The Bulletin
3H
US blacklists chipmaker SMIC and oil company CNOOC
The Trump administration has included four new companies to the list of Chinese military companies accused of cyberespionage. The added companies include chipmaker SMIC and oil giant CNOOC, as well as China Construction Technology Co Ltd and China International Engineering Consulting Corp. A new executive order will prevent U.S. investors from buying the firms’ securities from next year.
22H
Digital payments firm PhonePe raises $700m
Flipkart is partially spinning off PhonePe after the digital payments arm of its business raised $700m from existing investors. The funding was led by Walmart and is aimed at helping PhonePe better compete with the likes of Google and Amazon. PhonePe reported 835 million UPI transactions in October. Flipkart will remain its majority stakeholder, keeping 87% of its shares.
24H
Appvia wins contract to build out Bank of England cloud
The Bank of England has appointed Appvia as a partner to assist in design, construction and assurance of a new cloud environment. During the two-year partnership, Appvia will be supporting development and project teams within the Bank in testing and deploying code in cloud environments, working with security teams to integrate the cloud into existing operational and security processes.
24H
Siemens Smart Infrastructure moves its SAP infrastructure to AWS
Siemens Smart Infrastructure has become the company's first division to move all of its SAP instances on AWS. It will shift 20 ERP and SCM (supply chain management) systems to the cloud before the end of next year. The systems will be able to integrate with AWS features around analytics and machine learning. Siemens Smart Infrastructure focuses on energy distribution and intelligent buildings.
1D
5G networks 90% more energy efficient than 4G, say Nokia and Telefónica
Nokia and Telefónica have found that 5G networks are up to 90% more energy efficient per traffic unit than legacy 4G networks. The research, conducted over a three-month period, focused on power consumption of Radio Access Networks in Telefónica’s network. The rollout of 5G networks is set to increase traffic dramatically making it critical that the energy consumed does not rise at the same rate.
1D
Uber in talks to sell its air taxi service to Joby Aviation
Uber Technologies is reported to be in advanced talks to sell its Uber Elevate unit to Joby Aviation, according to Axios. Uber Elevate's goal was to develop a network of self-driving air taxis. The company also had a helicopter service running in New York City. Las month, Uber also announced the sale of part of its stake Uber Freight, in an effort to raise profitability during COVID-19.
1D
Google to acquire Actifio to boost data protection capabilities
Google is to acquire Actifio to beef data protection for Google Cloud. Google said the deal will increase business availability by simplifying and accelerating backup and DR at scale, across cloud-native, and hybrid environments. It will also automatically back up and protect a variety of workloads, including enterprise databases like SAP HANA, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and MySQL.
1D
Mindtree and Databricks team up on cloud-based data intelligence
Mindtree and Databricks have teamed up to help customers implement cloud-based data platforms for advanced analytics. The combined service will support use of the Databricks platform from implementation throughout the customer journey. Databricks offers a solution for data engineering, collaborative data science, machine learning, and business analytics through a lakehouse architecture.
1D
TuSimple, a self-driving trucks startup raises $350m
Self-driving trucks startup TuSimple has raised $350 million in funding. The round was led by VectoIQ LLC, with participation from Goodyear, Union Pacific, CN Rail, freight company U.S. Xpress and retailer Kroger. TuSimple has raised $648 million since its founding in 2015 and has said repeatedly that it will put a fully autonomous truck on the road in 2021.
2D
Monzo closes $60m funding round
UK challenger bank Monzo has closed a $60m funding round, according to a TechCrunch report. It said that the round was priced the same as and effectively an extension of the its previous top-up round in June. New funding comes from Deliveroo and Stripe investor Novator, Kaiser, and TED Global, as well as existing investor Goodwater and values Monzo at $1.2bn.
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2D
AWS re:Invent: Cloud giant releases raft of new features
AWS has used its re:Invent conference to announce a series of new features which boost its cloud portfolio. Alongside five machine learning features and three new analytics tools, CEO Andy Jassy revealed Amazon DevOps Guru, a system that detects operational IT problems. The firm also took the covers off four new container capabilities, four storage innovations and multiple compute improvements.
2D
HPE leaves Silicon Valley
Hewlett Packard Enterprise will leave Silicon Valley and relocate its headquarters to Houston, Texas, where it's constructing a new campus. HPE said the move will not prompt layoffs, but it is unclear how many employees will transfer. Antonio Neri, HPE's CEO said that the move was motivated by "business needs, opportunities for cost savings, and team members' preferences about the future of work."
