|Day's range||4.3500 - 4.3500|
Nov.01 -- IBM Vice President of People and Culture Obed Louissaint discusses results of the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab report on ‘The Future of Work,” examining technology’s impact on the U.S. workforce. He speaks with Bloomberg’s Alix Steel on "Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas."
(Bloomberg) -- In a rare show of public support, Palantir Technologies Inc.’s co-founder and chairman Peter Thiel pitched the power of the data-mining company during a splashy Tokyo event marking its formal entry into Asia.The billionaire entrepreneur was in Japan Monday to unveil a $150 million, 50-50 joint venture with local financial services firm Sompo Holdings Inc., Palantir Technologies Japan Co. The new company will target government and public sector customers, emphasizing health and cybersecurity initially. Like IBM Corp. and other providers, Palantir’s software pulls together a range of data provided by its customers, mining it for patterns and displaying connections in easy-to-read spiderweb-like graphics that might otherwise get overlooked.“We can learn a lot from Japan, that some of the challenges that Japan has with its aging population are the ones all countries of the West are going to have in the years ahead,” Thiel said at a briefing in Tokyo. “We hoped this can be a two-way exchange.”The push into Asia comes at a critical time for the 15-year-old company. Despite having long-term, billion-dollar contracts with BP Plc., Merck KGaA and others in more than a dozen countries worldwide, Palantir has never turned an annual profit. Under the leadership of Thiel and the management of Chief Executive Officer Alex Karp, Palantir has long emphasized engineering over sales and revenue, a focus that has shifted only this year.The company has not set a date for an initial public offering and continues to explore raising additional funding from private investors. Palantir spokeswoman Lisa Gordon told Bloomberg there are no formal conversations underway and disputed reports that Palantir is considering a deal with Softbank Group Corp. or that the company is seeking as much as $3 billion in funding at a $30 billion valuation.Valuation is a touchy subject for the Silicon Valley company. Although private investors valued Palantir in 2015 at more than $20 billion, aggressive markdowns by mutual funds and an uncertain IPO timeline have taken a toll. Palantir’s valuation has continued to tumble, with shares trading around $5 a share during the past month, according to data from secondary markets.Palantir is very close to breaking even and will end 2019 either slightly in the black or slightly in the red, Thiel said at the briefing. The company will be “significantly in the black” next year, he added.“The judgment call Palantir has made, as have many other companies in Silicon Valley post 2000, is it is often much better to build businesses in private,” Thiel said. “There is some day in the future when Palantir will go public, but we will try to stay private as long as possible.”Palantir’s public image has taken a beating in recent years. It’s attracted scrutiny from privacy advocates and protesters disturbed by the way Palantir’s software has been used by state and local law enforcement in the U.S., as well as by federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security while implementing the controversial family separation policy at the U.S. Mexican border.Thiel himself has been a lightning rod for criticism, having helped the election of U.S. President Donald Trump in 2016, a divisive decision even within Palantir. That critique could intensify given he has pledged to support Trump’s 2020 re-election.“I envision supporting President Trump over his likely Democratic nominees,” Thiel said in Tokyo, adding he will determine the exact nature of his support as elections approach.(Updates with comments from news briefing from the third paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at email@example.com;Lizette Chapman in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Amazon is protesting the Pentagon's decision to award Microsoft a $10 billion DoD contract.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In a landmark paper published in 1950, the mathematician Alan Turing proposed the eponymous Turing Test to decide whether a computer can demonstrate human-like intelligence. To pass the test, the computer must fool a human judge into believing it’s a person after a five-minute conversation conducted via text. Turing predicted that by the year 2000, a computer would be able to convince 30% of human judges; that criterion became a touchstone of artificial intelligence.Although it took a bit longer than Turing predicted, a Russian chatbot presenting itself as a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy named Eugene Goostman was able to dupe 33% of judges in a competition held in 2014. Perhaps the cleverest aspect of the machine’s design was that its teenage disguise made it more likely that people would excuse its broken grammar and general silliness. Nevertheless, the strategy of misdirection comes across as transparent and superficial in conversations the chatbot had with skeptical journalists — so much so that one marvels not at the computer’s purported intelligence, but at the gullibility of the judges. Sadly, conquering the Turing Test has brought us no closer to solving AI's big problems.Last month, quantum computing achieved its own controversial milestone. This field aims to