Worker morale highest by far at iPhone maker; HP and IBM below average
Financial analyst UBS and its research offshoot UBS Evidence Lab has polled workers at a number of major tech firms, and found Apple and its enterprise partner IBM at opposite ends of queries about the management, values, culture and business outlook for the companies. In the report, Apple was -- by a significant margin -- the leader in all categories, while IBM came in last in all categories among the seven firms surveyed, said analyst Steven Milunovich.
Options cover finance, retail, telecoms, other sectors
Apple and IBM have unveiled the first iOS apps produced through their partnership announced in July. Available under the "MobileFirst for iOS" banner, the apps target clients in air travel, retail, insurance, banking/finance, government, and telecommunications. Some initial clients include Citi, Air Canada, Sprint, and Banorte.
Company establishing dedicated sales teams, partnering with developers
Apple is engaging in an "aggressive expansion" into the enterprise market, Reuters reports. Sources tell the newswire agency that Apple has hired dedicated sales teams to talk with clients such as Citigroup. Apple is, moreover, said to be working in conjunction with "a dozen or so" developers -- such as ServiceMax and PlanGrid, which develop apps for managing field technicians and sharing construction blueprints, respectively. Apple is reportedly in talks to bring other developers into formal partnerships.
Deal allows IBM to focus on research, GlobalFoundries to produce IBM server chips
IBM is getting out of the chip manufacturing, with the company transferring the bulk of its semiconductor business to GlobalFoundries. However, rather than IBM receiving a large cash influx from selling the chip division, the company is paying GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion over three years, in cash and capital, to take the commercial semiconductor business.
Companies working with 'several large customers' on iOS apps
The Apple-IBM partnership announced in July took about eight months to negotiate, and was not the only arrangement the two corporations considered, according to a new profile of IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. It's not mentioned what other options the companies were considering. IBM's global business executive, Bridget van Kralingen, says reaching the current agreement took "tons of meetings" that were "pretty broad-based," roping in engineering, marketing, and development teams as well as executives.
Lenovo on track to buy IBM server unit for $2.3 billion
IBM has gained a US national security regulatory agency's approval in one of its first steps to sell its server division to Lenovo Group, a Chinese company. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US has deemed that the $2.3 billion dollar sale can continue with little or no risk to US security interests, despite rising conflicts about Internet issues and continued espionage allegations between the nations.
New AppleCare tailored for enterprise, IBM to sell iOS devices with custom apps
[Updated with text from Tim Cook's memo to employees] In a surprise move, Apple and IBM have announced a new partnership that will see the enterprise giant working with the iPhone maker to bring more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions to the iOS platform as native apps for iPhone and iPad, as well as see IBM selling and leasing iOS devices pre-loaded with industry-specific solutions to its business clients. The exclusive deal also includes new AppleCare service and support plans tailored for enterprise, and IBM enterprise cloud services optimized for iOS.
Meant to insure small suppliers get paid on-time
A variety of US businesses including Apple, IBM, and Coca-Cola have agreed to sign on to an Obama administration initiative dubbed SupplierPay. The program is a private-sector mirror of QuickPay, a federal effort to ensure that smaller contractors are paid within 15 days of issuing an invoice. Under SupplierPay, private firms are expected to pay smaller parts suppliers quickly.
Five year investment in research to look at 'seven nanometer technology and beyond'
IBM announced today that it is re-committing itself to the computer landscape, as the company intends to spend $3 billion on research into future chip technologies. Over the next five years, Big Blue will invest in two "broad research and early stage development programs" in search of an innovation in the field. The shift in strategy comes at a time when the company was rumored to be selling off its chip manufacturing business.
Google Glass, partnerships among cited reasons
Google has replaced Apple as the world's top brand, according to market research firm Millward Brown. In the company's latest annual Top BrandZ report, Google's brand value surged 40 percent to $158.84 billion. "Google has been extremely innovative this year with Google Glass, investments in artificial intelligence and a range of partnerships," writes Benoit Tranzer, the head of Millward Brown France. "All these activities send a very strong signal to consumers about the essence of Google."
