Tech / Telecom news — 15 Nov 2016

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Enterprise

Microsoft launching a “light” CRM suite as a value added to MS Outlook, aimed at small customers not yet interested in more sophisticated CRM solutions (like MS Dynamics 365, or Salesforce). The “Customer Service Manager” tool organises and presents info on each customer and allows to track tasks and deals (Story)

And it actually seems that Microsoft is increasingly on a collision course with Salesforce, at least if you listen to Salesforce CEO’s comments, claiming that the new Microsoft is “too much like the old one” and suggesting they could have used partnership meetings with Salesforce to prepare a competitive offer against them (Story)

Artificial Reality

In what seems a most natural move, Apple might be testing their own digital glasses as an augmented reality extension of the iPhone. The wearable device would connect with the iPhone wirelessly to show images and other contextual information in the wearer’s field of vision, and would be available in 2018 at the earliest (Story)

NETWORK TECHNOLOGY

In the UK, Vodafone is trying to slow down BT’s deployment of G.Fast to (efficiently) increase access speeds over FTTN’s final copper links. They argue G.Fast is an “interim” move that would delay the final objective of FTTH deployment. But there might be something good in G.Fast if competitors are so much against it… (Story)

BIG DATA & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Not only Facebook, but now Google too seems under pressure for “non neutrality”, in this case applied to the search results, in the context of political information for the recent presidential election. The search engine seems to be returning a site with false information as the top result when users search for election data (Story)

As a first reaction to all this noise, Facebook (and also Google) will ban “misleading, illegal or deceptive” sites from buying ads through its network. So Facebook now won’t benefit economically from people accessing these fake sites, but showing links to them as a way to engage users would apparently remain a problem (Story)

In an apparently more benign move, Google will start using info on where you are and what you are doing (!) to shape Google Music’s personalised suggestions. They seem to be aiming to differentiate vs. other apps (e.g. Spotify) by superior AI capabilities, but users might not like to realise what the app knows about them (Story)

M&A MOVES

Investment banks seem to be expectant on a potential improvement in FCC’s tolerance to consolidation moves in the US under the new Trump administration. President elect explicitly mentioned he would block the AT&T-Time Warner deal, but Republicans traditionally have a more “laissez faire” attitude (Story)

Verizon buying out IoT capabilities inorganically, with 4th acquisition in that space this year. Now they’re buying “Smart City” startup LQD WiFi, whose main product is an urban WiFi kiosk (“Palo”) which also aims to provide value added citizen services, like “security, transportation and wayfinding solutions” (Story)

Also Samsung spending a lot of money in IoT acquisitions, as shown by purchase of Harman Industries, who makes car components, for the impressive amount of $8bn. This will surely reinforce Samsung’s connected car portfolio, but at a very expensive price, especially when they haven’t even mentioned any cost synergy (Story)