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Blackberry is Dead – Long Live Blackberry

Last week BlackBerry (BB) tweeted that they were letting their agreement with the Chinese electronics group TCL Communication lapse at the end of August 2020. This most likely is the end of the BlackBerry smartphone. TCL had been manufacturing BlackBerry smartphones since the Canadian company stopped making its name-sake phones in 2016 amid an attempt

VMwares Bad Week

VMware (VMW) had a bad week last week. First, a  jury in the U.S. federal district court for the District of Delaware ruled that the virtualization giant infringed on two patents owned by Densify. Densify is a Toronto-based startup that makes cloud and container resource management software. The ruling will cost VMware about $237 million

The Biggest Lie on the Web

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 is international Data Privacy day (DPD). The purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices. One privacy best practice is to actually read the end-user license agreements (EULA) that come with everything you download from the Internet. If you can’t wade through

PC’s Show Signs of Life

After 7 years of consistent declines – PC sales finally stopped their slide. Market researchers Gartner and IDC reported that PC sales grew during the fourth quarter of 2019, boosting all of 2019 into the positive. For the entire year, global PC shipments were up 2.7%, according to the IDC. That makes 2019 the “first

Awesome Elephant Treecycling

Now that the holiday season is gone. What are you going to do with your dead Christmas tree? You can use the pine needles for mulch. Most of us end up throwing the tired yule tree to the curb for the city to stick it in the wood chipper or add it to the community

Blackberry is Dead – Long Live Blackberry

Blackberry is Dead - Long Live BlackberryLast week BlackBerry (BB) tweeted that they were letting their agreement with the Chinese electronics group TCL Communication lapse at the end of August 2020. This most likely is the end of the BlackBerry smartphone. TCL had been manufacturing BlackBerry smartphones since the Canadian company stopped making its name-sake phones in 2016 amid an attempt to re-shape itself into a cyber-security company.

BlackBerry’s preceded the iPhone and Android in important ways. How did the Blackberry phone go from world domination to last week’s announcement?

March 1984: Research in Motion (RIM) was founded in Canada.

October 1997: RIM went public with an IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange which raised $115 million.

July 1998: The RIM 850 the initial BlackBerry device offered something all its competitors couldn’t touch at the time – access to emails on the go (no voice).

1999: RIM joined NASDAQ as RIMM.

November 2001: Patent holding company NTP sued RIM for patent infringement RIM lost and was forced to settle for $612.5M in 2006.

March 2002: BlackBerry 5810 released, with both voice and data support. It ran on a 2G network and came with a color screen. It became the device of choice in corporate America due to its enterprise-level security.

BlackBerry Messenger2005:  RIM launched a proprietary mobile instant-messaging application BlackBerry Messenger. BBM came at a time when other mobile messaging options — like SMS messages — were subpar.

March 2007: The company “restated” $250M earnings relating to a “backdating” stock options scandal where RIM executives changed the date of stock sales to a low share price date to make money on their stock options. The scandal cost RIM’s co-CEO’s Balsillie and Lazaridis and other their jobs at RIM and a total of C$77M in fines.

January 2007: Apple launched its first iPhone, opening the market to full touch screen phones.

January 2007 Apple launched its first iPhone,June 2007: BlackBerry had some 8 million customers.

October 2008: First Android-powered smartphone is released.

November 2008: BlackBerry launched the ill-fated Storm, its first full touch phone in reaction to iPhone.

September 2009: BlackBerry hits 20.7% worldwide smartphone market share in Q3. iPhone is at 17.1% and Android at 3.5%.

April 2010: Apple released the original iPad.

April 2011: RIM released the PlayBook tablet as a knee-jerk reaction to the success of the Apple iPad. Contributing to the PlayBook’s poor sales was the dumb decision to not offer email services without a BlackBerry smartphone.

July 2011: 10% of RIM workforce (2,000 workers) laid off.

October 2011: RIM had a global failure of its infrastructure – users are left without service for four days (Oct 10-13).

June 2012 RIM announces 5,000 layoffsJune 2012: RIM announced 5,000 layoffs.

January 2013: The company changed it name from Research in Motion to Blackberry and goes from RIMM to BBRY on the NASDAQ.

September 2013: BlackBerry peaked with 79 million global users and 4,500 employees are laid-off (40% of staff).

