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Microsoft launches Kinect for PCs

Microsoft launches Kinect for PCs | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
A version of Microsoft's record-breaking Kinect motion and voice sensor is made available for use on Windows.
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Open Compute Keynote de Philippe Dewost a USI 2015 Unexpected Sources of Inspiration - Philippe Dewost's light sources

Open Compute Keynote de Philippe Dewost a USI 2015 Unexpected Sources of Inspiration - Philippe Dewost's light sources | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

L'édition 2015 de la Conference USI (Unexpected Sources of Inspiration) s'est tenue début Juillet au Carrousel du Louvre et a confirmé son statut de meilleure Conference Tech sur Paris, combinant un site exceptionnel, une audience de plus de 1200 participants très diverse et de très bon niveau, et une palette de speakers dans plusieurs disciplines délivrant une quarantaine d'interventions sur les deux jours. La Caisse des Dépôts était de nouveau partenaire de cette édition avec plus d'une cinquantaine de participants dans le cadre de son programme de transformation digitale.

François Hisquin, CEO d'Octo et Curateur de la conférence, m'avait demandé d'intervenir sur la thématique d'Open Compute, dont la contribution aux enjeux de la transition énergétique n'est toujours pas correctement appréciée en Europe alors même que nous hébergeons des entreprises extrêmement talentueuses dans ce domaine.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Keynote en video et slideshare pour ceux qui n'ont pas le son

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CHECy's curator insight, November 25, 2015 12:15 PM

Intervention de Philippe Dewost, Président d'honneur du CHECy, lors de la conférence USI 2015.

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Inside Facebook’s new “Area 404” hardware lab

Inside Facebook’s new “Area 404” hardware lab | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
This is where Facebook will prototype its solar drones, Internet-beaming lasers, VR headsets, and next-gen servers.The problem with moving faster than most companies is that Facebook was plagued by delays whenever it had to outsource prototyping and testing of its gadgets and gizmos. With so much hardware on its 10-year roadmap, and quarter after quarter of profits stacking up, it made sense to build a dedicated laboratory within its Menlo Park headquarters.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
An internet / software giant reminds us, at scale, that #HardwareIsNotDead
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Aquila's First Flight

The internet provides information, opportunity and human connection, yet less than half the world has access. We’re proud to announce the successful first test flight of Aquila, the solar airplane we designed to bring internet access to people living in remote locations. This innovative plane has the wingspan of an airliner but weighs less than a small car and flies on roughly the power of three blow dryers

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Solar Impulse, meet AI. Facebook's Aquila looks extremely promising and progressing quite fast. Besides, it confirms how serious its Building 8 Division is about leveraging and reinventing hardware to close the loop with software and services.

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Scality CEO says French startup scene is booming

Scality CEO says French startup scene is booming | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
The French startup ecosystem is booming. Its exponential growth started about 5 years ago, and now attracts more and more of the young talent. See this.France was not historically seen as a startup country, and it wasn't. But things have changed. It is now the second largest startup ecosystem in Europe (after UK, but ahead of Germany), and may be about to become the first.There are some amazing initiatives like Ecole 42, which just launched in Silicon Valley as well.It is becoming recognised in Silicon Valley. As an example, John Chambers has on numerous occasions mentioned that he saw huge potential in the French startup ecosystem; for example, in a Fortune article.I expect that we will see the spirit of startup go beyond tech, and enter other industries where France has real knowledge, like food and fashion.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
Great interview of Scality CEO by TheRegister. Jérôme Lecat has been a first hour supporter of La French Tech and very clearly explains how to articulate your startup between France and the US, debunking a few myths underway...
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India's $4 smartphone arrives June 30th

India's $4 smartphone arrives June 30th | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
While it's good that there's a tangible product, there are still doubts swirling around its feasibility. Ringing Bells' CEO admits that his company is taking a loss on every phone right now -- it's hoping to make up for that through sheer volume. As it stands, the firm is still reluctant to offer hands-on time to the media despite a release just days away.If this gamble pays off, though, it could change the local phone market. Even the most affordable smartphones on the market right now still represent a huge expense for some Indians, particularly rural dwellers who rarely enjoy middle class incomes. At $4, the Freedom 251 is inexpensive enough that it'd be far more attainable and help close a technological divide. The main mystery is whether or not the phone is any good. A terrible experience (say, through unreliable hardware) might sour people on the whole concept, no matter how tempting the price might be.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
Smartphone price range has widened to 200:1 thanks to an Indian company !
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Ultimate AI battle - Apple vs. Google · Simply Statistics

