Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘china’ Category

JEDI Clouds

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Happy Monday.

China’s Great Firewall may soon evolve into the Great Cyberborder.

The FT has reported that Beijing has ordered all government institutions and public bodies to get rid of their foreign computer gear, and transition off American hardware/software by 2022 in favor of local alternatives.

On the domestic IT front, Amazon has made a new filing claiming that it didn’t win the $10B JEDI Department of Defense (DoD) contract as a result of repeated public and private attacks against Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos, including by President Trump.

According to a report from CNBC, the company argued that the president “made no secret of his personal dislike” for Bezos by criticizing him publicly and then “used his office” to prevent AWS from winning the contract.

Amazon is calling for DoD to terminate the award and conduct another review.

Funding Monday: Education software company Instructure is being acquired for $2B by private equity firm Thoma Bravo. Pharma clinical trial SaaS firm Suvoda has raised a $40M round.

And if you’re looking to gift yourself a new Mac Pro (made right here in Austin, Texas!), you’d better let Santa know and soon: Apple has indicated the updated models will start at $5,999 (the company will start taking orders tomorrow).

Written by turbotodd

December 9, 2019 at 10:51 am

Thank You for Your Service

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I was locked up in a courtroom in downtown Austin all last week, doing my civic duty (serving on a nasty child custody battle trial).

Man oh man am I glad to be back at work. What’d I miss?

The headlines this AM have a sneak that Apple is aiming to release an AR headset in 2022. 

Uh, three years from now? By then my augmented reality may have been completely re-augmented!

Twitter has drafted a new “deep fake” policy and opened it up for public input before it goes live. The gist: When the company sees synthetic or manipulated media that’s intentionally trying to mislead or confuse people it will place notices next to the content and/or warn people before they share such material.

Singles Day in China showed quite the bustling economy, with Alibaba alone reporting $38.4B in sales in 24 hours. Yes, you read that correctly.

Dealmaking: Enterprise info mgmt firm OpenText is acquiring cloud data backup protection firm Carbonite for $1.42B.

And Sweden-based e-bike and e-scooter-sharing startup raised an $85M Series B. The company has 4M registered users and has powered 14M rides across 38 European cities.

Thank you to all the veterans out there (including those from my own family) for your service to our country.

Written by turbotodd

November 11, 2019 at 12:07 pm

Good Grammar

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An update on the HKMap live app that Hong Kongers were using to keep abreast of protests in the semiautonomous city. Apple has now removed that app from its App Store just days after approving it.

This after the People’s Daily published an editorial hat accused Apple of aiding “rioters” in HK, according to a report in the NY Times. “Letting poisonous software have its way is a betrayal of the Chinese people’s feelings,” said the editorial.

Apple’s response: “…This app violates our guidelines and local laws.”

The Times: “With its reversal, Apple joins a growing list of corporations that are trying to navigate the fraught political situation between China and Hong Kong, where antigovernment protests have unfolded for months.”

Uh, more like a minefield.

Today’s funding feature: Grammarly, the nifty AI tool that currently helps 20M+ correct their written grammar, has raised an additional $90M round that brings its total to $200M and a valuation of $1B.

Grammarly is currently available via a number of web browsers and in Microsoft Word. The company will use this investment to suppor more platforms and focus more on the enterprise.

I look forward to leveraging Grammarly to address the elephant in the room and to do a deep dive..now, let’s take this offline!

Written by turbotodd

October 10, 2019 at 10:31 am

Not Playing Around 

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Happy Tuesday.

If you’re an macOS user the new Catalina version has now been released, and includes new apps like “Find My” and “Screen Time.” Also new apps like “Music,” “TV,” and “Podcast” apps to replace iTunes.

RIP, iTunes…we’ll miss you (not really).

And Apple’s new gaming platform, “Arcade,” is also now available and ready to give corporate American a massive productivity hit.

On the subject of hits, while most of the attention currently on China has to do with the NBA, the Trump Administration continues to wage economic war on the Middle Kingdom.