November 2013: John Chen becomes CEO and starts to pivot BBRY from a phone maker to a security firm.

September 2015: BlackBerry launched the Priv, the first Android-powered BlackBerry smartphone.

September 2015: BlackBerry acquired mobile security provider Good Technology for $425M and integrated it into the BlackBerry Enterprise Mobility Suite, for its enterprise customers.

September 2016: Blackberry becomes Blackberry Limited and stops making smartphones and outsource all hardware development and manufacturing.

BlackBerry users plummets to 11 million.May 2017: The number of BlackBerry users plummets from 80 million to 11 million.

October 2017: BlackBerry Ltd moved from NASDAQ as BBRY to BB on the NYSE.

November 2018: BlackBerry Limited purchased security firm Cylance for $1.4B.

May 2019: BBM for consumers is shutdown.

The Blackberry Limited tweet marks the end a line of devices that revolutionized mobile productivity for the enterprise. For the uninitiated (those under 30) in it’s heyday, Blackberry set the bar for mobile innovation. BlackBerry smartphones crackberries as many referred to them helped set the stage for many of the mobile features we rely on today.

Blackberry Curve_8320The company made its own hardware which included a QWERTY keyboard. Qwerty keyboards that made it easier to fire off emails and instant messages. BlackBerry smartphones were the best way to stay connected without a laptop.

BlackBerry Mobile Services provided business users with quick encrypted end-to-end email over a low bandwidth connection. BMS also provided users access to not only their contacts, calendar, and email, but connected enterprise apps and data.

Back in the day when I was sharing technical services we even stood up a Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) for our customers to link their BBeries to Exchange. BES was sold as ahighly secure BES platform that ensured content was always encrypted and uncrackable.

Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Constellation Research, pointed out to TargetTech the irony of BlackBerry’s fall.

That’s the irony — users and CIOs got rid of [their] BlackBerrys despite email volume being up … Business users went from being productive on the go to [becoming] lurkers and [doing] email at night.

Tuong Nguyen, senior principal analyst at Gartner, told TargetTech the BlackBerry smartphone relevance disappeared well before this week’s announcement.

By the time the company stopped making its own phones, its global smartphone market share was well under 1% .. In fact, they had started dipping under the 1% threshold [around] 2013-2014.

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I think the market has space for a productivity-oriented company that respects its users. But to unseat Apple, that firm would have to excel at  something else, like folding screens, projection, AR/VR.

Why Blackberry phones are deadThe original BlackBerry company — BlackBerry Limited — now focuses on security software. Which is ironic since the Snowden papers revealed that the NSA has access to user data on BlackBerry devices.

In the end BlackBerry, just like Nokia, Palm and Microsoft, underestimated the challenge from Apple  Perhaps BlackBerry needs to be done with phones.

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

VMwares Bad Week

VMwares Bad WeekVMware (VMW) had a bad week last week. First, a  jury in the U.S. federal district court for the District of Delaware ruled that the virtualization giant infringed on two patents owned by Densify. Densify is a Toronto-based startup that makes cloud and container resource management software. The ruling will cost VMware about $237 million dollars. Of course VMware will appeal.

VMware logoIn an emailed statement, to sdxcentral VMware wrote, “VMware intend[s] to vigorously pursue all legal remedies that are available to us to prove that we are not liable here.

Next, it was announced that over 200 VMware employees will lose their jobs as part of a “workforce rebalancing.” TargetTech noted that IBM has historically used the same term to describe it’s periodic layoffs.

In addition to workers losing their jobs, the VMware executive suite has undergone purging too. Reports are that

  • VMware Executative layoffsChief Customer Officer Scott Bajtos, an 11-year VMware veteran who oversaw VMware’s global services team which includes customer success, technical support, professional services support and customer advocacy.
  • Mark Ritacco, VP of operations and customer intelligence, after almost 11 years,
  • Kate Woodcock, VP of customer advocacy, after almost eight years.
  • Scott Bajtos – global chief customer officer, is leaving after 11 years.
  • Alexa Erjavic, senior director of global services strategy.

Could it be buyers regret? Not even cutting a handful of executive salaries can cover the billions VMware has spent on acquisitions over the past 2 years.