Ultimate AI battle - Apple vs. Google · Simply Statistics | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Yesterday, Apple launched its Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) and had its public keynote address. While many new things were announced, the one thing that caught my eye was the dramatic expansion of Apple’s use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools. I talked a bit about AI with Hilary Parker on the latest Not So Standard Deviations, particularly in the context of Amazon’s Echo/Alexa, and I think it’s definitely going to be an area of intense competition between the major tech companies.Pretty much every major tech player is involved in AI–Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft–the list goes on. Recently, a some commentators have suggested that Apple in particular will never catch up with the likes of Google with respect to AI because of Apple’s strict stance on privacy and unwillingness to gather/aggregate data from all its users. However, yesterday at WWDC, Apple revealed a few clues about what it was up to in the AI world.First, Apple mentioned deep learning more than a few times, including specifically calling out its use of LSTM in its Messages app and facial recognition in its Photos app. Previously, Apple had been rumored to be applying deep learning to its Siri assistant and its fingerprint sensor. At WWDC, Craig Federighi stressed Apple’s continued focus on privacy and how Apple does not need to develop “user profiles” server-side, but rather does most computation on-device (in this case, on the iPhone).However, it can’t be that Apple does all its deep learning computation on the iPhone. These models tend to be enormous and take advantage of reams of data that can only be reasonablly processed server-side. Unfortunately, because most companies (Apple in particular) release few details about what they do, we may never how this works. But we can definitely speculate!Apple vs. GoogleI think the Apple/Google dichotomy provides an interesting opportunity to talk about how models can be learned using data in different ways. There are two approaches being represented here by Apple and Google:Google way - Collect lots of data from users and store them on a server in the Googleplex somewhere. Then use that data to fit an enormous model that can predict when you’ve taken a picture of a cat. As users generate more data, bring that data back to the Googleplex and update/refine the model.Apple way - Build a “starter model” in the Apple Mothership. As users generate data on their phones, bring the model to the phone and update the model using just their data. Bring the updated model back to the Apple Mothership and leave the user’s data on the phone.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
For anybody interested in #AI, here is a clear must-read piece detailing the difference in approach between Google and Apple, by using a "Google mean" vs "Apple mean" illustrated metaphor. And here, "mean" is to be understood mathematically, not morally #DontDoEvil ...
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4 Reasons Microsoft Wasted $26.2 Billion To Buy LinkedIn

4 Reasons Microsoft Wasted $26.2 Billion To Buy LinkedIn | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
announced a deal to pay $26.2 billion to acquire business social network, LinkedIn. It fails the four tests of a successful acquisition.While the deal certainly rescues LinkedIn from a huge growth problem that slashed the value of its shares in February, it is unclear how Microsoft will generate a return on that $26 billion investment.Microsoft will pay “$196 per share in an all-cash transaction, including LinkedIn’s net cash, a 49.5% premium to LinkedIn’s closing price on June 10. The offer values LinkedIn about 91 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA),” according to Bloomberg.Why would Microsoft do that? CEO Satya Nadella said “the acquisition could drive growth for LinkedIn as well as Microsoft’s Office 365 and Dynamics services,” according to Bloomberg.LinkedIn CEO Jeffrey Weiner — who will stay on as CEO after Microsoft completes the deal — said in a statement, “Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works.”I believe this is a flimsy justification for spending $26.2 billion.But to understand why it happened, a good place to start is to look what happened to LinkedIn’s shares after the stock market opened on February 6, 2016.That was the day investors hacked 44% from LinkedIn’s market capitalization.The reason was easy to understand, yet difficult to remedy. LinkedIn lowered its expectations for the year’s growth in revenue (from 35% to 20%) and adjusted earnings (from 41% to 7%) — well below what analysts expected.This slashed a cool $1 billion from the net worth of LinkedIn’s founder, Reid Hoffman, and forced Weiner to ponder important questions that needed to be answered before investors could hope to recoup what they lost.The questions were:Where would faster growth come from?Could it be spurred by improving LinkedIn’s offerings?By selling its current products to new customers, or in new geographies? By inventing new products for its existing customers?By adding entirely new classes of products, or creating a new growth culture?Now that Microsoft is buying LinkedIn, whether or not Weiner can answer these questions will not matter as much as it once did.But the deal still begs the question — Does the Microsoft/LinkedIn deal pass the four tests of a successful acquisition?
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
Interesting contrarian analysis requiring a full read on what remains the boldest move of this month if not this semester.While it values my LinkedIn profile at approx $60, it still does not trigger any need to upgrade to Premium...What I can expect from M$FT however is a better LinkedIn mobile app experience as Redmond had really been impressive on the mobile UX front especially on iOS.Any comments / reactions ?
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Apple Watch: Why Let Facts Cloud The Debate?

Apple Watch: Why Let Facts Cloud The Debate? | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

The absence of official numbers for the Apple Watch leads to speculation that the device is a flop — why else would Apple hide the numbers? But the company’s penchant for secrecy shouldn’t prevent us from looking at a few facts, and from thinking about the company’s long game.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

You better Watch this enjoyable JL Gassée feature :-)

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Zenly proves that location sharing isn’t dead