Bloomberg reported yesterday PM that the U.S. Placed eight Chinese tech giants on a U.S. blacklist on Monday, “accusing them of being implicated in human rights violations in the country’s far-western region of Xinjiang.

Those targeted include Hangzhou Hikvision and Zhejiang Dahua, which control as much of a third of the global market for video surveillance and have cameras around the globe.

This is the first time the administration has cited human rights as a reason for action.

Finally, to Playstation 5, which Wired is reporting will be available for the holidays in 2020. Not many deets yet, but the 5 will go SSD which will likely speed up game play.

Written by turbotodd

October 8, 2019 at 9:30 am

Posted in 2019, apple, china

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Knock Knock

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Happy Hump Day.  The GZERO Signal warns this morning that the AI backlash has been recently accelerating.

Noting Bernie Sanders becoming the first 2020 prez candidate to call for an outright ban on facial recognition in policing….European policymakers weighing regs to curtail “indiscriminate” use of AI by companies and governments…Hong Kongers donning masks to prevent authorities from using their faces ID to them.

Wayback machine “Minority Report” showing, anyone? I’ll bring the GMO popcorn!

On the Chimerica front, the Google’s apparently taking no chances on the US-China trade war. 9to5 Google is reporting the Droid is set to move production of its Pixel phone from China to Vietnam, but suggest it’s unclear whether this move will affect the production of the upcoming Google Pixel 4.

If it did, that would be some awfully fast production line and supply chain retooling. Good morning, Vietnam!

Google is also putting its algos to work on the Nest Hello doorbell, which The Verge is reporting can now detect deliveries and notify U.S. users of such for a mere $5/month with its Nest Aware service.

No word yet if the Nest Hello could help say goodbye to porch thieves watching your arriving Prime packages.

Written by turbotodd

August 28, 2019 at 9:52 am

Mr. Speaker

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Canalys is reporting that the global smart speaker market grew 55.4% in Q219 to reach 26.1M units. While Amazon kept its global lead at 6.6M units, Baidu gew 3,700% to reach 4.5M units, serving only the Chinese domestic market. That shifted Baidu in front of Google, which shipped 4.3M.

Also on the Chinese front, facial recognition startup Megvii filed for a Hong Kong IPO at a roughly $4B valuation. Megvii sells AI products that range from facial reco to algorithms designed for traffic management.

Some other Monday morning AI funding rounds:

Versatile Natures, $5.5M (seed), nurtured in Autodesk’s Build Space in Tel Aviv since April 2017, uses AI to improve construction processes.

Capacity (formerly Jane.ai), $13.2M Series B, AI that helps companies maintain a searchable index by consolidating info from various apps.

And Tech Nation reports that UK tech startups hit a record $6.7B in the seven months of 2019, suggesting there’s no Brexit brakes on innovation!

Speaking of brakes, after President Trump’s Tweets raising tariffs on China whipsawed global markets Friday, U.S. markets seem to have settled down after the President tweeted this AM: “Talks are continuing.”

Your 401K: It’s better just not to look. No, really.

Written by turbotodd

August 26, 2019 at 9:51 am

Love and Smartphones

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Okay, admit it, you’re *really* excited about the drop of Taylor Swift’s new album…Okay, maybe not.

It’s apparently official: VMWare is buying both Carbon Black and Pivotal for roughly $4.5B. Carbon Black is a cybersecurity firm, and Pivotal a hybrid-cloud infra ops player born out of assets spun off from VMWare and Dell back in 2013.

If you wonder where you fall in the buying a new smartphone spectrum, there’s a study for that. 9to5 mac cites Strategy Analytics data on the smartphone purchasing habits of U.S. consumers: They upgrade very 33 months, had their current iPhone an average of 18 months, and 7 percent plan to spend over $1,000 on their next upgrade. Now you know why Apple is focusing so much more on razors (services, infotainment…) and not just razor blades (iPhones).

Yesterday Google jumped on board the high speed Chinese anti-propaganda train campaign by suspending 210 YouTube channels after they were found to have been tied to misinformation about HK protesters.