2D
Salesforce to buy Slack for $27.7bn
Salesforce is to buy Slack for $27.7bn. The deal marks its biggest-ever acquisition and pits it head-to-head with Microsoft in the remote working and collaboration space. Slack has 12.5m users but has struggled to compete with Microsoft Teams. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff called the deal a "match made in heaven", while Stewart Butterfield, Slack co-founder, said "the opportunity is massive".
2D
Libra cryptocurrency project changes its name to Diem Network
Facebook-backed Libra cryptocurrency has changed its name to Diem Network to distance itself from the social media giant, as well as to try to obtain regulatory approval for its launch. The independent organization that runs the project, the Libra Association, will now be known as the Diem Association, and, according to Bloomberg, its currency will be called the Diem Dollar.
2D
Zoom chooses AWS as preferred cloud partner
Zoom and Amazon have agreed a multi-year partnership which will see AWS continue as Zoom’s preferred cloud provider. Eric S. Yuan, CEO of Zoom, credited AWS with helping the company deal with surging demand during the pandemic.“Looking forward, we will continue to innovate alongside AWS to reinvent virtual collaboration and deliver secure and exciting experiences for our customers," he added.
3D
Customer success startup Gainsight acquired by Vista Equity Partners
Customer success startup Gainsight has been acquired by Vista Equity Partners in a deal that values that company at $1.1bn. Gainsight’s technology helps companies prevent churn by identifying at-risk customers, creating systematic processes to mitigate concerns, and ramping up engagement efforts. Its customer base includes leading companies such as GE Digital, SAP Concur, and Box.
3D
SoftBank takes 10.1% stake in Sinch
SoftBank has invested in Sinch, the fast-growing Swedish cloud provider. It has taken a 10.1% stake from major shareholders and via a direct share issue. Sinch's stock has soared by 300% in 2020 as cloud demands skyrockets in the wake of COVID-19. SoftBank's stake is worth around $780m. Sinch says it will use the funds "to increase the company's financial flexibility for new acquisitions".
3D
Amazon brings Apple's MacOS to AWS cloud
AWS has announced new Mac instances (EC2 Mac instances) for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). EC2 Mac instances enable customers to run on-demand macOS workloads in AWS cloud, extending flexibility and scalability to Apple developers. With EC2 Mac instances, developers creating apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Safari can now provision and access macOS environments.
3D
Google makes Anthos available on bare metal servers
Google has launched Anthos bare metal to support enterprises that run applications on existing hardware and infrastructure. Anthos is designed to allow companies to manage their applications anywhere. Google says this will simplify multicloud and hybrid cloud deployments. Bare metal has been released from the Anthos Ready Partner Initiative, a collaboration with the likes of HPE and Intel.
3D
Facebook confirms "$1bn" deal to buy CRM startup Kustomer
Facebook has confirmed a deal to buy customer service startup Kustomer for a reported $1bn. Kustomer is an omnichannel CRM platform that brings customer conversations from various channels together into a single-screen view. The Wall Street Journal was the first outlet to report the deal and, while financials have not been disclosed, it says it values Kustomer at just over $1 billion.
4D
ServiceNow acquires Element AI
Cloud-based IT services company ServiceNow has acquired Element AI, a startup out of Canada founded to build and provision AI-based IT services for enterprises. The terms of the deal have not been yet made public. Element AI was valued at between $600 million and $700 million in September 2019, a figure that would make this Servicenow's biggest acquisition.
4D
Glasswall raises £18m
UK security group Glasswall has raised £18m ($24m) in equity capital. The round was led by IPGL and other investors. Glasswall specialises in content, disarm and reconstruction technology, widely known as CDR. The company has achieved more than 50% growth in the last two years, with sales expecting to surpass £4.5m ($6m) in 2020. The company says it will now continue its expansion programme.
4D
IIoT chip maker Advantech hit by ransomware attack
Industrial automation and Industrial IoT chip maker Advantech has been hit by a ransomware attack and told to pay $12.5 million in Bitcoin to prevent its data being leaked. Bleeping Computer reports that the attackers are willing to decrypt two of the encrypted files before the ransom is paid as proof that its decryptor works. Advantech reported sales of $1.7bn in 2019.
4D
Ericsson: One billion will have 5G coverage by end of year
Ericsson has upped its global forecast for 5G subscriptions. By the end of this year, it expects 5G subscriptions to hit 220 million. It also says 15% of the world's population - or one billion people - will have 5G coverage in their area. Ericsson says uptake in China has been rapid. China accounts for 80% of all 5G subscriptions. 3.5 billion subscriptions are forecast by the end of 2026.
4D
Apple fined $12m by Italy's antitrust authority
Italy’s antitrust authorities have fined Apple 10 million euros ($12 million) for “aggressive and misleading” commercial practices. According to the Italian regulators, Apple advertised its iPhones as water-resistant, even though this was only true under specific circumstances, and that Apple's disclaimer that the phones were not covered by warranty in case of water damage tricked clients.