Zenly proves that location sharing isn’t dead | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Now that you are giving up on check-ins and sharing your location with your friends, a French startup is coming up with better technology and new use cases to make location cool again. Zenly has been quietly working on location for years, and teenagers are now getting addicted to this app. SoLoMo is back.Zenly couldn’t be more straightforward. When you open the app, you see a giant map with your location and your friends’ location. You can tap on a friend’s picture and see exactly where they are. Or you can just aimlessly swap through your friends and jump around the map. This is Zenly’s core feature.When I first heard about this pitch, I wasn’t convinced by the idea. What if you could share your location with your close friends and family? This question doesn’t sound compelling at all. It sounds a lot like Apple’s Find My Friends, a bit like Foursquare, and it’s also very reminiscent of dozens of failed startups (R.I.P. Sam Altman’s Loopt, Gowalla, BrightKite, Highlight…).And I’ve also never been a fan of constant location sharing. First, I care about my privacy. Second, background location apps kill my phone’s battery. Third, why would I even use something like this anyway?But I gave it a serious shot and liked it a lot. Zenly is a well-designed, addictive app. I tend to open it every now and then just because it’s so different from everything out there. This isn’t another messaging app. This isn’t a social network. This isn’t a utility. It’s something that sits between all of these areas. And I keep opening the app.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
Check this new French Startup & App launched by a classmate of mine ! Featured on Product Hunt too :-)
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Le Groupe Caisse Des Dépôts est partenaire de BigUp For Startup 2016 à Montpellier

Le Groupe Caisse Des Dépôts est partenaire de BigUp For Startup 2016 à Montpellier | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Deuxième édition pour le rendez-vous Big up 4 startup, organisé par le French Tech Montpellier et le cluster régional FrenchSouth Digital. Après avoir réuni en 2015 lors de sa première édition huit grands groupes et 150 start-up régionales, dont les rencontres ont abouti à une quinzaine de contrats, le rendez-vous passe la seconde. En 2016, ce sont quatorze groupes (dont Cisco, Société Générale, Caisse des Dépôts, Orange, La Poste, EDF, Engie et Midi Libre) qui devraient accueillir une soixantaine de jeunes pousses.Répondre aux besoins d'innovation des groupesComme l'an dernier, les start-up auront pour mission de proposer des réponses aux besoins d'innovation exprimés par les groupes dans des appels à projets disponibles en ligne. Des présentations et des rendez-vous individuels seront organisés les 19 et 20 mai prochains
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
En route pour Montpellier ou je pitcherai pour les besoins du Groupe Caisse des Dépôts et en particulier ICADE et Transdev !
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Apple's $1 Billion Bet On Didi Chuxing, & 12 Big Questions About What's Next For Cars | F@stCompany

Apple's $1 Billion Bet On Didi Chuxing, & 12 Big Questions About What's Next For Cars | F@stCompany | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

How widely and how quickly will autonomous cars be accepted? As hard as it might be for an urbanite to imagine, many people love their cars. And if early autonomous vehicles cause a few well-publicized accidents, fear of the unknown could slow the trend, even to a halt.

Is owning a car factory an advantage or a disadvantage? In the minds of many from Silicon Valley, "Detroit" is a euphemism for inept. They believe the most important part of a car is its software, and they're probably right. But isn’t a century’s worth of expertise worth something? And don’t get carried away about Tesla: Last year it delivered 50,580 cars, approximately one-quarter of one percent of Detroit's output.

Is ride-sharing a commodity product? In Brooklyn, I can use a car-hailing app to get Uber, Lyft, Juno, or a taxi. I don’t see any significant difference between any of the services, each of which arrive quickly, charge similar fares, and offer clean cars and knowledgeable drivers. Selling a commodity tends to be a pretty awful business.

How long can ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft take a loss on many of the rides they provide, in their race to garner riders and drivers? "There’s never been a market as subsidized as this," one venture capitalist told me. "We’ll only know the winners and losers after that settles down."

Will governmental regulations slow or speed this transition? The environmental benefits of electric vehicles and fewer cars on the road are clear. Yet cities like New York, Austin, Berlin, and Paris have at different times threatened to strangle car-sharing with regulations. Look at the airline business: governments like regulating travel, for better or for worse.

What kind of "driver" or "passenger" insurance will be required? The average American driver now pays a bit less than $1000 per year for auto insurance. But who is responsible when driverless cars collide?

Will we continue to personally own cars, or will we instead have monthly subscriptions to companies that will provide all the rides we need? Subscription services seem likely, but if my current subscriptions—to companies like Time Warner Cable and Verizon—are any model, quality suffers and prices creep up.

Why is it so difficult to design a driver-friendly dashboard? Mapping services and accurate engine diagnostics are welcome additions to the information a driver can see, but more data has resulted in cluttered screens using interactive controls designed for phones or laptops. Steve Jobs understood that the user interface was the most important part of any consumer technology. Can Apple solve this problem?

Are Uber and Lyft drivers employees or contractors? This is an issue of short-term importance, but is caught up in a broader societal concern: How to define those who participate in the so-called ‘gig economy.’

Who has the most important leverage? The company that designs a car's software? The manufacturer? Or is it Uber, whose app is used by so many consumers? As with any nascent transition, it's hard to know what will emerge as the most important bottleneck.

Can any ride-sharing company become a truly international brand, or will local services trump those ambitions? Uber is losing billions of dollars trying to snare a leading market share in Asian countries. No one know exactly how much resistance it will face from governments that prefer local providers.

How strong are the network effects that Uber gains by being such a well-funded first mover? Benchmark VC Bill Gurley likes to point to this tweet as a key reason that Uber will continue to thrive. But if car-sharing has as much subsidization and government interference as the airline industry, will those network effects hold true?

