”  The US team has moved technical and field sales folk to higher growth areas of cloud, supply chain and unspecified services.

In Europe data centre related kit sales stumbled and there was a “sharp decline” in mobility products. Notebooks, tabs, software, consumer electronics and security business picked up the slack.

Tech Data isrumoured to be putting together a stand-alone security business unit across many ountries and it is believed to be centred in the UK.

Dutkovsky said it had swiped share from rivals but added that Dell opening up more business to the channel had helped and that market share gains don’t just come at the expense of the competitors.

He did not say if he was dancing on Ingram Micro’s grave. The outfit is being bought by Chinese conglomerate HNA Group and saw European sales which were pants.

Gross profit was $298.8 million which was $6.7 million higher than last year due to the sales increase. Gross margin was up by five basis points to 5.1 per cent and a richer mix of higher margin stuff was at play here.

Operating expenses jumped to $246 million from $209 million. This was helped by a $38.5 million settlement from LCD vendors for price fixing that was paid to Tech Data in the first quarter.  This caused a drop in operating profits, which slipped to $52.5 million from $81.9 million.

 

Sophos sees shares jump

David-Lee-Roth-JumpOxfordshire security outfit Sophos has seen its shares jump after its sales figures for its first financial year as a publicly traded company shot through the roof.

Shares in Sophos went up by four per cent after it announced its first set of financial results as a publicly traded company. The security company floated on the London Stock Exchange last year and has drifted into billings growth of 19.7 per cent to $534.9 million in the 12 months ended March 31.

Cash earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation were up 31.6 per cent, to $120.9 million.

Sophos chief executive Kris Hagerman said that he was jolly pleased of the outfit’s strong performance during our first year as a public company.”

“The year has been marked by sustained strength across all major regions and product categories, with our financial and operational performance exceeding the Board’s expectations set at the start of the year and at the upper-end of our revised outlook.

“Our leading product portfolio, innovation to drive our strategy of synchronised security, commitment to ‘security made simple’ and ‘channel first’ sales strategy enabled us to grow our billings and revenue across both new and existing customers,” he added.

 

Barracuda makes new channel appointments

eyetry.jpgSecurity firm Barracuda Networks has poached Ezra Hookano as its vice president of channels and also poached Hatem Naguib from VM Ware.

Barracuda said that Hookano was its vice president of sales for its first six years and grew it to turnover $100 million in revenue.

Since Barracuda he was VP of channels for Exablox and VP of worldwide channels for Fusion-Io.

He’s also worked at Drobo, Clyde Digital, Dana and SonicWall.
Both individuals have been hired continue building its channel organisation, said B Jenkins, president and CEO of Barracuda.
Barracuda specialises in cloud enabled applications and its expertise is used in 150,000 organisations worldwide, said Jenkins.

Security firm Barracuda Networks has poached Ezra Hookano as its vice president of channels and also poached Hatem Naguib from VM Ware.

Barracuda said that Hookano was its vice president of sales for its first six years and grew it to turnover $100 million in revenue.

Since Barracuda he was VP of channels for Exablox and VP of worldwide channels for Fusion-Io.

He’s also worked at Drobo, Clyde Digital, Dana and SonicWall.
Both individuals have been hired continue building its channel organisation, said B Jenkins, president and CEO of Barracuda.
Barracuda specialises in cloud enabled applications and its expertise is used in 150,000 organisations worldwide, said Jenkins.

Unlicensed software still causes a stink in the UK

shut-up-and-take-my-moneyA report from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) said that although unlicensed software in the UK has dropped by two percentage points in the last couple of years, it’s still costing the industry a fortune.

The BSA canvassed a number of IT managers, enterprises and ordinary people and claimed “an alarming number” of people still use unlicensed software.

The industry in the UK is losing out to the tine of £1.3 billion a year, the BSA claimed.

But the UK is not the worst offender – in Europe the amount is £1.4 billion.

The BSA claimed that 39 percent of software worldwide is still unlicensed and some of the sectors including banking, insurance and security are the biggest of offenders.