4D
Huawei equipment installation banned from UK networks from 2021
The UK has told telecoms providers that they must stop installing Huawei equipment in 5G networks from September 2021. The order is part of the UK's plan to eradicate the Chinese firm's kit from its 5G network by 2027. "Today I am setting out a clear path for the complete removal of high risk vendors from our 5G networks," Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement.
6D
Interxion begins major data centre expansion project in Zurich
Interxion has begun construction on a major data centre expansion project in Zurich. The facility will be developed in three phases and is expected to support the delivery of over 11,000 square metres of total equipped space and 24 megawatts of customer capacity when fully built out. The first phase is expected to provide approximately 2,900 square metres and is scheduled to open by mid-year 2022.
7D
Facebook could launch Libra in January
Facebook could launch its Libra cryptocurrency as early as January, according to reports. The Financial Times says a limited version of the stablecoin, which will be tied to the U.S. dollar, is nearly ready for release. Facebook is still awaiting approvals from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority. The Libra project has been slimmed down after concerns raised by banks and regulators.
7D
UK cracks down on tech giants
The United Kingdom is to introduce a new regulator to limit the power of technology companies. Rules will come in next year which will aim to give users more control over their data. The code will outline "clear expectations" for the likes of Google, Amazon and Facebook. Named the Digital Markets Unit, the body could have the power to block or suspend decisions made by big tech firms.
7D
VMware launches VMware Blockchain platform for enterprise
VMware has announced the commercial availability of its VMware Blockchain platform. It said it will provide a digital foundation that enterprises can trust to build business networks and deploy business-critical decentralised applications. The platform has been designed to provide an enterprise-grade platform to unlock data silos and free up data to flow securely, privately and instantaneously.
7D
Long-serving Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon to leave the company
Nokia's executive reshuffle continues apace with he news that long-serving CTO and head of Bell Labs Marcus Weldon is leaving the organisation He tweeted: “After 25 years, 11 as CTO and almost eight as president of Bell Labs, I have decided it is time to seek pastures new and hand the reins over with a peaceful transfer of power.” CMO Barry French will also be leaving at the end of the year.
7D
Equinix to spend $55m on third Osaka data centre
Equinix is to spend $55m to build its third International Business Exchange data centre in Osaka, Japan. To be named OS3, its first phase is expected to provide an initial capacity of 900 cabinets and more than 33,000 square feet of colocation space. At full buildout, the facility will provide 2,500 cabinets with a total colocation space of approximately 89,340 square feet.
8D
AWS back up after major outage
AWS has restored its services after a major outage hit customers. A number of businesses, including Adobe and The Wall Street Journal, saw their services drop offline on Wednesday. Amazon Kinesis, which offers data processing and analysis, was the area of AWS affected. “We have restored all traffic to Kinesis Data Streams via all endpoints and it is now operating normally,” said a spokesperson.
8D
Salesforce in talks to buy Slack
Salesforce.com Inc. is reportedly in advanced talks to buy Slack Technologies Inc. and could reach a deal within days. The acquisition of Slack, which has a market value of over $17 billion, would be Salesforce's largest to date. Since the news broke, Slack shares have increased their value by 38%, despite closing down on 5% on Wednesday.
8D
Tech giants to pay 'digital tax' in France
France will begin to collect it 'digital tax' from tech companies. Although the three per cent tax on digital revenue was introduced last year, France had suspended its collection. However, the French government has now sent out notices to tech giants informing them that the collection of the levy will begin, despite threats from the U.S government of imposing tariffs on French goods.
8D
Web Summit "to be in-person" in 2021
Web Summit's founder Paddy Cosgrave has told Reuters that he expects the event to be fully in-person again in 2021. Europe's biggest technology conference will be online-only next week because of the coronavirus. But for next year Cosgrave said: “The venue is booked. I think by November the Web Summit will be happening in-person and I can’t wait.” The event usually attracts around 70,000 visitors.
8D
Home Depot agrees to pay $17.5m levy over 2014 data breach
The U.S. retailer Home Depot has agreed to pay a $17.5m levy over a 2014 data breach. The settlement covers 46 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., and impacted customers using the company's self-checkout machines. Hackers were able to access customers' payment information and email addresses. "We’re glad to put this matter behind us," said Home Depot in a statement.
8D
IBM planning 10,000 job cuts from services unit - report
IBM is planning to cut 10,000 jobs from its in Europe from its services unit ahead of spinning our the division, Bloomberg reports. Citing people familiar with the matter, it said the losses will impact 20% of the unit's workforce with the heaviest cuts coming in the UK and Germany. Cuts are also planned in Poland, Slovakia, Italy and Belgium, the report added.
