Salesforce wants watchdogs to split up Microsoft and LinkedIn

dog-on-bed-with-people-no-text-590x388Salesforce has called on EU regulators to investigate antitrust issues related to Microsoft’s $26 billion bid for social network LinkedIn.

Vole is expected to seek EU antitrust approval in the coming weeks for its largest ever deal and Salesforce, which missed out on the sale is complaining.

It has asked competition authorities to go beyond a simple review, saying the deal threatens innovation and competition.

Burke Norton, Salesforce’s chief legal officer, said in a statement said that by gaining ownership of LinkedIn’s unique dataset of over 450 million professionals in more than 200 countries, Microsoft will be able to deny competitors access to that data, and in doing so obtain an unfair competitive advantage.

“Salesforce believes this raises significant antitrust and data privacy issues that need to be fully scrutinized by competition and data privacy authorities in the United States and in the European Union,” he said.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, said in a statement: “Salesforce may not be aware, but the deal has already been cleared to close in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. We’re committed to continuing to work to bring price competition to a CRM market in which Salesforce is the dominant participant charging customers higher prices today.”

The European Commission’s preliminary review of merger deals lasts 25 working days, which can be extended by about four months if it has serious concerns.

Pigs fly as Apple moves to the Battersea Power Plant

2011-09-26-pink-floyd-pig-at-battersea-power-station-06The fruity tax dodger Apple is going to take up six floors of the iconic Battersea Power Plant  when the restoration work is finished.

Apple will move onto the site in 2021 and relocating 1400 staff from offices around London to create an Apple campus. It is being billed as one of the biggest property deals in London outside the City and Docklands in the last 20 years.

This means that Jobs’ Mob will have 1400 staff working in London and there is room to accommodate 3000 staff.

Of course that is not going to be Apple’s HQ. That will remain in its Irish Tax haven in Cork.

Apple said that the new building is a great opportunity to have our entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighbourhood rich with history.

The Art Deco power station is a 20th century icon. The plant is still the largest brick building in Europe. It stopped generating power in 1983, has been falling to bits ever since. It was bought by a Malaysian group, who have gutted it and are building luxury apartments and high end office space inside it.

HPE unveils new channel scheme

HPE The former maker of expensive printer ink, HPE has taken the covers off its new channel programme.

The outfit’s new Flexible Capacity model for Microsoft Azure allows partners to bridge private and public cloud with a single pay-as-you-go unified billing consumption model.

HPE unveiled the Flexible Capacity option as part of the launch of a new HPE Microsoft Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) stack for HPE’s DL380 hyperconverged system.

The HPE Microsoft Azure stack should be ready to go in mid-2017 and HPE Consulting for Azure Hybrid Cloud services are available now.

The stack provides customers with Flexible Capacity single pay-as-you-go bill for both on-premise HPE private cloud and Microsoft Azure public cloud.

HPE said the DL380 Azure stack, which will sit in the customer’s data center, can be deployed with HPE SecureData software – protecting data in both public and private clouds and HPE Operations Bridge analytics software.

Talk-talk wants channel to support “Fix Britain’s Internet”

essential-talk-talk-51fd8e90e1476TalkTalk is asking its channel partners to support the “Fix Britain’s Internet “campaign which is calling for the privatisation of BT Openreach.

For those who came in late,  the campaign was created by Vodafone, Sky and TalkTalk, and is designed to help consumers and businesses to make their voices heard during Ofcom’s ten week public consultation period. TalkTalk’s wants its channel partners to joined the fight.

Ofcom published its Strategic Review of Digital Communications admiting that major reform was needed. Several months later, the watchdog set out proposals that would not force BT to spin off Openreach, but instead suggested that Openreach should be run as a legally separate company within BT Group, with its own board, and an independent chairman.

However the competing service providers fear this is not enough and want everyone to oppose it. In a statement Talk Talk said:

“Our partners’ have a firsthand experience of Openreach’s poor service provisioning has fueled their desire to support the campaign and encourage more businesses to get in touch with Ofcom before the consultation closes on 4th October 2016.”


Facebook fluffs its advertising effectiveness

thumb-mark-zuckerberg-facebook-pro-4566Social notworking site Facebook is in hot water after it was revealed the company vastly overestimated average viewing time for video ads on its platform for two years.

Several weeks ago, Facebook disclosed in a post on its “Advertiser Help Center” that its metric for the average time users spent watching videos was artificially inflated because it was only factoring in video views of more than three seconds. The company said it was introducing a new metric to fix the problem.

