Tag: IBM

Big Blue still blue and seeing dark clouds

Clouds over the Old Power Station, OxfordDespite all its restructuring, IBM can’t pull itself out of trouble.

Yesterday Big Blue had a bigger than expected drop in revenue and cut its full year profit forecast.

It appears that the stronger US dollar had made IBM slump in demand from China and emerging markets much worse.

It is the 14th time in a row that Big Blue’s revenues have fallen. The outfit has sold off a lot of its low margin businesses but the more lucrative area of cloud computing has not paid off yet.

IBM’s China business was particularly hard hit, with fewer big deals causing revenue from that country to fall 17 percent, IBM’s chief financial officer said on a conference call with analysts. Sales in Brazil, Russia, India and China combined were down 30 percent.

The company gets more than half its business from overseas saw overall revenue from continuing operations was cut nine percent by a strong US dollar.

The company’s total revenue fell 13.9 percent to $19.28 billion in the quarter, below analysts’ average forecast of $19.62 billion.

Martin Schroeder IBM’s CFO said there were weakness in its consulting and storage businesses for the revenue shortfall, after taking currency moves and discontinued business into account.

“I would characterise it as the consulting and systems integration business moving away from these large, packaged applications and the storage business moving to flash and to the cloud,” Schroeter said.

Revenue from what the company calls “strategic imperatives,” which include cloud and mobile computing, data analytics, social and security software, rose about 17 percent in the third quarter ended September 30.

Yet the new businesses have so far failed to make up for revenue lost to divestitures.

IBM’s net income from continuing operations fell to $2.96 billion from $3.46 billion a year earlier.

Consolidated net income rose to $2.95 billion from $18 million last year. Last year profit was hurt by non-recurring pre-tax charge of $3.3 billion, net of tax, for discontinued operations.

IBM gets into automated head hunting

IBM logoIBM said it has released a set of tools that are aimed to let recruiters hire new talent.

The company said that recruiting people has turned from people searching for candidates to candidates themselves.

It believes that people look for jobs in the same way as they shop and claimed that 60 percent of firms only recruit reactively.

IBM thinks that its tools will help companies build personal relationships and the tools integrate email marketing, candidate relationship management and web traffics analytics technology.

It believes its tools will help recruiters find people in a variety of ways and identify the right person.

Paradoxically, IBM’s relationship management “enables recruiters to automate personalised experiences”, meaning, of course, that they’re not personalised experiences at all, but a sham.

IBM develops app to help blind navigate better

IBM logoCarnegie Mellon University (CMU) and IBM have teamed up to create smartphone apps that will give blind people information about their surroundings.

The pilot app, called Navcog uses existing sensors and other technologies to help people on the CMU campus move around by “whispering” information through earbuds or by creating vibrations.

CMU has Bluetooth beacons along walkways and also smartphone sensors within campus buildings.

IBM will soon put the app at no charge on the App Store.

Big Blue said it has made cognitive assistance for developers available on the cloud through IBM Bluemix, with the open toolkit made up of an app for navigation, a map editing tool, and localisation algorithms.

Future developments will include localisation technology integrating data from different sensors and include facial recognition software too.

IBM adds more features to Watson

Sherlock Holmes and Dr WatsonBig Blue said it has added two more features to its Watson Analytics package.

The additional features are called Data Discovery and Q&A Power. IBM claims that half a million people are using Watson Analytics in less than a year.

It’s certainly got a long list of customers including the universities of Connecticut, West Florida, Iowa and Memphis.

The data discovery module are called “Expert Storybooks”, which measure such things as Twitter, Nucleus Research Marketshare and Intangent.

IBM said more data analysis is shifting to a so-called “self service model”.

It estimates that by 2018 “smart data discovery” which includes natural language query and search, automated analytics and interactive discovery capabilities will be the most in demand business intelligence service.

It claims that by moving analysis to a cloud based model, enterprises can deliver analytics projects without buying complex IT infrastructure.

IBM opens another cloud data centre in India

IBM logoBig Blue has opened a cloud data centre in Chennai, India, as part of its plan to have cloud in every major financial market. Mumbai is the financial capital of India and IBM already has a data centre there.

The company said the move is part of $1.2 billion it’s spending on IBM Cloud worldwide.

And, as part of its commitment to the Indian startup market, IBM has struck a partnership with NASSCOM (the National Association of Software and Services Companies) and has created Techstartup.in – a place, where it says angels, mentors, investors, academics and venture capitalists will cooperate to create a bigger cloud market.

IBM has also introduced two developer initiatives – developerWorks Premium and a cloud certification programme. It is cooperating with Accenture, Tech Mahindra and CSC to encourage Indian developers to extend IBM Cloud tech, such as IBM Bluemix.

Robert LeBlanc, a senior VP of IBM Cloud, said that the Indian cloud market is set to grow exponentially.

He said that it will work with NASSCOM’s 10,000 Startups programme to give local developers and engineers the skills they need to help grow the market.

The Chennai data centre will offer Softlayer infrastructure services.India has 2.75 million developers, making it the world the second largest developer population and it will outstrip the USA by 90 percent, according to research firm Evans Data Corp.

Linux golden age threatened by bug army

bugA top Linux geek has warned that its golden age is about to be bought to a close by security problems.

Golden ages are normally brought to an end by a rebellion of giants, titans or plagues. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation said that Linux will be killed off by giant, titanic plagues of security bugs.

Several high profile zero-day vulnerabilities in popular open source technologies last year served not only to show the importance of open source to the internet and IT world, but how how badly it projects were under-resourced.

