Autodesk Buys Wonder Dynamics, AI VFX App Wonder Studio

Autodesk is going all-in on artificial intelligence with the acquisition of AI startup Wonder Dynamics, maker of the Wonder Studio VFX tool. Autodesk — whose products include Maya, 3ds Max and Flame — worked with Wonder on a Maya plug-in last year and appears to have been impressed. Wonder Studio was purpose-built to be compatible with 3D tools like Maya, largely automating the process of putting 3D characters within live-action scenes. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Autodesk did not detail plans for integrating Wonder Dynamics, but it’s likely the company’s AI expertise will make itself felt across the portfolio. Continue reading Autodesk Buys Wonder Dynamics, AI VFX App Wonder Studio

Microsoft to Invest $3.3 Billion in Building New AI Data Center

This week Microsoft announced plans to help establish Southeast Wisconsin “as a hub for AI-powered economic activity, innovation, and job creation,” according to the company’s press release. As part of the broad investment package, the tech giant is planning “$3.3 billion in cloud computing and AI infrastructure, the creation of the country’s first manufacturing-focused AI co-innovation lab, and an AI skilling initiative to equip more than 100,000 of the state’s residents with essential AI skills.” Microsoft’s new data center campus will replace the failed $10 billion Foxconn LCD manufacturing center planned for Mount Pleasant, situated in Racine County. Continue reading Microsoft to Invest $3.3 Billion in Building New AI Data Center

Microsoft Q2 Profits Surge 33 Percent Driven by AI and Cloud

Microsoft profits were up 33 percent year-over-year to $21.9 billion in the quarter ending December 31, its fiscal Q2 for 2024. The quarterly growth was the company’s strongest in more than two years. Executives credited it to excitement about artificial intelligence services and the resulting demand for cloud services including Microsoft Azure. Earlier this month, Microsoft achieved a $2.89 trillion market valuation, overtaking Apple as the world’s most valuable public company, and this week it surged past $3 trillion. Revenue was $62 billion for the quarter, up 18 percent. Continue reading Microsoft Q2 Profits Surge 33 Percent Driven by AI and Cloud

Apple Says U.S. Data Breaches Up by More Than 20 Percent

Apple is emphasizing the importance of data encryption with a report that shows personal data breaches up 300 percent between 2013 and 2022. In the past two years, more than 2.6 billion personal records have been exposed, according to the newly released study “The Continued Threat to Personal Data: Key Factors Behind the 2023 Increase.” The report, created by Dr. Stuart Madnick, the founding director of Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan, cites increasing dependence on cloud computing as the main factor for the surge. U.S. data intrusions through Q3 of this year are 20 percent higher than all 12 months of 2022. Continue reading Apple Says U.S. Data Breaches Up by More Than 20 Percent

Demand for AI Chips Drives Nvidia to Revenue Record in Q2

Nvidia announced Q2 revenue of $13.51 billion, a 101 percent year-over-year increase that sets a new company record. The data center division — which accounts for the majority of AI chip sales — also established a new benchmark: $10.32 billion in Q2, a 171 percent leap over the prior fiscal Q2. Nvidia projects that revenue for the current quarter will hit $16 billion — about $3.5 billion above analysts’ expectations. Nvidia chips power OpenAI’s popular ChatGPT and other generative AI and cloud computing apps from companies including Amazon, Google, Meta Platforms, Microsoft and VMWare. Continue reading Demand for AI Chips Drives Nvidia to Revenue Record in Q2

Alibaba to Split into Six New Companies with Potential IPOs

SoftBank-owned Alibaba Group — with headquarters in Hangzhou, China — plans to split into six independent companies that may seek separate IPOs, the company announced as Chinese authorities appear to be winding down a regulatory clampdown on the country’s powerful technology sector. The business empire assembled around e-commerce by industrialist Jack Ma these past 20 years was at its peak valued at more than $800 billion but is now assessed at about one-fourth that amount. The company’s stock soared on the news adding about $32 billion in global value, a rising tide that also lifted competitors’ boats. Continue reading Alibaba to Split into Six New Companies with Potential IPOs

Microsoft Believes Azure Platform Is Unlocking ‘AI Revolution’

The demand for artificial intelligence by enterprise as well as consumers is putting tremendous pressure on cloud service providers to meet the vast data center resources required to train the models and deploy the resulting apps. Microsoft recently opened up about the pivotal role it played in getting OpenAI’s ChatGPT to the release phase via its Azure cloud computing platform, linking “tens of thousands” of Nvidia A100 GPUs to train the model. Microsoft is already upgrading Azure with Nvidia’s new H100 chips and latest InfiniBand networking to accommodate the next generation of AI supercomputers. Continue reading Microsoft Believes Azure Platform Is Unlocking ‘AI Revolution’

