Apple, Nokia Bury All Hatchets; Join Hands For Business Collaboration


Now this is interesting. Tech giants Nokia and Apple, who mostly used to meet in courts, now have settled all their past disputes and litigation, and joined hands to work together in the areas of technology as well as business.

Further, both the companies have signed a multi-year patent license to use each other’s technologies.

“We are pleased with this resolution of our dispute and we look forward to expanding our business relationship with Nokia,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.

However, the settlement does not come without a price. Apple will give an upfront cash payment to Nokia to settle the litigation that has been running for years now. Besides, the Cupertino based firm will also make additional payments during the term of the agreement.

“This is a meaningful agreement between Nokia and Apple,” said Maria Varsellona, Chief Legal Officer at Nokia, responsible for Nokia’s patent licensing business. “It moves our relationship with Apple from being adversaries in court to business partners working for the benefit of our customers.”

Under a business collaboration agreement, Nokia will be providing certain network infrastructure products and services to Apple. Apple will resume carrying Nokia digital health products (formerly under the Withings brand) in Apple retail and online stores, and both the companies are exploring future collaboration in digital health initiatives.

The joint statement also said that both the firms would conduct regular summits between top executives from both the firms to ensure that the relationship works effectively and to the benefit of both parties and their customers.

“This agreement will strengthen our collaboration,” said Basil Alwan, President of Nokia’s IP/Optical Networks business.

The value of the agreement will be reflected partially as patent licensing net sales in Nokia Technologies and partially as net sales in other Nokia business groups. The company said it will follow its existing practices for disclosing patent licensing revenue in its quarterly announcements and expects that revenues for the agreement will start to be recognized in the second quarter of 2017, including an element of non-recurring catch-up revenue.

Due to the up-front cash payment from Apple, Nokia intends to provide a comprehensive update of its capital structure optimization program in conjunction with its third quarter 2017 results.

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Cisco Announces 1100 More Job Cuts, Total 6600 In 9 Months


World’s largest networking gear firm Cisco on Wednesday said it would cut 1100 more jobs across geographies to reduce cost and transform itself more in to a software company.

The company said this while announcing its Q3 results for fiscal 2017.

Earlier, in the beginining of the fiscal year, in August the company had announced to cut 5,500 jobs across geographies. So, in total the company is slashing a total of 6,600 jobs and this will take effect by end of Q1 of 2018 fiscal year.

While slashing the jobs, Cisco said it believes the company will realize a total of $800 to $900 million in pretax charges.

“During the first nine months of fiscal 2017, we have recognized pretax charges of $614 million to our GAAP financial results in relation to this restructuring plan. We expect to recognize approximately $150 million to $200 million of pretax charges under this plan in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017,” Cisco said.

In terms of the company’s earnings for the third quarter, Cisco posted a total revenue of $11.9 billion with revenues from its product unit remaining flat and that of services going down by 2%.

Geography wise, revenue from APJC that includes India, has dipped by 2% whereas Revenues from americas and EMEA remained flat, the company added.

Segment wise, except security and wireless, all other business units have shown a negative growth and Switching revenue increased marginally by 2%. Revenues from security and wireless, however, grew by 13% and 9% respectively.

Company’s revenues from NGN Routing, Collaboration, Data Center, and Service Provider Video revenue decreased by 2%, 4%, 5%, and 30%, respectively.

The net income of the company grew to $2.5 billion at the end of Q3 ended 29 April from $2.35 billion for the same period a year ago.

However, the company said its happy with its performance.

“I am pleased with the progress we are making on the multi-year transformation of our business,” said Chuck Robbins, CEO, Cisco. “The Network is becoming even more critical to business success as our customers add billions of new connections to their enterprises. We are laser focused on delivering unparalleled value through highly secure, software-defined, automated and intelligent infrastructure.”

