Tag: techeye

Botched McAfee deal claimed Renee James’ job

jamesThe dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn that the high profile exit of Renee James, president of Intel and head of the software group was because of the silly McAfee deal.

When Chipzilla wrote a check for McAfee  many people wondered why, and suspected it was about getting security onto the chip and other such plausible reasons. However since very little has emerged as a result of this deal, there were whispers that suggested that the whole McAfee thing was stupid.

Officially James is leaving to pursue an “external CEO role.” James will remain with the company until January to help out.

However that is not really how it works. Executives don’t announce what they are doing and they certainly don’t stay on if they are going to work for a rival.

Citibank research analyst Christopher Danely, James wasn’t doing all that well at her main job.

James was largely responsible for leading Intel’s $7.7 billion acquisition of McAfee in 2011, a merger that made absolutely no sense to anyone but a McAfee shareholder.

Intel’s software business had grown just 2.5 per cent  in the last three years, Danely pointed out.

When Intel bought the McAfee business it generated 2010 revenue of $2.1 billion with operating margins of roughly 11 percent. McAfee revenues have remained roughly flat since the company was bought, while operating margins have declined to the mid-single digit range, Daneley said.

It is starting to look like James took the fall for the waste of money on McAfee and underperforming software group.

It is also possible that Intel will have to do something with its underperforming security arm. Last week it borged McAfee and stopped it being independent any more, as our sister publication TechEye faithfully reported.

Windows 11 codenamed Redstone

redstoneblock1With Windows 10 coming to market sometime this summer, or possibly later, Microsoft is already starting to work on the next update for the OS and has been devoting brain time to what to call it.

The codename for the project, which will be ready in 2016, will be ‘Redstone’, a popular item in the recently acquired game, Minecraft.

Not much is known about Microsoft’s plans for Redstone but the company has now entered the planning stages of the update.

Microsoft  has been using minecraft and some of its other games to provide codenames. There have already seen several names from the Halo series spring to life, like the Spartan web browser.  Cortana also comes from the game and not a clapped out car teens used to drive around in the 1980s.

Windows 10 is an overhaul of the entire platform, so Redstone will likely be relatively minor in comparison, but other than the name that is all we have on it.

Windows Server is expected to be released in 2016, so Redstone could possibly be related to this project as well. But if you know that when Vole is talking about Redstone, you know it is going to be about Windows 11.


Infomatica sold for $5.3 billion

20120313_InformaticaBusiness software maker Informatica has just sold itself for $5.3 billion to private equity firms Permira Funds and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

This means that Informatica shareholders will get $48.75 per share in cash. But the sale does represent a failure by Infomatica  to see off a buy out.

Activist hedge fund Elliott Management has an 8 percent stake in Informatica in January and said it was speaking to the company about ways to maximize shareholder value. In fact word on the street was it was thinking of buying it.

Informatica has been looking to hire financial advisers to help it defend itself from Elliott, after failing to sell itself in January.

Jesse Cohn, head of U.S. equity activism at Elliott said that the hedge fund supported the new deal.

Informatica helps companies integrate and analyse data. It counts Western Union, Citrix Systems, American Airlines Group and Bank of New York Mellon among its customers.

The outfit competes with Tibco, which was taken private for $4.3 billion in December by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners.

“Informatica … is better positioned (than Tibco) to benefit from the adoption of cloud technologies,” Mizuho Securities analyst Abhey Lamba wrote in a note on Monday which did not end up on his fridge.

Analysts have said the company’s shift to cloud and subscription revenue is pressuring margins.


Trend says that destructive hacking on the rise

1858_4_CourseOfEmpire_Destruction_ColeHacking attacks which are designed to destroy a company, rather than just steal information, are on the rise.

A poll by the Organisation of American States found that 40 percent of respondents had battled attempts to shut down their computer networks, 44 percent had dealt with bids to delete files and 54 percent had encountered “attempts to manipulate” their equipment through a control system.

