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Iain Thomson

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Cloudy server conceptual illustration. Photo by Shutterstock

Restaurant booked, flowers ordered ... Microsoft has a hot date for SQL Server 2016

Microsoft has announced that SQL Server 2016 for Windows will go into general availability on June 1 and is positioning it against Oracle on cost, security, and speed. The database management suite will come in three flavors – Enterprise, Standard, and Express – as well as a Developer SKU. Customers with a Microsoft Software …
Iain Thomson, 02 May 2016
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon's AWS cash machine embiggens, breezes past $2bn-a-quarter mark

Amazon has reported bumper first quarter results, with profits of $513m and sales increasing 28 per cent. In its previous quarterly results Amazon's stock took a beating after the company reported a lower than expected sales. After Thursday's results, the company was back in favor and saw its stock price rise over 10 per cent …
Iain Thomson, 28 Apr 2016
Carly Fiorina

Another failed merger, Carly? Ted Cruz to bring in ex-HP boss Fiorina as running mate

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz will announce his running mate at a campaign event on Wednesday afternoon – and the pick to revitalize his flagging campaign is Carly Fiorina. Fiorina ended her own bid for the presidency in February after a lackluster performance in which she proved herself to be factually challenged …
Iain Thomson, 27 Apr 2016
Strom Clouds

Stalled cloud growth, software flatlining, hated Lumias unsold... It's all fine, says Microsoft CEO

Microsoft is putting a brave face on disappointing third-quarter earnings that saw profits fall 25 per cent year-on-year and cloud revenues failing to rise fast enough to offset losses in other areas. Earnings per share were $0.62 non-GAAP, down 23 per cent from 2015, compared to analysts' estimates of $0.64. "We had a solid …
Iain Thomson, 21 Apr 2016

Fake CEOs pilfer $2.3bn from US biz pockets in three years – Feds

Scammers have bilked American companies out of $2.3bn from 17,642 victims since 2013, the FBI has warned, and the problem is going to get worse before it gets better. Basically, the hustle works like this: miscreants pretending to be top bosses send emails to employees, particularly those handling sensitive financial …
Iain Thomson, 07 Apr 2016
Wim Coekaerts

Microsoft lures top Linux exec from Oracle to Redmond

Larry Ellison will be throwing his boats out of the bathtub on the news that Wim Coekaerts, possibly Oracle's top Linux guy, has jumped ship to Microsoft. "Wim Coekaerts has joined Microsoft as Corp VP of Open Source in our Enterprise Cloud Group," Mike Neil, VP for enterprise cloud at Microsoft, told El Reg. "As we continue …
Iain Thomson, 01 Apr 2016

Sexism isn't getting better in Silicon Valley, it's getting worse

Analysis In the technology field, many people like to think that they are at the forefront of human development, but it is becoming clear that the industry is failing when it comes to dealing with sexism against women. In January, a survey from Stanford University of women who'd spent at least ten years in the tech industry found that …
Iain Thomson, 09 Mar 2016
phishing_648

Bungling Seagate staffer leaked coworkers' social security numbers, other info to email fraudsters

Storage drive biz Seagate is lousy at keeping its own data safe: it accidentally handed over the crown jewels of its employees' private information to persons unknown. A Seagate employee was fooled by an email that masqueraded as an internal memo from the CEO: the message requested people's W-2 forms, and the worker duly …
Iain Thomson, 08 Mar 2016
(c) Rama, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr

Q&A: Bruce Schneier on joining IBM, IoT woes, and Apple v the FBI

RSA 2016 Security guru Bruce Schneier is a regular at shows like RSA and his talks are usually standing-room-only affairs. Schneier has written some of the definitive texts for modern cryptography teaching and his current book, Data and Goliath, examines the perils and solutions to government and corporate surveillance of internet …
Iain Thomson, 04 Mar 2016
Colossus computer from The Forbin Project

How exactly do you rein in a wildly powerful AI before it enslaves us all?