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Vodafone Posts Flat Revenue In FY17 Despite Tough Competition


Despite touch competition and lucrative free offers from Reliance Jio Vodafone registered a flat revenue in FY 2017 as compared to its performance in FY2016. In 2017 the British born telecom firm posted revenues of Rs 42,956 crore compared to Rs 43,169 crore in FY 2016, showing a marginal dip of 0.5%.

If put in perspective, considering the humongous growth in data consumption across operators, this marginal dip in revenue appears significant. The operator ideally should have shown a better performance with an increase in revenue growth.

However, the entry of reliance Jio, has curtailed the growth of all the big operators in the country including Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular.

Last week Idea Cellular posted a loss of Rs 325 crore attributing competition and free offer from the new operator. A week before that Bharti Airtel posted 72% dip in its Q4 profit.

For Vodafone in FY 2017, data consumption grew by almost 30% to record Rs 8467 crore revenue from data business showing a revenue growth of 5%. The company has a total of 66.9 million data users of which 43.5 million use more than 1 MB data per month. The company said its data consumption growth was driven by increase in smartphone penetration in its network. Of all the users, 35.5% use a smartphone, the company said.

Vodafone India’s data ARPU for 2017 was Rs 140 compared to Rs 160 in FY 2016. The company attributed this fall to the free data offer from the new entrant, read Jio.

“Amidst an unprecedented and intensely competitive environment, we delivered a stable while recording a strong gain of 0.7ppt in RMS YTD Dec 16; increasing our customer base past the 200 million subscriber mark; and expanding our Vodafone SuperNet 4G presence to 2,400 towns by utilizing the spectrum bought during the year, We continue to delight and reward customers with innovative and meaningful value propositions including SuperHour, exciting 4G offers, richer content under Vodafone Play and added benefits for Vodafone RED customers. We remain committed to playing our role in enabling Digital India by fulfilling the evolving needs of increasing volumes, speed and innovative solutions for both retail and enterprise customers,” said Sunil Sood, Managing Director and CEO, Vodafone India.

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Cisco Acquires Artificial Intelligence Firm MindMeld For $125 Mn


This will strengthen the company’s new conversational interfaces for collaboration suite

Cisco has announced that it will acquire San Francisco based artificial intelligence firm MindMeld for $125 million. The transaction will be done in cash as well as equity and is expected to be closed by fourth quarter of the current fiscal.

MindMeld has developed a unique AI platform that enables customers to build intelligent and human-like conversational interfaces for any application or device. Through its proprietary machine learning (ML) technology, MindMeld delivers accuracy to help users interact with voice and chat assistants in a more natural way.

“The workplace of the future is one powered by AI,” said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president, Cisco IoT and Applications Group. “This is a significant step toward making that workplace a reality. Integrating MindMeld into the Cisco Spark platform will transform how users interact in Cisco Spark Spaces, Cisco Spark Meetings, and Cisco Spark Care.”

With ten patent assets to its name, MindMeld brings industry-coveted AI, software and engineering talent and expertise to further the evolution of Cisco’s collaboration suite. The MindMeld team will join the Cloud Collaboration group under the leadership of Jens Meggers, senior vice president and general manager, as the Cognitive Collaboration team.

Cisco has been using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology in various of its product portfolio including Stealthwatch, Cisco Spark Board, and Cisco Spark Room Kit and features like SpeakerTrack and VoiceTrack across our video portfolio.

As chat and voice quickly become the interfaces of choice, MindMeld’s AI technology will enable Cisco to deliver unique experiences throughout its portfolio, starting with collaboration. This acquisition will power new conversational interfaces for Cisco’s collaboration products, revolutionizing how users will interact with our technology, increasing ease of use, and enabling new cognitive capabilities. For example, users will be able to interact with Cisco Spark via natural language commands, providing an experience that is highly customized to the user and their work. Together, Cisco and MindMeld can bring voice AI to meeting rooms throughout the world, where Cisco’s near-ubiquitous presence of video and telephony hardware will help increase adoption of AI technology across the workplace.

