2020 Recap – Business Tech News

2020 was indeed a very unique year. Many of would say passed so quickly, and yet with so little new memories and experiences. However, we managed to get business done, to invent, to transform. Below we present you with 20 hand-picked business-tech news. 

IBM drops facial recognition technology

IBM will no longer offer general purpose facial recognition or analysis software, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said in a letter to Congress today. The company will also no longer develop or research the technology.
“IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any [facial recognition] technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency.”

For all the details, check the article.

Salesforce Acquires Slack for $27.7B

Salesforce, a #1 CRM provider for seventh consecutive year, and Slack, the most innovative enterprise communications platform, signed a definitive acquisition agreement in December.
Combining Slack with Salesforce Customer 360 will be transformative for customers and the industry. The combination will create the operating system for the new way to work, uniquely enabling companies to grow and succeed in the all-digital world.

For all the details, check the article.

Infosys, Rolls-Royce ink strategic partnership for aerospace engineering in India

The engineering center for civil aerospace will strengthen Infosys’ existing capabilities in Turbomachinery and Propulsion. As part of the overall partnership, Rolls-Royce will “transition a significant part of its engineering center capabilities for civil aerospace in Bengaluru to Infosys.

Kishore Jayaraman, President of Rolls-Royce India & South Asia, said India has grown to become a key contributor to the Rolls-Royce global engineering ecosystem, delivering high levels of technical capability to support a broad range of complex business demands.

For all the details, check the article.

 

Adobe acquires marketing workflow startup Workfront for $1.5B

Adobe acquired the Workflow – a marketing workflow management startup for $1.5 billion. The acquisition gives Adobe more online marketing tooling to fit into its Experience Cloud. This one helps companies manage complex projects inside the marketing department (or elsewhere in the company, for that matter).

Workfront CEO Alex Shootman sees the deal as a way to accelerate the roadmap while working with a much larger company. “We are barely scratching the surface of marketing and we could grow tremendously, just by having that great kind of integrated relationship,” he said.

For all the details, check the article.

Koch Industries completed acquisition of Infor

In April 2020, Koch announced that it has completed the acquisition of the remaining portion of Infor from Golden Gate Capital. Infor. The acquisition brings new key capabilities to Koch to accelerate digital transformation, while providing Infor with resources and industry knowledge to continue growing its expertise in mission critical software for industries like manufacturing, retail and distribution, among others.

The acquisition positions Infor as one of the most well-capitalized companies in technology. Infor has invested approximately $4 billion in product design and development to deliver industry-specific CloudSuites.

For all the details, check the article.

Morgan Stanley Closes $13 Billion E*TRADE Acquisition Deal

As previously agreed in February 2020 between the two, the $13 billion transactions were all made in stocks. Morgan Stanley paid $58.74 a share in stock for E*Trade, at a premium of 30.7 percent to the last closing price of E*Trade shares. 

For all the details, check the article.

5G tech begins to shine

Next-gen internet connectivity has been available on smartphones since 2019, but 2020 was the year the technology began to shine. Samsung’s entire Galaxy S20 range included 5G-ready handsets, and every single member of the iPhone 12 family is built with 5G in mind.

But while 5G technology is now much more prevalent and cheaper to access, it’s still not a big enough sole reason to upgrade your phone.

For all the details, check the article.

SolarWinds Hack

For months the hackers, highly likely to be a national cyber-military team, could take their pick, spying on and stealing information, whizzing around thousands of different organisations. Multiple office networks are reported to have been compromised including the treasury and commerce departments and Homeland Security.

According to Reuters, emails sent by officials at the Department of Homeland Security – which oversees border security and defence against hacking – were monitored by the hackers.

For all the details, check the article.

IBM uncovers global email attack on Covid vaccine supply chain

IBM cybersecurity analysts on Thursday said they uncovered an email phishing scheme targeting global coronavirus vaccine supply chains, and urged cold-chain companies to remain “vigilant” and “on high alert.”
IBM said the attacks likely targeted organizations linked to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, which is working to supply low- and middle-income economies with an affordable coronavirus vaccine. The alliance, which is backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, operates a program alongside UNICEF to strengthen immunization supply chains to ensure the drugs are distributed equitably.

For all the details, check the article.

New flaw in Intel chips lets attackers slip their own data into source Enclave

A new flaw in Intel  chips threatens to allow attackers to not just view privileged information passing through the system but potentially also insert new data. The flaw isn’t something the average user has to worry about, but it is a sign of the times as far as the shape of threats to our information’s security.

The exact technical details of the flaw aren’t anything the average user would understand or be able to fix themselves. But here’s what you should know: LVI is part of a general category of flaws that have to do with a technique used by most modern computing architectures called “speculative execution.”