New technology can be up to 275 times faster than conventional flash memory
IBM has shown what it says is the replacement for NAND flash found in this generation of SSDs. In conjunction with the University of Patras in Greece, IBM has unveiled the Theseus Project -- the first attempt to combine the new phase-change memory technology, NAND, and DRAM on a single controller. If successful, the new technology could be up to 275 times faster than current PCI-e based SSDs.
New organization to fund open source projects that have wide importance
The Linux Foundation today announced it has formed a new project to fund and support critical elements of the global information infrastructure, namely OpenSSL. The newly-formed Core Infrastructure Initiative enables technology companies to collaboratively identify and fund open-source projects that are in need of assistance, while allowing the developers to continue their work under open-source community norms. Founding backers of the Initiative include Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Rackspace, VMware and The Linux Foundation.
Patent purchase to end legal dispute leaves Twitter with 956 patents in total
Twitter paid a hefty sum to acquire a collection of patents from IBM, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing reveals. The January payment, which saw Twitter take ownership of 900 patents, was worth $36 million and also ceased the legal action brought against the micro-blogging firm for alleged patent infringement, though it will certainly not be the last it faces.
Sale or partnership considered for poorly performing IBM department
According to sources familiar with the matter, IBM is pondering a sale of its semiconductor manufacturing facilities and business. The poorly-performing unit makes chips for IBM's own servers, as well as a limited amount of chips for other companies, with the major consumer of the chips being Nintendo, which uses POWER chips in its current Wii-U console.
IBM patent buy by Twitter follows similar acquisitions by Google, Facebook
Twitter has acquired over 900 patents from IBM, with the two companies also agreeing to a patent cross-licensing deal, IBM has announced. Occurring in December and only just being announced today, the agreement also puts to an end a patent lawsuit by IBM, accusing Twitter of infringing on three patents before the micro-blogging service filed its IPO.
Approximately 7,500 IBM employees to transfer to Lenovo
Chinese notebook producer Lenovo is taking on IBM's x86 server business, with the $2.3 billion deal funded by $2 billion in cash and the remainder in Lenovo stock, the company has confirmed. Though not a customer-facing purchase, the acquisition of the server line represents a second major transfer from IBM to Lenovo, following the sale of IBM's PC business and Thinkpad line to the company in 2005.
Cloud-based service to provide intelligent backbone to customer queries
IBM is working on a cloud service based of Watson, its natural language processing and information retrieval system, for use by other developers. The service will allow developers to pay for time on the supercomputer, allowing for apps and services to use its "cognitive computing" technology for commercial purposes, such as answering queries within smartphone apps.
Legal dispute noted in IPO filings
In an amended S-1 filing with the SEC, Twitter has revealed that it has been threatened with a patent-infringement lawsuit by IBM. In a letter sent to the former ahead of its IPO, IBM accused the company of violating US Patent No. 6,957,224: "Efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators," No. 7,072,849: "Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service," and No. 7,099,862: "Programmatic discovery of common contacts."
Amazon to build private cloud
Amazon has reportedly won a legal battle with IBM over a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency. The companies have been competing for a ten-year agreement to help the agency build and manage a large-scale private cloud network for data-mining operations.
Customers have until October 15 to migrate data to other cloud hosts
Cloud provider Nirvanix has announced that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company, with deep ties to IBM and Dell, has given customers with hosted data until October 15 to move data or face permanent loss. The shutdown affects a large swath of the tech industry, with the company's largest creditors being IT firm Salesforce, CA-owned Nimsoft, analyst firm Gartner, and Dell Marketing.
Move by Ministry of Public Security response to PRISM, Huawei allegations
In what is likely retribution for both the US government investigating Huawei and the recent PRISM surveillance program leaks, China's Ministry of Public Security are looking into US firms IBM, Oracle, and EMC for potential security problems, reports the state-run Shanghai Securities News. The three companies are the latest in a series of investigations by various agencies within China looking at how both Chinese-national and international businesses act within the country.
