The race is on for 6G, Slack lodges a Teams antitrust complaint, and the cloud sees growth despite coronavirus

July 23, 2020 | Posted by: Jin Woo

Published every Thursday, The Blue Print recaps the industry’s most intriguing news, unexpected shifts and developing trends that are defining the business and technology landscape.

CNBC: Microsoft revenue grew 13% despite coronavirus
Microsoft shares fell as much as 3% in after-hours trading on Wednesday after the company reported better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded analysts’ expectations, although quarterly revenue guidance was lighter than expected. Microsoft’s overall revenue grew 13% on an annualized basis in the quarter, which ended on June 30, according to a statement. Revenue went up 15% in the prior quarter, which saw less impact from the pandemic. Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud business segment, which includes the Azure public cloud, Windows Server, SQL Server, GitHub and enterprise services, posted $13.37 billion in revenue, up 17% year over year and above the $13.11 billion consensus among analysts polled by FactSet. Azure revenue growth slowed to 47% from 59% in the previous quarter. Microsoft does not disclose Azure revenue in dollars, but did say its commercial cloud business surpassed $50 billion in revenue for the fiscal year.

Why It Matters: While Amazon is regarded as the market share leader in cloud, Microsoft’s run rate surpassed $50 billion for its cloud business despite revenue growth slowing over the previous quarter. In April Amazon reported $10 billion in cloud revenues giving them a $40 billion run rate. Amazon is expected to report its earnings for the last quarter on July 30th. Cloud war is heating up!

Tags: Amazon, AWS, Microsoft, Azure, cloud

TechCrunch: Slack has filed an antitrust complaint over Microsoft Teams in the EU
Workplace instant messaging platform Slack has filed an antitrust complaint against Microsoft in the European Union, accusing the tech giant of unfairly bundling its rival Teams product with its cloud-based productivity suite. “Microsoft has illegally tied its Teams product into its market-dominant Office productivity suite, force installing it for millions, blocking its removal, and hiding the true cost to enterprise customers,” Slack said in the statement. Teams most recently announced that it had reached 75 million daily active users (DAU) in April of this year, a gain of 70% from a March number of 44 million DAUs. Like many remote-work-friendly products and services, Slack and Teams have seen usage gains in the wake of COVID-19 and its economic disruptions. (Both services are also rolling out new features, combating for media attention, user mindshare and new customer accounts.)Slack’s last shared DAU number that TechCrunch could find came from March, when Slack’s CEO reported 12.5 million daily actives.

Why It Matters: Legal decisions pertaining to antitrust, infringement and anti-competitive decisions surrounding products and IP have by in large been inconsistent and further complicated by differing views in specific countries and regions. While companies that deliver bundled packages position it as delivering more value and competitors see it as anti-competitive, consumers of software or services are often the victims with higher prices in time or feel locked into bundles while only needing a select set of capabilities, which can also lead to performance degradation due to software bloat among other issues.

Tags: Slack, Teams, Microsoft, EU

CRN: Nvidia Reportedly Interested In Buying Arm From SoftBank
Nvidia is reportedly interested in buying British chip designer Arm from its Japanese owner, SoftBank Group, which has begun exploring a potential sale or initial public offering for the business. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker approached SoftBank for a potential deal in the last few weeks, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. The sources said other companies interested in buying Arm could also emerge.

Why It Matters: The data center and networking vendor landscape continues to evolve with M&As. Nvidia acquired Mellanox and a networking startup and could set off a bidding war for chip designer Arm, if they don’t decide IPO is the best route for themselves.

Tags: Nvdia, ARM, Softbank

Network World: 6G wireless? Samsung is already outlining its plans
Samsung has started to publicize its direction for 6G, the next generation of wireless networks likely to supercede 5G sometime in the next decade. The company joins Nokia and a few other organizations that are exploring the upgrade.Connected machines and artificial intelligence will feature prominently in future use-cases, as will digital twins, hi-fi mobile holograms and immersive extended reality (XR), the company says in a white paper. 6G features will include better spectral and energy efficiency and a requirement for trustworthiness that, “addresses the security and privacy issues arising from the widespread use of user data and AI technologies,” Samsung says in an associated news release.From a technology standpoint, Samsung says it will be aiming for peak data rates of 1Tbps and latency less than 100 microsec, “fifty times the peak data rate and one-tenth the latency of 5G.” 6G will use terahertz frequencies, which are well above microwave and millimeter wave, along with optimized antennas. Spectrum sharing enhancements and more sophisticated duplexing will be used to better utilize wireless frequencies, Samsung says.

Why It Matters: While South Korea has established itself as an early adopter for 5g, the South Korean electronics and technology giant Samsung has already begun outlining plans for 6g. As IIoT is tied to automation and analytics driven by AI/ML continues to gain steam, 5g will drive exponential growth in many industries while 6g will create even more possibilities for connecting machines and user experiences.

Tags: Samsung, 5g, 6g, IIoT, robotics, virtual reality, artificial reality

ZDNet: DOJ indicts two Chinese hackers for attempted IP theft of COVID-19 research
US prosecutors have announced charges against two Chinese hackers accused of stealing trade secrets from technology and biotech companies, including firms working on COVID-19-related treatment, testing, and vaccines. Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a Department of Justice press conference Tuesday that the cyber intrusions are examples of China’s “brazen willingness to engage in theft” of intellectual property to advance their competitive edge in key technology sectors. As part of a multi-year cyber attack resulting in terabytes of stolen data, Demers said hackers targeted firms in eight of 10 technology sectors, including robotics, aircraft, maritime equipment, clean energy, biotech, and advanced rail. More recently, the hackers began targeting the networks of biotech and other firms known to be developing COVID-19 treatments. The DOJ suggests in the 11-count indictment that the hackers were working for both themselves and for the benefit of the Chinese government’s Ministry of State Security.

Why It Matters: As discussed last week after Russian hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin was found guilty on charges related to stealing information from companies including LinkedIn, nation-state attacks are on the rise. This time it’s Chinese hackers who have been identified for stealing technology related trade secrets including targeting biotech companies known to be developing treatments for COVID-19.

Tags: Chinese, hackers, COVID-19, Department of Justice