CTOs Prioritize Controlling Cloud in Tough Economic Climate

As technology leaders manage pressure to control costs, cloud computing expenditures are getting increased scrutiny. Dedicated teams to manage cloud spending and dedicated tools designed to increase efficiencies are two of the measures being employed. The result is that while cloud spending continues to increase, it is at a slower pace than had been expected. The latest Gartner projection posits worldwide growth of 18.5 percent, to $576.5 billion this year, slightly less than the 18.8 percent uptick previously forecast. This follows a Synergy Research finding of 27 percent Q4 U.S. growth, lagging the 31 percent expected. Continue reading CTOs Prioritize Controlling Cloud in Tough Economic Climate

OpenAI Targets Affordable AI with ChatGPT and Whisper APIs

OpenAI is now allowing third-party developers integrate ChatGPT into their apps, a solution the company says will be a more cost-effective alternative. The language model can be used for more than chat, says OpenAI, which also has a new speech-to-text model called Whisper. The company is also touting gpt-3.5-turbo, calling it the “best model for many non-chat use cases.” With a major investment from Microsoft, and the eyes of the industry on it, OpenAI seems to be feeling some pressure to add earnings to the success it has as a thought leader. Continue reading OpenAI Targets Affordable AI with ChatGPT and Whisper APIs

AWS Touts HPC with Launch of Graviton3E Chip at re:Invent

Amazon Web Services, a leading provider of cloud computing services, is rolling out its new ARM-based Graviton3E chips for high-performance workloads, including tasks like weather forecasting and gene sequencing. AWS customers can rent the high-performance computing (HPC) power to take advantage of “performance gains and cost savings” as a result of making its own chips, Amazon says. The move makes AWS something of a competitor to other top chipmakers, including Intel, AMD and Nvidia, who continue to be among Amazon’s major chip suppliers. Amazon says it will continue to offer HPC services that rely on third-party chips. Continue reading AWS Touts HPC with Launch of Graviton3E Chip at re:Invent

Netflix Cutting Costs in Areas Such as Cloud, Staffing, Perks

Netflix, which said it lost almost one million subscribers in Q2, has been aggressively cutting costs, implementing a variety of measures that range from scaling back its real estate footprint to trimming cloud computing. While the streaming giant says the cuts have not significantly impacted content spending, it has laid off more than 400 employees in 2022 and has begun hiring more junior staff, according to reports. Macroeconomic trends have made belt-tightening common across the industry, but at Netflix it stands in stark contrast to years of explosive growth and free spending. Continue reading Netflix Cutting Costs in Areas Such as Cloud, Staffing, Perks

Led by SaaS, 2022 Cloud Spending to Approach $500 Billion

Cloud computing costs are expected to rise by 20 percent to an estimated $494.7 billion this year, according to a new report from Gartner. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is earmarked for the most significant growth, up 30.6 percent to $119.7 billion this year. Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) is the second most robust sector, at 26.6 projected growth, followed by platform-as-a-service (PaaS), at 26.1 percent. “Cloud-native capabilities such as containerization, database platform-as-a-service (dbPaaS) and artificial intelligence/machine learning contain richer features than commoditized compute such as IaaS or network-as-a-service,” which makes them more expensive, said Sid Nag, research VP at Gartner. Continue reading Led by SaaS, 2022 Cloud Spending to Approach $500 Billion

Intel Clocks 70 Percent Faster Speeds with Alder Lake Chips

Intel is looking to deliver a big performance boost with its new ultraportable Alder Lake U and P-series chips, unveiled last week. The Core i7-1280P, Intel’s fastest 28-watt P-series CPU, is said to deliver up to 70 percent faster multithreaded performance compared to last year’s i7-1195G7. Intel says it even offers better multithread benchmarks than the Core i9-11980HK, one of the company’s fastest 2021 processors. This, despite the fact that it uses only about half as much power. According to some tests, the Intel i7-1280P also bested AMD’s 2021 Ryzen 7 5800U. Continue reading Intel Clocks 70 Percent Faster Speeds with Alder Lake Chips

Nasdaq, Goldman Sachs Announce Migration to AWS Cloud

Nasdaq says it will in 2022 begin migrating its North American markets to Amazon Web Services in a phased approach starting with the Nasdaq MRX U.S. options market. Nasdaq AWS will use a new edge computing solution the companies designed for market infrastructure that will be made available to other entities as well as leveraged across Nasdaq’s anti-financial crime, data and analytics, and market infrastructure software programs. The announcement was issued the same day Goldman Sachs said it was teaming with AWS on a suite of cloud-based solutions for financial institutions. Continue reading Nasdaq, Goldman Sachs Announce Migration to AWS Cloud

Amazon Has Strong Q2, Earnings Helped by Cloud, Ad Sales

Amazon posted its third consecutive $100 billion quarter during Q2 this year; revenue grew 27 percent year-over-year to $113.08 billion. Refinitiv revealed earnings of $15.12 versus $12.30 per share, and revenue of $113.08 billion versus $115.2 billion. However, Amazon predicts slightly slower growth for the upcoming quarters. In Q3, the company estimates its operating profit would land somewhere between $2.5 billion and $6 billion. According to chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky, “most of Amazon’s 2021 spend and building openings are planned for the second-half of the year.” Continue reading Amazon Has Strong Q2, Earnings Helped by Cloud, Ad Sales