In 2018 VMware bought:

  • billions VMware has spent on acquisitionsE8 Security for machine learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for cybersecurity intelligence and analytics.
  • CloudCoreo to manage cloud configurations and identify risks when deploying public clouds to prevent breaches and compliance violations.
  • EMC Service Assurance Suite for monitoring telco network health, performance, and root cause analysis.
  • CloudHeath for multi-cloud management platform across Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) for $500 million.
  • Heptio VMware plans to use Heptio assets to enhance Kubernetes life-cycle management $550 million.

In 2019 VMware bought:

  • VMwareacquisitions over the past 2 yearsAetherPal for remote IT support software to remotely view, control, troubleshoot, and fix devices and applications.
  • BitFusion to support Artificial Intelligence and machine learning-based workloads on graphics processor units (GPUs) (no acquisition price announced).
  • Uhana for 5G mobile network optimization.
  • Intrinsic for secure serverless functions on AWS, Azure, and GCP.
  • Bitnami brings simplified app development with a curated marketplace for VMware customers.
  • Veriflow for network monitoring software for multi-cloud management.
  • Avi Networks for multi-cloud application delivery to enhance performance, resource utilization, automation and scalability.
  • Pivotal for multi-cloud application software strategy across AWS, Azure & GCP for $2.7 billion. and;
  • Carbon Black to provide an enterprise-grade security platform to protect workloads, applications and networks from device to cloud for $2.1 billion.

Already in 2020 VMware bought:

  • Nyansa to provide network traffic analytics that cover the SD-WAN and the wired and wireless LAN.

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While the hyper-scale cloud vendors AWS, Azure, GCP and the Chinese giants battling it out for cloud supremacy. Most enterprises have adopted a multi-cloud strategy. VMware, is in the incumbent position as it competes with IBM, maybe Cisco and HPE to be the glue that binds private and public clouds as well as owned data centers into an enterprise multi-cloud strategy. This is a log-term play.

In the near term – all of the acquisitions since 2018, VMware does not have a lot to show for it financially. VWM has been basically flat. VMW spiked to $150.00 in January, 2018, hit a peak of $203.64 in, 2019 and has settled back to $157.50 in February, 2020.

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

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The Biggest Lie on the Web

The Biggest Lie on the WebTuesday, January 28, 2020 is international Data Privacy day (DPD). The purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices. One privacy best practice is to actually read the end-user license agreements (EULA) that come with everything you download from the Internet.

legal gibberishIf you can’t wade through the legal gibberish telling you they are going to sell all your data to someone you never heard of? I don’t blame you – two law professors analyzed the terms and conditions of 500 popular U.S. websites and found that more than 99% of them were “unreadable,” far exceeding the level most American adults read at, but are still enforced. The researchers wrote that the average readability level of the agreements they reviewed was comparable to articles in academic journals – take a look at “Terms of Service; Didn’t Read (ToS;DR).

ToS;DR is a project started to help fix the “biggest lie on the web”: almost no one really reads the terms of service we agree to all the time. The service grades websites from Amazon to Zappos from A (best) to E (worst) once a comprehensive list of cases has been reviewed by volunteers. Some of the ratings are:

  • grades websites from Amazon to ZapposClass A – The best terms of services: they treat you fairly, respect your rights and will not abuse your data.
  • Class B – The terms of services are fair towards the user but they could be improved.
  • Class C – The terms of service are okay but some issues need your consideration.
  • Class D The terms of service are very uneven or there are some important issues that need your attention.
  • Class E The terms of service raise very serious concerns.
  • No Class Yet ToS;DR has not sufficiently reviewed the terms yet.

Here are the privacy ratings of the FAANG largest web-sites according to ToS;DR:

There are a few sites that respect users privacy and get a Class A rating from ToS;DR:

  1. DuckDuckGo search engineDuckDudkGo (Search engine),
  2. Kolab Now (Email/groupware),
  3. SeenThis (Advertising),
  4. WindowsLogic Productions (Software developer).

Other well-known sites with ToS;DR ratings:

  1. IMDb = Class C,
  2. YouTube = Class D,
  3. Twitter = Class D,
  4. Stack Overflow Class E.

You can download the ToS;DR:browser extensions here.

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

PC’s Show Signs of Life

PC's Show Signs of LifeAfter 7 years of consistent declines – PC sales finally stopped their slide. Market researchers Gartner and IDC reported that PC sales grew during the fourth quarter of 2019, boosting all of 2019 into the positive. For the entire year, global PC shipments were up 2.7%, according to the IDC. That makes 2019 the “first full year of PC growth” since 2011.