Asia Pacific figures dwarf those for the UK and France, with an estimated 61 percent using unlicensed software, while Central and Eastern Europe amounted to 58 percent and the Middle East and Africa at 57 percent.

The good boys and girls are in North America, where the figure is only 17 percent even though the net commercial value amounts to $10 billion.

Kids are getting smartphones earlier

siT0KjGA new report shows that the average age kids are getting smartphones is just ten years old.

Influence Central’s report into Kids & Tech shows that an average child gets their first smartphone is now 10.3 years.  Apparently half parents give their kids tablets to shut them up inthe car and 45 per cent give them a smartphone to play with.

More than 64 percent of kids have access to the internet via their own laptop or tablet, compared to just 42 percent in 2012

About 39 percent of kids get a social media account at 11.4 years. 11per cent got a social media account when they were younger than 10.

Additionally, some of Influence Central’s research paints a picture of parents who are relaxing a little bit about their kids’ access to the internet which is enabled by so many devices.

While 85 percent accessed the Internet from a room shared with the family in 2012, that number dropped to 76 per cent today, and 24 percent now have “private” access from their bedrooms.

 

Google patents sticky bonnet

Screen-Shot-2016-05-19-at-12.48.39-PMSearch engine outfit Google has been awarded patent number 61911853 which could help prevent pedestrian injuries by sticking those who step infront of its autonomous cars to the bonnet.

The idea is that if a car hit a pedestrian, the person would be glued to the car instead of flying off and this will prevent a secondary impact between the pedestrian and the road surface or other object.

Google explains that an “adhesive layer” would be placed on the hood, front bumper and front side panels of a car. A thin coating would protect it until an impact occurred.

Google patent shows how a self-driving car could protect pedestrians with a fly-paper-like coating.

The double-sided tape concept could mitigate some pedestrian injuries, the concept is far from ideal if it pinned a victim between the car and another object.

“Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patents,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement.

UK eCommerce traffic is mostly mobile

SmartphonesBeancounters at SimilarWeb have been adding up the numbers and dividing by their shoe size and decided that 65 percent of total ecommerce traffic in the UK in January 2016 came from a mobile device.

However the report said that despite the dominance of mobile, brands need to plan more carefully. Most ecommerce businesses need a better understanding of the true role of mobile within the omnichannel.

Marketers make the mistake of being focused on mobile at the expense of other channels. Unless the response is supported by analysis of a brand’s own consumer journey and mobile’s role within it, it can be easy to take the wrong action, the report said.

Basically a high level of mobile visits don’t translate into makign piles of dosh. More than 69 percent of shoppers say they have searched for a product or service on their phone, then gone on to purchase on a computer or offline. When purchases are made on mobile, the monetary value of the sale can be less – the average order value on mobile purchases is 20 per cent lower than on desktops.

The report suggests that budgets should be spent in a way that optimises overall conversions, rather than on any single device. There needs to be better cross-device measurement and attribution, so that marketers concentrate their effort where it’s most useful.

Microsoft opposes Brexit

european-commissionMicrosoft’s UK boss has sent a letter to staff outlining why the firm believes the country is better off remaining in the EU.

This is expected as the IT community generally has backed the campaign to remain in the EU and even put their names to a letter published in a national newspaper.

But Michel Van der Bel, UK CEO of Microsoft did not join the throng, making many wonder if Vole really did hate Europe.  Now he has nailed his colours to the mast and penned a letter to the little Voles who work for him outlining his views and the reasoning behind it to make the case against Brexit.

Van der Bel stated that the vote was very much a question for individuals but, “as a business that is very committed to this country, our view is that the UK should remain in the EU”.

“We have a long history here. It’s where we opened our first international office in 1982 and we have been investing in the UK ever since. We have more that 5,000 highly qualified people working in fields including support, marketing, gaming, communications, cybersecurity and computer science research,” he added.

“Historically, the UK being part of the EU has been one of several important criteria that make it one of the most attractive places in Europe for the range of investments we have made. At key moments in our international growth we have specifically chosen to invest in our capabilities here in the UK,” stated the letter.

