Microsoft and Intel Profits Buoyed by Growth in Cloud Services

Microsoft’s booming Azure business is now Amazon’s chief rival in the cloud. Since the company began reporting its metrics in October 2015, its growth has never dipped below 90 percent. In Microsoft’s latest fiscal Q3, it grew 93 percent, and in the preceding quarter it grew 98 percent. The company’s commercial version of its Office 365 productivity service also grew 42 percent this latest quarter. Amazon began renting cloud-based computing and storage 10 years ago. Meanwhile, Intel also reported quarterly profit increases, including a 45 percent jump in sales of data-center gear to cloud providers. Continue reading Microsoft and Intel Profits Buoyed by Growth in Cloud Services

Facebook Said to Be in Early Stages of Developing Own Chips

As part of the company’s recent push to develop new hardware, Facebook is reportedly working toward designing its own custom chips to be used in its consumer devices, data centers and AI software. The social media giant is currently developing devices such as smart speakers and VR headsets, and building its own chips could provide more control over design and development of these projects. Facebook’s strategy follows similar approaches by other tech giants, including Google and Apple. Continue reading Facebook Said to Be in Early Stages of Developing Own Chips

Apple Planning to Use Its Own Chips in Macs as Early as 2020

Perhaps beginning as soon as 2020, Apple plans to use its own chips in Mac computers, which would mean replacing the currently used Intel processors, according to sources familiar with the project. “The initiative, code named Kalamata, is still in the early developmental stages, but comes as part of a larger strategy to make all of Apple’s devices — including Macs, iPhones and iPads — work more similarly and seamlessly together,” reports Bloomberg, which adds that the multistep process has been approved by executives.

Continue reading Apple Planning to Use Its Own Chips in Macs as Early as 2020

Microsoft Claims Brainwave Pushes Bing’s AI 10 Times Faster

Microsoft’s Brainwave system, which is “specialized hardware for AI computation,” was able to “get more than 10 times faster performance for a machine learning model that powers functionality of its Bing search engine,” reports VentureBeat. Brainwave is designed to run trained neural networks as quickly as possible with minimal latency and with the goal of providing “roughly real-time artificial intelligence predictions for applications like new Bing features.” This news was shared with a handful of Bing updates announced Monday.

Continue reading Microsoft Claims Brainwave Pushes Bing’s AI 10 Times Faster

Broadcom’s Bid for Qualcomm Blocked Over Security Issues

Citing national security concerns, President Donald Trump has put the brakes on Singapore-based Broadcom’s attempt to acquire rival chipmaker Qualcomm. The companies were ordered to abandon the $117 billion acquisition bid and dismiss any proposals for Broadcom’s candidates to run for seats on Qualcomm’s board. Had it been approved, the purchase would have marked the largest tech deal of its kind. Broadcom says it “strongly disagrees that its proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns.” Continue reading Broadcom’s Bid for Qualcomm Blocked Over Security Issues

Google Offers Its AI Chips to All Comers via Cloud Computing

Google, which created tensor processing units (TPUs) for its artificial intelligence systems some years ago, will now make those computer chips available to other companies via its cloud computing service. Google is currently focusing on computer vision technology, which allows computers to recognize objects; Lyft used these chips for its driverless car project. Amazon is also building its own AI chips for use with the Alexa-powered Echo devices to shave seconds off its response time and potentially increase sales. Continue reading Google Offers Its AI Chips to All Comers via Cloud Computing

Broadcom Raises Stakes in Takeover Bid for Rival Qualcomm

In what it calls its “best and final” offer, Broadcom raised its takeover bid yesterday for chipmaker Qualcomm from about $70 a share to $82 a share, or about $121 billion. The new offer comes a month before Qualcomm’s next shareholder meeting. A takeover would result in a company whose products would be used in most smartphones worldwide. However, “Qualcomm’s leadership fiercely opposes” the acquisition, reports The New York Times, “while analysts have said that even if shareholders approved the deal, it could be rejected on antitrust grounds.” Continue reading Broadcom Raises Stakes in Takeover Bid for Rival Qualcomm

