Tech / Telecom news — 25 May 2017

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Connectivity

T-Mobile is offering to subsidise the remaining smartphone payment commitments (including for premium ones like the iPhone) to customers migrating from Verizon, in a new promotion that they (rather explicitly) call “#GetOutoftheRed” to be launched on May 31. So more pressure for the already suffering Verizon… (Story)

Altice says they’re moving from a “collection of different assets around the world” to “one unified global group”, and using a single brand (Altice) across all markets is a central part of the change. The group will be rebranding its operations in France (SFR), Portugal (PT) and the US (Suddenlink and Cablevision) (Story)

Cloud

IBM not only has to offset pressure on legacy IT, driving negative growth in last 5 years, but also has an increasing challenge to compete in public cloud vs. Amazon, Microsoft & Google (plus Alibaba in China). Like Google, IBM aims to use AI (Watson) as a differentiator, but they have cultural and scale disadvantages (Story)

Video

Professional video is a key priority for Snap, after success of a news show that got 5.2m Snapchat viewers per episode during last US elections. A significant effort is under way to increase the number of shows produced for the app (from 5 to 20), including recent deals with conventional TV stars and with Discovery Channel (Story)

Digital money

Market cap of “digital cryptocurrencies” increased more than +50% in last 7 days, including Bitcoin +30% appreciation, with demand driven by investors seeing them as a “safe heaven” among current global political turmoil, and from more firms wanting to use blockchain. Bitcoin losing share, now just 45% of the market (Story)

BIG DATA & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

AlphaGo continues its winning race against the best Go players in the world. The machine just defeated the World’s number 1 player, Ke Jie, even if he tried to “surprise” the algorithms with some unusual moves. Meanwhile, Google is trying to take advantage of the occasion to improve political relations in China (Story)

QUANTUM COMPUTING

As IBM and Google, Microsoft also is trying to build a commercial quantum computer, but with a technically different approach, by trying to use special particles (Majorana fermions) instead of ions or superconducting circuits to store qubits. This is initially more difficult, but could have critical scalability advantages (Story)

CYBER SECURITY

The Financial Times just published a long report on cyber security, including a discussion on the use of Artificial Intelligence to complement human efforts could drastically improve the ways to protect companies, e.g. by helping select which of an average of 200K “security events” at each firm daily do represent real threats (Story)

M&A DEALS

SoftBank could have acquired a $4bn stake (4.9% shares at current price, just short of the amount triggering regulatory disclosure in the US) in leading chip vendor Nvidia, at the core of the AI revolution, with its GPUs. This complements previous ARM purchase, to turn SoftBank into a key stakeholder in semiconductors (Story)

Swiss operator Sunrise is selling mobile sites to tower company Cellnex for €460m, looking to increase efficiency and balance sheet flexibility. They claimed it is better to leave management of “concrete and steel” to specialists. Sunrise will use the money to reduce debt, increase network investment and pay more dividends (Story)

Subscribe at https://www.getrevue.co/profile/winwood66