Sick computerPCWorld reports that 2019 new PC numbers from Gartner and IDC and they are remarkably similar. Gartner reported that PC sales grew 2.3% in 2019 Q4 to 70.6 million units, and 261 million units for the year. Rival analyst firm IDC largely agreed, estimating that PC unit sales grew 4.8%, to 71.8 million units. IDC said that worldwide PC sales grew 2.7% for 2019 as a whole.

Among the results:

  • The top three global PC vendors—Lenovo, HP, and Dell—all consolidated their market share, reaching 65% of the PC market.
  • Lenovo logoIDC and Gartner concur that Lenovo (LNVGY) is the world’s top PC vendor for 2019. IDC reports Lenovo had a 24.8% global market share and Gartner said it had a  24.1%.
  • Globally HP (HPQ) ranked #2 with a 23.9% by IDC and 22.2% by Gartner.
  • Dell was ranked #3 world-wide with a 17.4% by IDC and 16.8% by Gartner. Dell’s unit sales climbing by nearly 11%, according to IDC’s estimates.

In the U.S. market the ‘Q4-19 rankings differed:

  • HP logoHP is #1 with a 31.2% market share and a modest 4.4% bump in U.S PC sales for the quarter.
  • Dell ranked #2 with 26.8% market share and a gain of 15.9% for the period.
  • Lenovo came in #3 with a 14.9% share and 11.2% increase in share.

The tech prognosticators attributed the surge in sales to firms swapping their hardware to Windows ahead of MSFT”s Windows 7 end of support, giving new PC sales a one-time shot in the arm. Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, said in a statement.

The market will still have its challenges ahead, but this year was a clear sign that PC demand is still there despite the continued insurgence of emerging form factors and the demand for mobile computing.

Ranjit Atwal, a research senior director at Gartner, in a statement to PCWorld cast doubt on future growth. He says,

The PC market’s future is unpredictable because there will not be a Windows 11. Instead, Windows 10 will be upgraded systematically through regular updates …As a result, peaks in PC hardware upgrade cycles driven by an entire Windows OS upgrade will end.

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Don’t do your happy dance just yet.

Gartner and IDC both predict global sales to steadily decline again over 2020 as MSFT’s drives to a subscription-based model. Other threats to the PC market include:

China – The Chinese government has ordered all PC hardware and operating systems imported from foreign countries to be replaced in the next three years.

HP- Xerox – I have covered Xerox’s maneuvers to take over HP. The possible disruption to HP by a Xerox hostile takeover could rattle the entire sector. Especially if Acer or Asus cannot not scale up fast enough.

History – Data from Statista says that annual PC sales have dropped nearly 1/3 from their peak in 2011.

Year# of PC'sChange YoY
2011364.0-
2012349.3-14.7
2013315.1-34.2
2014308.3-6.8
2015275.8-32.5
2016260.2-15.6
2017259.6-0.6
2018258.5-1.1
2019261.02.5
2020 *254.3-6.7
Data from Statista YoY = Year over Year in millions of units

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Awesome Elephant Treecycling

Awesome Elephant TreecyclingNow that the holiday season is gone. What are you going to do with your dead Christmas tree? You can use the pine needles for mulch. Most of us end up throwing the tired yule tree to the curb for the city to stick it in the wood chipper or add it to the community “treecycling” pile or repurpose it into a bird sanctuary.

ElephantWhile these are eco-friendly ways to say goodbye to this year’s evergreen. None of these solutions are as awesome as the green strategy employed by zoos around the world. Zoo’s from Berlin to Prague to Tennessee give some animals unsold Christmas trees donated from local tree farms and vendors. The critters don’t get the post-holiday discards from the general public. That’s because trees kept in a house could have chemicals or other contaminants on them, and the elephants prefer to eat fresh, moist trees — not the dried-up, crispy fire hazards that many people have up well into the new year. The plants serve as a good (but prickly) addition to the pachyderms’ usual winter diets.

In Hohenwald, TN the annual Christmas Tree Drive collects the trees for the The Elephant Sanctuary. The Elephants are given the trees and the festivities begin..

Those who know this stuff say the trees are nutrient-rich, the tree’s needles are said to help an elephant’s digestion. But beyond all that, it’s pretty cool.

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.