Tag: IBM

IBM makes big data push

ibm-officeBig Blue said it has introduced data analytics with the introduction of IBM BigInsights for Apache Hadoop.

The offering provides machine learning, R, and other features that can tackle big data.

IBM claimed that while many think Apache Hadoop is powerful for collecting and storing large sets of variable data, companies are failing to realise its potential.

It’s offering has a broad data science toolset for querying data, visualising, and provide scaleable distributed machine learning.

The offering includes Analyst, which includes IBM’s SQL engine, Data Scientist that provides a machine learning engine that ranges over big data to find patterns.

Enterprise Management includes tools to optimise workflows, and management software to give faster results.

IBM also said it has joined the Open Data Platform (ODP) association which is aiming to provide standardisation over Hadoop and big data technologies.

US spooks hide in hard drives

spyIf you own hard-drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, and Toshiba all your data could have been seen by US spooks.

According to Kaspersky Lab, the US National Security Agency figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, IBM, Micron and Samsung.

Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said.

The Russian outfit did not name the US as the country behind the software, but said it was closely linked to Stuxnet, which was a NSA-led effort.

A former NSA employee told Reuters that Kaspersky’s analysis was correct, and that people still in the spy agency valued these espionage programmes as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence operative confirmed that the NSA had developed the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives.

Kaspersky published the technical details of its research on Monday, a move that could help infected institutions detect the spying programs, some of which trace back as far as 2001

The announcement could lead to a backlash against Western technology, in countries such as China, which is already drafting regulations that would require most technology suppliers to provide copies of their software code for inspection.

Kaspersky said the spies made a technological breakthrough by figuring out how to lodge malicious software in the obscure code called firmware that launches every time a computer is turned on.

Disk drive firmware is viewed by spies and cybersecurity experts as the second-most valuable real estate on a PC for a hacker, second only to the BIOS code invoked automatically as a computer boots up.

The information was news to Western Digital, Seagate and Micron who said it was the first they had heard of it. Toshiba and Samsung declined to comment and IBM just ignored hacks requests.

IBM sues

IBM logoBig Blue said it has started legal action against Priceline, alleging the company has breached its intellectual property.

IBM said that it has attempted to negotiate with the Priceline Group and its subsidiaries for over three years but has failed to reach an agreement.

It filed the case in the US District Court of Delaware against the Group and its subsidiaries priceline.com, opentable.com and kayak.com.

IBM wants the companies to pay damages for breaching its patents and also wants the court to impose a royalty for the continued use of its technology.

William LaFontaine, general manager of intellectual property at IBM said: “We have filed this lawsuit against Priceline for a very simple reason – IBM’s patents are being knowingly and unfairly exploited.”

He continued: “Our preference is to engage in good faith negotiations and agree to a fair patent licence, but when another company wilfully uses our intellectual property without permission, we have no option but to protect and vigorously defend it through every means available.”

He aded that Priceline is alleged to have infringed four IBM patents. It has entered over 1,000 patent licensing agreements.

IBM told Priceline “numerous times” about tthe infringement, but it has refused to participate in negotiations.

Dating applications expose businesses

1930s-couple-620x400Big Blue is warning that millions of people using dating apps on company smartphones could be exposing their employers to hacking, spying and theft.

IBM security researchers said 26 of 41 dating apps they analysed on Google Android mobile platform had medium or high severity vulnerabilities.  Curiously the IBM team did not look at dating applications on Apple gear, probably because the company signed a deal to push Apple gear in the workplace.

Unfortunately IBM did not name and shame the vulnerable apps but said it had alerted the app publishers to problems.

Apparently Tinder, OkCupid and Match have become hugely popular in the past few years due to their instant messaging, photo and geolocation services. In 2013 it was estimated that 31 million Americans have used a dating site or app.

IBM found employees used vulnerable dating apps in nearly 50 percent of the companies sampled for its research. By using the same phone for work and play or “bring your own device,” it means that companies are wide open for such attack vectors.

