Category: Business

Microsoft’s cloud move paying off

Ary Pleysier - Beach View with Boats - Wikimedia CommonsSoftware King of the World, Microsoft is now the belle of Wall Street with its latest results, thanks mostly to its cunning cloud plans.

Volish sales of its flagship cloud product doubled in its first quarter, propelling earnings above analysts’ estimates and sending its shares to an all-time high, breaking past a level hit in 1999 at the peak of the tech stock bubble.

Microsoft shares have doubled since August 2013 with Chief Executive Satya Nadella restoring investor confidence by focusing on mobile and cloud computing rather than PCs.

Sales from its flagship cloud product Azure, which businesses can use to host their websites, apps or data, rose 116 percent. Revenue for its broader “Intelligent Cloud” business rose 8.3 percent to $6.38 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $6.27 billion.

The company forecast that sales for its Intelligent Cloud business will be between $6.55 billion and $6.75 billion in the current quarter, compared with $6.34 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Microsoft was one of the first to invest in cloud technology, which made a change from its usual business method of waiting until something was established.It found itself outflanked by Google on the Internet and Apple in consumer technology, as PCs became more robust and did not need upgrading.

Earlier this year, Nadella made headlines when he orchestrated Microsoft’s biggest-ever deal, agreeing in June to buy the social network for professionals LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.

Revenue in the unit that includes Windows software and the company’s struggling mobile business fell 1.8 percent to $9.29 billion. Microsoft forecast the division will have sales of up to $11.6 billion in the current quarter – well below the $12.7 billion it posted for the unit a year earlier.

Microsoft reported revenue of $22.33 billion, above the average estimate of $21.71 billion.

Samsung taps LG for new batteries

lemon batteryMaker of the incredible melting Note 7, Samsung, is planning to use batteries manufactured by LG for its next Galaxy S series flagship.

Samsung is said to be in talks with LG Chem for a possible partnership to supply batteries. At present, Samsung SDI, which is a sister company of Samsung, and Chinese battery maker ATL are its suppliers. Samsung SDI supplied 70% of the batteries used in the Note 7, while the rest of the batteries were from ATL.

According to a report by Korean Herald Samsung is looking at getting lots of battery suppliers.

When Samsung announced the first recall, it was speculated that Samsung could go in for LG batteries. But sources told the Korean Herald that the deal is yet to be finalised between Samsung and LG. Samsung’s phones already use cameras from LG.

Microsoft lifts its kimono for Brazilian conspiracy nuts

brazilSoftware king of the world Microsoft is going to show its source code to the Brazilian government to re-assure conspiracy nuts that it has no back doors which allow US spooks to spy on people.

Vole opened a centre in Brazil where officials can inspect its programming code, in an attempt to allay suspicions in the region that its software programs are vulnerable to spying.

It is the fourth ‘Transparency Centre’ that Vole has established and it is only a little bit transparent. It has reinforced walls and the sort of strict security settings a bank would be proud of.

Experts from Latin American and Caribbean governments can see the source code of its products.

To be fair, Edward Snowden revealed that the United States had been spying on Brazilian communications including those of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

Microsoft prevents anyone from copying the massive amount of coding on display – as much as 50 million lines for its email and server products. Viewers inspect copies of source code on computers connected only to local servers and cut off from the internet. The copies are later deleted.

Viewers can use software tools to examine the code, Microsoft said, but it was not immediately clear whether experts would be able to run deep code analysis necessary to uncover back doors or other bugs.


Apple supplier issues profit warning

confusingtrafficsignSigns are that all are not as well at the fruity tax-dodging cargo cult Apple as one of its suppliers has issued a profit warning.

Apple supplier Laird issued a warning on its full-year profit, saying that acceleration in production for mobile devices this year had come in much later than seen in previous cycles and that it had “poor” visibility in order volumes.

The electronic components maker said it expected full-year underlying profit to be about $61 million, also partly blaming margin concerns due to increased pricing pressure. Laird had not previously given any guidance for the full year.

Some of this margin pressure would be from Apple leaning on its suppliers to reduce their prices. But the disappointing results could also indicate that things are not working as well as Jobs Mob hoped and sales of the iPhone 7 were not doing as well as expected.

Apple has indicated that it does not expect this year to be as good as the last, in fact its iPhone 7 is a stop-gap product to keep its toe in the water until things pick up a bit.


Clinton wanted Gates or Tim Cook for Vice president

main-qimg-c3c35d5a1a6001a0fcf594c49a5af26fAn email from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta released in the recent WikiLeaks dump shows that Clinton wanted Bill or Melinda Gates, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns for the Vice-President role.

There were 40 names on the list, so it was more like my Amazon wish-list, and there were signs that some of the names were not well researched. Apple’s supreme dalek Tim Cook is currently raising money for Ayn Rand–influenced ideologue Paul Ryan who shares similar views about stuffing up the great unwashed for a rich elite of self-serving bastards.

Bill and Melinda Gates are too busy saving the world to be bothered with the job of Vice-President, which unless the president gets sick is more of a ceremonial role. Even Dan Quayle managed to be a vice-president and he could not spell potato.

Burns probably does not want to leave Xerox where she earns on average $13 million a year. In fact her and her management team have all received salary increases over the last six years, but staff has not.

Peter Thiel’s trumping is bad for business

Bad-smellPaypal billionaire Peter Thiel’s $1.25 million donation to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is driving away partners from Y Combinator.

Thiel is a part-time advisor for the Silicon Valley accelerator. But Project Include, which works to improve diversity at tech companies, said today that it would no longer work with YC startups.

The group’s co-founder, Ellen Pao, wrote that Thiel’s actions were in direct conflict with her outfit’s values. “Because of his continued connection to YC, we are compelled to break off our relationship with YC.”