harness the laws of quantum mechanics to revolutionize computing. Classical computers rely on memory units called bits that encode either zero or one, so a state of the memory is a sequence of zeros and ones. Quantum computers, by contrast, use qubits, each of which encodes a “combination” of zero and one. In a quantum computer, multiple qubits interact, which means that each of the exponentially(1) many sequences of bits is represented simultaneously.The key question is whether this strange power can be exploited to perform computations that are beyond the reach of classical computers. Demonstrating even one such computation, however contrived, would lead to “quantum supremacy” — a term coined by physicist John Preskill of the California Institute of Technology in 2012. By this standard, Google appears to have achieved quantum supremacy. Specifically, the company said in October that its team used a 53-qubit quantum computer to generate random sequences of bits, which depend on controlled interactions between its qubits. By Google’s calculations it would take 10,000 years to carry out the same task using classical computation.(2) There is no doubt that controlling a 53-qubit quantum computer is a feat of science and engineering. As Preskill put it, “the recent achievement by the Google team bolsters our confidence that quantum computing is merely really, really hard,” rather than being “ridiculously hard.”As long as Google’s quantum computer works as intended, however, its dominance isn’t surprising — because the competition is rigged. It’s a bit like building a robotic hand that flips coins according to given parameters (such as, totally off the top of my head, the angle between the normal to the coin and the angular momentum vector), and then challenging a classical computer to generate sequences of heads and tails that obey the same laws of physics. This robot hand would perform astounding feats of coin-flipping but wouldn’t be able to do kindergarten arithmetic — and neither can Google’s quantum computer.It’s unclear, therefore, whether quantum supremacy is a meaningful milestone in the quest to build a useful quantum computer. To mention just one major obstacle (there are several), reliable quantum computing requires error correction. The catch is that quantum error correction protocols themselves demand fairly reliable qubits — and lots of them.In some ways, quantum supremacy is akin to iconic AI milestones like the Turing Test, or IBM’s chess victory over Gary Kasparov in 1997, which was also an engineering tour de force. These achievements demonstrate specialized capabilities and garner widespread attention, but their impact on the overarching goals of their respective fields may ultimately be limited.The danger is that excessive publicity creates inflated expectations of an imminent revolution in computing, despite measured commentary from experts. AI again provides historical precedent: The field has famously gone through several AI winters — decades in which talent fled and research funding ran dry — driven in large part by expectations that failed to materialize.Quantum computing research started three decades after AI, in the 1980s, and experienced a burst of excitement following the invention in 1994 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology mathematician Peter Shor of a quantum algorithm that would, in theory, crush modern cryptography. But eventually the dearth of, well, quantum computers caught up with quantum computing, and by 2005 the field was experiencing a massive downturn. The current quantum spring started only a few years ago; its signs include a surge of academic research as well as major investments by governments and tech giants like Alphabet Inc., International Business Machines Corp. and Intel Corp.Quantum computing and AI are two distinct fields — despite what whoever came up with the name Google AI Quantum would have you believe — and what is true for one isn't necessarily true for the other. But quantum computing can learn from AI's much longer career as an alternatively overhyped and underappreciated field. I am tempted to say that the chief lesson is “winter is coming,” but it is actually this: the pursuit of artificial milestones is a double-edged blade.(1) I am reminded of a mathematician’s plea to stop abusing the word “exponentially”; here I am using it in a way he would approve of.(2) The calculation was credibly disputed by IBM, but both companies agree that quantum computers are vastly more efficient than classical computers at this particular task.To contact the author of this story: Ariel Procaccia at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Ariel Procaccia is an associate professor in the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University. His areas of expertise include artificial intelligence, theoretical computer science and algorithmic game theory.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Technology company IBM said on Thursday it will launch a new weather forecasting system which will be able to predict conditions up to 12 hours in advance and cover parts of the world which have not had access to such detailed data. Demand for very precise and quicker weather forecasts has grown as more extreme conditions increase due to climate change and as more variable renewable energy goes to the grid. The system, known as IBM GRAF - the Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting System - will run on a supercomputer and provide more detailed and higher quality forecasts.
