Posts Tagged ‘enterprise’

Talk of an RSA Boycott Grows After Reports It Colluded With the NSA

December 24, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

A boycott may be brewing against security company RSA’s annual conference, in the wake of reports that the company used encryption technology that had been created by the U.S. National Security Agency in its products in order to create a “back door” in them. A well-known security researcher has announced that he is boycotting RSA’s annual security industry conference in San Francisco early next year, and will no longer deliver a scheduled talk at that event. In an open letter addressed to Joe Tucci, the CEO of EMC, of which RSA is a unit, and Art Coviello, the head of RSA, Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, said he is “withdrawing his support for the event.” (See the full text of the letter below.) In a story on Friday, Reuters reported that RSA had accepted a $10 million payment from the NSA to use a random-number generator created by that agency in a widely used security product called BSafe. After being developed by NSA, the technology, known as Dual EC DRBG, which stands for Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator , was recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Time (NIST) as an algorithm to create random numbers, a key part of the process of encrypting and securing data communications. RSA has issued a carefully worded denial of what Reuters described as a “secret contract” with the NSA. The company said that it has long worked with the NSA openly for what it described as an “effort to strengthen, not weaken” security products. RSA’s annual conference, scheduled Feb. 24-28, 2014, at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, is a significant event for large and small companies in the computer security industry, and is also widely attended by independent researchers. The conference boasts attendance of about 15,000 people. Hypponen has worked for F-Secure, based in Helsinki, since 1991. He’s a sought-out speaker on security topics, and is frequently quoted in the media (such as this example from AllThingsD in 2011 ), and has spoken at the influential TED conference. He has also has worked with law-enforcement agencies around the world. His research into the SoBig virus was the subject of a lengthy 2004 feature in Vanity Fair magazine. The name of the talk that he won’t be giving: “ Governments as Malware Authors .” Others in the security industry are talking about boycotting the RSA event, too.

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BlackBerry Reports Massive $4.4 Billion Quarterly Loss, Inks a Deal With Foxconn

December 20, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

BlackBerry, the troubled Canadian smartphone company, just reported its quarterly results and, well, let’s just say its troubles aren’t getting any smaller. Its loss, on a GAAP basis, came out to $4.4 billion on revenue of $1.2 billion. That works out to a per-share loss of $8.37. The loss was the result of a huge $2.7 billion charge against assets, and another $266 million restructuring charge. After backing out those charges, the company lost $354 million, or 67 cents a share. It exited the quarter with $3.2 billion in combined cash and short-term investments. Sales fell by 56 percent compared to the year-ago quarter

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Buy Your Underwear, Rent Your Tuxedo: A Case for the Private Cloud

December 12, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

I don’t know about you, but I buy my underwear and I rent my tuxedos. That might sound like a strange way to start an article about private clouds, but hear me out. Private Means Something Private bits belong in private places. There are many good reasons to own your underwear, and I’ll let you use your imagination to fill those in, if you’d like. Security is near the top of the list of concerns about the cloud. Many an IT department take a sidelong glance at the public cloud and says, “Well, I’d have to give up my security perimeter. I’d have to give up my identity management. I’d have to switch up my DNS to accommodate systems that are spread out all over the place.” Framed that way, the “cost” of cloud is just too steep for a lot of organizations. If these are the kinds of concerns you’re hearing, read on. It’s important to realize that you can take a small bite of cloud. You can start with private cloud environments, and keep your border firewalls, stateful packet inspection, and other intrusion-prevention systems all in place, while also allowing developers flexibility about how they consume and provision resources. Not all private cloud providers support keeping your existing identity management systems intact, but Piston does (disclosure: I’m the co-founder and CEO), and so does VMware. This lets you tie your controls over new roles and groups into your existing systems. On so many levels, a private cloud is an easy place to start. What I Mean by Cloud When people say “cloud,” they usually mean three things at once. Cloud is not outsourcing.

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With Microsoft CEO Race in Home Stretch and Mulally Fading, Here’s My Dark-Horse Pick: VMware’s Gelsinger

December 12, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about the possibility of an outsider dark-horse candidate emerging in the race to become CEO of Microsoft. Now it might be more of a possibility than ever before, tracking on sources inside the company that have consistently said that there is a male tech executive in the running who has not been named publicly as yet. Said one person about this candidate: He is “in tech, someone folks are excited about, but not a done deal.” By definition, the term “dark horse” is meant to describe a come-out-of-nowhere winner, or, as Wikipedia notes , “a race horse that is not known to gamblers and thus is difficult to place betting odds on.” And make no mistake, this CEO search has turned into a race, with the variety of candidates pulling ahead and then falling behind, with all of them jockeying for position, as the crowd of investors and insiders have also tried to put their own fix in. At the time of my post in mid-November, Ford CEO Alan Mulally was the clear front runner of the process to replace outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. Also in that mix: Enterprise chief Satya Nadella; COO Kevin Turner; strategy exec Tony Bates (whom I have dubbed the Silicon Valley choice); and Nokia exec Stephen Elop. Elop was considered the top contender (by me, at least), after Microsoft bought the mobile phone division of Nokia. But — for a variety of reasons — he soon fell behind two other internal candidates, Bates and Nadella. And further back still, Turner. Among the outsiders, Mulally — who has done a lot of deft lobbying for the job, after helping Ballmer in his efforts to restructure Microsoft — has always been in the forefront of the choice