This story is first published in M2MCafe.

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Haunted By Jio, Idea Posts Q4 Net Loss Of Rs 325 Crore, Second In A Row


Idea Cellular posted its net loss for the second quarter in a row. In the Q4, Idea Cellular posted a loss of Rs 325 crore compared to a loss of Rs 386 crore in Q3. The company had posted a profit last in its Q2, a meager Rs 90 crore.

For Idea it was unprecedented as the Aditya Birla group had never seen any losses since its gone public a decade back. The company has been blaming the new operator for the loss.

Revenue wise too, the company posted a consolidated total of Rs 8126 crore in Q4 compared to Rs 8663 crore in Q3, showing a dip of 6.2%. This dip is lower compared to 6.9% decline it had posted in Q3 as compared to Q2 of 2017.

In Q3, 2017, Idea Cellular’s revenue was Rs 9300 crore.

For the full year of FY 2017, the company has posted a revenue of Rs 32,959 crore compared Rs 33,558 crore in FY 2016, showing a dip of 1.8%.

“The Indian wireless industry witnessed an unprecedented disruption in the second half of financial year 2016-17 (FY17) on account of free voice & mobile data promotions by the new entrant in the sector. The October to April 2017 interval can be best described as ‘Period of Telecom Discontinuity’, permanently changing mobility business parameters. Consequently, the revenue KPIs & financial parameters for all mobile operators have sharply declined in H2FY17,” the company said while announcing its Q4 and full year financial results.

“For the first time in its history, the flourishing Indian Mobility industry, is trending towards an annual revenue decline of ~2% in FY17 (vs FY16). With the new entrant starting to charge for its services, albeit very slowly, the sector is expected to return to growth in the next financial year,” it further added.

The company said it had to many drastic steps during the period to retain its existing subscribers who, could have been tempted to move to other operators.

In an effort to retain its existing mobile subscribers, Idea was forced to reduce its voice tariff by by 12.5% to 25.9 paisa/min (vs. 29.6 paisa in Q3FY17) as also steeply drop its mobile data rate by 27.6% to 11.5 paisa/MB (vs. 15.9 paisa in Q3FY17).

“However, the lure of free offerings by the new mobile operator resulted in lower than normal volume elasticity with sequential quarterly voice minutes growing by 10.3% to 231.4 billion minutes (vs. 209.8 billion minutes in Q3FY17),” said the operator.

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Siemens To Acquire Transportation Firm HaCon


Siemens is planning to acquire HaCon, a company headquartered in Hanover, Germany. The two parties have agreed not to disclose financial details. Pending the approval of antitrust authorities, the deal is expected to be concluded in the first half of calendar year 2017. HaCon is a leading international provider of planning, scheduling and information systems for public transportation, mobility and logistics.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The company has been a successful player in the mobility business for 30 years. Trip planning software from HaCon is used in more than 25 countries and comprises the center piece of the travel information systems in operation at more than 100 transport companies and associations.

“The acquisition of HaCon will enable us to enter a completely new business area that complements our current portfolio, expanding it to include timetable scheduling as well as trip planning by passengers,” said Jochen Eickholt, CEO of Siemens’ Mobility Division. “With this move, we’re rigorously implementing our digitalization strategy and opening up new growth opportunities for our company along our customers’ value chain,” he added.

“Together with a strong partner like Siemens AG, we’ll be even better equipped to drive the mobility software business, particularly in the global market,” said Michael Frankenberg, CEO of HaCon.

Siemens is already a leading rail automation provider, offering systems up to and including complete driverless operation. A leader in road mobility solutions as well, Siemens plans to expand its intermodal digital offerings with the acquisition of HaCon.