Am IBM report said that while BYOD was seen as a way that companies could save cash by allowing employees to use their home gear on corporate networks , if not managed properly, the organizations might be leaking sensitive corporate data via employee-owned devices.

IBM said the problem is that people on dating apps let their guard down and are not as sensitive to potential security problems as they might be on email or websites.

If an app is compromised, hackers can take advantage of users waiting eagerly to hear back from a potential love interest by sending bogus “phishing” messages to glean sensitive information or install malware, IBM said.

A phone’s camera or microphone could be turned on remotely through a vulnerable app, which IBM warned could be used to eavesdrop on personal conversations or confidential business meetings. Vulnerable GPS data could also lead to stalking, and a user’s billing information could be hacked to purchase things on other apps or websites.

Strangely, despite its dire warnings to Android users, IBM said it had not so far seen a rash of security breaches due to dating apps as opposed to any other kind of social media.

Meanwhile, it recommends that dating app users limit the personal information they divulge, use unique passwords on every online account, apply the latest software patches and keep track of what permissions each app has.

IBM steps up educational push

ibm-officeMassive services giant International Business Machines (IBM) said it has now enrolled over 300 colleges and universities around the world in its Power Systems Academic Initiative (PSAI).
IBM said that the push is to help students learn skills related to big data, cloud computing, mobile and social networking.
That, said IBM, is important in today’s job market.
The initiative, which started in October 2012. has grown by 152 percent over the last two years, IBM claimed.
Schools and universities hooked up to IBM include New York University’s polytechnic school of engineering, Virginia Tech, the UK University of Greenwich, the University of Ulster, and Glasgow Caledonian University.
Of course, IBM’s move is not all altruism – it is pinning its future on cloud computing, big data, analytics and security.
Several of the academic bodies offer courses related to IBM specific operations, and the company said it recruit from universities and business schools.

Google toys with Glass again

glassesAfter an ignominious end to the much hyped Google Glasses, it appears the company hasn’t abandoned the whole effort.
According to a feature in the New York Times, a jewellery designer and a former Apple product executive are working at Google to redesign the thing from scratch.
Ivy Ross apparently runs Google’s “smart eyewear division” while Tony Fadell who created Nest are going back to the Glass drawing board.
Fadell told the NY Times that early Glass experiments had “broken ground” and he and Ivy are learning the dismal lessons of the past by redesigning the things from scratch and not releasing product until it is ready.
Diane von Furstenberg wore a red pair of Google Glasses at a fashion show in 2012, while models on the catwalk wore different coloured ones.
She told the NY Times that Google Glass was the first time people talked about wearable technology.
Actually, as a matter of fact, it’s not.  In the early 90s Dutch firm Philips talked about putting a computer in a tie while later that decade the CEO of IBM told an audience at the Comdex trade show that we’d soon be wearing shoes with computers inside them.


It’s the internet of everything

Internet of ThingsSome call it the internet of things (IoT), some call it the internet of everything (IoE) and some even call it the internet of fangs (IoF).
These terms are not, as yet, perfectly defined and there is a complete lack of standards defined, just like in the “cloud” space.  But there’s one thing for sure, and that is it’s going to be worth a lot of money so as many vendors as possible are getting on board the gravy train.
Future Market Insights (FMI) prefers the IoE and said that the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4 percent between 2014 and 2020.
It will be the Asia Pacific market which will kick off the growth, synched to the arrival of big data. That’s because there will be investment in so called “smart cities” and smart grids, financed by the Indian, Chinese and Japanese governments.
FMI divides the market into business to business (B2B) and IoE vertical markets.
The verticals include manufacturing and public sector, but the health care sector will grow by 20.6 percent CAGR during the period, followed by utilities.
The major players in the market are Cisco, Samsung, IBM, Apple and Accenture – these vendors had over 50 percent market share in 2013.


IBM is still planning huge lay-offs

A not so mobile X86 PCDespite denials from IBM that it is laying off more than 110,000 IBM employees, the hack who revealed the story for Forbes is standing by it.