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Top Microsoft Finance Exec Koefoed Departs for Puppet Labs

December 4, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

One of the voices I always enjoyed over the years at the start of Microsoft earnings calls, Bill Koefoed, will be leaving the software giant after eight years to take a job as CFO of Puppet Labs. Most recently, he was working as CFO in the Skype and then in the marketing and business development unit. But Koefoed is perhaps best known, as I called him, as “Microsoft investor relations dude-in-chief.” Puppet Labs develops IT automation software, with almost $46 million in funding from Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures, True Ventures, VMware and others.

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White House Claims "Dramatic Progress" on Health Site

December 2, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Obama administration officials, racing to beat a month-end deadline to fix the troubled federal insurance website, said Sunday there has been “dramatic progress” in patching but acknowledged “there is more work to be done” in improving the site and its underlying technology. An eight-page report released Sunday morning by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials offered a few details of progress in fixing the site, which crashed shortly after its launch Oct. 1. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

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You Spent $1.2 Billion Shopping Online on Black Friday

December 1, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

If you take an increase in the rate of holiday spending as a suggestion of good economic news, then there’s a lot to like about the new numbers from comScore, the research firm that tracks the digital economy. According to research out today, consumers shopping online spent $1.2 billion buying stuff on Black Friday . It was the, the firm says, the first billion-dollar-plus day of the holiday season so far. On Thanksgiving Day, consumers spent about $766 million online, up 21 percent from 2012. Compared to last year, it’s a 15 percent improvement, or $156 million higher than the Black Friday 2012 total of $1.04 billion. Now, that’s a tricky comparison, owing to the fact that Thanksgiving fell rather late on the calendar this year versus last year

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Tech Execs See a Dealmaking Surge in 2014 — Maybe

November 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Think there haven’t been enough mergers-and-acquisition deals among tech companies lately? Well, a new survey of senior tech executives and other dealmakers suggests that the dealmaking pace may speed up in 2014. The survey, conducted in October by the law firm Morrison & Foerster and the research firm 451 Research, asked 200 C-level executives, corporate lawyers, venture capitalists and investment bankers about their views on M&A activity in the coming six months. At least half said they expect an increase, which is slightly down from the 54 percent in an April survey. But, if you assume that a decrease in pessimism implies an increase in optimism, there’s this: The number of people who expect the pace of deals to slow down declined substantially, from 19 percent in April to seven percent as of last month. Meanwhile, 43 percent said they expect the pace to “stay the same.” Deal volume was generally down by 15 percent this year versus the same period in 2012, and even more compared to 2011. Given that, the survey — which has been conducted three times previously — included a new question: What are the chances that deal volume will bounce back to pre-recession levels by 2018? Forty percent said that it “probably” or “absolutely” will recover, while 31 percent gave it a 50-50 chance; 29 percent said they didn’t think it will recover. So, what about the biggest consideration in a deal — valuations? Will they rise or fall? Most — 43 percent — said they expect valuations of target companies to stay the same, while 36 percent said they expect an increase, and 21 percent said they expect a fall.

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Microsoft’s Xbox One Costs $90 More to Build Than Sony’s PS4, Teardown Shows

November 26, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

With two significant game console releases recently, research firm IHS has been working a little extra overtime these days. After doing surgery on Sony’s Playstation 4, the team gave Microsoft’s Xbox One the same treatment this week to get a peek at its electronic innards in order to estimate what it costs to make. And the verdict from a report that IHS will release later today was shared exclusively with AllThingsD : The combined cost of parts and manufacturing everything that comes with the Xbox One — the console, the Kinect and the controller — comes out to $471, or about $90 more than the cost of Sony’s PS4, which debuted last week . The Xbox One sells at retail for $499, giving Microsoft little, if any, room for much of a profit for now. At least $75 of that cost is derived from the Kinect motion-sensing add-on that comes bundled with the console. (The PS4 has nothing comparable in its box.) But the biggest cost driver inside the console, said Andrew Rassweiler, the IHS analyst who led the teardown team, is the microprocessor from chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices. Like a similar AMD-made chip found inside the PS4, this one is a combination of a CPU and a graphics processing unit (GPU) that handles gaming graphics. At an estimated cost of $110 — about $10 more than the AMD chip found in the PS4 — it’s the single most expensive component in the system.

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After Securing Individual Smartphones, Lookout Offers an Option for Businesses

November 19, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

As it signaled it would earlier this year , mobile security software maker Lookout is releasing its first product to help businesses secure large numbers of smartphones. Features include the ability for businesses to remotely find, lock and wipe devices while also managing phones via the cloud.

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