RSA 2016 Developing massively intelligent computer systems is going to happen, says Professor Nick Bostrom, and they could be the last invention humans ever make. Finding ways to control these super-brains is still on the todo list, though. Speaking at the RSA 2016 conference, Prof Bostrom, director of the University of Oxford's Future …
Iain Thomson, 04 Mar 2016

Microsoft gets into the advanced intrusion sniffer game – but only for Windows 10

RSA 2016 Microsoft will be rolling out a new form of security system for enterprises later this year aimed at stopping attacks as soon as they happen. Dubbed Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, the system will monitor a company's computer systems looking for signs that an attack is occurring. If someone starts trying to break …
Iain Thomson, 02 Mar 2016
Amit Yoran

Don't expect AI to save our security skins, warns RSA boss

RSA 2016 RSA president Amit Yoran used the opening keynote of his company's conference to warn about the dangers of trusting new technology – and to launch a stinging attack on government stupidity over encryption. Yoran acknowledged that deep learning and AI systems were going to be a theme of the conference this year – indeed RSA is …
Iain Thomson, 01 Mar 2016
recruitment_hired

Poor recruitment processes are causing the great security talent drought

RSA 2016 It's a refrain at this and past RSA conferences, that companies can't hire enough top-notch talent, but it's addressable if companies hire smartly and applicants learn how to play the game. "Far too many hackers have expectations that are unrealistic," said Tim O'Brien, director of threat research at Palerra – who has been on …
Iain Thomson, 29 Feb 2016
Bruce Schneier

Confirmed: IBM slurps up Bruce Schneier with Resilient purchase

RSA 2016 After nearly a week of rumors IBM has confirmed it has bought incident response firm Resilient Systems and so gained the services of its CTO security guru Bruce Schneier. "We are excited to be joining IBM Security, the industry's fastest-growing enterprise security company," said John Bruce, Resilient Systems' CEO. "By …
Iain Thomson, 29 Feb 2016
The Xamarin team at its Evolve conference in 2014

Microsoft finally ties the knot with Xamarin, snaps up mobile app biz

Microsoft has bought its long-time partner Xamarin for an undisclosed sum. "With today's acquisition announcement we will be taking this work much further to make our world-class developer tools and services even better with deeper integration and to enable seamless mobile app dev experiences," said Scott Guthrie, VP of …
Iain Thomson, 24 Feb 2016
Taylor Swift

IBM tailors Swift for cloud, gets into bed with VMware, Github

Big Blue has used its IBM InterConnect conference in Las Vegas to announce cooperative deals with Apple, VMware and GitHub, as the venerable commuting giant seeks to suck in more cloudy business. "Businesses are adopting cloud-based applications to accelerate innovation, but they are still struggling to combine those cloud …
Iain Thomson, 22 Feb 2016

Yahoo! is! up! for! sale! – so! how! much! will! you! bid!?

Yahoo! has officially called in the bankers to explore "strategic alternatives" for the company; in other words trying to find someone to buy up the non-Alibaba side of the business. "Separating our Alibaba stake from Yahoo's operating business is essential to maximizing value for our shareholders. In addition to the reverse …
Iain Thomson, 20 Feb 2016
Teacher

Microsoft to axe Win 8 coder certificate exams

In six months Microsoft will cull some of its Windows app store developer qualifications. From September, Microsoft will no longer offer today's basic or advanced certification exams for developing Windows Store apps in C#, JavaScript, and HTML5. Out too are the recertification exams for Microsoft certified solutions …
Iain Thomson, 17 Feb 2016
Suitcase full of money

US software biz fined $28 million for bribing Chinese buyers with free vacations, gifts

Massachusetts-based software maker PTC and two of its Chinese subsidiaries have been fined $28m for bribing buyers in the Middle Kingdom. US regulator the SEC found that PTC, which builds design and process management software, broke the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) between 2006 and 2011. The American biz bunged …
Iain Thomson, 16 Feb 2016
Michael Dell, photo: Dell

Dell 'struggling to raise funds for EMC gobble'

Dell's US$67bn mega-merger with EMC could be in trouble, with bankers reportedly having trouble raising the funds to foot the acquisition. The takeover, which was announced in October, looked like plain sailing, but the falling stock market, and in particular the crash in tech stock prices, appears to have had a knock-on …
Iain Thomson, 12 Feb 2016
Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina makes like HP and splits – ex-CEO quits White House race

