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Oct. 15, 2013, 5:35 PM
Oct. 15, 2013, 1:52 PM
- German insurance giant Allianz says it has begun exclusive talks with IBM (IBM -0.9%) regarding an outsourcing deal that would lower the number of data centers it relies on from 140 to 6, all of which would be managed by Big Blue. Allianz expects the consolidation effort, which it says will help create a private cloud infrastructure, to be finished by the end of 2017.
- IBM has been trying to focus its outsourcing efforts on differentiated, higher-margin services such as data center consolidation/management, even at the cost of losing out on deals involving more commoditized services. The company sold its customer care outsourcing unit to Synnex last month for $505M.
Oct. 7, 2013, 1:25 PM
- Barclays' Ben Reitzes, who cut IBM (IBM -0.8%) to Equal Weight this morning, says Big Blue overstates the amount of free cash flow it generates by excluding global financing receivables. Whereas Reitzes thinks IBM will produce $14.85/share in FCF based on the company's own metrics, he sees the company producing only $12.34/share (well below a $16.89 EPS consensus) if traditional metrics are applied.
- Like others, Reitzes also sees the impact of the cloud migration being much greater than the dollar value of deals that are being signed. "Each dollar spent in the public cloud arguably means that multiple dollars are not spent ... to duplicate that capability on premise ... With each customer that deploys [SaaS or IaaS], future revenue streams from IBM become more difficult to tap."
- He's pleased IBM has acquired SoftLayer to help address the cloud threat, but cautions the cloud infrastructure service provider's code base needs to be modified to be compatible with IBM's existing offerings.
Oct. 7, 2013, 9:26 AM
- BlackBerry (BBRY) has been upgraded to Neutral by Macquarie following a weekend report indicating the company is in talks to sell part or all of the company to Cisco, Google, SAP, and others. Shares +4% premarket.
- IBM and Informatica (INFA) have been cut to Equal Weight by Barclays. IBM -1.4%.
- Twitter (TWTR) has been started with a Buy and $50 PT by SunTrust ahead of its IPO. The PT implies a $25B valuation.
- Infosys (INFY) has been upgraded to Buy by BNP Paribas.
- MaxLinear (MXL) has been upgraded to Outperform by JMP following news the chipmaker has settled its patent dispute with Silicon Labs.
- Citrix (CTXS) has been upgraded to Overweight by Barclays.
- Splunk (SPLK) has received a two-notch downgrade to Underperform by Credit Agricole. Needham cut shares to Hold last week. Shares -2.3%.
- PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (TLK) has been cut to Neutral by Credit Suisse.
Oct. 3, 2013, 12:12 PM
- IBM (IBM -0.8%) has acquired Xtify, developer of a mobile messaging platform that lets companies send targeted promotions and other content to customers via Web/app notifications, text messages, and Facebook. Terms are undisclosed. (PR)
- Xtify allows companies to target users based on time and place, in addition to demographic/purchasing data. That opens the door to in-store mobile promotions. Its platform is backed by analytics tools (something IBM is clearly fond of) that track user activity.
- IBM says Xtify will strengthen both its MobileFirst software line, and its Smarter Commerce initiative. SAP, Oracle, and Salesforce have also been working on broad marketing tech platforms that allow companies to better engage with and target customers, and aim to profit from the growing IT spending power of CMOs.
- News of the deal comes shortly after IBM announced it's buying The Now Factory, a provider of analytics tools for mobile carriers.
- Other Smarter Commerce-themed IBM software acquisitions: DemandTec, Tealeaf
Oct. 1, 2013, 10:00 AM
- IBM (IBM -0.1%) has bought The Now Factory, an Irish developer of software that gives mobile carriers the ability to monitor/analyze vast amounts of data related to user activity. Terms are undisclosed. (PR)
- TNF's specific products include Vantage Customer Manager (provides a real-time view of service usage), Vantage Network Analyzer (network analysis/troublueshooting), and Vantage Service Manager (real-time data on service performance).
- IBM says TNF's products will complement the analytics software offered by its MobileFirst software line (aimed at businesses more than carriers) (among other things) can help carriers launch targeted ad campaigns based on user activity.
- Interest in mobile analytics has been growing in tandem with the mobile data boom. Splunk recently acquired app analytics firm BugSense, and mobile ad-serving/analytics firm Flurry could do a big IPO next year.
- Past IBM analytics purchases: Star Analytics, StoredIQ, Tealeaf, DemandTec
Sep. 30, 2013, 1:26 PM
- Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) passed Coca-Cola to take the top two spots in Interbrand's annual ranking of the world's most valuable brands. 2013 marks the first time in the history of the 13-year-old survey Coke wasn't ranked #1. (PR)
- Interbrand estimates Apple's brand value rose 28% Y/Y to $98.3B, and Google's 34% to $93.3B. Four other tech names made the top-10: IBM (#4, +4% to $78.8B), Microsoft (MSFT - #5, +3% to $60B), Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB - #8, +20% to $39.6B), and Intel (INTC - #9, -5% to $37.3B).
