Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘acquisitions’ Category

CVS to Buy Aetna in $69 Billion Deal

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CVS Health said on Sunday that it had agreed to buy Aetna for about $69 billion, in a deal that would combine the drugstore with one of the biggest health insurers in the United States, according to a report from The New York Times.

The merger comes at a time of turbulent transformation in health care. Insurers, hospitals and pharmacy companies are bracing for a possible disruption in government programs like Medicare as a result of the Republicans’ plan to cut taxes. Congress remains at an impasse over the future of the Affordable Care Act, while employers and consumers are struggling under the weight of rising medical costs, including the soaring price of prescription drugs. And rapid changes in technology have raised the specter of new competitors — most notably Amazon. A combined CVS-Aetna could position itself as a formidable figure in this changing landscape. Together, the companies touch most of the basic health services that people regularly use, providing an opportunity to benefit consumers. CVS operates a chain of pharmacies and retail clinics that could be used by Aetna to provide care directly to patients, while the merged company could be better able to offer employers one-stop shopping for health insurance for their workers.
– via www.nytimes.com

 

But as the Times goes on to observe, critics worry customers could find their healthcare choices sharply limited (i.e., less choice of where to fill a prescription or get care if so many roads lead through a combined CVS/Aetna.

But in the announcement, the companies pointed out clear synergies that would benefit patients:

the two companies emphasized their ability to transform CVS’s 10,000 pharmacy and clinic locations into community-based sites of care that would be far less expensive for patients. “We think of it as creating a new front door to health care in America,” CVS Health’s chief executive, Larry J. Merlo, said in an interview. The merger would establish a new way of delivering care, with nurses, pharmacists and others available to counsel people about their diabetes or do the lab work necessary to diagnose a condition, Mr. Merlo said. “We know we can make health care more affordable and less expensive.”
– via www.nytimes.com

Looming in the background, the Times observes, a lingering Amazon and Jeff Bezos, rumored to be preparing for an entry into the pharmacy business.

As to antitrust considerations, both companies played down the prospect of regulation, arguing that the takeover is a “vertical merger” combining companies in two different industries.

Written by turbotodd

December 4, 2017 at 9:21 am

Let the Chips Fall…

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Some big deals brewing early on a Monday morning.

Reuters reported that chipmaker Marvell Technology Group Ltd. would buy smaller rival Cavium Inc. in a $6 billion deal “as it seeks to expand its wireless connectivity business in a fast consolidating semiconductor industry.”

Hamilton, Bermuda-based Marvell makes chips for storage devices while San Jose, California-based Cavium builds network equipment.
– via U.S.

 

China’s e-commerce giant, Alibaba, will buy a big stake in China Wal-Mart rival, Sun Art Retail Group Ltd, for $2.88 billion, which would give it a 36 percent stake in the company.

Alibaba, which runs the world’s largest online shopping operation, sees traditional retail venues as a way to expand its reach into fresh foods while also creating new demand for its Alipay mobile-payment business and its logistics services. “Physical stores serve an indispensable role during the consumer journey, and should be enhanced through data-driven technology and personalized services in the digital economy,” Alibaba chief executive officer Daniel Zhang said in a statement.
– via WSJ

This follows on the heels of Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of U.S. grocer Whole Foods.

But China’s not done. One of its leading phone and appliances makers, Xiaomi Corp., has also indicated it would invest as much as $1 billion in 100 startups in India over the next five years. The move is apparently an effort to build an ecosystem of apps around its smartphone brand.

And if you’re still waiting for your Uber, you may not have to wait much longer. Just don’t look for the driver.

Reuters is reporting that Uber plans to buy up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo, building on a three-year relationship between the two companies.

Geely-owned Volvo said in a statement on Monday it would provide Uber with its flagship XC90 SUVs equipped with autonomous technology as part of a non-exclusive deal from 2019 to 2021. A Volvo spokesman said it covered up to 24,000 cars. The self-driving system that would be used in the Volvo cars — which have yet to be built — is under development by Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group.
– via U.S.

That would be the single largest purchase for Volvo, and the broader autonomous vehicle industry, and would give Uber its first commercial fleet of cars.

No financial details were disclosed for the purchase, which would be a massive new investment for Uber and mark a change from Uber’s long-standing business model where contractor drivers buy or lease and maintain their own cars.
– via U.S.

Written by turbotodd

November 20, 2017 at 9:39 am

A Deal to Boost Mobile App Speeds

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ZDNet is reporting that web performance and security provider Cloudflare has acquired Neumob, a mobile accelerator for apps.

They report that Neumob will allow the company to provide improved end-to-end optimization across desktop and mobile, with no disruptions or speed loss based on the device used.