After her campaign garnered just four per cent of the vote in the New Hampshire primaries, Carly Fiorina has announced that she has suspended her run to be US commander in chief, but will carry on campaigning. "I've said throughout this campaign that I will not sit down and be quiet. I'm not going to start now," she said in a …
Iain Thomson, 10 Feb 2016
decline

Symantec's definition of transformation: Take the profit made a year ago and burn a quarter of it

Symantec has announced its results for the third quarter of fiscal 2016 and they aren't looking pretty. Revenues are down 6 per cent and profits plummeted by 23 per cent. In a conference call following the earnings announcement, CEO Michael Brown said the Silicon Valley firm was well on its way with a three-year restructuring …
Iain Thomson, 05 Feb 2016
Sparta

Safe Harbor ripped and replaced with Privacy Shield in last-minute US-Europe deal

European and US legislators have hammered out a last-minute deal to allow data flows across the Atlantic to continue without breaking the law. "For the first time ever, the United States has given the EU binding assurances that the access of public authorities for national security purposes will be subject to clear limitations …
Iain Thomson, 02 Feb 2016

Windows 10 will now automatically download and install on PCs

Microsoft said it would push Windows 10 upgrades onto people's PCs much harder this year – and Redmond has been true to its word. From Monday, Windows Update will start making the upgrade to version 10 of the operating system a recommended update, rather than an optional one, a spokesperson for the software giant confirmed. …
Iain Thomson, 02 Feb 2016

Alphabet, cough, Google most valuable biz on Earth as it pours billions into 'other bets'

Alphabet, Google's new parent-holding-company-thing, has reported stellar end-of-year results: revenues in the final quarter of 2015 hit $21.3bn, and profit reached $4.9bn. The figures pushed Alphabet's stock price up eight per cent in after-hours trading, making it, for the moment, the most valuable company on the planet by …
Iain Thomson, 01 Feb 2016
Satya Nadella

Microsoft on Cloud 9 after online biz boosts profits to $6.3bn in second quarter

It has proven a happy New Year for Microsoft, with profits of $6.3bn (up 8 per cent on the year) in its second financial quarter – driven largely by increasing revenues from its cloud business. "Businesses everywhere are using the Microsoft Cloud as their digital platform to drive their ambitious transformation agendas," said …
Iain Thomson, 28 Jan 2016

Microsoft unbuttons shirt, teases glimpse of Azure-in-a-box Stack

It's a bit late, but Microsoft will be releasing the first technical preview of Azure Stack – its cloud-in-a-box for those who prefer their data on-premises. Azure Stack was announced at the Ignite conference in May. Now, Mike Neil, Microsoft's veep of enterprise cloud, has promised the first preview will be available for …
Iain Thomson, 26 Jan 2016

Fortinet tries to explain weird SSH 'backdoor' discovered in firewalls

Enterprise security vendor Fortinet has attempted to explain why its FortiOS firewalls were shipped with hardcoded SSH logins. It appears Fortinet's engineers implemented their own method of authentication for logging-into FortiOS-powered devices, and the mechanism ultimately uses a secret passphrase. This code was reverse- …
Iain Thomson, 12 Jan 2016
Chad Sakac

EMC's VCE welcomes new president amid '250-plus layoffs at all levels'

It's all change at the top of VCE, the converged data center infrastructure subsidiary of EMC, with Chad Sakac taking the president's job. Sakac has spent the last 11 years with EMC, ending up as the president of global systems engineering, a role he'll continue to fill in addition to heading VCE. He'll effectively replace the …
Iain Thomson, 07 Jan 2016

Microsoft's 200 million 'Windows 10' 'devices' include Lumias, Xboxes

Microsoft has kicked off the New Year – and the run-up to the annual CES hypemare in Las Vegas – with the latest figures on Windows 10 adoption, claiming that over 200 million devices now run the operating system. "As of today, there are more than 200 million monthly active devices around the world running Windows 10," …
Iain Thomson, 05 Jan 2016

Kaspersky, McAfee, and AVG all vulnerable to major flaw

Some of the biggest names in the security software business have been compromised by a serious flaw that could allow a hacker to use the commercial security code to infiltrate computers. In March, researchers at security firm enSilo found a serious flaw in popular free antivirus engine AVG Internet Security 2015. They found …
Iain Thomson, 10 Dec 2015