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8D
AWS targets Rust developers
AWS is looking to recruit developers expert in the Rust Programming language. Open-source Rust is used for systems programming and has quickly grown in popularity since launching in 2015 because of its focus on safety. “Rust helps us deliver fast, robust services to AWS customers at Amazon scale,” said an AWS spokesperson. The cloud giant aims to support the open-source community behind Rust.
9D
Belgian security researcher hacks Tesla Model X within minutes
Belgian security researcher Lennert Wouters has been able to hack a Tesla Model X vehicle by exploiting the Bluetooth Low Energy standard. Tesla says that they have rolled out an over-the-air patch. “Using a modified ECU, obtained from a salvage Tesla Model X, we were able to wirelessly – up to 5m distance – force key fobs to advertise themselves as connectable BLE devices,” Wouters said.
9D
ZTE still considered a 'national security threat' by FCC
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected ZTE's petition to reconsider its decision designating the company as a U.S. national security threat. The decision will keep American companies from accessing the FCC’s $8.3bn Universal Service Fund to buy equipment from ZTE. It is estimated that replacing carriers' Huawei and ZTE equipment would cost over $1.8bn.
9D
Splunk to acquire network monitoring specialist Flowmill
Splunk has revealed its plans to buy Flowmill. The deal will see Splunk expand its network monitoring capabilities with Flowmill's software platform. "Observability technology is rapidly increasing in both sophistication and ability," said Splunk's CTO. Terms weren't disclosed but the deal is expected to go through early next year. Last month, Splunk bought app monitoring provider Plumbr.
9D
U.S. challenger bank Current raises $131m in funding
U.S. challenger bank Current has raised $131m in Series C funding. New investor Tiger Global Management led the round for the mobile bank, which has now raised over $180m in total funding and has a valuation of $750m. Current has has doubled its member base in less than six months to surpass two million members and plans to use the funding plans to expand on its product offerings.
9D
Digital skills gap puts UK economic recovery in jeopardy - Microsoft report
The UK’s digital skills gap could pose a risk to economic recovery, new Microsoft research has found. Over three-quarters of UK leaders cited a large digital talent pool as essential to driving UK competitiveness. But more than two-thirds of UK business leaders believe their organisation is currently facing a digital skills gap skills gap, and are concerned a lack of skills will impact success.
9D
Vijay Sankaran makes u-turn over Ford CIO role
Ford Motor Company has revealed that Vijay Sankaran has opted not to rejoin the company, citing personal reasons. The company previously announced that Sankaran had accepted an offer to become Ford’s chief software and information officer beginning this week, after serving seven years with TD Ameritrade. Jeff Lemmer will continue as Ford’s chief information officer for the rest of the year.
10D
AppsFlyer gets backing from Salesforce
AppsFlyer, the mobile measurement and marketing platform, has received new backing from Salesforce Ventures. It has raised an undisclosed amount of money at a valuation of $2bn. The unicorn has secured more than $300m in funding since launching in 2011. AppFlyer's marketplace connects app developers to potential advertising partners. It currently has over 8,000 partners on the platform.
10D
UK's new cybersecurity law fines companies that work with Huawei
The U.K. has unveiled the draft for a new Telecommunications Security Bill. The law will allow the British government to regulate agreements between British telecoms and "high-risk" vendors in 5G networks, including Huawei. Moreover, the law also states that companies which fail to meet the deadlines for higher security requirements will face fines of 10% of turnover, over £100,000 a day.
10D
Vodafone Germany suffers three-hour mobile network outage
Vodafone has suffered a three-hour power outage on its German mobile network. The company said that it was provoked by a failure of control equipment in Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin. The outage affected over 100,000 users in those areas. "Our technical experts are working flat out on the exact root cause analysis and sustainable fault clearance," Vodafone said in its apology.
10D
Cashfree hauls in $35.3m Series B
Payments startup Cashfree has raised $35.3m from a Series B funding round. The company's platform offers a range of payments services to enterprise customers. Its latest financing was led by Apis Partners. The company has been profitable for the last three years and has grown a customer base of 55,000 businesses. Cashfree says it will now scale its platform and make strategic investments.
10D
AvePoint to go public via SPAC merger with Apex Technology
Microsoft Corp. data partner AvePoint Inc. will go public through a SPAC merger with Apex Technology Acquisition Corp. In the deal, AvePoint was valued at $2bn. The agreement will have Apex’s balance of $352 million and a $140 million additional private investment handed over to AvePoint. AvePoint shareholders are expected to own about 72% of the combined company, which will be named AvePoint.