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Which of the 12 questions raised by Apple's investment in Didi do you favor ?

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Drivy Grabs $35 more million for its car rental marketplace

Drivy Grabs $35 more million for its car rental marketplace | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
French startup Drivy has raised another $35 million (€31 million) from Cathay Innovation, Nokia Growth Partners and existing investors Bpifrance, Via-ID and Index Ventures. If you don’t already know Drivy, the company wants to rethink the way car rental works today.If you have a car, chances are you don’t use it every day. Sometimes you can even spend long periods of time without using it thanks to public transportation. Instead of having a useless car, you can rent it to someone else. In other words, you become a sort of car rental company for your own car.On the other side of the equation, if you live in a big city, chances are you don’t need a car. Having a car could even slow you down. But sometimes, you want to go on vacation and a car would be useful. Sure, you could rent a car from any of the existing car rental company. But Drivy lets you rent a car from someone else for less.This way, you could find big cars, small cars, give back your car on a Sunday and more. Drivy wants to be more flexible than your average car rental company.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
A great investment for the #EcoTech fund managed by our subsidiary #BPIfrance for the Investments For the Future Program (disclosure: I represent Caisse Des Dépôts as the L.P)
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Nokia to buy smartwatch firm Withings for £131m (Wired UK)

Nokia to buy smartwatch firm Withings for £131m (Wired UK) | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Nokia is buying digital health and wearables company Withings for €170 million (£131 million).The deal, which Nokia said would be the start of "a new chapter" for the company, will create a digital health business within Nokia, headed by Withings CEO Cédric Hutchings."We have said consistently that digital health was an area of strategic interest to Nokia, and we are now taking concrete action to tap the opportunity in this large and important market," Rajeev Suri, Nokia's president, said in a statement.Founded in 2008 Withings, based in France, has 200 staff in Paris and Massachusetts and Hong Kong.The company produces a range of health and lifestyle products, including smartwatches, air monitors for houses, smart thermometers, and an Aura sensor that tracks your movements while you sleep
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
Congratulations to Eric CARREEL who pioneered and ignited the #IoT revolution in France. Glad to see a #FrenchTech success morphing into #EuropeanTech !
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CVSTENE's curator insight, April 28, 8:19 AM

Deuxième acquisition "française" pour Nokia, après Alcatel-Lucent, avec Withings. Nokia accèlere dans le domaine de l'IoT après celui du Mobile Backend As A Service (MBaaS). L'objectif de Nokia est de proposer une large gamme de produits connectés (smart sensors) intégrés et d'offrir aux consommateurs des services "smart santé" dédiés dans son cloud. Si l'IoT est encore un marché "marginal" chez Nokia, l'entreprise note qu'avec un CAGR de 27% sur 2015-2020, le marché de l'IoT pour la santé est un segment stratégique sur lequel se développer. 

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How Xiaomi lost $40bn: Where it all went wrong for the 'Apple of the East'

How Xiaomi lost $40bn: Where it all went wrong for the 'Apple of the East' | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
It was just four days after Christmas 2014, and for Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi, the presents kept on coming as it announced a funding round of $1.1 billion (£850 million) at a valuation of $45bn. Just 18 months on from Xiaomi's last funding round, new analysis of its business suggests it is worth less than $4 billion. So what happened to the world's once most valuable startup?
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
Oops. In french we have a saying about Le Capitole & La Roche Tarpéienne ...
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ARM: The $32B Pivot and Revolution

ARM: The $32B Pivot and Revolution | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Today, ARM Holdings is a $1.5B company with +15% year-to-year growth, nice financials (such as 96.7% Gross Margin), and a 46.7% Operating Margin. (For all the details — perhaps too many — see this 2015 presentation.)

15B ARM-based chips for $1.5B revenue means that, on average, ARM gets a licensing revenue of 10 cents per chip, and spends a little less than of half of that, 4.7 cents, to generate such revenue. It sure beats today’s Windows PC business and its measly 5% to 7% Operating Margins in the best of cases.

ARM Holdings is doing well by any measure, but the price paid for an asset is supposed to reflect expectations of future gains. If we compound ARM’s 15% revenue growth over ten years we come up with $6B, a 4x revenue increase…so why is SoftBank willing to pay $32B, more than 20 times current revenue?

Masayoshi (Masa) Son, SoftBank’s founder, isn’t a wide-eyed, newly-rich entrepreneur looking to make — or lose — a quick buck. Having built a large PC software business, he diversified into telecoms in Japan and the US (SoftBank owns 80% of Sprint). He also holds a piece of Yahoo! which, if this weekend’s rumors are true, is soon to be rolled into Verizon.

Having survived the 2000 dot-com bubble and the 2008 financial crisis with a personal fortune estimated at $17B, Son isn’t shy about criticizing the short-term views of US investors and their fixation on “shareholder value” at the expense of other longer-term metrics and societal contributions.

With his accomplishments and maverick attitudes in mind, we must conclude that Son sees many more ARM-based chips in our future, some with a revenue-per-unit that’s higher than today’s 10 cents.

But where does he see them?