IBM hands QRadar APIs for developers and resellers to set up shop

As part of an ongoing shift to more-open security systems, IBM will be making the APIs for its QRadar security platform available in a bid to out-innovate the online criminals. "We're up against more and more organized threats," Kevin Skapinetz, director of IBM Security, told The Register. "The industry has a massive talent …
Iain Thomson, 08 Dec 2015

You're right to fear a second dot-com crash, says Intel VC boss

ICGS Fears of another technology startup bubble bursting are "legitimate," says the outgoing head of Intel's venture capital arm. As a result, the chip biz is playing it safe in "overheated sectors" of the market, and looking overseas for the next big thing. It's not widely known but Intel Capital is one of the largest venture …
Iain Thomson, 04 Nov 2015
Intel's Kirk Skaugen at IDF 2014

PC sales will rise again, predicts Intel, but tablets are toast

ICGS The last few years haven't been good for the PC market as the old upgrade cycle died and buyers piled into tablets and smartphones. But Intel is convinced the PC will rise again, thanks to new hardware and form factors. "I honestly feel this is a once in a decade moment," enthused Kirk Skaugen, GM of Intel's client computing …
Iain Thomson, 03 Nov 2015

What upgrade cycle? Tablet sales crater for fourth straight quarter

Global shipments of tablets have fallen for the fourth successive quarter, according to data from analyst house IDC. In the third quarter of 2015, manufacturers shipped 48.7 million fondleslabs worldwide, down 12.6 per cent year on year. IDC estimates that there are 581.9 million tablets in the world, but that sales growth is …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2015

On Planet Oracle, Big Red wasn't a decade late to cloud ... Amazon was just years too early

OpenWorld Earlier this month, Amazon tweaked Oracle's nose at its re:Invent conference. On Tuesday this week, Oracle fired back with a raft of cloud announcements. During the morning's keynote presentation, Thomas Kurian, Oracle's president of product, outlined the new offerings in cloud infrastructure-as-a-service, including an Elastic …
Iain Thomson, 27 Oct 2015
Oracle OpenWorld cloud

Oracle's Hurd mentality: We (and one other) will own all of cloud by 2025

Two companies will own 80 per cent of the software-as-a-service market by 2025 and one of them will be Oracle, the firm's co-CEO Mark Hurd has predicted. Speaking at his keynote on the second day of Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, Hurd said that Oracle has spent the last five years rewriting its code base with the cloud in …
Iain Thomson, 26 Oct 2015

Intel and Oracle push into big data, label IBM and SAP cloud clowns

Larry Ellison has dismissed his two historic competitors, IBM and SAP as "nowhere in the cloud," and used Sunday night's OpenWorld keynote to show off products and services designed to bury Big Blue and the HANA heroes. "We compete with Amazon in cloud infrastructure and never, ever see IBM - this is how much our world has …
Iain Thomson, 26 Oct 2015
Satya Nadella

Sales down, profit up, 1,000 bods chopped: Your one-minute guide to Planet Microsoft

Microsoft has published its figures for the first quarter of the 2016 financial year (its accounting department shuns calendars) and reports that profits are up, even though revenues fell. "We are making strong progress across each of our three ambitions by delivering innovation people love," said CEO Satya Nadella in a canned …
Iain Thomson, 23 Oct 2015
Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, speaking at Build 2015

Windows 10 out, users happy, PCs upgraded, my work here is done – says Microsoft OS chief

Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's head of operating systems, is going to take a year-long leave of absence from the biz once Windows 10 has rolled out. By November, Microsoft should have finished emitting Windows 10 to smartphones, completing the play Redmond is making for a single operating system to cover all possible computers and …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2015
Boats storm girl photo via Nikolina Mrakovic Shutterstock.com

Microsoft's top lawyer: I have a cunning plan ... to rescue sunk safe harbor agreement

Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith has presented a new safe harbor pact to replace the agreement struck down earlier this month by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The ECJ ruled that transferring Europeans' private information in and out of America is no longer allowed because America's privacy laws …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2015

You know when you spill your drink but keep on dancing anyway? That's totally Intel right now