Together with HaCon, Siemens will be able to serve rail infrastructure operators and public transportation companies as a single-source supplier of innovative software solutions for train and route planning, timetable information systems, cutting-edge payment systems and intermodal mobility platforms. In addition, apps for use on passengers’ mobile devices will enhance trip planning, transparency and thus acceptance.

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BICS To Acquire TeleSign Corp For $230 Mn



International wholesale connectivity and interoperability services provider BICS today announced to acquire digital authentication firm TeleSign Corporation for $230 million. The privately held US firm is active in the provision of authentication and mobile identity services to Internet and digital service providers, for $230 million.

As per the transaction deal, BICS will pay an upfront cash consideration of $230 million (on a cash and debt free basis) as well as a variable performance-based earn-out consideration. The deal is expected to be closed by the third quarter of 2017.

The acquisition creates the world’s first end-to-end CPaaS provider, bridging the market leading TeleSign cloud communications platform with one of the largest global carriers in the world.

“We’ve been in the driver’s seat of our industry’s transformation, and we’ve built a solid business of over 1.5 billion euro ($1.6 billion) in yearly turnover, with the ambition of bridging the telecom world with the new and innovative communications providers worldwide”, said Daniel Kurgan, CEO of BICS.

“By combining the power of TeleSign’s advanced cloud communication platform and customer base with BICS’ market-leading footprint and global reach, we are well positioned to lead the development of one of technology’s most exciting sectors,” he added.

Today, companies of all sizes and sectors are embracing cloud communications to create innovative new services and transform how they communicate with their customers. As enterprises move to offer the latest and most secure services, harnessing the power of the cloud has become critical to every organization’s digital transformation. In fact, IDC forecasts the worldwide voice and text messaging communications platform-as-a-service market to grow from $867 million in 2016 to $8.2 billion in 20211.

Communications-Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) allows developers and product owners to easily add real-time communications features into their applications and services without having to build backend infrastructure and interfaces. With today’s acquisition, businesses now have a single destination for the world’s first end-to-end CPaaS provider, offering an unparalleled global network and the most reliable and trusted communications platform available.

“TeleSign has a strong business with annual revenues of around $100 million built on security and on a pedigree of innovation, with a strong portfolio of global customers,” said TeleSign’s CEO Aled Miles. “Combining our technology with BICS’ global carrier footprint, mobile operator reach and strong experience, puts us in a class by ourselves. Being the industry’s first end-to-end CPaaS means we can offer an unmatched level of business communications as we help organizations grow, engage and secure their end-users anywhere in the world.”

TeleSign will continue to operate independently as a wholly-owned subsidiary of BICS with the brand name TeleSign and CEO Aled Miles will retain his portfolio. Daniel Kurgan, CEO of BICS, will become the Chairman of TeleSign.

This strategic acquisition will enable BICS to expand from a global carrier to an international digital enabler, and accelerate its strategy to diversify in terms of customers, solutions and geographies, acquiring expertise in mobile identity, account security and cloud communication solutions. This will also enhance BICS’ geographical scope in the Americas and enlarge its customer base towards world-top internet brands to which BICS will sell its messaging, voice and Internet of Things solutions.

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HCL To Acquire Mortgage BPO Firm Urban Fulfillment Services For $30 Mn


HCL Technologies today announced an agreement to acquire Urban Fulfillment Services, a provider of mortgage business process & fulfilment services.

UFS is a Limited Liability Company incorporated in USA, founded in 2002. With over 350highly skilled professionals, UFS operates out of 3 centres in the US, engaged in providing mortgage business process and fulfilment services to its customers.

“The acquisition of Urban Fulfillment Services strengthens HCL’s capabilities in mortgage BPO services, loan fulfillment and debt servicing space,” saidAnoop Tiwari, Corporate Vice President and Global Head – Business Services, HCL Technologies.“Combining UFS’ talent and client portfolio with HCL’s deep industry expertise and business acumen, offers us the unique opportunity to provide platform–based services on our own platform, driving transformation through robotics process automation.”