For all the details, check the article.

Adobe hires Levoy -  the man behind the camera in Google's Pixel phones

Google Pixel phones are known for their amazing computational photography skills and a huge credit behind this should go to a person who led the team which his expertise.
Before coming over to Adobe, Levoy spent six years at Google, heading up a team that developed the computational photography technology behind the cameras inside Google’s Pixel smartphones. His work enabled Pixels to take high-quality photos without as much hardware as competitors like Apple’s iPhone.

For all the details, check the article.

Elon Musk is leaving California and moving to Texas

Elon Musk has announced he is leaving Silicon Valley for Texas, and predicts the tech hotspot could lose its influence. The two biggest things that I got going on right now are the Starship development in South Texas, and then the big new US factory for Tesla

For all the details, check the article.

Tesla joins Wall Street's S&P 500 share index

It’s been a lucrative year for Musk, who has grown his net worth by more than $127 billion in the last 12 months. Speaking of his fortune to Forbes in an email in July, Musk said he ‘really couldn’t care less’.
Tesla’s shares surged to a record high of $695 in mid December, valuing the company at more than $650bn, less than six months after it overhauled Toyota to become the world’s most valuable carmaker. Ford is valued at about $35bn.

For all the details, check the article.

Zoom sees sales boom amid pandemic

When the lockdowns started, Zoom lifted the limits for the free version of its software in China and for educators in many countries, including the UK, helping to drive its popularity.

At its peak, the firm counted more than 300 million daily participants in virtual meetings, while paying customers have more than tripled. At the end of April, sales jumped 169% year-on-year to $328.2m, as it added more than 180,000 customers with more than 10 employees since January – far more than it had expected. 

For all the details, check the article.

Covid19 impacts tech supply chains

As governments and health care agencies work to stop the spread of Covid-19, manufacturers in more than a dozen industries are struggling to manage the epidemic’s growing impact on their supply chains. Unfortunately, many are facing a supply crisis that stems from weaknesses in their sourcing strategies that could have been corrected years ago.
Many companies are probably also regretting their reliance on a single company for items they directly purchase. Supply-chain managers know the risks of single sourcing, but they do it anyway in order to secure their supply or meet a cost target.

For all the details, check the article.

IBM CEO, Arvind Krishna, gets promoted as Chairman

IBM has announced in December that its Board of Directors appointed Chief Executive Officer, Arvind Krishna is taking over charge as Chairman with effect from January 1, 2021. He replaces current Chairman of the group, Ginni Rometty who stepped down from his position as CEO, in 2020.

Arvind Krishna took over as the company’s CEO in April 2020 and the man began his career with the technology firm in 1990 at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Centre. A timeline study of Krishna includes his 2015 promotion as Senior Vice President of IBM Research group. Later on, he was also appointed for the Senior Vice President of IBM’s Cloud and Cognitive Software department.

For all the details, check the article.

IBM to split into two as it reinvents itself

The move is an attempt to shift its focus to higher-margin businesses like cloud computing and artificial intelligence. IBM’s legacy businesses will be spun off into a new company called NewCo. This will encompass its “Managed Infrastructure Services” division. NewCo will have 90,000 employees and will receive a permanent name next year, along with a share market listing.
IBM, which currently has more than 352,000 workers, said it expects the separation to cost $5bn.

For all the details, check the article.

Apple and Intel part ways

Apple is breaking a 15-year partnership with Intel on its Macs. There are multiple reasons for that –  Apple already makes its own phone and tablet processors, and it says it can improve laptop battery life, plus Intel has fallen behind on manufacturing. In Nov they announced three new Mac computers: a MacBook Air, a 13-inch MacBook Pro, and a Mac Mini powered by Apple’s M1 chip instead of Intel processor.

Apple’s chips are based on ARM technology, as opposed to the x86 architecture that Intel’s chips use. ARM was originally designed for mobile devices, and chips built with ARM designs are consistently more efficient, leading to longer battery life.

For all the details, check the article.

IBM and White House uniting to fight coronavirus

In March 2020 it was announced that IBM is partnering with the White House to make a vast amount of supercomputing power available to help researchers stop the spreading coronavirus pandemic, according to the Trump administration.
The supercomputing power will be available to help researchers develop predictive models to analyze how the disease is progressing as well as model new potential therapies or a possible vaccine.

For all the details, check the article.

 

Farewell to Flash

Adobe issued an official end-of-life date for Flash which is the last day of the last calendar year – December 31, 2020. After this date, Adobe will not issue any updates or security patches for Flash. In addition, Adobe will remove all archives of previous Flash Player versions from its official site and will block Flash-based content from running.

For all the details, check the article.

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