(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. and Salesforce.com Inc. are connecting more of their software and Salesforce will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud for part of its business, a thaw in a relationship that grew chilly several years ago when both companies pursued the same acquisition. The agreement, to connect some of Salesforce’s software with Microsoft’s Teams corporate chat and use Azure for Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud, expands an existing strategic relationship forged in the early days of Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella’s tenure. But the relationship grew strained in 2016 after Microsoft beat Salesforce to acquire LinkedIn and Salesforce complained to European regulators about the deal. The two companies have not announced any partnerships since. Microsoft and Salesforce compete for customers who want cloud-based software programs for customer management. Nadella, who once ran that business for Microsoft, has invested more effort into bolstering his company’s products in that area. The LinkedIn purchase was a key part of that plan, and Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff was said to have been angered at Microsoft’s actions. Still the two companies, among the biggest makers of cloud-based corporate applications, have many areas in which they can cooperate and Microsoft wants to lure large technology company customers to Azure, which trails cloud-computing market leader Amazon.com Inc. As part of the deal, Salesforce will connect its Sales Cloud and Service Cloud with Microsoft’s Teams, the companies said Thursday in a statement. Teams is trying to gain customers from rival Slack Technologies Inc. Salesforce had previously run Marketing Cloud on its internal systems, but uses other cloud providers for different parts of its business. The San Francisco-based company has leveraged infrastructure cloud deals as a way to sweeten partnerships. In 2017, as part of a tie-up with Alphabet Inc. to connect Google Analytics to Salesforce programs, Salesforce said it would host some of its core services on Google Cloud Platform as it expands globally—calling Google a “preferred public cloud provider.” The following year, Salesforce dubbed International Business Machines Corp. a "preferred cloud services provider" as part of an alliance to use IBM’s artificial intelligence with Salesforce software. It also does business with Amazon Web Services.Microsoft and Salesforce's deepening partnership in some areas comes amid greater competition between the companies elsewhere. Salesforce said in June it would pay more than $15 billion to buy Tableau Software Inc., a maker of analytics programs. Tableau and Microsoft compete in the market for business intelligence software. To contact the authors of this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.orgNico Grant in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Pollack at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alistair BarrJillian WardFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. is sending representatives to a series of meetings with Pentagon officials Wednesday to discuss how companies can contribute to the military’s work on artificial intelligence, according to a list of participants reviewed by Bloomberg. Microsoft is the only Big Tech company set to attend the event, which is likely to draw objections from employees and protesters who have broad concerns about the use of AI for military purposes.About 140 companies and organizations are on the list of attendees, which includes Boeing Co., International Business Machines Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. Anduril Industries Inc., a new startup from former Facebook Inc. executive Palmer Luckey, will also be there. The defense contractor began working this year on Project Maven, a technology unit of the Pentagon whose official name is the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team.For the last two years, Maven has been at the center of a contentious public debate over the technology industry’s willingness to help build military technology. The project uses computer vision software to automatically analyze footage gathered by U.S. military drones. Google, an early participant in Maven, said last summer it would stop working on the project, following protests from employees who said the work strayed too closely to autonomous weaponry. Employees at Clarifai, a small computer vision startup, also objected to Maven, although that company continued to work on the project. It is on the list of attendees for this week’s meetings, which are co-hosted by Maven officials.Wednesday’s event is billed as an “AI Industry Day,” and the stated goal is to develop AI technology to assist soldiers in the field. The government said it is particularly interested in facial recognition, natural language processing, social media data and drone footage.Microsoft has made significant inroads with its military business over the last year. It won a contract a year ago worth as much as $480 million to build combat-ready versions of its HoloLens augmented reality headsets. Last month, it also won a $10 billion contract called Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, to build cloud computing infrastructure for the Defense Department.Both contracts inspired criticism from Microsoft employees who said they hadn’t signed up to build weaponry. The company’s executives have consistently said they would not step back from working with the U.S. military. In a meeting with employees the week after the company won the JEDI contract, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said he respected dissenting opinions but that the company had always been unambiguous about its military work, according to a person who attended and asked not to be identified discussing a private event. A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment. Microsoft’s ties to government work have caused controversy in other areas, too. Workers at Microsoft’s GitHub unit have asked the company to cancel a contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. On Wednesday morning, a group of protesters gathered at a GitHub conference in San Francisco to draw attention to the issue.The Defense Department has put increasing focus on AI in recent years. It sees the technology as key to geopolitical competition with China. But building it has come with challenges. U.S. officials have spoken openly about tensions in the military’s relationship with tech companies.“Some employees in the tech industry see no compelling reason to work with the Department of Defense,” Lieutenant General Jack Shanahan, the head of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, said at an event last week. Their reluctance, he said, often came from the government’s inability to adapt to the pace of the private sector: “We don’t make it easy for them.”(Updates with GitHub protests in the seventh paragraph.)To contact the author of this story: Joshua Brustein in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Milian at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Company INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION TIDM IBM Headline Notification of filing of document The Corporation's current report on Form 8-K dated [Nov. 12, 2019] was filed with the United States Securities Exchange Commission and in Luxembourg with the Luxembourg Stock Exchange as the officially appointed mechanism for the central storage of regulated information and with the CSSF on [Nov. 12, 2019]. The report is available at www.sec.gov and www.bourse.lu.
The IBM (IBM) board of directors has elected Thomas Buberl to the board, effective April 28, 2020. Mr. Buberl, 46, is the chief executive officer of AXA S.A. Headquartered in Paris, France, AXA is one of the world’s largest global insurance firms. Since becoming CEO in September 2016, Mr. Buberl has been leading AXA through a digital transformation, accelerating business innovation and leveraging data to meet customers’ rapidly evolving needs in the digital world.