- Though it only came in at #19, Amazon's (AMZN) brand value is estimated to have risen 27% to $23.6B. Likewise, Interbrands thinks EBAY's brand value rose 20% to $13.2B, leading its ranking to rise 8 spots to #28.
Sep. 29, 2013, 1:50 AM
- While the health exchanges that are a key part of Obamacare are due to open for business on Tuesday, some states won't be able to offer full functionality at first because of IT problems.
- The states include New York, Oregon and Colorado, as well as the District of Columbia.
- In addition, the Obamacare Spanish-language Internet site won't be ready, while small businesses and their staff won't be able to sign up for weeks.
- The contractors involved include IBM (IBM) and Infosys (INFY)
- ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
Sep. 27, 2013, 1:07 PM
- The soft revenue and bookings guidance provided with Accenture's (ACN -3.8%) FQ4 results are oveshadowing the company's dividend hike and $5B buyback expansion. Consulting/outsourcing rival IBM (IBM -1.7%) is trading lower in sympathy. Wipro (WIT -3.2%) is also selling off, but outsourcing peers Infosys (INFY -0.3%) and Cognizant (CTSH -0.6%) have pared their morning losses.
- Accenture's CC remarks (transcript) likely aren't helping. CFO David Rowland mentioned that while outsourcing bookings were healthy (book-to-bill of 1.4), all 3 consulting bookings segments - management consulting, tech consulting, and systems integration - were at the low end of its B2B guidance ranges. Total consulting B2B was 1.0
- Rowland adds Accenture thinks the "cycle of lower growth" it has seen in recent quarters "won't change much" near-term.
- Echoing comments from Cisco's John Chambers, CEO Pierre Nanterme mentioned Accenture is seeing more emerging markets "volatility," even as the U.S. performs well and Europe stabilizes.
- Janney's Joseph Foresi is staying bullish, arguing Accenture is "well positioned given its high end capabilities to gain market share as outsourcing becomes more commoditized."
Sep. 19, 2013, 11:07 AM
- IBM (IBM -0.2%) has acquired Daeja Image Systems, a U.K.-based developer of software for viewing/annotating scanned documents and images.Terms are undisclosed. (PR)
- IBM asserts Daeja's technology "makes it easy to view very large files," such as car accident photos and patient x-rays. The company will be added to IBM's sizable and growing enterprise content management (ECM) unit, which already offers document imaging/capture tools (among other products).
- The ECM unit's rivals include Open Text (OTEX - also offers imaging software) and EMC's Documentum unit.
Sep. 17, 2013, 1:43 PM
- A number of big cap tech companies have fooled this generation of analysts, says Jim Chanos (about minute 11 of the video), by acquiring their way into growth as organic expansion grinds to a halt. He won't name names (HPQ is already trodden ground), but Cory Johnson's mentioning of IBM and 3D Systems (DDD) as fitting the bill has Chanos nodding his head, "Acquisitions are a way of capitalizing R&D."
- "I'm very leery of tech companies that become value stocks," he says, partly explaining the reason for exiting another long - his stake in Microsoft (MSFT). Apple (AAPL)? He considers it more a consumer products stock than tech stock, and believes the company is still innovating.
- Tech ETFs: QTEC, IGM, IYW, PTF, MTK, XLK, VGT, RYT, FXL, PSCT, TECL, ROM, TECS, REW, TDIV.
- Also from the video: Chanos on China.
Sep. 17, 2013, 12:24 PM
- IBM (IBM -0.4%) says it will invest $1B over the next 4-5 years in Linux and related open-source tech for use with Power server line. Among other things, the company will create Linux app development programs for Power (System p) servers, and help enable software development for its 12-core Power8 CPUs (due next year).
- The announcement follows a quarter in which sales of IBM's Power servers, which use proprietary Power CPUs and tend to have higher ASPs than Big Blue's x86 servers, fell 25% Y/Y.
- Plunging demand for UNIX servers had much to do with the drop; IDC estimates industry-wide UNIX server sales fell 21% Y/Y in Q2. That compares with a 5.1% drop for Windows servers, and 1.5% growth for Linux servers. The firm believes Linux now accounts for 23.2% of industry server revenue, and UNIX just 15.1%.
- Enterprise Linux leader and IBM partner Red Hat (RHT -0.8%) has to be pleased with the show of support.
- IBM is also promising to invest heavily in R&D for is System x x86 server unit, which saw an 11% Y/Y sales drop in Q2 (IDC thinks industry x86 sales only fell 1.3%) and was reportedly on the block earlier this year.
- In addition to helping System p server sales, IBM's Linux spending could bolster its new efforts to sell its Power CPUs to 3rd-party OEMs. Many of the Internet companies targeted by the effort are big Linux fans, but they depend almost entirely on x86 servers for now.