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Sometimes it helps looking backwards to understand where all of this might be going. So here is another Cambridge (UK) tech behemoth on the leave #ARMxit and as often, Jean-Louis Gassée very clearly sets the stage to understand the mechanics and feel the $ (sorry ¥) at work.

 

IMHO we in Europe should be looking at the consequences and go back (again) to the RISC world and discover how fast RISC-V is rising and maybe jump horses. Looks doable judging by the russian attempts on Baikal and the chinese success on LongSoon.

 

#HardwareIsNotDead

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Scality CEO says French startup scene is booming

Scality CEO says French startup scene is booming | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
The French startup ecosystem is booming. Its exponential growth started about 5 years ago, and now attracts more and more of the young talent. See this.France was not historically seen as a startup country, and it wasn't. But things have changed. It is now the second largest startup ecosystem in Europe (after UK, but ahead of Germany), and may be about to become the first.There are some amazing initiatives like Ecole 42, which just launched in Silicon Valley as well.It is becoming recognised in Silicon Valley. As an example, John Chambers has on numerous occasions mentioned that he saw huge potential in the French startup ecosystem; for example, in a Fortune article.I expect that we will see the spirit of startup go beyond tech, and enter other industries where France has real knowledge, like food and fashion.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
Great interview of Scality CEO by TheRegister. Jérôme Lecat has been a first hour supporter of La French Tech and very clearly explains how to articulate your startup between France and the US, debunking a few myths underway...
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SoftBank is buying ARM for $32 billion — because everything’s a computer now

SoftBank is buying ARM for $32 billion — because everything’s a computer now | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

Japan’s SoftBank is buying U.K.-based chip design firm ARM Holdings for about $32 billion, according to the FT.

Why? Everything is a computer now, and ARM has been one of the winners of the mobile revolution.

ARM designs chips — but doesn’t actually make them — for a huge variety of devices. It dominates the market for smartphones — Apple is a big client, as is Samsung — and its chips shows up in other consumer gadgets, as well as more-industrial-like devices and “internet of things” sensors.

The number of chips containing ARM processors reached almost 15 billion in 2015, up from about 6 billion in 2010.

The move is a big one for SoftBank CEO Masa Son after his would-be successor, former Google executive Nikesh Arora, stepped away from the company last month. (Talks presumably started while Arora was still there.)

One key question is whether other firms will let SoftBank purchase ARM or if there will be a bidding war. Apple, arguably ARM’s most important client, and Intel, which lost the mobile chip war to ARM, are both potential buyers.

The offer is already a generous multiple. As the FT notes, it’s some 70 times ARM’s net income last year. That’s around the same price-to-earnings ratio as Facebook stock.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

ARM takeover by SoftBank is the Tech Brexit of this summer.

This thunderstrike in a blue ocean (pardon me, sky) might trigger a war where we will all of a sudden remember how important it is having a war chest.

There are underlying geopolitics ongoing as evidenced by the progress made by the LongSoon chinese processor now powering world #1 Supercomputer.

It might also signal the beginning of the end of the ARM era, and should have more people focusing on open source silicon architectures such as RISC-V

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Philippe J DEWOST's curator insight, July 18, 3:58 AM

As Brexit has removed ARM from Europe, will it be left as the impotent witness of what we shall call an ARM's race ?

This news echoes the announcement of World's new #1 Supercomputer, that is chinese again, but more interestingly no longer features any Intel processor inside but domestic LongSoon chips.

The Silicon race is on its way to a US - Asia bipolar configuration, with Europe being left alone due to the combined effect of Brexit and ARMXit : time for investi(gati)ng (in) open source hardware architectures such as RISC-V ...

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India's $4 smartphone arrives June 30th

India's $4 smartphone arrives June 30th | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
While it's good that there's a tangible product, there are still doubts swirling around its feasibility. Ringing Bells' CEO admits that his company is taking a loss on every phone right now -- it's hoping to make up for that through sheer volume. As it stands, the firm is still reluctant to offer hands-on time to the media despite a release just days away.If this gamble pays off, though, it could change the local phone market. Even the most affordable smartphones on the market right now still represent a huge expense for some Indians, particularly rural dwellers who rarely enjoy middle class incomes. At $4, the Freedom 251 is inexpensive enough that it'd be far more attainable and help close a technological divide. The main mystery is whether or not the phone is any good. A terrible experience (say, through unreliable hardware) might sour people on the whole concept, no matter how tempting the price might be.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
The smartphone price range now widens to a staggering 200:1 ratio with
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Apple quietly goes big on AI as it looks to keep up with Google and Facebook