Today we're going to take a look at the well-established International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM). The...
(Bloomberg) -- When it comes to many of Apple Inc.'s latest services, iPhone users in China are missing out. Podcast choices are paltry. Apple TV+ is off the air. News subscriptions are blocked, and Arcade gaming is nowhere to be found.For years, Apple made huge inroads in the world's most populous nation with hardware that boasted crisp displays, sleek lines and speedy processors. It peddled little of the content that boxed U.S. internet giants Google and Facebook Inc. out of the country. But now that Apple is becoming a major digital services provider, it’s struggling to avoid the fate of its rivals. Apple services such as the App Store, digital books, news, video, podcasts and music, put the company in the more precarious position of information provider (or at least overseer), exposing it to a growing online crackdown by China’s authoritarian government. “There's a headwind around services there, and it's unclear what services can be available,” said Gene Munster, a veteran Apple analyst and co-founder of Loup Ventures. “It points to an issue with China more broadly with how U.S. companies can operate there, and it will likely remain a headwind on Apple services for a long time."While standard iPhone services like iMessage work in China, many paid offerings that help Apple generate recurring revenue from its devices aren’t available in the country. That includes four new services that Apple announced this year: TV+ video streaming, the Apple Card, Apple Arcade and the News+ subscription. Other well-known Apple services can’t be accessed in the country either, including the iTunes Store, iTunes Movie rentals, Apple Books and the Apple TV and Apple News apps. This is a concern for investors because Apple is relying on services to power future revenue and profit. If the company can’t sell these offerings in the world’s large internet market, it will be harder to keep growing. About 10% of Apple’s services revenue comes from China, while the country accounts for roughly 18% of iPhone sales, according to Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. "The missing puzzle piece for services is China,” he added. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.Older services, such as the App Store, Apple Pay, and Apple Music are available in China. So is iCloud, but, unlike in other countries, it is operated by a local provider backed by the government, giving authorities greater access to Chinese user data. Other Apple apps are in the country, too, but sometimes lack features offered in the rest of the world. When an iPhone owner in mainland China opens Apple’s Podcasts app, the experience is far more limited. Search results turn up a fraction of the podcasts available globally. And Categories, the easy way to find podcasts that fit users’ interests, are nowhere to be found. Over the past year, Apple’s Weather app lost its ability to show air quality index, or AQI, data for Chinese cities — regardless of the user's location. AQI is an important metric given high levels of pollution in many areas of the country. AQI support for China was announced at Apple’s developer conference in June 2016, and users started reporting that the feature stopped consistently showing data for China last year. Recent Bloomberg tests confirmed that the information isn’t available for Chinese cities such as Shanghai, while it continues to work for other supported regions, including the U.S., India and parts of Europe. Air pollution is a sensitive issue for China’s government. It has made sweeping efforts to improve the situation but has also blocked some air-quality information online, including one episode in 2014 that was reported by the Washington Post. AQI data for the Apple Weather app comes from the Weather Channel, a unit of International Business Machines Corp. Apple removed the information for Chinese cities after the Weather Channel changed how it collects the data in the country, according to a person familiar with the situation. The Weather Channel used to get AQI information on the ground in China, but now collects it via satellites, which is less accurate, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations. A spokeswoman for the Weather Channel didn’t respond to a request for comment.Greater China became Apple’s second-largest region in the 2015 fiscal year, generating $59 billion in revenue. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook visits frequently and the company employs about 10,000 people there directly. More than a million other workers assemble Apple products in the country for Foxconn and other Apple manufacturing partners. China’s first major move to limit an Apple service happened in 2008, when the company’s iTunes Music Store was axed in the region. In 2016, iTunes Movies and iBooks, the former name of Apple Books, were blocked in China. This wasn’t so much of an issue when iPhones were selling well and revenue was surging. But more recently, iPhone sales have slowed and the company switched some of its focus to services. This is a $46 billion-a-year business now, and Apple expects it to be a major source of future growth, topping $50 billion a year in 2020. So Apple has a lot more at stake as China continues to crack down on online activity.Apple’s $50 Billion Dilemma: Listen to Bloomberg’s Decrypted podcast here.The App Store, Apple’s most lucrative services business, has been particularly affected in recent years. The company has been forced to remove several apps from the App Store in China, including the New York Times and Quartz news apps. The government’s media control and censorship is likely why Apple's own News app, launched in 2015, is barred. The company’s News+ subscription service, rolled out this year, is not available on Apple devices purchased in China, and the app loses its functionality for users from other countries who travel there. Apple has also pulled hundreds of VPN apps that helped users evade China’s Great Firewall and access banned Western internet services such as Facebook, Google and Twitter. In the second half of last year, Apple removed 634 apps from its App Store due to take-down requests. More than 80% of those were in mainland China, according to Apple’s latest transparency report. Each app that disappears is a lost revenue opportunity. When iPhone and iPad users pay to download apps, Apple takes a 30% cut. And when consumers make in-app purchases or sign up for paid app subscriptions, the company takes a cut too. Last year, the Chinese government slowed down Apple’s ability to approve new video games for the App Store, and this contributed to a sales decline in the region. Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said in January that the issue was “affecting our business.” Apple’s Arcade gaming subscription service would likely be hard to pull off in China given this tortured approval process.On its fiscal fourth-quarter call last week, Cook was more upbeat, saying Apple’s services business in China grew at a “double digit” rate. But his comments showed how much the company relies on China’s government for digital services like this. “We began to see more gaming approvals in the quarter, or I should say some key gaming approvals. It's not all about quantity, but about which ones,” he added. A few weeks earlier, one of Apple’s App Store decisions sparked a rare rebuke from the People’s Daily, a mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party. Apple was excoriated by the newspaper for approving an app called HKmap.live that let users monitor Hong Kong police activity to stay safe in the midst of democracy protests in the city.“People have reason to assume that Apple is mixing business with politics, and even illegal acts. Apple has to think about the consequences of its unwise and reckless decision,” the paper said. “Apple and other corporations should be able to discern right from wrong. They also need to know that only the prosperity of China and China’s Hong Kong will bring them a broader and more sustainable market.”Soon after, Apple removed the app, saying it violated local laws and endangered law enforcement. The paper also said the song “Glory to Hong Kong,” which has become a rallying cry for pro-democracy demonstrators, had reappeared on Apple Music. Soon after, the track was unavailable on Apple’s service, in addition to Spotify. Even Apple’s new TV+ video service has felt the influence of China’s censorship. BuzzFeed recently reported that Apple told show creators to avoid portraying China in a poor light. The TV+ offering launched Nov. 1 in more than 100 countries, but not in China. Apple’s new credit card is only available in the U.S., but would also be a hard sell in China given the dominance of local payment providers like Alipay and WeChat. Still, some analysts are optimistic about the longer-term outlook for Apple services in China. “At some point, it will be economic forces that drive access to Apple services, and that will be a major boon for Apple along with other companies that are currently restricted from access to China,” said Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer at Tigress Financial Partners. “You can only hold back access to information for so long.”Apple’s App Store and other services have so much potential that the company can also keep growing with limited access to Chinese consumers, he added. “They have barely scratched the surface of penetration into their almost 1 billion iPhone installed user base globally, and even if you exclude China, there is still a tremendous market,” Feinseth said. For a few years, Apple highlighted Chinese features when it announced major new versions of its iOS and macOS operating systems. At its 2012 annual conference for software developers, Craig Federighi, Apple’s software engineering chief, said, “It’s going to be important, get your apps ready for China,” during a presentation slide dedicated to new China features. That year, iOS 6 added support for Baidu web search and the micro-blogging service Sina Weibo, in addition to new text-input features. 2013’s iOS 7 came out with a Chinese-English dictionary, handwriting recognition and support for Tencent’s Weibo service. A year later, iOS 8 had turn-by-turn maps for China and the lunar calendar.Apple hasn’t promoted China features as much in recent years, but it is still adding some. iOS 10 in 2016 added the air-quality-index data that have now been removed. The following year, iOS 11 came out with QR code scanning. This year, Apple upgraded that QR feature, improved the handwriting keyboard and added a new Junction View feature to its Maps service for improved local lane guidance on complicated highways. To keep growing in China, Apple will either need to get more of its services up and running in the country or find its next hardware hit beyond the iPhone.“The company still has an opportunity on hardware there, especially for future iPhone models, the AirPods, Apple Watches and other wearables,” Munster said. \--With assistance from Yuan Gao.To contact the author of this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Alistair Barr at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew MartinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Oracle Corp. opened its appeal in a legal challenge of a Pentagon cloud-computing contract valued at as much as $10 billion with a familiar argument: the procurement was unfairly tailored for Amazon.com Inc.In in its opening brief, which was filed on Friday, Oracle said the cloud project violated federal procurement law and was tainted by relationships between former Pentagon officials and Amazon.Oracle is appealing a July ruling from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that dismissed its legal challenge to the cloud contract based on similar claims. At the same time, Amazon is mulling its own potential legal challenge of the project after losing the deal to Microsoft Corp. late last month, Bloomberg News has reported.The legal challenges could revive fresh criticism from industry, lawmakers and analysts of the Pentagon’s handling of the controversial cloud project, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI. The project is designed to consolidate the Defense Department’s cloud computing infrastructure and modernize its technology systems.The department is facing accusations that former employees with ties to Amazon may have structured the deal to favor Amazon and that President Donald Trump may have unfairly intervened in the process against Amazon. Trump has long been at odds with Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post.