Tuesday, October 20, 2015



Link to TechEye

Chinese cyber pact appears flimsy

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 12:43 AM PDT

spyThe US's cyber pact against spying and hacking with China does not appear to be holding.

Hackers associated with the Chinese government have tried to penetrate at least seven US companies in the three weeks since Washington and Beijing agreed not to spy on each other for commercial reasons.

CrowdStrike said software it placed at five U.S. technology and two pharmaceutical companies had detected and stopped the attacks.

President Barack Obama said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed that neither government would knowingly support cyber theft of corporate secrets to support domestic businesses. The agreement stopped short of restricting spying to obtain government secrets, including those held by private contractors.

CrowdStrike Co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch said in an interview that he believed the hackers who attacked the seven companies were affiliated with the Chinese government based in part on the servers and software they used.

The software included a program known as Derusbi. Derusbi previously turned up in attacks on Virginia defence contractor VAE and health insurer Anthe. Alperovitch said the hackers came from a variety of groups including one that CrowdStrike had previously named Deep Panda.

The intrusion was to facilitate theft of intellectual property and trade secrets, rather than to conduct traditional, national-security-related intelligence collection,” CrowdStrike wrote in its bog.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest declined to comment on CrowdStrike’s findings but said that Obama had “made clear that the United States would judge China not based on its words, not based on any verbal commitments, but based on its actions.”

“You can rest assured that the relevant agencies in the United States government are closely monitoring China’s actions in this regard,” Earnest said on Monday.

Another U.S. cyber security company, FireEye said the state-sponsored Chinese hackers that it monitored were still active but it was too soon to say whether their aims had shifted.

SAP claims its cloud is on target

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 12:43 AM PDT

SAP logoThe mysterious German software company which makes expensive business software is doing better than expected.

SAP has been putting a ton of money investing in the cloud and it said that its strong third quarter results were the result.

In a statement, SAP reported a 19 percent rise in third-quarter operating profit to $1.54 billion, confirming results it pre-announced last week.

Chief Executive Bill McDermott claimed that the reason why SAP didn’t raise the guidance is because it is an annual guidance and the biggest part of the annual operating plan is still to be determined based on SAP's fourth-quarter.

SAP has a target to increase cloud and software revenue by eight to 10 percent in constant currencies during 2015. McDermott thinks he is on track to do that.

The company is doing a lot better than IBM in getting its cloud act together, but is still not as big a market player as Salesforce or Amazon,


Deutsche Telekom complains about Google

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 12:42 AM PDT

monopoly (1)Deutsche Telekom is expected to file an antitrust complaint with European competition authorities against Google.

Apparently the formal complaint will be prepared by early November and claims Google uses Android to unfairly promote its own products like Google Maps and online search over those of rivals.

The European Union has accused the company of distorting Web search results to favour its own shopping service, and has also started another antitrust investigation into the Android mobile operating system.

The US Federal Trade Commission opened a preliminary investigation into whether Google uses its Android operating system to dominate competitors as more consumers go mobile.

It might be that DT saw what was going on across the pond and took an opportunity to put the boot in. Having said that Google is not the most popular multi-national operating in Europe at the moment so it would not have taken much to set Brussels off.

Big Blue still blue and seeing dark clouds

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 12:41 AM PDT

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

Posted: 19 Oct 2015 07:25 AM PDT

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.

Google wins book scanning case

Posted: 19 Oct 2015 06:45 AM PDT

Image of Mike Magee's translation of the Matrikabheda Tantra, snapped from Google BooksA US appeals court said on Friday that Google isn't breaching copyright by digitising books and displaying chunks of them in its Google Books pages.

Authors had been pursuing Google in court for a decade in the belief that Google Books would hurt their royalties.

But a Manhattan court of appeals ruled that because Google only showed snippets of books that meant it wasn't breaking copyright law.

The judges said that only showing snippets wouldn't harm authors' royalties substantially.

They said that the 20 million books that Google had scanned in never amounted to 16 percent of the content of the book.

PMC-Sierra in buying bid wars

Posted: 19 Oct 2015 06:33 AM PDT

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsThe chip market continues to show clear evidence of consolidation.

PMC-Sierra had a $2 billion bid for its business by Skyworks Solutions but that's been trumped by semiconductor firm Microsemi, which has now offered to pay $2.2 billion for the firm.

PMC-Sierra sells chips into different sectors including embedded computing, storage and comms. It was founded in 1984.

Microsemi wants to expand its business into storage for data centres and cloud applications, and believes the acquisition of PMC-Sierra will help it do just that.

Microsemi appears to have succeeded in its bid for PMC-Sierra, with the bid expected to close by the end of this year.

According to Reuters, Morgan Stanley is putting up the money for the acquisition, which will result in Microsemi owning 85 percent of the company.

Notebook shipments on the rise

Posted: 19 Oct 2015 06:21 AM PDT

Lenovo shopfrontThere are further signs that shipments of notebooks are looking up.

According to Digitimes Research, worldwide shipments grew in September after six months of stagnation.

The market research outfit said that the introduction of Intel "Skylake" processors and demand for Windows 10 accounted for the growth. Sales, of course, are not the same as shipments.

But although worldwide notebook shipments were up by six percent sequentially in the third quarter, compared to the same quarter last year there was a fall of 9.1 percent.

Apple showed real growth during the third quarter, compared to the Wintel vendors.

Lenovo and HP both saw 10 percent sequential growth in the quarter, but the same was not true for Asustek which saw a sequential decline in the third quarter.

Chromebooks haven't apparently continued their momentum in the third quarter of this year. Last week, rival market research IDC had no good news about notebook shipments in the third quarter.

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