“The synergies between UFS’ client focused and efficient business processing services and HCL’s technology leadership and financial strength will create an unparalleled competitor and leading provider of state-of-the-art services to the enterprise customers,” said Charles S. Sanders, CEO of Urban Lending Solutions. “I am very excited about joining the HCL team and being part of such a capable and progressive company that will deliver the highest level of services to the industry.”

HCL will be acquiring 100% stake in UFS. The total cash consideration for this transaction is up to $30 million, including contingent payments subject to certain financial milestones.Mortgage servicing is a regulated activity in USA and the transaction would require regulatory approvals for obtaining the licenses.

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Riverbed To Acquire Cloud-based WiFi Firm Xirrus


Riverbed Technology Friday announced to acquire California based WiFi networks firm Xirrus,. This acquisition of the privately-held company will help Riverbed expand its SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) and cloud networking solutions.

Besides these solutions the company will also continue to offer Xirrus as a stand-alone enterprise WLAN solution.

“Xirrus is a strategic acquisition for Riverbed, providing us with a leading enterprise-grade Wi-Fi solution, and enhancing SteelConnect to deliver an unmatched SD-WAN offering that will help further fuel our growth in this hot market,” said Jerry M. Kennelly, Riverbed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

The company plans to offer Xirrus solutions through its robust partner ecosystem. The acquisition of Thousand Oaks, California-based Xirrus is expected to close in April 2017.

With this acquisition, Riverbed’s flagship SD-WAN solution SteelConnect is expected to get a shot in the arm. By adding Xirrus, the power of policy-based orchestration by SteelConnect will be further extended to the wireless edge.

“Legacy approaches to network management have become completely untenable. IT must move beyond the days of managing individual network devices using arcane CLI commands and scripts and instead move to software-defined approaches that are based on global policies, automation and orchestration,” said Paul O’Farrell, Senior Vice President of the Riverbed SteelConnect, SteelHead and SteelFusion Business Unit.

Xirrus is recognized by Gartner in the “Visionaries” quadrant of the Magic Quadrant for the most recent Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure report. With solutions deployed on tens of thousands of networks and hundreds of thousands of cloud instances, Xirrus customers include some of the best known global companies and recognized brand names, including Microsoft, University of Mississippi, Liverpool Football Club and Paul Hastings Law Firm.

“Together with Riverbed, we embrace a tremendous opportunity to create the world’s first SD-WAN solution that covers the core to the edge of the network,” said Shane Buckley, CEO of Xirrus.

In January 2016, Riverbed acquired Ocedo Networks, a leading SD-WAN provider to accelerate the delivery of its next-gen networking solutions, and launched SteelConnect as an early access offering in April 2016, which included “one-click” connectivity to AWS.

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CA Technologies Completes Acquisition of Veracode


CA Technologies today announced it has completed the acquisition of Veracode, a leader in securing web, mobile and third-party applications across the software development lifecycle. The acquisition establishes CA Technologies as a leader in the Secure DevOps market, bridges its Security business with its broad DevOps portfolio and adds to its growing SaaS business.

With the completion of the transaction, Bob Brennan, former chief executive officer, is now general manager of the Veracode business in the company’s product development organization reporting to Ayman Sayed, CA president and chief product officer.

“We provide over 1400 small and large enterprise customers the security they need to confidently innovate with the web and mobile applications they build, buy and assemble, as well as the components they integrate into their environments,” Brennan said.

“By joining forces with CA Technologies, we will continue to better address growing security concerns, and enable them to accelerate delivery of secure software applications that can create new business value.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the transaction is valued at approximately $614 million in cash.

“The acquisition establishes CA Technologies as a leader in the Secure DevOps market, bridges its Security business with its broad DevOps portfolio and adds to its growing SaaS business,” CA Technologies had said in a statement.

CA will provide detail regarding the acquisition’s impact to guidance when it reports fourth quarter earnings in May.

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