“As DOD has asserted throughout this litigation, and as confirmed by the court, DOD reasonably evaluated and equally treated all offerors within the framework of a full and open competition,” Elissa Smith, a Department of Defense spokeswoman, said in a statement in response to Oracle’s latest move. She said rulings from the claims court and the Government Accountability Office “validated that DoD followed all the applicable acquisition processes.”Trump Surprise“It is difficult to recall any prior procurement of this scale, value and significance in which two of the four leading competitors had compelling conflicts of interest or bias allegations,” said Steven Schooner, a professor of government procurement law at George Washington University. “This is extraordinary.”Trump surprised the industry earlier this year when he openly questioned whether the contract was being competitively bid, citing complaints from Microsoft, Oracle and International Business Machines Corp.A new book by Guy Snodgrass, a speechwriter to former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, alleges that Trump, in the summer of 2018, told Mattis to “screw Amazon” and lock it out of the bid. Mattis didn’t do what Trump asked, Snodgrass wrote. Mattis has criticized the book.Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer, said during his confirmation hearing last week that to the best of his knowledge, no one from the White House reached out to any members of the JEDI cloud contract selection team.Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Criteria ChallengedFederal Claims Court Senior Judge Eric Bruggink dismissed Oracle’s lawsuit in July, saying the company didn’t meet the criteria for the bid and thus didn’t have the standing to challenge the procurement.The Pentagon eliminated Oracle and IBM as potential bidders in April, leaving Amazon and Microsoft as the final competitors for the contract.In its appeal, Oracle contends that the Pentagon’s minimum requirements for the contract, as well as its decision to pick just one winner, violated federal procurement laws designed to ensure competition. Under the law, two different Pentagon officials are required to offer separate legal justifications for choosing just one vendor for an award of this size.Bruggink said in his July ruling that one of the Pentagon’s legal justifications was “completely reasonable” while acknowledging that the second one “does not fit the contract.”The government has said choosing one winner would reduce security risks and better enable it to consolidate its technology products.Tainted RelationshipsOracle is claiming that the procurement has been marred by conflicts of interest, including ties between former Defense Department officials and Amazon. At least two of the former employees were offered jobs at the company while working on the contract, according to the lawsuit.In one case, Deap Ubhi, who had worked at Amazon before joining the government, helped craft the JEDI procurement for weeks after accepting a job offer in October 2017 from Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud unit, according to the lawsuit. Ubhi had advocated in favor of the Pentagon’s decision to choose just one winner for the JEDI award, the lawsuit said.Bruggink ruled that the conflict of interest allegations “raise eyebrows,” but that the Pentagon’s contracting officer properly determined the relationships had no adverse impact on the integrity of the acquisition process, and that Amazon didn’t gain a substantive advantage as a result.But Oracle’s appeal contends that “JEDI suffers from corruption of a high order” and that the court’s argument that the conflicts of interest had no impact on the procurement “lacks a rational basis.”Separately, the Defense Department’s inspector general has been reviewing potential unethical conduct surrounding the bid, but said there is no reason why the Pentagon can’t move forward with an award.(Updates with Defense Department comment in sixth paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Mark NiquetteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Adobe Inc. announced a slew of products, led by a version of Illustrator for Apple Inc.’s iPad, meant to fortify its position as the leading provider of creative software.Design app Illustrator will come to the iPad in 2020, the San Jose, California-based company said Monday in a statement. Bloomberg News reported last month that Adobe would announce a version of Illustrator for the iPad. Adobe also formally launched Photoshop for iPad, a year after announcing the product. The company introduced the new offerings at its annual creative conference, called Max, in Los Angeles.While many of the applications cater to creative professionals seeking more sophisticated capabilities, Adobe also is trying to expand the appeal of its photo-editing and illustration software to hobbyists. The strategy may boost revenue growth for the Creative Cloud unit. Adobe projected in September that sales growth for its smaller marketing software unit would slow down in the current period, raising pressure on the main creative business.Adobe, founded in 1982, is among the best-performing software companies this decade. Its stock has increased almost ninefold since the beginning of 2012, gaining 23% this year to $277.82 at Friday’s close. Now, the company is revamping major apps for mobile devices amid waning consumer enthusiasm for PCs. The new apps underscore Adobe’s need to deliver software to consumers on whatever devices they use as it tries to fuel continued growth.The announcements Monday are akin to “launching a new version of Creative Cloud for a new era of creativity,” Scott Belsky, chief product officer of Adobe’s Creative Cloud division, said in a blog post.The company said it was eager to get feedback from Illustrator users as it develops a mobile version of the software for the first time.