Google Security’s Threat Analysis Group wrote in a blog post that “We found use of VPNs and other methods to disguise the origin of these accounts and other activity commonly associated with coordinated influence operations.”

Gambling? In the casino??

Written by turbotodd

August 23, 2019 at 10:13 am

No More Android Dessert

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Bloomberg’s jumped all over Apple’s upcoming new hardware: Pro iPhones, New iPads, a larger MacBook Pro.

Details: a refreshed iPad Pro with upgraded cameras, fasters chips. An entry level iPad with a bigger screen; new Apple Watch revs; first revamp to MBP in 3 years. Updates to AirPods and HomePod. Also Apple TV+ video and Apple Arcade gaming subscription service.

Could be a very long fall keynote.

If you’re an Android, however, no more desserts for you. The Keyword blog announced that the desserts were confusing to worldwide audiences. That’s right, no more gingerbreads, no more eclairs, no more donuts.

The next rev of the Goog’s mobile OS is simply: “Android 10.” Our Lord in AI Heaven, please don’t let Deep Mind have come up with that name.

And back to Chimerica, if you were looking to get in on some Alibaba IPO action, the Chinese-based firm has delayed its Hong Kong listing. And NO, not because the traders couldn’t get to the subway. But YES, because the unrest didn’t exactly present a convenient time for a massive and important stock float.

Check back with your broker in early October.

Written by turbotodd

August 22, 2019 at 9:59 am

Posted in 2019, alibaba, apple, china

Tagged with , , ,

Brave New World

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Happy Monday. Bloomberg is reporting that Apple CEO Tim Cook made a “very compelling argument’
that Apple might lose its edge to Samsung because due to tariffs on Chinese goods. 

China’s apparently moving on, with The Verge reporting that Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are collaborating on an AirDrop-style wireless file transfer protocol that will work between their devices with speeds of up to 20 MB/s. If you will, the Great Wireless Wall of China.

Also news on the crytocurrency front: Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has launched a crypto exchange for trading in bitcoin, ether, and bitcoin cash. And, Accenture is reporting that global fintech investments have dropped as Chinese fundraising has fallen sharply.

The U.S. remains the world’s biggest fintech market with $12.7B in first-half fundraising — such investments in China were at $820M, a huge fall from the $17.7B raised a year earlier.

Why the big drop? Increased U.S. scrutiny of foreign investments in the U.S., restrictions on Chinese firms’ access to U.S. tech, Huawei’s blacklisting, fears of a global recession and declining business capx investment (among others).

It’s a brave (and never boring) new world.

Written by turbotodd

August 19, 2019 at 10:34 am

Posted in 2019, apple, china, fintech

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The Harmony Hedge

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I wrote on Monday about the possible fork in the smartphone road between China and the rest of the world.

Today, at the Huawei Developer Conference in Dongguan, China, the company’s CEO, Richard Yu, made it official by unveiling “HarmonyOS.”

Though the OS is currently focused largely on IoT products (wearables, smart speakers, etc.), Yu explained that if and when Huawei can no longer access Google’s Android ecosystem, Huawei could deploy HarmonyOS at any time.

But the plan is to stay with Android. Until it can’t or won’t. 

HarmonyOS (formerly “HongMengOS”) is open source and microkernel-based, and Yu suggested onstage in Dongguan that Android wasn’t as efficient due to its redundant codes and general fragmentation issues.

Developers will be able to port their Android apps over to HarmonyOS using Huawei’s ARK compiler.

This is a serious chicken and egg proposition. Yu hasn’t given a full throated endorsement of HarmonyOS, avoided mentioning smartphones in the introduction, and clearly would prefer to avoid jumping off the Android ship.

But either because of market or political pressures, he has been pushed (quickly) by the powers that be to oversee a major OS hedge.

Statista’s latest estimate of the number of Chinese smartphone users exceeds 1B+, and last year China accounted for nearly half of app downloads.

I suspect Huawei (not to mention Google) clearly wants to hedge on this hedge.

Written by turbotodd

August 9, 2019 at 9:57 am

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