Rober Cringely ran a story that 110,000 IBM employees laid off and the ever shrinking Big Blue said it would be more like 8,000.  However writing in his bog  Cringely said that Big Blue is spinning.

“I think IBM is dissembling, fixating on the term 110,000 layoffs, which by the way I never used. Whatever the word, what counts is how many fewer people will be paid by IBM on March 1 compared to today,” he said.

He said his sources tell him that IBM has other ways of getting its workforce down rather than ordinary layoff.  He claimed that IBM is pushing some people out using poor performance rathings.

This includes people who were on IBM’s “bridge to retirement’ program that took that option, thinking it kept them ‘safe’ from layoffs/firings.

“There is a loophole that says they can be dismissed for ‘performance’ reasons, which is exactly why many of my long-time, devoted, hardworking peers are suddenly getting the worst rating, a 3. It’s so they can be dismissed without any separation package and no hit to the RA, or workforce rebalancing, fund,” Cringely said.

It used to be something like 10 percent of employees ‘had’ to be labeled 3s, but recently IBM required an increase in number of 3s.

Cringely said IBM got rid of some employees by ‘stuffing’ them into the Lenovo x86 acquisition, shipping tons of people over there that never even worked on x86 stuff.

Lenovo has discovered this and has given some of them a way better package – year salary and benefits, and taking it up quietly with IBM, he added.

Still it would be hard to fire a quarter of your staff by the back-door in this way, but as Cringely said the 110,000 figure was not suggested in his original story.


Microsoft reveals cloud roadmap

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeSoftware company Microsoft said it has introduced a web site that reveals details of its roadmap for its Cloud Platform.
Microsoft has been aiming to move to the cloud as fast as it can and now offers cloud services including Azure, Intone, Visual Studio and server platforms including Windows Server, SQL Server.  It also has covered system appliance offerings including Analytics and Stor System.
Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of the cloud and enterprise marketing group at Microsoft said the company wanted to be transparent about its cloud strategy.
He said that the web site, which you can find here, is intended to show what technology it’s developing and what’s coming in the next few months.
It also will include products in public preview.
Microsoft isn’t the only company struggling to re-invent itself as a cloud player.  Others in the game include SAP, Oracle and IBM.
Analysts predict that over the next few years the majority of enterprise IT users will use cloud computing and services more and more.


IBM gives cash to top suits

44ce1d7353cc797d6d0ad093f04f32c7Big Blue might be seeing its profits drop down the loo, but that has not stopped it paying bonuses to its top suits.

IBM has brought back annual performance bonuses for its chief executive and her top lieutenants for 2014 despite falling profits and a tumbling stock price.

According to a regulatory filing, the outfit withheld annual bonuses in 2013 at the executives’ own request.  The company has had more than 11 quarters of falling profits and is still trying to lose staff.

The bonuses returned as a feature of IBM’s executive compensation for 2014, according to a document filed with securities regulators on Friday, despite the fact that IBM’s net profit from continuing operations fell 7 percent last year and its stock shed about 14 percent.

IBM CEO Virginia Rometty will get a $3.6 million annual incentive payout for 2014, according to the filing. Chief Financial Officer Martin Schroeter and three other executives or advisers were also listed as getting smaller annual incentive payouts.

Rometty will receive a base salary of $1.6 million for 2015. This is her first rise in pay from the $1.5 million she got each of the last three years after taking up the post of CEO at the beginning of 2012.

She will also get a target annual incentive award of $5 million for 2015 and a long-term stock grant worth $13.3 million, which would be payable in 2018, according to the filing.

IBM last year withdrew its long-term plan to hit $20 per share in operating earnings for 2015 as it failed to get the sort of focus on higher-margin businesses such as security software and cloud services.

IBM has been divesting underperforming businesses in an attempt to move into the new era of cloud computing, a struggle shared by other established technology leaders.

No bonuses for the lesser suits, but at least they are not being fired.