Sd agency executives were furious and started digging deeper, prompting Facebook to give them a more detailed account.

Ad buying agency Publicis Media was told by Facebook that the earlier counting method likely overestimated average time spent watching videos by between 60 per cent and 80 per cent. A spokeswoman for Publicis Media bought $77 billion in ads on behalf of marketers around the world in 2015, so it is a little miffed.

Facebook insists that it has fixed its video metrics. and that it did not change billing.

“We have notified our partners both through our product dashboards and via sales and publisher outreach. We also renamed the metric to make it clearer what we measure. This metric is one of many our partners use to assess their video campaigns.”

However all this is rather embarrissing for Facebook, which has been touting the rapid growth of video consumption across its platform in recent years. Marketers may have misjudged the performance of video advertising they have purchased from Facebook over the past two years. It also may have impacted their decisions about how much to spend on Facebook video versus other video ad sellers such as Google’s YouTube, Twitter, and even TV networks.


Cisco and Salesforce team up on Internet of Things

Cisco Kid Cisco and Salesforce are combining their Internet of Things and unified communications technologies in a cunning plan to provide joint offerings to drive channel sales in the new markets.

The networking giant will co-develop and co-market new joint offerings that combine its platforms in collaboration, IoT and contact center with Salesforce Sales Cloud, IoT Cloud and Service Cloud offerings.

Under the cunning plan Cisco Spark and WebEx will be integrated into Salesforce’s Cloud and Service Cloud. Combining these two technologies will allow customers to communicate in real time using chat, video and voice without leaving Salesforce or having to install a plug-in.

Cisco’s Jasper IoT platform, which it bought in its $1.4 billion acquisition of Jasper Technologies earlier this year – will be integrated with Salesforce’s IoT Cloud. Cisco said the joint offerings will empower organisations to quickly and cost-effectively use billions of IoT data points and provide businesses with a more comprehensive view of their IoT services.

Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of the IoT and Applications Groups at Cisco said that Cisco and Salesforce were coming together to form a strategic alliance can eliminate the friction users experience today so they can become more productive.

The alliance will also combine Cisco’s Unified Contact Centre Enterprise and Salesforce Service Cloud to help customers manage call centres more efficiently, according to a release.

IDC thinks the IoT market is set to explode

hindenburg_burningBeancounters at IDC think that the Internet of Things (ioT) is suddenly going to stop being a buzz word and “explode.”

According to an IDC report IoT  is gaining traction as enterprise companies pivot away from proof-of-concept projects to scalable IoT deployments in 2016.

A third of companies have announced IoT offerings incorporating cloud, analytics and security capabilities, while an additional 43 percent of companies are looking to deploy offerings in the next year.

Carrie MacGillivray, vice president of mobility and Internet of Things at IDC said that outfits are starting to understand the benefits that IoT can bring.

She added that a strong partner ecosystem is essential and channel and systems integrators as playing an increasingly important role.

Companies are seeing vendors leading with an integrated cloud and analytics offerings as “critical partners” in an organization’s IoT investment, IDC found.

IDC’s survey found that 55 percent of respondents see IoT as strategic to their business to help them compete more effectively, there are still challenges – many organizations cited lack of internal skills as a top concern in deploying an IoT offering.

Bad time to be flogging servers

titanic-life-preserverBeancounters at IDC have said that it is a jolly bad time to be trying to flog servers and the numbers are sinking so fast that it is unlikely that the spotty kid with the posh girlfriend will escape before Celine Dion starts to sing.

The latest server sales figures for Europe, Middle East and Africa show that branded servers are losing ground to Far Eastern ODMs.

IDC numbers showed revenues down 3.7 per cent to $3 billion despite. All this happened while there was a  modest 0.8 per cent increase in the number of boxes shifted, which means that prices have fallen too.

Eckhardt Fischer, research analyst at IDC, said contract manufacturers, some of whom have launched their own branded gear, are doing well and the  HPEs, Dells and Lenovos of the world are suffering.

“This is strongly driven by the continued expansion of original design manufacturers (ODMs) in EMEA, a trend that IDC predicts will continue as mega datacenters and larger enterprises begin to source their hardware directly.”

HPE is still top server seller with 35.4 per cent market share in the second quarter of 2016, up 0.4 per cent. However its year-on-year revenues fell 2.7 per cent.

Dell grew market share to 17.9 per cent and saw revenues creep up by 1.6 per cent.

However Biggish Blue suffered the worst with a 36.9 per cent slump in revenues and a market share which fell to 9.3 per cent. IDC said the fall could largely be blamed on refresh cycles for IBM legacy mainframes last year – this was big enough to hit overall numbers for all vendors.