VentureBeat wrote of the deal:

Neumob’s technology is designed to replace traditional internet protocols that weren’t necessarily designed with the issues of wireless networks in mind, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince told VentureBeat. He said that TCP, one of the core protocols behind the internet, assumes that packet loss means there’s a router in a wired network being overwhelmed somewhere and backs off of transmitting data. “[That] makes a ton of sense on a wired network, but on a mobile network, when you start to see packet loss, that could just mean someone turned on the microwave or you’re driving through a tunnel, there are solar flares, or any number of things that the right reaction isn’t to back off,” Prince said. Neumob built a new set of capabilities that are designed to do away with issues like that. The technology is able to make applications load up to 3 times faster and reduce app errors and timeouts by up to 90 percent.
– via VentureBeat

Written by turbotodd

November 14, 2017 at 9:12 am

Qualcomm Board Rejects Broadcom’s Takeover Bid

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Happy Monday.

The Board of Directors for Qualcomm Inc. has rejected Broadcom’s $105 billion takeover bid.

“It is the Board’s unanimous belief that Broadcom’s proposal significantly undervalues Qualcomm relative to the Company’s leadership position in mobile technology and our future growth prospects,” said Paul Jacobs, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Qualcomm Incorporated.
– via Qualcomm

“No company is better positioned in mobile, IoT, automotive, edge computing and networking within the semiconductor industry.  We are confident in our ability to create significant additional value for our stockholders as we continue our growth in these attractive segments and lead the transition to 5G,” said Steve Mollenkopf, Chief Executive Officer of Qualcomm Incorporated.
– via Qualcomm

Qualcomm stock was up nearly 1 percent in early morning trading.

If you’re interested in all things cyber spooks and shadows, The New York Times feature on the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations’ recent fate is a must (but quite long) read.

And if you’re looking for quantum leaps in computing power, IBM announced late Friday two significant quantum processor upgrades for its IBM Q early-access commercial systems.

The first IBM Q systems available online to clients will have a 20 qubit processor, featuring improvements in superconducting qubit design, connectivity and packaging.

And the company has also successfully built and measured an operational prototype 50 qubit processor with similar performance metrics.

Clients will have online access to the computing power of the first IBM Q systems by the end of 2017.

In case you were wondering, a qubit, or “quantum bit,” is a unit of quantum information — the quantum analogue of the classical bit. But a qubit is distinguished by its being a two-state quantum-mechanical system, which allows a single photon both vertical and horizontal polarization.
You can read more in this blog post, “The future is quantum.”

Written by turbotodd

November 13, 2017 at 9:01 am

Rooting for the People Who Make the Machines

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Happy Monday.

And go, those Houston Astros (sorry, Yankees fans…there’s always next year, and you have a great team).

We’ll see how the ‘Stros can hold up tomorrow against the Dodgers in what’s expected to be a very heated environment in game 1 of the World Series (literally…the temperatures at game time are expected to be around 95 or beyond!).

Some tech news you can use for the morning of October 23…Cisco is making yet another acquisition (just last week they bought San Jose-based startup, Perspica, which specializes in machine learning and stream analysis.)

This time the deal’s a wee bit bigger, some ~ $1.9B for BroadSoft, a 28 percent premium. As Bloomberg reports, the deal will give Cisco a “major new presence in cloud-based communications products and services.”

Also on the M&A/IPO front, Chinese online loan provider Qudian raised some $900M in a U.S. IPO, but is already coming under fire from local media about the “legitimacy of its business.”

According to TechNode, the company claims to have suspended student-targeted loans in November 2015 as the state issued a ban on online loans to college students following outrage over exorbitant rates and various financial scams.

The story went on to suggest added risk with the company’s reliance on Alipay for new user acquistion.

And the AI war for talent continues. The New York Times’ Cade Metz looks deep into the AI talent bench, and writes that salaries are spiralikng so fast that “some joke the tech industry needs a National Football League-style salary cap on AI specialists.”

No word as of press time as whether or not the AI gurus stand on the sidelines during the National Anthem.

Written by turbotodd

October 23, 2017 at 8:58 am

IBM Acquires UrbanCode For Rapid Delivery Of Mobile, Cloud, Big Data & Social Software

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IBM today announced it has acquired UrbanCode Inc.

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, UrbanCode automates the delivery of software, helping businesses quickly release and update mobile, social, big data, cloud applications.

Mobile, social, big data and cloud technologies are driving demand for new, faster and more frequent approaches to software delivery. Waiting days or even months to get an update to clients is no longer acceptable.

With UrbanCode’s technology, businesses can reduce the cycle time it takes to get updates or new applications into market, from months to minutes. This approach is designed to help reduce cost and risk, while helping address changing client needs by enabling a company to rapidly incorporate feedback into and improve the overall quality of their applications and services.

