Good morning, CIOs. Your budgets are rising. So says the Oracle in Redwood Shores. Spending on enterprise information technology is set to accelerate, fueled by U.S. corporate tax cuts, global economic gains and a backlog of aging corporate IT systems that need to be replaced, Oracle Corp. co-Chief Executive Mark Hurd said Monday at an event in New York. The current spending cycle will bring real change to the way companies do business. CIO Journal’s Angus Loten has the story.
Eighty percent cloud. “Mr. Hurd said, by 2025, 80% of all enterprise applications will run in the cloud, while the number of corporate-owned data centers will decline by 80%. Last year alone, he said, 15% of all data centers in the U.S. closed, up from 12% the previous year. Oracle on Monday announced plans to expand the number of its data centers globally, to keep pace with growing demand for cloud services.”
In a nutshell, robots. “Oracle said that it will expand the machine learning and autonomous capabilities in its Autonomous Database to its broader platform-as-a-service offerings,” ZDNet’s Larry Dignan reports. “In a nutshell, Oracle Autonomous Cloud Platform will aim to automate patching, tuning and even data integration across its portfolio. Oracle’s return on investment pitch is that its autonomous platform frees up technology talent for higher-value tasks,” he says.
Equifax hires Jamil Farshchi as CISO. Mr. Farshchi was previously CISO at Home Depot Inc. and held similar roles at Time Warner Inc. and Visa Inc. He will report to the company’s chief executive Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. who currently holds that position on an interim basis, the Journal’s AnnaMaria Andriotis reports. The company in September disclosed that it had been breached and that personal information for 145.5 million Americans had been compromised. A few weeks later, several executives, including the then chief security officer and chief information officer, retired. The company’s then chief Richard Smith retired soon after, too.
Malware ‘Olympic Destroyer’ hits opening ceremonies. Malware designed to remove critical system files took out telecasts and internet services, including the official Pyeongchang 2018 website, during Friday’s opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, the New York Times reports. The cyberattack also grounded drones planned for the festivities and prevented ticket-holders from printing out reservations.
Culprit? Security experts say they do not not know for sure who is behind the attack, but researchers at Cisco Systems Inc. tell the NYT that although the attackers had the means to destroy machines, they only erased backup files. ““Why did they pull their punch?” asked a senior technical leader at Cisco’s Talos division. “Presumably, it’s making some political message.”
To whom the CISO reports? According to a survey by Financial Services Information Sharing & Analysis Center, just 8% report to the CEO, while 39% report to the CIO and 14% to the chief risk officer. Bloomberg has the story.
Google makes AI chips available to companies. Google announced Monday that it would sell companies access to the very same T.P.U. chips the company designed to power its own AI efforts. The New York Times reports that the service, accessed through Google Cloud, is focused primarily on computer vision technology. Lyft Inc., an early T.P.U. customer, is using the service to help driverless car systems identify objects such as street signs and pedestrians, the NYT says.
Low power chips behind secret Amazon deal. Late last year Amazon.com Inc. secretly acquired home security camera maker Blink, a $90 million deal driven in part by the low-energy chips powering the startup’s devices, Reuters reports. The proprietary chip design, which enabled Blink cameras to last two years on a single pair of AA lithium batteries, could help next-generation Amazon.com devices differentiate themselves from rivals, Reuters reports.
MORE TECHNOLOGY NEWS
Where’s U.S. response to China AI push? Taking a cue from an AI report released by President Barack Obama in 2016, China last July published an AI manifesto documenting how the country would become the world’s giant in the field by 2030. The New York Times reports that some technologists are baffled why the current administration has failed to deliver a response, largely ignoring China’s effort in such a critical field. “We don’t have a central national strategy,” Jack Clark, who policy efforts at OpenAI, tells the NYT. “It is confusing that we have this technology of such obvious power and merit and we are not hearing full-throated support, including financial support.”
Science takes a back seat? “The Trump administration’s budget for 2018 aims to cut science and technology research funding across the government by 15 percent, according to a report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.”
Microsoft, IBM in new hire lawsuit. Microsoft Corp.’s newly hired chief diversity officer is being sued by former employer International Business Machines Corp. over not hewing to a 12-month non-competition agreement, Bloomberg reports. IBM says in the complaint that Lindsay-Rae McIntyre holds confidential data on strategy and initiatives that can cause “real and immediate competitive harm.”
Universities launch computer ethics courses. As artificial intelligence and automation creep into society, an increasing number of universities, including Harvard, Stanford and MIT, are launching computer ethics courses to train future technologists that their decisions increasingly have repercussions, the New York Times reports. “Technology is not neutral,” Mehran Sahami, a computer science professor at Stanford, tells the NYT. “The choices that get made in building technology then have social ramifications.”
Big batteries take bite out of peak power market. Giant batteries charged by renewable energy are beginning to nibble away at the market for natural-gas-fired plants that generate extra surges of electricity during peak hours. The shift comes thanks to technology improvements, the declining price of lithium-ion batteries and, in some states, government directives, the Journal’s Russell Gold reports. California has a mandate to add 1.3 gigawatts of storage by 2020, and both New York and Massachusetts are developing similar programs.
Apple rethinks developer strategy. Acknowledging that iOS updates contains a fair share of bugs and half-baked improvements, the company is taking a new approach to the annual ritual. Bloomberg reports that Apple Inc. wants its engineers to focus more on “under-the-hood refinements without being tied to a list of new features annually simply so the company can tout a massive year-over-year leap.”
Defense contractor acquires IT firm. General Dynamics, which along with build military ships and jets also provides cybersecurity service to the U.S. government, made a $9.6 billion deal for CSRA, a government-focused IT and cyber provider, FT reports.
Amazon laying off corporate employees. Amazon.com Inc. is preparing to lay off hundreds of employees at its Seattle headquarters, many from its consumer retail business, even as it is busy hiring in other areas. Staffers tell the Seattle Times that rapid growth has left some units over-staffed. According to one engineer, “Amazon has a problem right now with overpopulation.”
EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW
Global stocks mostly ticked lower as investors remained on edge following last week’s sharp selloff, a day after U.S. stocks roared for a second consecutive session. (WSJ)
Unyielding U.S. shale production is expected to overwhelm global oil demand and weigh on prices this year, the International Energy Agency warned. (WSJ)
Walgreens Boots Alliance is in early talks to buy drug wholesale company AmerisourceBergen, a move that could help boost the drugstore giant’s profitability and insulate it against threats in a competitive landscape. (WSJ)
The Senate launched a rare and free-wheeling immigration debate on Monday, with no bipartisan agreement in sight and no clarity as to whether any proposal will win enough support to pass. (WSJ)
The Morning Download is edited by Tom Loftus and cues up the most important news in business technology every weekday morning. You can get The Morning Download emailed to you each weekday morning by clicking http://wsj.com/TheMorningDownload.