“We’re still in the early stages, but fundamentally, we’re reimagining the Illustrator experience from the ground up to take advantage of the unique capabilities a tablet offers in terms of touch and Apple pencil,” Adobe said in a blog post.The company also revealed a new tool for its XD software interface design app that allows users to collaborate on the same project in real time, called Co-Editing. It’s currently in beta testing. The concept is similar to that of Figma Inc., a creative startup whose main product competes with the XD app.Here are Adobe’s other major announcements:The software maker expanded a partnership with International Business Machines Corp.’s design services arm. The deal lets IBM iX offer design software for business clients built on the Adobe XD platform.Adobe launched an augmented reality software program, called Aero, which it first announced last year at Max.The company updated its Rush mobile video-editing app to share videos directly to viral social media app TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance Inc.To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew Pollack, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- China loves the blockchain, and the blockchain loves it back. Despite the People’s Republic having the least free internet in the world, and a ban on cryptocurrency trading, the Communist Party’s endorsement of the technology last month sent Bitcoin prices soaring almost 30% in a few days.The irony is striking, considering Bitcoin’s anarchic origins. But there’s something broader going on here. The future of digital money is being shaped increasingly by national governments. Politicians are under pressure to make electronic payments more efficient, to neutralize the threat of cryptocurrencies to their sovereignty and to crack down on illicit money flows. None of that is good news for the blockchain’s true believers, however much a Beijing stamp of approval boosts the price of a Bitcoin.States dabbling in blockchain technology, or planning to issue their own digital currencies, isn’t flattery – it’s competition. Some 70% of central banks surveyed by the Bank for International Settlements are examining their options in this area. In places like Sweden, rapidly going cashless, electronic “fiat” money is seen as a path to easier payments. If that works out, stateless crypto coins would lose one of their selling points.The first central bank digital currency could be here within five years, according to International Business Machines Corp. It may be sooner given the political pressure and the financial Cold War between the U.S. and China. President Donald Trump has made clear that Facebook Inc.’s Libra will only get off the ground if it helps the U.S. dollar. Beijing is betting that its own digital currency efforts will help it resist American power. The euro zone thinks similar.So we can assume more competition for the “legacy” cryptocurrencies from state actors. But what about the “crypto” (secret) part of digital money that attracts people? If e-dollars or e-yuan are centrally controlled and monitored (which they most certainly will be), surely that will compel privacy-craving users to stick with Bitcoin and its ilk.Politicians are looking to destroy this competitive advantage for non-state digital currencies by making them less secure. Governments are investing heavily in a technology that could one day — in theory — crack the public-key cryptography underpinning Bitcoin: Quantum computing. The Trump administration has committed $1.2 billion to this endeavor. China is active too.Google Inc.’s recent declaration of “quantum supremacy” doesn’t mean the tech is ready for this task; the author Olivier Ezratty notes that the kind of algorithm needed to crack Bitcoin encryption would demand much more power. But that may be available within a decade.Already simpler tools are shining a light on cryptocurrency transactions by organized crime. Last month blockchain analysis helped U.S. and Korean authorities bring down one of the world’s largest markets for child pornography.Crypto believers hate the idea of losing the cloak of privacy to prying government eyes. But will the general public feel the same? People are happy when states shine a light on the parts of the financial system that allow money laundering and tax-dodging. And if dollars or euros become digital assets issued by central banks, they might look more like the future of money than the power-sucking mining rigs that dominate Bitcoin.In praising the blockchain, governments are out to bury the cryptocurrencies that gave birth to it. “Innovation in blockchain technology does not mean we should speculate in virtual currencies,” the People’s Daily newspaper wrote. Bitcoin fans take note.To contact the author of this story: Lionel Laurent at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Brussels. He previously worked at Reuters and Forbes.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
CyberArk's (CYBR) Q3 earnings might have gained from increasing clientele of its Privileged Account Security offering. However, high expenses are likely to have weighed on margins.
Today we found 5 cheap stocks currently trading for under $20 per share using our Zacks Stock Screener that investors might want to buy heading into November...