Microsoft recently invested in data centres in the UK to service the European market. This will be dicey if the Britain leaves the EU.

 

Quadsys court case gets closer

External-SignA Crown court judge has dismissed an abuse of process application made by three former directors of Sophos reseller Quadsys, who are facing trial over allegations of hacking into a rival’s database to steal customer and pricing info.

Thames Valley Police charged five men at Quadsys including owner Paul Streeter, Managing Director Paul Cox, director Alistair Barnard, account manager Steve Davies and security consultant Jon Townsend with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

In a plea and case management hearing (PCMH) in March, the defendants pleaded not guilty to one count of securing unauthorised access to computer material with intent, contrary to section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990. Another count of securing unauthorised access to computer material without intent was also added.

Streeter, Cox and Barnard had asked the judge presiding over the case at the PCMH several months ago to throw out the charges relating to Section One of the Computer Misuse Act, which carry a minimum sentence of five years if guilt is proven.

Three applications were refused by the judge but no reasons were given.  The five will face trial on 5 September.

Kicking Pat Gelsinger won’t quit

47187130.cmsThe word on the street has been that Pat “Kicking” Gelsinger is about to clean out his desk at VMware once the EMC/Dell merger concludes.

However Gelsinger apparently has his feet nailed underneath the desk to prevent easy removal, even if it has curtailed his kicking antics for now.

Speaking at the Jefferies Technology Conference Gelsinger  told the assorted Jeffs  that he denied that he was off to pastures new: “I categorically deny it, EMC categorically denies it, and Dell categorically denies it, so there is absolutely no merit or substance to the rumour whatsoever. My intention is to stay here and Michael Dell’s intention is that I stay here.”

Gelsinger met with Dell earlier this week at VMware’s internal R&D conference when his PR team sent him a text about the report of his departure. Gelsinger said he showed his phone to Dell, asked him “Is there something I don’t know and we got a laugh about it”.

Of course Dell could have been laughing in the same way that Game of Thrones villains do before they stick a knife into someone’s liver, but we don’t think Pat is due to go to any weddings.

Gelsinger added that recent exits from VMware were a sign of execs reaching new stages in their lives, rather than tiring of VMware. Some have teenaged kids. Others have closed 100 quarters in a row at public companies and want new horizons. Gelsinger also said VMware’s replacement executives were “experienced and hungry” so clearly they have not found the VMware canteen yet.

 

 

Wearables might be ready to take off

watch will i amBeancounters at CCS Insight have been shuffling their tarot cards and reached the conclusion that wearables will be the next big thing.

Distributors have been striking up relationships with some of the leading names in the wearables market as they look to ensure they have the right products when everything kicks off,

Tech Data has signed up Jawbone and the option to carry Microsoft’s Band 2 device this year and is apparently coming up with huge opportunities and case studies,  Exertis has added wearables and smart technology to its range as it positions itself for a future that involves more health and fitness trackers.

Now CCS Insight has just launched its UK forecast for smart wearble devices estimating that by the end of this year there will be around 10 million devices being used in this country.

That number is expected to triple over the next four years to 33m units with fitness trackers tacking a large chunk of that growth.

Smartphone companions will form the biggest part of the market in terms of value with that segment being worth £300 million this year on shipments of 1.5 million.

George Jijiashvili, analyst for wearables at CCS said that advances in design and affordability mean that this year wearables have become devices that ordinary people actually want to wear.

“Consumers in the UK have adopted wearable technology enthusiastically, particularly fitness trackers, which are becoming an increasingly commonplace accessory on people’s wrists,” said

There are also expectations that there will be growth in virtual reality products and wearable cameras, particularly 360 degree cameras.

“All eyes are on virtual reality given it’s one of the hottest new technology areas to emerge this year. There’s going to be a deluge of exciting 360-degree content widely available on Facebook and YouTube, and we’re confident consumers will be keen to try it. The arrival of several 360-degree cameras during 2016 will further fuel the explosion of what we’re calling surroundies,” he said.