Less than 60 percent of the 575 respondents said they had detected any attempts to steal data, long considered the predominant hacking goal.

The survey went to companies and agencies in crucial sectors as defined by the OAS members. Almost a third of the respondents were public entities, with communications, security and finance being the most heavily represented industries.

The questions did not delve into detail, leaving the amount of typical losses from breaches and the motivations of suspected attackers as matters for speculation. The survey-takers were not asked whether the attempted hacks succeeded, and some attacks could have been carried off without their knowledge.

The survey did allow anonymous participants to provide a narrative of key events if they chose, although those will not be published.

The report was compiled by Trend Micro whose Chief Cyber security Officer Tom Kellermann said additional destructive or physical attacks came from political activists and organised crime.

“We are facing a clear and present danger where we have non-state actors willing to destroy things,” he said. “This is going to be the year we suffer a catastrophe in the hemisphere, and when you will see kinetic response to a threat actor.”

Destructive attacks or manipulation of equipment are infrequently revealed. That is in part because breach-disclosure laws in more than 40 states centre on the potential risks to consumers from the theft of personal information, as with hacks of retailers including Home Depot and Target.


Singtel buys US security outfit

history-of-headphones-1895Singapore Telecommunications, or Singtel, is buying US-based cyber-security firm Trustwave for $810 million.

The move is the outfit’s biggest acquisition outside the main telecoms sector and is being touted as a Singtel moving away from being a pure-play telecoms company.

Apparently it wants to be involved in something analysts are calling “digital life”, which includes mobile video and digital advertising, and cyber security through partnerships with FireEye and Akamai, among others. Failing that it wants to be lumberjack.

Even if Singtel had no cunning plans, there is money to be made in the managed security services industry according to Gartner Group. Managed security will grow 15 percent annually from 2014 to reach $24 billion in 2018.
That growth potential has already stoked other acquisitions in the cyber-security business, including BAE’s $232.5 million deal to buy SilverSky and FireEye’s $1 billion takeover of Mandiant, both in 2014.

Singtel, which owns stakes in regional operators including India’s Bharti Airtel and Thailand’s Advanced Info Service, will buy a 98 percent equity stake in the company from a group of investors assembled by Trustwave’s chairman and chief executive officer, Robert McCullen. He will hold the remaining 2 percent.

Trustwave will continue to operate as a stand-alone business unit, Singtel said.
Trustwave, which has over 3 million business subscribers, offers a range of services, including scanning of databases, risk identification and payment compliance. Singtel declined to provide names of specific clients.


Apple wants to reduce noise

simonOne of the noisiest outfits in the world has decided to invest in a bloke who knows a lot about the sounds of silence.

Apple has recruited Dolby executive VP Mike Rockwell and the word on the street is that he will be working out ways to make the overpriced toys sound and look a little better.

Rockwell has been involved in Dolby Vision which has been described as “state-of-the-art color display technology” is rather interesting and like we said, could end up helping Apple to improve upon its display technology in its product lineup.

Despite what the Tame Apple Press is claiming, he can’t take that technology over to Apple when he changes offices.  Instead he will have to help the Apple genii come up with something themselves.

Apple has been hiring sound experts, including THX’s pioneer Tomlinson Holman along with some notable audio engineers it poached from Sony.

Apple is saying nothing of course, to admit it is hiring people from outside to help boost its sound quality is an admission that things are far from perfect. At the moment audio-nuts think that Sony is still running the best mobile sound and has been the leader since the Walkman.

Google buys Samsung 3D NAND

edefectoSearch engine Google is rumoured to be signing up for Samsung’s 3D NAND in its data centres in a move which is similar to its rival’s Amazon. 

Samsung’s 3D NAND is currently used in Kaminario K2 all-flash arrays and is being tipped for MacBooks.