Five company coalition allowed to fabricate Power-based chips
IBM, Google, and other tech companies have banded together to license and improve IBM's "Power" chip line. The new OpenPower Consortium has been formed by the pair, plus Israel-based Mellanox Technologies, Taiwan company Tyan Computer Corp, and Nvidia. As part of the agreement, the manufacturing companies in the consortium will be allowed to fabricate Power chips for sale and use in "servers, networking, and storage devices."
New server continues PowerPC processor lineage
IBM is accelerating its Linux on Power initiative with a new high-performance PowerLinux server as well as new software and middleware applications. The new PowerLinux 7R4 server, built on the same Power Systems platform running IBM's Watson cognitive computing solution has been released, as well as new versions of IBM Cognos Business Intelligence and EnterpriseDB database software, optimized for the new hardware.
Layoffs part of $1 billion restructuring effort
IBM yesterday commenced layoffs in the US, with a round of 1,300 people now looking for work. The move begins IBM's previously announced global restructuring plan that began in April after bad first quarter financial results. The restructuring is expected to cost the company $1 billion worldwide, including severance expenses and other one-time charges related to the layoffs.
Company's growth rate slips
Apple remains in first place on an annual BrandZ ranking of the world's most valuable brands, notes MarketingWeek. Apple's brand is estimated to be worth $185.071 billion, putting it well ahead of next-closest rivals Google ($113.669 billion) and IBM ($112.536 billion). Other companies in the top 10 include McDonald's, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Microsoft, Marlboro, Visa, and China Mobile.
IBM server segment could fetch $4.5 billion
Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo may be heading back to IBM for yet another purchase, as Bloomberg reports that the company is in talks with IBM to buy its server business. The deal, still very much in the formative stages, could see Lenovo paying between $2.5 and $4.5 billion for IBM's server division, depending on what is included. A source close to the negotiations says an agreement on the deal could be weeks away.
Shutdown of AMD, Cell-based supercomputer despite #22 ranking
The Los Alamos National Laboratory is shutting down its Roadrunner supercomputer, after deeming it too energy inefficient. Constructed by IBM in 2008, the five-year-old supercomputer was at one point the fastest in the world after achieving a speed exceeding one petaflop: one million billion calculations per second.
Facebook updates Android app in UK with VoIP access
Facebook has updated the Android version of its Messenger app in the United Kingdom, enabling Voice over IP (VoIP) calls in the country. The new version comes just days after the same update appeared on the iOS version for the UK, with users being able to place calls to other Messenger users by tapping the "i" button then "Free Call." The unannounced Android update has taken place in a much shorter time-span than the two-months seen when the feature first rolled out in the US and Canada.
Google, Amazon fill out top three
For a sixth year in a row, Apple has claimed the top position in Fortune's annual World's Most Admired Companies list. The chart is based on a poll of executives. "Apple has had a rough time lately with its stock price in a free fall and the widely publicized failure of its Maps feature," Fortune writes. "However, it remains a financial juggernaut, posting $13 billion in net income last quarter, making it the most profitable company in the world during that period. The company has its fanatical customer base, and it still refuses to compete on price, making the iconic iPhone and iPad products that are still widely seen as prestige devices. Competition may be stiff, but so far it remains behind: In Q4 2012, the iPhone 5 was the world's best selling smartphone, followed in second place by the iPhone 4S."
Major tech companies wield influence on American government
Google increased the amount it spent on lobbying the US government 90 percent year-over-year in 2012, according to data compiled by Fortune. The company ended up spending $18.22 million, easily beating out any other American technology firm. Microsoft, in fact, came in second place with $8.09 million, despite likewise increasing its spending. Other major tech businesses that funneled more money toward lobbying last year included HP, Facebook, and Amazon.