Founded in 2005, Y Combinator has incubated some of the biggest tech companies of the past decade, including Airbnb, Dropbox, and Stripe. But it refused to dissociate itself from Thiel, who took an advisory role with the organization in 2015.

In a series of tweets, YC’s president stood by Thiel. “Cutting off opposing viewpoints leads to extremism and will not get us the country we want. Diversity of opinion is painful but critical to the health of a democratic society. We can’t start purging people for political support.”

But  Pao rejected the idea that Thiel’s donation could be dismissed as political speech and said while she agreed that people shouldn’t be fired for their political views, but this isn’t a disagreement on tax policy, this is advocating hatred and violence.

“Giving more power to someone whose ascension and behaviour strike fear into so many people is unacceptable. His attacks on black, Mexican, Asian, Muslim, and Jewish people, on women, and on others are more than just political speech; fueled by hate and encouraging violence, they make each of us feel unsafe.”

Microsoft flicks off lightswitch

il_fullxfull.781035219_7evySoftware King of the World Microsoft has flicked off its LightSwitch technology.

For those who came in late, Visual Studio LightSwitch is a simplified self-service development tool that lets you build business applications quickly and easily for the desktop and cloud.

Vole always pitched it as a simplified development environment which allowed punters to focus on the business logic instead of the application infrastructure.

According to a SpokesVole, LightSwitch was to supposed to accelerate the development of line-of-business apps, but the landscape has changed significantly since it was released. Mobile and cloud had churned out more connected and relevant choices for business app development.

Visual Studio 2015 is the last release of Visual Studio that includes the LightSwitch tooling and as expected Microsoft will continue to support users with existing LightSwitch apps as per the Microsoft Support Lifecycle.

Microsoft is no longer recommending LightSwitch for developing new apps, instead, they are pointing customers towards PowerApps. PowerApps is also a modern solution to build custom business applications that enables increased productivity with business apps that are easily created, shared and managed.

IBM, Google and seven others gang up on Intel’s datacentres

Piranha-3dBiggish Blue, Google and seven others have linked up to give Intel a good kicking in the datacentres.

The gang has come up with an open specification that can boost datacentre server performance by up to ten times.  Dubbed the Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI), this is an open forum to provide a high bandwidth, low latency open interface design specification.

The open interface will help corporate and cloud data centres to speed up big data, machine learning, analytics and other emerging workloads.

The consortium plans to make the OpenCAPI specification available to the public before the end of the year and expects servers and related products based on the new standard in the second half of 2017, it said in a statement.

Chipzilla is not signing up to the forum, but them it has stayed away from other open standards  and technology groups such as CCIX and Gen-Z.  It prefers to keep all its technology to itself.

However Doug Balog, general manager for IBM Power, said that with all the AI, machine learning and advanced analytics kicking around,  datacentres can no longer rely on one company alone to drive innovation.


Burns to Samsung from Note 7 less than expected

fire-intro-picSamsung is warning that the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco will set it back $5 billion dollars, which, though terrible, is much  less than the $15 billion the Tame Apple Press has been claiming.

Samsung said that that it will take a hit to its operating profit of about $3 billion over the next two quarters. The outlook brings to about $5.3 billion the total losses the global smartphone leader has forecast as a result of the overheating issues.

Samsung shares, which have fallen about eight percent this week, edged up 0.6 percent as people realised that the cost to Samsung was not going to be as high as expected.  Park Jung-hoon, a fund manager at HDC Asset Management, which owns shares in Samsung affiliates, said that although future losses would not be as bad as the third quarter the company had to work hard to rebuild confidence.

“What’s important is whether the flagship S7 can fill the gap left by the Note 7, and how much trust Samsung can regain from consumers by the time the S8 comes out,” he said. Analysts expect the S8 to be released in the first quarter.

To make up for the lost revenue, Samsung said it would expand sales of gadgets like the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge phones, and make “significant changes” in its quality assurance processes to improve product safety.

The Tame Apple Press is now widening its net to include other Samsung products and imply that they might suffer as a result of the Note 7.  There have already been some stories implying that Samsung’s appliances might also suffer, which is rather over egging the pudding.

Samsung posted earnings of $7.2 billion in the second quarter, with mobile profits – its biggest earner – soaring 57 percent.

The Tame Apple Press had been hoping that Samsung users would defect to the god awful iPhone 7. So far that does not appear to be happening. Samsung is offering financial packages for those who stay with the Samsung brand. Samsung users are more likely to move to other Android brands before thinking of Apple.



HP to slash 3,000 to 4,000 more jobs

Samurai_Warrior_ASC_2799The maker of expensive printer ink, HP, said that it will cut another 3,000 to 4,000 jobs over the next three years.

The outfit said in February it would accelerate its restructuring program and slash around 3,000 jobs by the end of fiscal 2016 and these new cuts are on top of the old ones. In fact HP has not said where the axe will fall.

HP Chief Executive Dion Weisler said the market continued to be volatile, facing pressures and uncertainties because of a bad case of “challenged core markets” and “fluxing macro-economic conditions”.  We had a bad case of fluxing macros earlier in the year and could not get off the bog, HP has our sympathy.

HP is raising its quarterly dividend by seven percent, HP also said it would increase its share buyback program by $3 billion.

The company expects restructuring and other charges of $350 million to $500 million and the move is expected to generate gross annual run rate savings of $200 million to $300 million beginning in fiscal 2020, HP said.

According to research firm Gartner, worldwide PC shipments in Q3 fell by 5.7 percent, the eighth consecutive quarter of PC shipment decline. Gartner also said that this is the longest duration of decline in the history of the PC industry.