Neither Google nor Samsung have commented but if it pans out then it means that stacking 32 layers of planar 2D NAND built using 39-30nm-class cell geometry in a die, is the way forward. It also means that Samsung must have a better price and performance advantage over other flash fabricators.

Samsung’s 3D NAND is generally available while its rivals are still at the sampling stage with GA late this year or in 2016. SanDisk is sampling a 48-layer chip, but Samsung is expected to match that soon.

Since it has signed big supply deals with Amazon, Apple and Google, Samsung clearly has its foot in the door. It also means that these big data centre operators will be buying less planar NAND than otherwise from the other flash suppliers.

SAP founder dies

Klaus-TschiraThe bloke who created an empire based on really expensive management software, which no one was quite sure what it did, has died.

Klaus Tschira, one of the co-founders of European software giant SAP, has died unexpectedly at the age of 74, his foundation said.

Tschira,  a trained physicist, left IBM to found SAP in 1972 together with four IBM colleagues: Hasso Plattner, who is still the company’s chairman, Dietmar Hopp, Hans-Werner Hector and Claus Wellenreuther.

SAP began by developing software that could process data in real time rather than overnight in batches, and went public in 1988.

It is now Europe’s biggest technology company, with revenues of $18.9 billion and had more than 74,000 employees in 2014.

He also founded the Klaus Tschira Foundation (KTF) in 1995 as a non-profit organisation to support projects in natural and computer sciences and mathematics.

Tschira, a billionaire, stepped down from SAP’s supervisory board in 2007. He is survived by his wife Gerda Tschira and two sons.

Cameron advisor wants ISPs to spy for studios

Mike_WeatherleyDavid “one is an ordinary bloke” Cameron’s top internet advisor has suggested that ISPs spy on their customers to work out which are downloading pirated content.

Mike Weatherley, a Conservative MP and Intellectual Property Adviser to UK Prime Minister David Cameron also wants ISPs to censor the Internet better.

According to his report, ISPs have a moral obligation to do more against online piracy.

One would think that Weatherley would have worked out that sort of thing did not work very well. He has previously suggested that search engines should blacklist pirate sites which does not seem to have changed much.

So going “more draconian” seems to be Weatherley’s answer. The just-released 18-page report stresses that these companies have a moral obligation to tackle copyright infringement and can’t stand idly by.

The report uses information which has been helpfully provided by people with a history of providing accurate and not at all misleading figures – the pro-copyright groups including the MPAA, BPI, and the Music Publishers Association.

It offers various recommendations for the UK Government and the EU Commission to strengthen their anti-piracy policies.

One of the key points is to motivate Internet services and providers to filter content proactively. According to the report it’s feasible to “filter out infringing content” and to detect online piracy before it spreads.

“There should be an urgent review, by the UK Government, of the various applications and processes that could deliver a robust automated checking process regarding illegal activity being transmitted,” Weatherley said.

Weatherley added that ISPs should not just remove the content they’re asked to, but also police their systems to ensure that similar files are removed, permanently.

“ISSPs to be more proactive in taking down multiple copies of infringing works, not just the specific case they are notified of,” he said.

This type of filtering is already used by YouTube, which takes down content based on fingerprint matches. However, the report suggests that regular broadband providers could also filter infringing content.

Weatherley also said that protecting the rights of copyright holders has priority over a “no monitoring” principle that would ensure users’ privacy. If the monitoring is done right.

“There is also the question as to whether society will want to have their private activities monitored (even if automatically and entirely confidentially) and whether the trade off to a safer, fairer internet is a price worth paying to clamp down on internet illegal activity. My ‘vote’ would be “yes” if via an independent body.”

HP gathers legal Lynch Mob

The lynch-mob-21war of words between HP and the former owner of Autonomy, Michael Lynch has ended up in a court battle in the UK.

The maker of expensive printer ink has lodged a claim in London against Lynch and a former colleague for damages of about $5.1 billion over their management of Autonomy, the company it bought in 2011.