Migration away from hardware buoys IBM stock, net worth
IBM announced its fourth-quarter 2012 diluted earnings on Tuesday. The IT services company revealed earnings of $5.13 per share, compared with diluted earnings of $4.62 per share in the fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of 11 percent. Fourth-quarter net income was $5.8 billion compared with $5.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of six percent. Total revenues for the fourth quarter of 2012 of $29.3 billion decreased one percent from the fourth quarter of 2011.
Knowledge system to be used to diagnose patients
Cleveland Clinic and IBM are to work together to implement Watson's Deep Question Answering technology in a medical capacity. Researchers will work with Watson and medical students to improve the system's knowledge, as well as to find any challenges that could appear when putting such a technology to real-world use.
Efficiency improvements to make Siri-competitor possible
IBM is looking to bring the technology that powers Watson to smartphones. The technology giant says that advances in both battery power and computing efficiency make it possible to bring a new version of the smart computer, dubbed Watson 2.0, to mobile handsets within the coming years. The new version will bring the voice recognition capabilities the system is already known for, but IBM is also looking to add more senses to the technology, allowing Watson to recognize images as well.
Purchase will shore up IBM's social offerings
IBM announced today that it was purchasing human resources software company Kenexa. The computing and enterprise services will pay $1.3 billion in cash to acquire Kenexa, which supplies an array of services aimed at aiding in employee recruitment, retention, and development. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the deal is likely to help IBM as it competes against other enterprise technology players such as Oracle and Salesforce.
Weak revenue, but outperforms expectations
In its quarterly financial statement today, IBM announced solid quarterly profits that outperformed Wall Street expectations, making for 29 consecutive quarters the company has met or exceeded investor predictions. IBM's report carried a note of caution, as its revenues underperformed versus investor expectations, due to lower hardware sales and troubles in some markets. Still, as The New York Times reports, the company maintained its streak of reliability, and shares in the company have risen four percent today on beliefs that its profitability streak will continue unabated.
IBM system uses 98,000 nodes, 1.5 million cores
A supercomputer in the United States tops the list of the world's top 500 for the first time since November 2009. Sequoia, an IBM Blue Gene/Q system installed by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for the Department of Energy, clocked in at 16.32 sustained petaflops during tests, 50 percent more powerful than the second place “K Computer” in Japan.
Toshiba brings Smart Client Manager to newly updated business notebooks
Toshiba's Digital Products Division has just unveiled four new business notebooks, each benefitting from Intel's latest Ivy Bdrige, or third-generation Core-series processors. The newcomers include the Portégé Z930 ultrabook, 13.3-inch Portégé R930, 14-inch Tecra R940 and 15.6-inch Tecra R950. All get a newly developed Toshiba Smart Client Manager that's powered by Tivoli from IBM.
Technology considered corporate security threat
Siri, the voice command system on the iPhone 4S, is being blocked on IBM's internal networks, the company's CIO has revealed. Jeanette Horan mentioned the fact in an interview with MIT's Technology Review this week. The core issue involves the way Siri translates speech; rather than performing the task on a phone, it uploads recordings to Apple servers, where the speech is deciphered before results are sent back. Accompanying this is user data, such as the names of people in Contacts, since the information is needed to interpret some requests.
Second year in top spot for iPhone maker
Apple has maintained its lead over other companies in the Millward Brown 2012 Brandz study. This marks the second year at the top for Apple, increasing their brand value from $153 billion to $182 billion, while previous branding leader Google slips behind IBM to third place. The study covers brand value as a perceptual worth independent from any financial undertakings, instead of market capitalization as typically used by financial analysts.
Would continue global R&D expansion
Apple is one of several parties in talks with Russia's Skolkovo technology park about possible research and development facilities there, according to local publication Izvestia. Other interested companies are said to include Google and Facebook; agreements are reportedly already in place for firms such as Microsoft, IBM, General Electric, and Cisco. Skolkovo's organizers are said to be aiming at making the park a Russian equivalent of Silicon Valley.