All of the allies — who must be senior executives who are not LGBT+ but support LGBT+ inclusion — were nominated by peers and colleagues, or put themselves forward.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Dana Deasy, it’s fair to say, has a sterling reputation as a chief information officer. He first took on that role in 2003 at the age of 44, when he became the CIO of Tyco International Ltd. He has also been the CIO at BP PLC, GM North America, and JPMorgan Chase & Co., where he managed 40,000 technologists before retiring in 2017. He was inducted into the CIO Hall of Fame in 2012 and the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals Hall of Fame in 2013. You get the picture.Since May 2018, Deasy has been the Department of Defense’s CIO. It’s a huge, important job. His group manages cybersecurity for the department and works on artificial intelligence and machine learning. It also works to make sure troops in the field have the data they need at their fingertips. It is in the middle of a desperately-needed digital modernization effort, which includes moving the Defense Department to cloud computing. (Just last week, Forbes reported that the department controlling U.S. land-based nuclear missiles had only recently stopped using 8-inch floppy disks.)Yet on Tuesday morning, at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Deasy found himself, for probably the first time in his career, having to answer questions about the integrity of his office. You see, it was Deasy’s office that last week awarded a $10 billion cloud computing contract to Microsoft Corp. instead of Amazon.com Inc.Amazon’s web services division is far and away the leader in cloud computing and was generally assumed to be the favorite. More importantly, in 2013, Amazon had landed a $600 million contract to build a cloud for the Central Intelligence Agency. It has been working with top secret data for years, and already having proper clearances presumably gave it a leg up over rivals.But, of course, there was one person in the federal government who really didn’t care if Amazon was best for the job. President Donald Trump had made it no secret of that he preferred another company — any other company — to get the contract over Amazon. In his nearly three years in office, Trump has frequently gone after Amazon, presumably because its chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos, also owns the Washington Post, a paper Trump loathes.The Defense Department contract was originally supposed to be awarded in August. But shortly before the expected announcement, Trump weighed in. “I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon,” Trump told reporters. The contract hadn’t been competitively bid and the terms were stacked in Amazon’s favor, he complained.(We also now know, thanks to a new biography(2) of former Defense Secretary James Mattis, that Trump directed him to “screw Amazon” out of the contract in the summer of 2018. Mattis told those making the decision to ignore Trump’s directive.)Then, in late September, the White House asked the new defense secretary, Mike Esper, “to review the contract after President Trump expressed concerns that the award would go to Amazon,” as the Washington Post put it. The Post reported on October 22 that Esper had recused himself from the review because, he said, his son worked for one of the bidders, International Business Machines Corp. (IBM had already been eliminated, however.) Four days later, the Defense Department announced that Microsoft had won the contract.Is this starting to sound familiar? Think back to some of the moves by the Justice Department’s antitrust division under Trump: It tried to bust up AT&T Inc.’s merger with Time Warner Inc. while letting the merger of the Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox Inc. sail through. It stretches credulity to believe that it is purely a coincidence that Time Warner’s CNN unit is another media outlet Trump hates while Fox is owned by Trump’s biggest media ally, Rupert Murdoch.More recently, the antitrust division embarked on a truly ludicrous investigation of auto companies that chose to side with California in its dispute with the Trump administration over auto emissions.Americans need to have faith that federal agencies are acting without bias — and especially that they are not doing the bidding of a president who wants to weaponize the agencies to harm his enemies and reward his friends. It’s hard to have that faith with Trump in charge.And so it is when looking at the Defense Department contract. Maybe because of his prior reputation Deasy didn’t face harsh questioning, but a few Democrats did ask the operative question: Did the president’s desire to keep Amazon from getting the contract play a role in the decision?Not surprisingly, Deasy said no. The team evaluating the bids were kept anonymous so no one could influence them, he insisted. “Never in my discussions with the deputy secretary of defense or the secretary of defense…did I divulge who the awardee was,” he said in the hearing. “To the best of my knowledge,” he added, “no one from the White House contacted any member of the source selection team.” The Democrats at the hearing seemed mollified by his response. But they’ll never really know. Nor will the country.There is a decent likelihood that Amazon will try to get the decision reversed, either by appealing to the General Accounting Office or by going to court. Whether or not Trump was involved, the perception that he was will be a key part of Amazon’s appeal.And yet another federal agency will see its reputation stained by that perception — whether it’s true or not. (1) The book is titled, “Holding the Line:Inside Trump’s Pentagon with Secretary Mattis.”To contact the author of this story: Joe Nocera at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Timothy L. O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joe Nocera is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He has written business columns for Esquire, GQ and the New York Times, and is the former editorial director of Fortune. His latest project is the Bloomberg-Wondery podcast "The Shrink Next Door."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The collaboration between the two companies brings together IBM's capabilities with the Samsung Galaxy ecosystem for today's enterprise customers. "The mobile industry is undergoing a dramatic transformation and opening up new ways of business by bringing innovative technologies like 5G, AI and IoT to enterprises," said DJ Koh, President and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications Division, Samsung Electronics.
The IBM board of directors today declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $1.62 per common share, payable December 10, 2019 to stockholders of record November 8, 2019.