Software Development As Competitive Advantage

A recent study by the IBM Institute for Business Value uncovered that almost 70 percent of companies using software development for competitive advantage outperform their peers in profitability. As innovation in software becomes more and more critical to success, businesses need a collaborative, intuitive and continual approach to development, testing and delivery.

More than half of surveyed companies agree effective software development is crucial to competitive advantage. Yet, only a quarter of companies feel they have effective methods. UrbanCode’s capabilities will help solve this execution gap with the ability to accelerate software delivery.

IBM plans to continue to support UrbanCode clients and enhance their technologies while allowing these organizations to take advantage of the broader IBM portfolio.

UrbanCode’s software is a natural extension of IBM’s DevOps strategy, designed to simplify and speed the entire software development and delivery process for businesses.

The new capabilities also enhance IBM SmartCloud and IBM MobileFirst initiatives by making it easier and faster for clients to deliver software through those channels. For example, by combining UrbanCode software with the IBM MobileFirst Worklight technology, businesses can now author and deploy an application for any mobile device in hours, versus a previous multi-day timeline.

The UrbanCode solution also works with traditional applications including middleware, databases and business intelligence.

“Companies that master effective software development and delivery in rapidly changing environments such as cloud, mobile and social will have a significant competitive advantage,” said Kristof Kloeckner, general manager, IBM Rational Software. “With the acquisition of UrbanCode, IBM is uniquely positioned to help businesses from every industry accelerate delivery of their products and services to better meet client demands.”  

“Together UrbanCode and IBM technology will be unmatched in the industry, providing businesses a continuous process for developing, testing, and delivering new and updated software,” said Maciej Zawadzki, chief executive officer, UrbanCode. “By removing the bottlenecks that traditionally exist between development teams and production systems, businesses can drive rapid innovation.”

For more information visit the IBM Rational site.

A Mobile Summary

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I’m going to have to start naming this “Mobile Monday.”

Because on Mondays, it seems like there’s always something of import to occur within the mobile space.

I guess one could say that for every other day of the week, and maybe it just seems more notable to me on Mondays.

In today’s case, it was Yahoo’s announced acquisition of Summly, a mobile app that has a unique algorithm which helps summarize news stories and which was started by a 15 year-old programmer, Nick D’Alosio.  The Summly took Apple’s “Best Apps of 2012” award for Intuitive Touch capability.

So of course the first thing that will happen post acquisition is that the app will be REMOVED from the App Store starting today.

Does that seem counterintuitive or is it just me?

Kid writes app, app receives a gazillion downloads, Yahoo buys app, makes kid rich, Yahoo removes app from App Store.

Only in the tech industry.

The idea, of course, being that someday soon the capabilities of Summly will find themselves embedded in other Yahoo apps.  Yeah, and I’ve got some great swamp land in south Florida that I’d like to show you.

Turbo recently shelled out a little over a hundred bucks for the daskeyboard Professional Model S. This keyboard features Mac-specific functions such as media controls, brightness controls, command and alt/option keys, eject and clear keys. The Professional Model S for Mac is “plug and play” with your Mac computer and updated to also include media controls.

Turbo recently shelled out a little over a hundred bucks for the daskeyboard Professional Model S. This keyboard features Mac-specific functions such as media controls, brightness controls, command and alt/option keys, eject and clear keys. The Professional Model S for Mac is “plug and play” with Mac computers and updated to also include media controls.

On the topic of mobile, nobody’s ever really created a good mobile Bluetooth keyboard that’s portable and, preferably, folds up…and I’ve tried just about all of them…Kickstarter, anyone?

But I am VERY happy with my new daskeyboard keyboard, which I’m going to tell you all about now.

When I’m working at home, it’s like hearing a machine gun emanating from my office (They don’t call me Turbo for nothin’, and it mostly had to do with my typing speed…How else would you expect me to be able to generate all these blog posts!?)

I saw daskeyboards for the first time last year at SXSW, but I was able to contain my credit card.  This year, I decided to jump in headfirst.

With a discount, I was able to get the daskeyboard Pro Model S for about $100, and though that might seem like a lot for a keyboard, when you spend as much time every day in front of a computer as I do, it seemed like a pretty good investment at the time — and that turned out to be the case.

Remember those original IBM AT and XT (and later, PS/2) computers where you could use those clickety-clack Model M keyboards? Well, daskeyboard has reinvented that PC keyboarding past, and you can now go clickety-clack at 90 words per minute with the lightest, softest, but clickiest touch you can imagine.

Only this time, you can do it on both Macs and PCs, and you can do it all in black.

Written by turbotodd

March 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm

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