Lynch will counter sue, seeking $149 million for loss and damage caused by HP’s accusations.
Autonomy was supposed to be the $11.1 billion centrepiece of a move to becoming a more SAP style software organisation. But a year later HP wrote off three-quarters of the British company’s value, accusing Lynch and his colleagues of financial mismanagement.

HP filed a claim against Lynch, the co-founder of Autonomy, and Autonomy’s former finance director Sushovan Hussain in the Chancery Division of London’s High Court on Monday, alleging they engaged in fraudulent activities while executives at Autonomy.

“The lawsuit seeks damages from them of approximately $5.1 billion,” the spokeswoman added.
Lynch, speaking on behalf of Autonomy’s former management, has consistently denied any impropriety, saying the loss in value of the company was down to HP’s mismanagement.

HP’s case might have been weakened by the fact that Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said there was not enough evidence to secure a conviction of Autonomy’s former executives.

Samsung and LG call off war of the washing machines

washing machine warSamsung and LG have called off a daft and expensive legal war which was sparked by a set of damaged washing machines.

The two companies said in a joint statement they would withdraw all complaints against each other and ask legal authorities to refrain from meting out harsh punishments in cases going on.

LG appliances chief Jo Seong-jin was indicted by Seoul prosecutors on a charge of deliberately damaging Samsung washing machines at a retail store in Germany last September. Samsung asked for a criminal punishment. Prosecutors have not declared what penalty they would seek against Jo.

The pair were creating much merriment as they argued over how many washers were damaged by Jo and other employees. LG published surveillance video footage to YouTube in an attempt to prove Jo’s innocence, and Samsung sent in its forensic teams to prove the video was heavily doctored.

“Both sides have agreed to avoid legal action and resolve any future conflicts or disputes through dialogue and mutual agreement,” the companies said.

It is not clear if this is the legal equivalent of agreeing to step outside or to have a dual between executives. We just hope that if there are duals that they are televised when Game of Thrones is finished.

The agreement extends to Samsung Display and LG Display. Samsung Display employees were indicted in February on charges of stealing organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display panel technology from LG Display. Samsung Display has said the technology was widely known in the industry and that the indictment was excessive.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ office declined to comment on the case against the LG Electronics appliances chief, and the Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office declined to comment regarding its case against the Samsung Display employees

If it did it would probably be something like “big multinational companies will be big multinational companies.”

Huawei ignores US to clean up

cia-cleanerDespite being on a US spying list, China’s Huawei technologies continues to clean up.

Huawei does not have to tell us much, because it is a private company, but the world’s No.2 telecommunications equipment maker, reported a 33 percent rise in profit for 2014.

This matches company guidance, as the global adoption of fourth-generation (4G) mobile technology boosted sales.

Net profit for 2014 rose to $45.7 billion US dollars, the Shenzhen-based company told media in an earnings briefing today.

In a breakdown, its revenue from telecom operator business rose 16.4 percent year on year, to $31 billion dollars; its revenue from enterprise business reached $3.1 billion dollars, up 27.3 percent year on year; and its revenue from consumer business reached $12.1 billion dollars, up 32.6 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, the company invested $66 billion dollars in research and development, rising 29.4 percent year on year and representing 14.2 percent of its annual sales revenue.

In the past ten years, Huawei’s investment in research and development accumulated to $307 billion dollars.

Either way, despite the US’s most ironic embargo, Huawei is doing rather well.


German tech industry dragged into the 21st century

Hartmann_Maschinenhalle_1868_(01)Germany, whose industry has been relying on things to run the same way as they did before those World Wars, has suddenly woken up in the digital age and is a little worried about it.

According to Reuters big German companies have started teaming up with start-ups to shake up their conservative business culture and keep pace with a world increasingly dominated by nimble tech giants.

Most of the German blue-chips run along 19th century lines with only the youngest — SAP, founded less than 43 years ago.

