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.
IBM, SCO scheduled to go back to courts over Unix
The long-running but stalled legal battle between Unix vendor SCO and IBM has been reactivated in Utah courts, Groklaw revealed. The proceedings were interrupted when SCO entered bankruptcy court. SCO sued IBM, among others, for using Unix code and integrating it into Linux, though it doesn't own Unix copyrights, as ruled in a different case between Novell and SCO.
Nanotube transistors hit new record
IBM researchers have published results for a new nine-nanometer nanotube transistor that could redefine processors in the future. The carbon-based element is the first below 10 nanometers and is much more efficient than the best current silicon-based transistors. Because of the size and material, it can use considerably less power and takes on more of a current to improve the reliability.
HTC to use IBM business apps on Android devices
HTC and IBM together said in an interview Friday that they were working together to get Android into the workplace. IBM's business apps were running on HTC's phones and tablets, HTC's Global Enterprise and Services director David Jaeger told eWeek. On its side, HTC was making sure both that the devices took full advantage of the IBM apps and that they "focused extensively" on security.
Google tries to counter patent wars with more IBM
Google has quietly escalated its attempts to mount a defense for Android by getting more IBM patents. An acquisition recorded December 30 gave Google 217 more active and pending patents primarily focused on cellphones, mobile web browsers, and voice search. Among the examples are a patent for a "computer phone," another for a method of resizing websites for mobile, and a third for voice-based keyword searches.
Executive points to HP as evidence
As IBM head Samuel Palmisano prepares to step down from his position and hand the reins to Virginia Rometty, the chief executive has reflected on the company's recent strategy. In an interview with the New York Times, Palmisano suggests he faced strong disagreement within the company over the decision to sell of IBM's PC division, however he credits the decision with helping the company stay innovative and maintain profits.
IBM releases Five in Five 2011 tech predictions
IBM has revealed its sixth-annual Five in Five technology predictions for the future on Monday. The computer maker has outlined the five technologies that it believes will become commonplace within the next five years. The first of them involves recycling kinetic energy that would otherwise go to waste to help power homes, cities and workplaces. This could be done through dynamos on bicycles that could recharge portable devices, capturing heat from a computer, or walking and jogging.
IBM racetrack memory made with common tech
IBM at the International Electronic Devices Meeting on Monday showed a working prototype of its racetrack memory made using conventional semiconductor tools. The 100 times more dense memory used to require a special research manufacturing machine but can now be made in a fully integrated way that should be much cheaper. IBM found it could put a nickel-iron layer on to a silicon wafer and etch out the 20-nanometer thick nanowires that define the memory.
Leak reveals Samsung had rejected Apple offer
Apple had made an olive branch license to Samsung for a patent that the Korean company turned down, a discovery within redacted court documents found on Saturday. Normally unavailable, the details given to The Verge showed that Apple in November 2010 offered the same license for its iOS scrolling feedback patent that it ultimately secured with IBM and Nokia. As a cornerstone of iOS' intuitiveness, it showed Apple willing to make a significant concession to Samsung first before it turned to the court.
IBM, Micron team up on 3D memory chips
IBM and Micron will collaborate on the production of the first memory chip to use CMOS manufacturing technology with through-silicon vias (TSVs). These are vertical conduits that electrically connect a stack of individual chips. This IBM process will let Micron's Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) run 15 times faster than current, conventional memory chips. The chip's parts will be made on 32-nanometer, high-K metal gate process technology that's as efficient as modern processors.
IBM credits Apple for spike in mobile shopping
Apple's mobile devices were responsible for a tenth of all US online shopping on Black Friday this year, IBM said in a new study. The iPad and iPhone made up 4.8 and 5.6 percent each of all online shopping in the US, or 10.2 percent combined. Android, in spite of its larger collective market share, wasn't as trusted at just 4.1 percent.
Shenzhen tech firms call for labor rights
China Labor Watch reported Thursday that 1,000 workers at a Jingyuan Computer Group plant in Shenzhen briefly went on strike over tough conditions. The staff at the southern China plant, who make keyboards, hard drives, displays, and wireless cameras for companies like Apple and IBM, have complained of working 100 to 120 hours of overtime each per month. They also cite being berated by supervisors, high injury rates, and frequent layoffs for older workers.
IBM chief behind PC push was aged 86
One of IBM's most influential CEOs, John Opel, died late Thursday at the age of 86, IBM confirmed on Friday. The former executive was CEO of the company from January 1981 to January 1985 and oversaw the launch of the original IBM PC, the 5150, in August 1981. He was credited with having the foresight to support home computers at a time when IBM was still known by most for its mainframes. Opel had IBM invest a minority stake in Intel in 1984 that helped establish its chips as the main choice for PC processors, even through today.
Rometty succeeds Samuel Palmisano
IBM has announced that it has elected Virginia Rometty to serve as the company's new CEO. The move marks the first time the company has placed a woman in the top spot. She is not a newcomer to the upper ranks, however, having served as senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy.
InterBrand shows Apple move up quickly in image
InterBrand's new rankings have seen Apple enter into the top 10 for the first time. The company leapt on the global ranks of its image's value from 17th to eighth, passing BMW, HP, Mercedes-Benz, and even its frequent ally Disney. Symbolically, it took over the former position from Nokia, whose rapid decline in sales and public perception dropped it to 14th.
IBM passes Microsoft for 2nd in value, Apple tops
The close of the stock market Thursday saw IBM overtake Microsoft to become the second most valuable technology company. IBM's climb to $214 billion in its stock market cap was just enough to counter a Microsoft decline to $213.2 billion, pushing Microsoft down to third. Apple was still the largest, even with recent sell-offs, and had a much larger $362.1 billion cap.
Investment to create 2,500 high tech jobs
IBM and Intel have agreed to invest $4.4 billion to create an R&D hub for nanotechnology in Albany, New York. The two companies, along with Samsung, Global Foundries, and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufucturing Corporation), will make the investment over a five-year period. New York state will pour $400 million into its College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at Albany in support of the effort.