Sep. 13, 2013, 1:14 PM
- The Indian government has signed off on the construction of two local chip manufacturing plants, but hasn't yet decided who will get to build them. A consortium featuring IBM, TowerJazz (TSEM -1%), and Indian firm Jaiprakash Associates has submitted a proposal, and so has a consortium featuring STMicroelectronics (STM +1.3%), Malaysian chipmaker Silterra, and would-be local foundry Hindustan Semiconductor.
- Investments in the plants are expected to total 515.5B rupees ($8.1B). Relative to several East Asian countries, India has been a chip manufacturing laggard, but fresh government incentives and an interest in better servicing Indian electronics manufacturers and (indirectly) consumers are leading chipmakers to give the country another look.
Sep. 12, 2013, 1:19 AM
- As expected, Intel (INTC) has launched its 22nm Bay Trail Atom tablet CPU line at the Intel Developer Forum. Intel is promising up to a 2x CPU performance boost, and a 3x GPU performance boost over the current-gen Clover Trail, without hurting battery life.
- Performance-wise, Bay Trail should be competitive with high-end ARM-based CPUs such as Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 and Nvidia's Tegra 4. However, some worry they'll also be competitive with Intel's more costly/higher-margin Core notebook CPUs.
- Google (GOOG) has announced a slew of Chromebooks sporting Intel Haswell Core CPUs are on tap, courtesy of OEM partners such as Acer, H-P, Asus, and Toshiba. Google recently added local/offline app support to Chrome OS, a move that stands to strengthen the OS' low-end challenge to Windows.
- Intel has also launched new 22nm Xeon CPUs meant for dual-CPU servers (officially given the catchy name Xeon E5 2600 v2). Improvements over Intel's prior-gen, 32nm, Romley Xeons include support for more cores (12 vs. 8) and threads (24 vs. 16).
- IBM is using Intel's latest Xeon parts in its new NeXtScale high-density server line. Like H-P with its Moonshot servers, Big Blue hopes NeXtScale will be adopted some of the Web/cloud companies increasingly opting for a do-it-yourself approach. The first NeXtScale system can pool up to 84 dual-CPU servers in a 19" rack.
- IBM is also trying to address the needs of Web/cloud companies, who generally use Intel CPUs, by licensing its Power CPU architecture.
- The Xeon launch comes shortly after Intel began shipping its Avoton Atom server CPUs, which aim to head off ARM-based competition in the high-density/microserver market. Intel claims Avoton can deliver up to 6x better performance/watt than its prior-gen Centerton.
- CNET observes Apple's development of a 64-bit A-series CPU (meant for iOS hardware for now) could eventually pave the way for it to use A-series parts in Macs instead of Intel CPUs. There have already been reports Apple is thinking of doing this.
- Previous: Day 1 of IDF, 2014/2015 mobile CPU roadmap
Sep. 10, 2013, 6:49 PM
- Cisco's (CSCO) $415M purchase of flash storage system vendor Whiptail marks the networking giant's official entry into the storage hardware market.
- Though Cisco has become a major player in the server market through its UCS line, and has had a large presence in storage networking for some time, it has been content to leave storage sales to partners such as EMC, IBM, and NetApp (NTAP), along with server/Ethernet switch rivals such as H-P and Dell.
- In a blog post explaining the deal, exec Paul Perez states Cisco concluded "UCS needed to be best-in-class at accelerating hot data layers" (i.e. mission-critical data), and that a flash storage offering was needed to achieve this goal.
- Perez declares Whiptail to offer "the highest scalability in performance and capacity of any scale-out flash vendor on the market today," (rivals such as Violin Memory might beg to differ), and imagines solutions leveraging Whiptail, UCS, and Nexus switches enabling customers to load "vast amounts of data in seconds and minutes, not hours or days," among other things.
- Whiptail relies on a proprietary OS built from the ground up to handle flash storage, something it argues yields superior performance.
- The startup's products compete directly against systems from EMC's XtremIO unit, and indirectly against other flash-based EMC products. They also compete against IBM's Texas Memory unit and NetApp's flash offerings.
- The Cisco-EMC partnership has already been pressured by the software-defined networking efforts of VMware's Nicira unit, which stand to make it easier for companies to replace Cisco gear with rival/commodity hardware (if adopted). There have been reports EMC has considered further encroaching on Cisco's turf by acquiring a networking hardware firm.
Sep. 10, 2013, 4:29 PM
- IBM will receive $430M in cash and $75M in stock from Synnex (SNX), which will add the business to its Concentrix customer contact services unit. (PR)
- In tandem with the sale, Synnex is entering into a multi-year tech partnership with IBM, and Concentrix "will become an IBM strategic business partner for global customer care business process outsourcing services."
- IBM says it will continue investing in "strategic areas" of its Global Process Services portfolio. The Synnex deal is another example of Big Blue's efforts to pare its exposure to lower-margin services segments (even at the cost of top-line growth) to focus on higher-margin/value-added areas.
- SNX +9.4% AH, IBM nearly unchanged. Synnex asserts the deal will make Concentrix a top-10 global player in the customer case BPO space.
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