In other Western countries the top 30 companies on the Nasdaq were set up in the 1980s or later and the fourth-biggest firm, Facebook, was established about a decade ago.

German government officials and company executives fear they could fall far behind if they cannot swiftly identify and adopt innovations in web and smartphone technology that have driven the success of Google, Apple and Amazon.

Metro, Bayer, Evonik, Merck KGaA and Deutsche Telekom are now investing in start-ups – seeking to gain digital expertise, as well as to embrace newcomers whose innovations could represent threats to their own businesses.

They have a long way to go, Investment in German start-ups more than doubled to $1.74 billion last year, this was less than the amount raised by Uber. US-based start-ups drew $49.39 billion.

Fewer than half of Germany’s top 500 companies have a comprehensive digital strategy, according to a study by Accenture.Only 11 percent use social media and only six percent cloud computing, the European Commission’s Digital Economy Index published at the end of February showed.

Healthcare firms Bayer, Merck and Boehringer Ingelheim, Deutsche Telekom and chemicals group Evonik, meanwhile, have all set up multi-million euro in-house venture funds. Deutsche Telekom has pledged to invest $542 million in Germany’s start-up scene over the next five years.

The German government has announced plans to try to promote startups. They include a pre-market web platform to connect young companies with investors.

However most say that there needs to be more venture capital investment in Germany and the scene needs to be more attractive in terms of taxation.

The other problem is that the Germans do not like investing in something which might go tits up.


Amazon sets up service side

2580297818_3c864043e6Online book seller Amazon is creating a service side to its business based on the very sound idea that customers might want to buy flat-pack furniture, but have not got a clue how to assemble it.

Peter Faricy, vice president for Amazon Marketplace said that there were more than 85 million Amazon customers who have shopped for products this past year that often require a service afterwards.

Amazon’s answer is a new section in the US, Home Services, where customers can shop for professional help. It’s launching with 700 different services, from the ordinary to the esoteric, everything from installing a garbage disposal to renting you a goat herd.

So far it is all being tested, but it could be rolled out to the EU, where it will solve one of the biggest problems that people have – finding a service person who is not a cowboy, now that all the Polish people have gone home.

Faricy said it is tough to quickly find someone who is qualified. It has only accepted an average of three out of every 100 service professionals in each metro area. It makes sure each business is licensed, insured, and passes a five-point background check, with a further six-point background check for each technician.

Amazon said that it takes 60 seconds to buy a service, regardless of whether that is deck repair, house cleaning, or hedge trimming and you will how much it’s going to cost you, up front, no surprises.”

AMD relies on partners for R&D gap

mind the gapChipmaker AMD is relying more on its partners to come up with the latest R&D ideas, just like it did in the 1990s.

Decrypted tech claims that over the past few years AMD has been slowly cutting back on the money it puts towards R&D.

Instead it has tried to narrow the focus of the money they spend on new technology where it thinks it will get the most return.   So in the last quarter AMD spent less than $238 Million on R&D and his been building R&D partnerships to overcome budget challenges.

AMD started rebuilding its R&D partnerships in late 2010 and this allowed it to cut back on the amount they need to bring to the table to create new technologies. This is a repeat of what it did in the 1990s when the outfit used Samsung, IBM, Motorola, and Texas Instruments helping them to change the way they built CPUs.

This was how it could build the Athlon CPU with only a small R&D budget and engineering team.

This time AMD is betting big on HBM and also on integrating ARM processors inside their APU/CPUs and apparently it is letting its R&D partners do a lot of the heavy lifting money-wise while they provide many of the engineering minds.

If it pays off, AMD gets its technology on the cheap.  However in the worst case it could hack off some big names in the in the industry like Hynix, Samsung, Toshiba etc. and walk away with new technology to sell to others.

The plan is high risk as it could leave AMD with nothing it can sell, while its partners have some natty tech that AMD helped them build.