Intel's latest financial report shows profits hit by the downturn in the personal computer market, but Chipzilla's growing presence in the cloud is helping make up some of the shortfall. In the third quarter of 2015, the computer processor giant generated revenues of US$14.5bn and a net income of US$3.1bn – six per cent less …
Iain Thomson, 14 Oct 2015
Lumia 950 XL

Worker drones don't need PCs says Microsoft, give 'em phones instead

Windows Phone has had a very rocky history, but Microsoft thinks it may have found a winning strategy to get its handsets into the business market – let them be PCs. Youtube Video At a press conference in New York, Microsoft unveiled the Lumia 950 (5.2-inch screen) and 950XL (5.7-inch screen). The phones are designed to work …
Iain Thomson, 06 Oct 2015
Surface Book

Surface Book: Microsoft to turn unsuccessful tab into unsuccessful laptop

As expected, Microsoft has updated its Surface Pro fondleslab with a new model powered by Intel's latest silicon. But unexpectedly, it has also produced a laptop version of the platform that is going to make Apple sick. The Surface family had a rocky start, some might even say unsuccessful, with small marketshare gains – but …
Iain Thomson, 06 Oct 2015
question_marks_648

Microsoft's big Tuesday reveal: New mobiles and slabs? Win 10 shock?

Microsoft has scheduled one of its biggest press conferences of the year on Tuesday in New York, and The Register will be there for the show. But leaks ahead of time suggest we'll be seeing a lot of new hardware and possibly a few software tricks as well. Firstly, it's almost certain that Redmond will be unveiling at least two …
Iain Thomson, 05 Oct 2015

SaaS biz 'made up 99% of sales and defrauded investors of millions'

If you bought internet services from Illinois-based ContinuityX Services, the US Securities and Exchange Commission would like a word, since you may be part of a very, very small group – far smaller than the company itself represented. "We allege that Godwin and Roth cheated investors out of millions of dollars, depicting …
Iain Thomson, 30 Sep 2015
Colossus computer from The Forbin Project

Michigan sues HP after 'botched' $49m upgrade leaves US state in 1960s mainframe hell

Michigan is suing HP after the state government grew tired of waiting for the tech biz to fulfill an IT contract signed a decade ago. Hewlett Packard had agreed to replace the US state's aging computer systems that power so much of the local government. The tech firm signed a $49m contract back in 2005 to replace Michigan's …
Iain Thomson, 22 Sep 2015

Now Ashley Madison hackers reveal 'CEO's emails and source code'

Updated Another load of internal files swiped by hackers from Ashley Madison have been leaked online – and they apparently feature the CEO's emails and the website's source code. The 18.5GB leak includes, it is claimed, archives of internal company emails, including one folder labeled Noel Biderman – the chief exec of Avid Life Media …
Iain Thomson, 20 Aug 2015
Eugene Kaspersky in Sydney

I've seen Kaspersky slap his staff with a walrus penis – and even I doubt the false-positive claims

Comment Eugene Kaspersky is a complex character and capable of many things, but Friday's allegations that he ordered staff to deliberately sabotage rival antivirus packages smells fishy. On the one hand, the problem of AV products flagging up false positives is well known. Signature-file detection of software nasties is dated, and of …
Iain Thomson, 15 Aug 2015

Ex-SAP director: I bribed govt officials to seal the deals on software

A former regional director of German enterprise software outfit SAP has pleaded guilty to bribing officials in the Panamanian government to secure a contract for one of the company's resellers. Vicente Eduardo Garcia, 65, of Miami, Florida, admitted giving $145,000 in bribes to one government official and promising bribes to …
Iain Thomson, 14 Aug 2015

Opinion

Walking on water, image via Shutterstock

Chris Mellor

IDC stats reveal who's who in the backup appliance bearpit
Carry on Cleo

Gavin Clarke

Infamy, infamy, Amazon and Microsoft have all got it in for me!

Tim Anderson

Also signals stronger cross-platform tools, access to new markets

Features

Nerd fail photo via Shutterstock
Shouting match
Single market vs. rest of the world
hacker
Mostly it's financial crime. Here's what all the cool kids' terms mean in English
Apple logo. Pic: Blake Patterson
Plenty of bumps in the 40-year road for Mac makers