Apple quietly goes big on AI as it looks to keep up with Google and Facebook | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Apple, Google and Facebook are widely regarded as being more innovative than Apple when it comes to developments in the coveted field of artificial intelligence (AI) - hailed as the next major area for computing.While Google and Facebook have developed self-learning AI agents that can learn and master complex games like Go, Apple has remained relatively silent - offering little more than a personal assistant known as Siri.Facebook has also shown off Chatbots, while Microsoft made a regrettable foray of its own into the world of bots with Tay, a controversial Twitter bot that ended up being highly offensive (as a result of humans).But Apple made a series of practical product updates at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday that show it is not ready to be left behind just yet. Among other things, the Cupertino-headquartered company announced:• iPhone voicemail transcription;• Facial recognition features within Apple Photo;• keyboard recommendations based on text message conversation.Each of these features relies heavily on AI. They employ software that analyses what's going on (be it in a message thread, or a photo library) and then makes or suggests an action based on the information it is presented with.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
Now it becomes interesting... Same focus, but different approach. Wondering how Apple will keep up with the strong privacy protection they have been advocating for long.Wondering how Snips will react :-)
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Apple Abandoning Headphone Jack Suddenly Makes Perfect Sense

Apple Abandoning Headphone Jack Suddenly Makes Perfect Sense | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Where there’s smoke it is said there’s fire, and the rumours that Apple will ditch the headphone jack (starting with the iPhone 7) refuse to go away. In fact having first started 18 months ago, this week the rumours have intensified as new leaks build a compelling case for a headphone jack-less Apple world…Both The Verge and AppleInsider note multiple sources at Japan’s Portable Audio Festival are reporting Apple is in discussions to add high resolution streaming audio to Apple Music in 2016. The reports claim Apple wants to implement 96kHz / 24-bit music streaming and is in deep discussions with headphone makers – and here’s the interesting part: the high res audio is specifically designed for use with headphones featuring Lightning connectors.And now you’re ahead of me: Apple would be in its familiar position of being able to take something away (the jack) by giving something more (high res audio). Apple loves this tactic. A focus on FireWire allowed it to dump the floppy disk and this year a focus on USB Type-C gave it (perhaps dubious) grounds to remove every other port type on the 12-inch MacBook.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
Horrible News For The Selfie-Stick Industry If Rumor Is Confirmed !
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Big4Start, quand les Grands Groupes planchent devant les startups - le replay sur Plussh

Voici, en replay, via le service de streaming live de Plush, startup Montpelliéraine, la série des reverse pitchs des grands groupes donnés hier après-midi dans le cadre de ‪#‎Big4Start‬ . L'intervention du Groupe Caisse Des Dépôts, qui représentait les besoins d'ICADE et de Transdev, démarre à 59 min.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Le reverse pitching monte en puissance avec la deuxième édition du rendez-vous Big up 4 startup, organisé par la French Tech Montpellier et le cluster régional FrenchSouth Digital. Après avoir réuni en 2015 lors de sa première édition huit grands groupes et 150 start-up régionales, dont les rencontres ont abouti à une quinzaine de contrats, le rendez-vous passe la seconde. En 2016, ce sont quatorze groupes (dont Cisco, Société Générale, Caisse des Dépôts, Orange, La Poste, EDF, Engie et Midi Libre) qui devraient accueillir une soixantaine de jeunes pousses.

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French Tech Startup Shift Technology grabs $10 million to prevent fraudulent insurance claims

French Tech Startup Shift Technology grabs $10 million to prevent fraudulent insurance claims | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
French startup Shift Technology just raised a $10 million Series A round from Accel, with existing investors Elaia Partners and Iris Capital also participating. Shift Technology uses big data and machine learning to detect patterns of fraudulent insurance claims. This way, insurance companies can save money.Shift Technology uses a Software-as-a-Service approach so that its tools get better over time. All the data the company collects from all its clients can educate its algorithms.Insurance fraud is a big market as insurance companies have a lot of money and are always looking for way to optimize claims. Anything that lets these companies save money is worth doing. So Shift Technology’s platform looks like an easy sell.
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
Another #FrenchTech round !
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Apple R&D Reveals a Pivot Is Coming

Apple R&D Reveals a Pivot Is Coming | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

People are focusing on the wrong thing when analyzing Apple's path forward in the face of slowing iPhone sales. Instead of debating how much Apple will try to monetize the iPhone user base with services (not as much as consensus thinks), the company is instead planning its largest pivot yet. There are only a handful of logical explanations for Apple's current R&D expense trajectory, and all of them result in a radically different Apple. In a few years, we are no longer going to refer to Apple as the iPhone company. 

As I pointed out last May, Apple's R&D expense saw a significant bump up beginning in mid-2014. It was clear Apple was up to something big. However, after looking at Apple's 2Q16 results, it appears I underestimated the situation. As depicted in Exhibit 1, Apple is now on track to spend more than $10 billion on R&D in 2016, up nearly 30% from 2015 and ahead of even my aggressive estimate. This is a remarkable feat considering that Apple was spending a little over $3 billion per year on R&D just four years ago.

One of the more interesting aspects of Apple's R&D expense trajectory in recent years is that the increase has been outpacing revenue growth. As seen in Exhibit 2, given my current iPhone sales expectations for FY16 and FY17, Apple is on track to approach a multi-decade record in terms of amount spent on R&D as a percent of revenue. 

Unusual R&D Perceptions

The most shocking aspect about the amount of money Apple is spending on R&D is how little attention it has garnered in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street. Other than my R&D post last year, there is rarely any mention of Apple's R&D, and this doesn't seem to make much sense.

