Tech / Telecom news — 20 Jun 2017

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Video content

Facebook’s current efforts to enter the TV advertising market by distributing TV-quality original videos are hurting its relations with content providers like CNN, which feel shifted to an increasingly “wholesale” role, receiving a share of ad revenues, but complaining on not being paid enough or receiving enough data (Story)

Applications

Barriers to entry in app development keep falling, as shown by Stackshare, a startup building a platform where successful apps (e.g. Airbnb or Slack) distribute pieces of code actually used to run their operations. Companies benefit from increasing the base of external developers that can then use the published technologies (Story)

Cloud

Oracle, under pressure to accelerate its shift to be a cloud provider (and abandon its software-license legacy), needs 3 key elements to succeed, according to M Hurd, its co-CEO: (1) a differentiated product, (2) capital to invest in infrastructure, and (3) patience (as much as someone building a hotel, before renting the rooms) (Story)

HARDWARE ENABLERS

Network Technology

The research division of China’s Ministry of Industry & Information Technology (MIIT) thinks equipment vendors (including device companies) will benefit more than operators from 5G technology. They expect 5G to drive $930bn of economic output by 2030, and recommend Chinese firms to support Global standards (Story)

SOFTWARE ENABLERS

Artificial Intelligence

Google researchers just released an academic paper called “One Model to Learn Them All”, describing a single machine learning model (the “MultiModel”) that would be closer to a “General AI”, by being able to address multiple tasks well. A key advantage is that this could reduce the amount of data required for training (Story)

M&A DEALS & IPOs

Orange is finally selling the 4% stake it still holds in BT, a product of the EE deal, that had been under lock up until Jan 2017. This was expected, but is happening at BT’s lowest value since 2013, which doesn’t help BT’s currently damaged reputation. Orange will combine direct sales with an issuance of convertible bonds (Story)

Play Poland, one of the most successful telecom attacker stories around, after become the second operator in the market (27% market share) in just 10 years of life, is now preparing its IPO, with a target valuation of more than €3.5bn, including debt. They claim to have done in Europe what T-Mobile has done in the US (Story)

Operational risks, so often forgotten (for obvious reasons) by investment bankers, could be significant in an eventual Sprint — T-Mobile merger, according to a recent, rather realistic analysis by Moody’s, which claims that integration will take 3–5 years, and “if it stalls or is derailed by missteps, the downside is catastrophic” (Story)

A nice analysis (as expected) by B Thompson views the announced acquisition of Whole Foods as a way for Amazon to ensure a “captive” customer for its grocery-distribution operation, driving critically important scale, in same way as Amazon’s own demand is key for success in Amazon’s own logistics operation and in AWS (Story)

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