Oddly the place to try and peddle servers is Russia and the Ukraine where the improved political situation led to increasing IT investment. But the Middle East and Africa saw a decline of 8.5 per cent in revenues because lower oil prices led to cuts in tech investment.


Tech Data buys Avnet

jonah2Tech Data is to buy Avnet Technology Solutions for $2.6bn in a move which will create one of the biggest enterprise IT distribution companies.

Tech Data will write a cheque for $2.4bn in cash and 2.785 million of its shares.

Tech data surpremo Bob Dutkowsky said the “strategic and financial benefits resulting from this transformative combination are compelling for both our company and our shareholders.”

Avnet  president Patrick Zammit claimed the scale of Tech Data, which is the second largest tech distribution company worldwide – would allow it to “unlock value in ways we could not historically.”

Avnet gives Tech Data access to multiple franchises including IBM, HDS, and NetApp, and makes it the undisputed king of EMC distribution.

Things have not been so hot for both outfits lately. Tech Data sales fell to $26.37bn for FY’16 ended 31 January, versus $27.67bn in the prior year, and it reported operating profit of $401.4m from $267.6m. Data centre kit accounted for roughly 30 per cent of this. Avnet TS sales fell to $9.65bn for FY’16 ended 2 July vs $10.58bn, and operating profit came in at $725.9m compared to $797.4m.

All this menas that Tech Data operations will go up from 21 to 35 countries worldwide. Europe will account for a little over half of group sales. Avnet trades with 20,000 customers, though how much overlap there already is with the 105,000 that Tech Data sells to is unclear at this stage.

Tech Data said it expects to make $100m in cost savings within two years after closing the transaction.


Vtech punters hit by hack

vtech-mobiogo2Half a million British families, including 750,000 kids, have been affected by the massive hack of kids computer tech outfit Vtech.

The VTech breach is one of the largest in history, including 5 million adults’ information. Its hacked database includes 560,487 accounts identified as belonging to people in the United Kingdom.

What is worrying the world is that a big chunk of the accounts were set up for children which makes for an all you can eat buffet for paedophiles.  The children’s data included their name, username, gender and date of birth.

A Vtech spokesperson did not answer press questions on the issue of the children’s data but it confirmed “an unauthorised party accessed VTech customer data housed on our Learning Lodge app store database on November 14, 2015. Clearly those are the sort of unauthorised parties we never get invited to.

“The investigation continues as we look at additional ways to strengthen our Learning Lodge database security. We are committed to protecting our customer information and their privacy, to ensure against any such incidents in the future.”

The company said it immediately conducted a thorough investigation put in place measures to defend against further attacks.


Gartner says public cloud is bigger than Jesus

PAY-Lion-King-cloud-MAINBeancounters at the analyst outfit Gartner group claims that the public cloud just getting bigger, will be worth $200bn in 2016.

After adding up the numbers and dividing by its shoe size, Big G claimed that the global public cloud services market is set to grow by more than 17 percent in 2016.

According to Gartner, cloud services were worth $178 billion in 2015. This is set to increase to $208.6 billion in 2016, higher than the nominal GDP of Portugal.

Apparently all this will be driven by cloud system infrastructure services, which are projected to grow 42.8 percent year-on-year. Cloud application services, one of the largest segments in the global cloud services market, is expected to grow 21.7 percent to reach $38.9 billion.

Sid Nag, research director at Gartner said that the growth of public cloud is supported by the fact that organisations are saving 14 percent of their budgets as an outcome of public cloud adoption, according to Gartner’s 2015 cloud adoption survey.

However at the moment the aspiration for using cloud services outpaces actual adoption and while organisations might be keen to use cloud services, but there are still challenges for organisations as they make the move to the cloud.

“Even with the high rate of predicted growth, a large number of organisations still have no current plans to use cloud services,” Nag wrote.

Ed Anderson, research vice president at Gartner said that his outfit’s position on cloud security has been clear.

“Public cloud services offered by the leading cloud providers are secure. The real security challenge is using public cloud services in a secure manner,” he said.

Hybrid cloud faces challenges, however, and Gartner reported that organisations are concerned about integration challenges, application incompatibilities, a lack of management tools, a lack of common APIs and a lack of vendor support too.

Anderson said that while public cloud services will continue to grow. We also know that private cloud services (of various types) will become more widely used.

“Providers must focus on the top hybrid cloud challenges to be successful in meeting the growing demand for hybrid cloud solutions.”