I suspect most of this has been due to the fact that Apple does not draw attention to its product pipeline and long-term strategy, choosing instead to embrace secrecy and mystery. Now compare this to Mark Zuckerberg laying out his 10-year plan for Facebook. It is easy and natural for people to then label Facebook as innovative and focused on the future. The same principle applies to Larry Page reorganizing Google to make it easier for investors to see how much is being spent on various moonshot projects. Jeff Bezos is famous for his attitude towards failing often and in public view, giving Amazon an aura of being a place of curiosity and boldness when it comes to future projects and risk taking. 

Meanwhile, Tim Cook has remained very tight-lipped about Apple's future, which gives the impression that Apple isn't working on ground-breaking ideas or products that can move the company beyond the iPhone. Instead of labeling this as a mistake or misstep, Apple's product secrecy is a key ingredient of its success. People like to be surprised. Another reason Apple takes a much different approach to product secrecy and R&D is its business model. Being open about future product plans will likely have a negative impact on near-term Apple hardware sales. Companies like Facebook and Google don't suffer from a similar risk. The end result is that there is a legitimate disconnect between Apple's R&D trends and the consensus view of the company's product pipeline. Apple is telling us that they are working on something very big, and yet no one seems to notice or care. I find that intriguing.

Logical Explanations for Apple R&D

Even though Apple remains tight-lipped about its dramatic increase in R&D expense, there are three logical explanations for what may be happening.

1) Apple's expanded product line requires additional R&D. This theory represents the most straightforward explanation. Essentially, because Apple has grown significantly over the years, the company needs to spend more on R&D just to keep up with its more expansive product line and greater competition. The company is now invested in four hardware categories (iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch), not to mention various software and services initiatives. 

2) Apple plans on doing more. Keeping with another simple explanation, Apple's increased R&D spend could signal that the company is willing to try its hand at more things. The expectation would be that Apple will begin releasing a greater number of products in terms of hardware, software and services. 

3) Apple is looking to pivot. Apple is ramping up R&D because they have a few big bets that require a massive increase in investment. The two most logical areas for these bets are wearables and personal transport initiatives. In both cases, Apple is moving well beyond its comfort zone of selling pieces of glass that can be held in one's hand. Instead, Apple is literally building a new company with additional capabilities and strengths.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Drowning by Numbers ; Apple might be surprising us again by opening entirely new product / service categories and they have the resources for doing so.

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Martin (Marty) Smith's curator insight, May 15, 2:12 PM

Apple Pivot, Will We Care
Agree. Apple is looking for another disruption not looking to milk iPhone / iPad sales. And this is an understatement:

"I suspect most of this has been due to the fact that Apple does not draw attention to its product pipeline and long-term strategy, choosing instead to embrace secrecy and mystery. "

Open vs. Closed
The bigger question, for us, is the OPEN vs. CLOSED question. Apple hasn't made friends in the developer community. Sure we bend, scrape, plead and cry to have apps accepted, but the taste left with us is sour and painful. 

Android is trying to tighten standards having played, "Come One, Come All" a tad too loudly, but Apple is fickle and a pain. Yes it is good to be KING, but no one is KING of anything lasting that doesn't also inspire loyalty, trust and love. 

Most of the developers I know, even the ones who are rich thanks to Apple's app store, don't look forward to wrestling with Apple again. Some have achieved "trusted" status now, but they remember the blood and tears it took to get there. 

So note to Google, never tighten to the point where your tightening feels or seems capricious and mean. Apple has seemed capricious and mean to several developer friends who requested to remain nameless. Were they scared Apple might make a horrible process even harder? You bet. 

Apple is testimony to the power of "insanely great". NO ONE jumps through the seemingly arbitrary hoops Apple is known for unless "insanely great" is attached. I'm a huge Apple fan and have been since buying the Apple II back in the day. 

Lately I've caught myself wondering if the OVER (what I gain by being an Apple supporter) is worth the UNDER (what it takes to remain loyal). That is a conversation NO BRAND wants their customers to begin EVER since all the negative things leaving brings follows. 

The watch left me cold. I rarely wear watches anymore, but when I do I want something from MoMA and their tiny phone on your wrist looked more Dick Tracy than cool watch (to me). I'm wearing a watch to dinner tonight and it won't be an Apple Watch. 

My updated AIR is nothing but a pain. It doesn't fit my hands, the keyword is impossible to tune, and the screen too small. I never use it preferring my old Air (from 6 years ago). I love my iMac with the huge screen (what I'm writing on now), but it too was a failure. 

We tried moving my 83-year-old father over to the big Mac screen but accessibility features were a torture and he is a Windows guy and will remain one. My Macbook I like, but it is getting long in the tooth and clunky. My iPad Pro I LOVE and that is taking the place of the new AIR (that I hate) and my MacBook. 

Long diatribe, but I share my journey as a note of growing Apple frustration. My new EXPENSIVE Air was a disaster I should have sent back, but I kept thinking it was me. I don't think that way anymore and that can't be good for Apple. 