IBM opens UK services centre

IBM logoBig Blue said it will open a services centre for its clients that will generate 300 IT jobs.
The centre will be based in Leicester and will supply application development and maintenance, and test and system management services.
IBM is pushing services for the cloud, for big data analytics, and for mobile, social and security technologies.
As well as the full time jobs, IBM said it will also offer internships and apprenticeships at the centre.
IBM is inviting interested candidates to submit their CVs to recruitment-isc@uk.ibm.com
David Stokes, CEO of IBM UK and Ireland commented: “The investment in job creation aims to inspire the next generation workforce from local technical colleges and universities.”


IBM announces personal cloud security

ibm-officeBig Blue said it has announced a cloud technology that will help ordinary people protect themselves online.
The tech, dubbed Identity Mixer, has a cryptographic algorithm which will protect age, nationality, address and credit card numbers.
Mixer acts as an agent between somebody buying a product and a vendor – it means that the vendor won’t hold the actual details, just the authentication.
IBM said it is offering Identity Mixer to developers as part of its platform as a service (PaaS) cloud.
It means developers will be able to use Identity Mixer in their own apps and in conjunction with their services.
IBM is already testing the technology in two major projects across Europe.


IBM denies gutting its suits

mary-meyer-flip-flops-perry-penguinBig Blue has denied claims that it is about to fire 26 per cent of its workforce.

The dark satanic rumour mill manufactured a hell on earth rumour which tipped up in  Forbes magazine. If the rumour was right, 112,000 employees could be laid off.

IBM admitted that it is cutting jobs, and said as much in its latest earnings report last week, but those reductions will affect “several thousand” employees, a “small fraction” of what Forbes reported.

The technology giant has been steadily reshaping its 400,000-plus staff for several years, laying off workers in some areas and hiring in new growth businesses.

The source of the rumour was pseudonymous Silicon Valley technology gossip columnist Robert Cringely who claimed that Biggish Blue was going to break with that gradual approach and suddenly lay off 26 percent of its global workforce.

IBM did not issue a formal denial of the report, but strongly suggested it was inaccurate.

A spokesperson said that if anyone had checked the information in IBM’s public earnings statements, or had simply asked it, she or he would know that IBM has already announced the company has just taken a $600 million charge for workforce rebalancing. This equates to several thousand people.

Last week, Chief Financial Officer Martin Schroeter told investors on IBM’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call that the company was taking restructuring charges of around $580 million, but he did not specify the number of jobs affected.

But Schroeter said in the same meeting that IBM was not going to replicate the same level of restructuring that we had last year… “It will be a lower amount.”

All this seems to suggest that IBM will fire about 8,000 people this year, in line with recent years.


IBM to slash and burn staff – report

IBM logoFollowing lukewarm quarterly financial results last week, reports claim IBM is set to cut over a quarter of its workforce this week.
IBM has currently a workforce of 431,000 people, but Sky News claims  that Forbes’ reporter Robert X Cringely is forecasting the job cuts.
According to Cringely, around 26 percent of IBM will get calls from their managers telling them their jobs are surplus to Big Blue’s requirements.
IBM has neither confirmed nor denied the rumours.
The report claims that the reorganisation is called Project Chrome, and the majority of people losing their jobs will be in the USA.
IBM has been re-engineering its business and last year sold its X86 server business to Chinese giant Lenovo.
It has also been focusing more and more on cloud computing, in an attempt to trim costs and position itself as a market leader.


IBM revenues, profits fall

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.57.32Major services company IBM turned in its financial fourth quarter figures last night, and the news wasn’t all that good.
IBM made net profit in its fourth quarter of $5.5 billion, compared to $6.2 billion in the same quarter of 2013.  That’s a fall of 11 percent.
Revenues in the fourth quarter amounted to $24.1 billion, down 12 percent compared to the year before.
However, if this figure includes divestments including customer care outsourcing and System x businesses, as well as currency fluctuations, IBM calculus the decrease is two percent.
Gini Rometty, IBM chairman and CEO, claimed her company had made significant progress in changing its business to higher value services.
Global services fell by eight percent, while technology services also fell by eight percent.  Business services revenues also fell by eight percent.  Revenues from its software fell seven percent.