Dell becomes the king of the servers

Michael DellNew numbers from the Gartner Group show that Dell has beaten HPE to the top spot for server shipments.

To be fair, though, the market shrank and worldwide server revenue is down 0.8 percent.  Shipments are up by two percent which means that there is some pretty nasty price cutting going on.

Everywhere except for Asia/Pacific and North America is in decline, though shipments in those areas grew by 5.6 percent and three percent respectively.

Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner said: “Dell garnered 19.3 per cent of the market and moved into the No. 1 position in worldwide server shipments due primarily to growth resulting from programmes it has in place in the Asia/Pacific region, most notably in China. However, HPE continued to lead the x86 market in revenue with 26 per cent of the market.”

He added: “x86 servers grew 2.1 percent in shipments and 5.8 percent in revenue in the second quarter of 2016.”

Dell’s strong performance did not see its revenues match the growth. HPE continues to hold more of the market share in revenue though that contracted by 6.4 percent year-on-year, while Dell saw almost 10 percent growth.

IBM’s server revenues dropped by 34.4 percent but then it did flog its business to Lenovo.

HPE’s shipments also contracted year-on-year, shrinking by more than 18 percent, while Dell, Lenovo, Huawei, Inspur and others pulled up their socks.

Staines’ Attenda sold to void dreamers Ensono

zen_as_a_frogThe Staines-based managed service provider Attenda has been sold to Ensono.

The news will be a great relief to Attenda which has been on the market longer than a haunted house whose occupants have all died in mysterious circumstances. It was put up for sale by its owner Darwin Private Equity last year, but no one was interested because of its poor results.

Ensono is based in Chicago and is an infrastructure-based MSP. It is better known as Acxiom IT but it changed its name in January to Enso which apparently is a Zen term meaning enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void). The work site said that this workd is also fused with the Italian one for “in dreams”. Unfortunately in Italian it is singular which means that we are only talking about “one dream” rather than dreams. Still at least it has focus. So basically after their rebranding they were “enlightened by a dream” which was probably not the one about a Mars bar and Eva Green I keep having.

Mark Fowle, Attenda’s CEO and co-founder, will join the board of dreamers and Ensono’s CEO, Jeff VonDeylen, will remain in charge of the combined company

Dell names top channel execs

michael-dell-2Dell has announced its regional execs to run its channel after completing the $60bn buy-out of EMC.

Most of the names are similar to those who ran Dell’s channel before.  In the Asia Pacific region is Ng Tian Being, who was veep of South Asia and Korea; for Latin America is Alvaro Camarena, who was exec director of channel programmes; and for EMEA it’s Michael Collins at least after January.

Collins was only given the channel role and replaced Laurent Binetti, who had been in the job for 30 years. .

Until then, both Collins  and Philippe Fosse (the current EMC EMEA channel head] will continue to jointly-lead the Dell EMC EMEA Channel business in their established roles.

Fosse was EMC’s EMEA East, before he moved into the position more than four years ago. Prior to that he was at HDS, Xiotech and further back in the annals of time he was at StorageTek.

He is yet to have a role in the glorious new Empire. He apparently has a job but it has not been “formally announced” yet.

The only EMC person to have a role announced is Greg Ambulos, who ran global channels for EMC and will control North America channels at Dell.


Brexit stuffed up HPE’s bottom line

logoFormer maker of expensive printer ink Hewlett Packard Enterprise has said that Brexit did have an impact on its bottom line.

The vendor said that there had been a slowdown in public sector spending following the referendum decision to exit the EU. HPE mentioned the slow down of public sector activity in its  latest results announcement but this was largely missed when HPE announced it was off-loading its software business in a spin merger with UK firm Micro Focus.

Speaking to analysts, HPE CEO Meg “Yahoo” Whitman said that Brexit was something that it had felt in its order books in the UK and across the continent.

“What we saw was actually a pause in purchasing in the UK. Certainly the UK public sector, but also the UK and then more broadly Europe which was, this was unexpected, a big change, let’s take a pause and decide what we want to do here. What I will say is that in the last couple of weeks we’re actually seeing orders pick up again,” she added.

But the result of Brexit and the shock to the UK economic system, particularly the value of the pound, has led to ongoing price scrutiny.

“We continue to also monitor the pricing, competitive pricing environment that we see and we adjust as necessary particularly in the channel. So the channel is where we serve SMB and that’s where our ability to sort of move the pricing in response to competition, we look at that actually every single week sometime multiple times a week,” added Whitman.