Heartbleed which impacted OpenSSL, Poodle, a vulnerability in SSL, and the Shellshock vulnerability in Bash damaged the reputation of open sauce badly and resulted in the creation of the Core infrastructure Initiative (CII), a Linux-Foundation led initiative to improve open source security.

CII’s financial backers include Adobe, Bloomberg, HP, VMware, Rackspace, NetApp, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Google, Fujitsu, Facebook, Dell, Amazon and Cisco.

Zemlin said that this support was proof we’re living in a “golden age” of open source.

“Almost the entirety of the internet is entirely reliant on open source software. We’ve reached a golden age of open source. Virtually every technology and product and service is created using open source,” he said.

Open source was not immune to the security threat faced by the entire computing industry and said Heartbleed, and others, served as a wakeup call for the IT industry. It is believed 200,000 devices are still vulnerable.

“Heartbleed literally broke the security of the internet,” he explained. “Over a long period of time, whether we knew it or not, became dependent on open source for the security and Integrity of the internet.”

Zemlin said many people had asked him why had the peer review process not highlighted these vulnerabilities, but the answer was blindingly obvious.

Many of these projects were being worked by one part-time volunteer. Before Heartbleed, OpenSSL received less than $2,000 a year in donations, while OpenSSH and Bash had similarly meagre support.

“It’s completely out of proportion to the attention these projects play in society and the Internet,” said Zemlin. “OpenSSL for a long period of time was essentially maintained by two guys named Steve. Think about that.”

US businesses fear EU data ruling

European Court of Human RightsUS companies are fearing that an EU ruling on data might hurt them and cause them to lose business in the Old Country.

An EU court struck down a deal to let US and European companies easily transfer personal data between continents and it could mean some US tech companies frozen out of the market or replaced by EU rivals.

Coupon company RetailMeNot and security software outfit Symantec said a European change to rules governing transatlantic personal data transfers would hurt US companies and called for a quick fix.

A quick fix is unlikely. The EU seems in no mood to fix a law that the US broke by spying on EU businesses, citizens and politicians.

Big Tech giants like IBM are less likely to be effected because they can use a number of different legal arrangements they say will keep their data flowing.

Midsize companies including document management company Adobe Systems, design software maker Autodesk and coupon company RetailMeNot relied on Safe Harbour.

Adobe said it was “evaluating options” to transfer personal data between continents and Autodesk also said it was evaluating the decision.

Symantec said it has mechanisms in place to legally protect data transfers, but the uncertainty following the ruling has made it difficult for such companies to determine their next steps and how much business might be lost.

The company said that setting up data servers in Europe would not solve anything as you can’t isolate the flow of data only within one territory or jurisdiction. Data storage without processing would not be enough.

The US Chamber of Commerce has warned that companies could create new agreements with their customers in the European Union, but the lack of clarity and high costs could leave smaller firms with a “disproportionate share” of the burden of new legal requirements.

On the EU side, companies are rubbing their paws with glee. The change could be an opportunity for European companies like Orange and Deutsche Telekom to take business from U.S. companies.

Customers, both private individuals and businesses, will have to reassess their data plans and to look at storing their data within Europe, a source close to the company said.

IBM, Facebook, Google and Amazon will have to face additional legal arrangements such as “model clauses” which set privacy standards between the sender and receiver of the data and allow them to continue data transfers.

Some have agreements with European users who consent to having their data transferred to the United States. Facebook, for example, has a registration process that allows it to obtain consent from users when they sign up for the service.

IBM buys yet another firm

IBM logoWe’ve lost count of how many companies IBM has acquired in the last 18 months, but be that as it may, here we go again.

This time it said it will buy Cleversage with the aim of “propelling object storage into the hybrid cloud”.

It’s a privately held company so IBM doesn’t need to say what it paid for it. But it develops object based storage software and appliances.

IBM said the acquisition will strengthen IBM’s position in storage and hybrid cloud, and so the unit will be integrated into its IBM Cloud business unit.

Cleversafe was started in 2004 and has over 350 patents in object based storage letting customers scale to exabytes of storage.

Isn’t this the second acquisition in seven days? Yes, it is.

IBM thinks carbon nanotubes are the future

IBM logoThe research wing of IBM claimed it has made an engineering breakthrough which could mean carbon nanotubes will displace silicon transistors for future computers.

The scients said they have managed to “shrink” transistor contacts without reducing carbon nanotube performance and that means more powerful microprocessors way beyond existing semiconductors.

IBM said that as devices get smaller, increased electrical resistance has prevented serious performance gains.

But a discovery by the scientists mean carbon nanotube chips will vastly improve the performance of high end computers, increase power and battery life of mobile devices and let cloud datacentres deliver services more economically.

Moore’s Law, said IBM, “is running out of steam”.

IBM thinks that its approach overcomes a major hurdle to the adoption of carbon nanotubes.

IBM, Box roll out enterprise products

IBM logoBox and IBM said they have introduced the first of a set of products aimed at providing enterprise content management.

IBM and Box said the four products they’re wheeling out are IBM Content Navigator with Box; IBM StoredIQ with Box; IBM Case Manager with Box; and IBM Datacap with Box.

The first allows enterprises to search, access and share content using a single integrated view for both mobiles and desktops.

StoredIQ gives an assessment of unstructured data to categorise it and migrate it to the Box platform.

Case Manager optimises results by applying context to content, while Datacap is used to capture documents from different sources, take information from them, and store them in Box.

Box and IBM have had a strategic relationship for some time and intend to bring additional products to enterprise customers.