Microsoft backs CISPA bill to the end
Microsoft in a statement Monday clung to a firm stance on the proposed CISPA bill. The firm told The Hill that, despite having said it wanted to "honor the privacy" of users, it wanted the bill to continue forward. It would "look forward" to working with the Senate on the bill.
HP's South Korean offices raided by the FTC
Korea's Fair Trade Commission raided HP's Seoul office on Friday as part of an investigation into the company's alleged price-fixing practices, The Korea Times reported. Employees were questioned and computer records as well as documents were ceased during the raid. Other companies that are said to be involved in the scheme include IBM and Oracle.
ZTE contract for embargoed US gear to Iran found
China's second biggest telecommunications gear maker ZTE was found to have sold embargoed US computer equipment to Iran. A Tuesday Reuters report claimed that documents show ZTE sold some computer gear as part of a $10.5 million supply contract to a unit that controls Iranian telecoms. The documents are dated June 30, 2011 and explain how Iran got sophisticated US hardware despite sanctions against such transactions.
IBM, ASTRON join forces on ultimate supercomputer
A newly announced collaboration between ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, and IBM aims to research the world's most powerful exascale supercomputer to study space. Once built, the supercomputer will be used in the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which is an effort to build the largest and most sensitive radio telescope that will involve millions of antennas to be built across 3,000 kilometers (about 1,860 miles), likely to be in Australia or South Africa and due to be completed by 2024. The joint effort, dubbed DOME, will initially span over five years and represents a 32.9 million euro ($43.8 million) investment.
Facebook rumored to have bought 750 IBM patents
Facebook has bought 750 patents from IBM in order to be better protected against patent infringement lawsuits, Bloomberg was told by a purported source close to the affair. The deal isn't yet public, but the patents were said to cover software and networking technologies, among others. Its purchase was almost certainly triggered by Yahoo's recent lawsuit against the social network over web patents.
IBM shows off optical chipset prototype in LA
At the Optical Fiber Communication Conference in LA, IBM will talk about its latest prototype optical chipset that is the first to reach one terabit per second data speeds. Dubbed Holey Optochip, it's eight times faster than modern optical components, and IBM compares its total bandwidth to 100,000 users at common 10Mbps Internet access speeds. The chip was made by fabricating 48 holes through a standard silicon CMOS chip.
Intel Xeon E5-2600 given official arrival
Intel ended one of the longest waits for one of its processors in recent memory on Tuesday by launching and detailing the Xeon E5-2600. Its mid-range server and workstation chip is a superset of the much newer Sandy Bridge-E architecture and can carry a full eight cores (up from six) and handle a much larger 768GB memory ceiling. The extra cores, along with a shrink from 45 to 32 nanometers and new AVX support, should make it about 80 percent faster than the Xeon 5600 it replaces.
Tremendous profits cited
Apple has claimed first place in the 2012 Fortune list of the World's Most Admired Companies. The achievement is a fifth in a row for Apple, with the company this year getting a score of 8.42. "To say it was another big year for Apple would be a gross understatement. With the passing of Steve Jobs, questions swirled around the company’s future. But under new CEO Tim Cook’s guidance, Apple continues to prosper," Fortune writes.
Research brings quantum computers one step closer
Scientists at IBM labs have established three new records in the field of quantum computing, bringing the reality of a practical, full-scale quantum computer one step closer. The researchers discovered new methods for for reducing errors due to quantum decoherence in elementary computations and retaining the integrity of quantum mechanical properties. The researchers will present their results at the annual American Physical Society meeting taking place February 27-March 2, 2012 in Boston.
Microsoft adds John W. Thompson to board
Microsoft revealed on Monday that it has brought John Thompson onto its board of directors, reinstating it to its full 10 members once again. Thompson is the CEO of Virtual Instruments and was once chairman and CEO of Symantec. He also served at IBM, in the sales, marketing, and software development divisions as well as being the general manager of IBM Americas.