CES Keynote: Intel Introduces New Studio for Immersive Media

At CES 2018, Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich gave a keynote address that ranged on topics from cybersecurity to immersive media and both neuromorphic and quantum computing. He also introduced Intel Studios, a site for the production of immersive media. First, Krzanich brought up the formerly undetected flaws in Intel chips, dubbed Spectre and Meltdown, saying that it was Intel’s No. 1 priority to secure customer data and noting that the industry has joined forces to plug the loopholes. Continue reading CES Keynote: Intel Introduces New Studio for Immersive Media

CES: Nvidia Stakes Claim to Automotive and Entertainment AI

In a roving two-hour presentation, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang unveiled a raft of products, partnerships and performance achievements at CES 2018. Focusing mostly on the automotive industry, Huang showed off the GPU giant’s new autonomous driving software stack powered by Xavier, a system-on-chip (SoC) for artificial intelligence-empowered car platforms, and touted partnerships with more than 320 car and truck companies. Huang also showcased a large HDR display for giant-screen, PC gaming and streamed an AI-generated motion picture theme composed in the style of “Star Wars” by John Williams. Continue reading CES: Nvidia Stakes Claim to Automotive and Entertainment AI

Flaws in Intel Chips Could Present Security Risk for Computers

Intel confirmed a report indicating that its microprocessor chips contain two major security flaws, which makes the vast majority of world computers vulnerable to hacking. Intel is working with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), ARM Holdings and other chipmakers and operating system providers to develop a comprehensive, industry-wide approach to combating the potential problems. The two major security flaws, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre, could let hackers access the entire memory contents of computers. Continue reading Flaws in Intel Chips Could Present Security Risk for Computers

Apple Invests $390M into Depth/Proximity Chip Maker Finisar

Apple just revealed that it is investing $390 million in Finisar, the company that manufactures the chips used in Apple’s products for depth and proximity sensing. Apple has made use of the chip’s capabilities in some of its new features, including Face ID, Animoji and ARKit, the software development kit for augmented reality. The investment comes from Apple’s $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund. The Sunnyvale, California-based Finisar will use the money to re-open a plant in Texas that will create 500 jobs. Continue reading Apple Invests $390M into Depth/Proximity Chip Maker Finisar

Microsoft Is Developing Cost-Effective Security for IoT Devices

IoT security researchers at Microsoft Research are focused on the near future when microcontrollers, which are small, low-power computers on a single chip, gain connectivity. Microcontrollers are already installed in billions of gadgets, so their eventual connectivity will explode the number of Internet of Things devices, all of which will require greater security. Microsoft Research’s Project Sopris aims to provide cost-effective security for microcontrollers, which currently don’t have enough compute power to offer security. Continue reading Microsoft Is Developing Cost-Effective Security for IoT Devices

Qualcomm, Microsoft Debut Laptops Powered by Mobile Chips

Qualcomm just showcased Asustek Computer and HP laptops with mobile phone chips that allow their wireless connections to use battery power so sparingly that they can go for days between charges. That’s part of the chip titan’s strategy to break Intel’s dominance in the laptop market, where 90 percent ship with Intel chips. By using mobile chips, says Qualcomm, the company hopes to create a new kind of PC that represents a new category. Qualcomm aims to expand in this market through its purchase of NXP Semiconductors. Continue reading Qualcomm, Microsoft Debut Laptops Powered by Mobile Chips

Qualcomm Rejects Broadcom’s Offer, But Deal Is Still In Play

Qualcomm turned down Broadcom’s offer to acquire the company for $105 billion, with its board stating that the offer both significantly undervalues the company and could be beset by regulatory issues. Broadcom, which will seek other avenues to make the deal, says it is committed to the acquisition. Should Broadcom acquire Qualcomm, the merger of these two titans of chip manufacturing would create a single behemoth controlling chip production for everything from consumer devices to data centers. Continue reading Qualcomm Rejects Broadcom’s Offer, But Deal Is Still In Play

AMD, Intel, Nvidia Race to Build AI Chips for Booming Market

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Intel and Nvidia are racing to develop artificial intelligence chips as the market for AI hardware and software skyrockets. Nvidia, which has specialized in high-end GPUs, and AMD, its chief rival, have found that their products have proven useful in AI applications, an incentive for them to focus on that sector. Growth in the semiconductor industry has been volatile in recent months, leading to consolidation, such as the recently announced $105 billion bid by Broadcom to acquire Qualcomm. Continue reading AMD, Intel, Nvidia Race to Build AI Chips for Booming Market