Juan Ortega's curator insight, May 20, 4:34 AM
Historia de Apple con número de unidades vendidas de cada producto
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The Refiners, le nouvel accélérateur de pépites françaises basé à San Francisco

The Refiners, le nouvel accélérateur de pépites françaises basé à San Francisco | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it

L'année dernière, Carlos Diaz, un entrepreneur limougeaud habitant à San Francisco depuis sept ans, a reçu en tête-à-tête les PDG de 113 start-up hexagonales. Identifié par les entrepreneurs comme une figure française de la Silicon Valley depuis sa participation au mouvement des « pigeons » en 2012, il s'est retrouvé bombardé d'e-mails de jeunes créateurs d'entreprise, avides de conseils sur l'installation de ce côté-ci de l'Atlantique. Il s'est dit qu'il existait sûrement une manière plus efficace de les aider que d'enchaîner les cafés… 

Avec deux autres chefs d'entreprise de la Vallée, Géraldine Le Meur, cofondatrice du festival LeWeb, et Pierre Gaubil, un autre serial entrepreneur, ils ont décidé de lancer un accélérateur de start-up françaises basé à San Francisco. Baptisé «  The Refiners », il accueillera 12 à 15 start-up n'ayant pas encore réalisé de levée de fonds, pendant trois mois, deux fois par an. La première promotion commencera en septembre. 

Des modèles américains

L'accélérateur prendra 3 à 7 % de leur capital, en échange d'un chèque de 50.000 dollars pour les aider à démarrer. Un modèle inspiré des fameux accélérateurs Y Combinator et 500 Startups, d'où sont sortis Airbnb, Twitch ou Makerbot, mais qui prendra en compte  « le fossé culturel, un élément trop souvent négligé », explique Carlos Diaz.  « Pendant les trois premières semaines, on fermera les portes et les fenêtres car ils ne seront pas "montrables" et on leur apprendra comment agir ici », détaille-t-il. Au programme, quelques éléments clefs de la culture de la Silicon Valley, comme la différence entre les fonds de capital-risquefrançais et américains, ces derniers  « ne demandant pas des tableurs et des business plans à trois ans », explique Pierre Gaubil. Ou encore la différence de relation avec les grandes entreprises :  « dans la Silicon Valley, les grands comptes ne sont pas un élément de destruction des produits des start-up mais des partenaires qui les distribuent ».

Doté de 6 millions de dollars, le fonds est abondé à 60 % par une centaine de partners, moitié américains, moitié français, qui endossent également le rôle de mentors. Les 40 % restants sont apportés par bpifrance. 

Des licornes plutôt que des poneys
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

Un nouvel investissement du Fonds French Tech Accélération, souscrit par la Caisse des Dépôts (pilote de l'Action French Tech du Programme d'Investissements d'Avenir) et géré par sa filiale bpifrance.

Bravo a The Refiners et à tous leurs mentors

PS: personnellement j'aime les poneys sauvages à la crinière soyeuse ...

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Algolia just brought on a key former Salesforce exec as it works to pick up Google's slack

Algolia just brought on a key former Salesforce exec as it works to pick up Google's slack | cross pond high tech | Scoop.it
Google is great and all, but it has some limitations, when you stop to think about it. It's fabulous at searching the whole web at once — there's nobody better at trawling humankind's vast combined storehouse of knowledge to quickly tell you how to make a hamburger.But it's less great at searching within any individual website or app. Sure, you can use Google to search within a site, but really it's just going back out to Google's master index, and then back to you.It's slower than it has to be, and it's not really applicable to searching inside, say, your own text messages on your own phone.Enter Algolia, a San Francisco-based startup that gives developers and businesses the tools to build their own search experience, their own way, for their own sites and apps.So far, Algolia has raised $21 million from investors including Accel Partners, the Y Combinator and 500 Startups accelerator programs, and Docker founder Solomon Hykes. And customers like Medium, Twitter's Periscope, and Microsoft's soon-to-be-discarded calendar app Sunrise are using Algolia's tech to power search in their own services.Today, Algolia announces that Kendall Collins, the former CEO of Salesforce Cloud and current CMO of $1.9 billion startup AppDynamics, has signed on to its board to guide the company towards the future and help bring the product to bigger businesses
Philippe J DEWOST's insight:
Congratulations to Algolia that looks set to be one of the next big #FrenchTech success !
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Why The Unicorn Financing Market Just Became Dangerous...For All Involved — On the Road to Recap by Bill Gurley

In February of last year, Fortune magazine writers Erin Griffith and Dan Primack declared 2015 “The Age of the Unicorns” noting — “Fortune counts more than 80 startups that have been valued at $1 billion or more by venture capitalists.” By January of 2016, that number had ballooned to 229. One key to this population growth has been the remarkable ease of the Unicorn fundraising process: Pick a new valuation well above your last one, put together a presentation deck, solicit offers, and watch the hundreds of million of dollars flow into your bank account. Twelve to eighteen months later, you hit the road and do it again — super simple.

While not obvious on the surface, there has been a fundamental sea-change in the investment community that has made the incremental Unicorn investment a substantially more dangerous and complicated practice. All Unicorn participants — founders, company employees, venture investors and their limited partners (LPs) — are seeing their fortunes put at risk from the very nature of the Unicorn phenomenon itself. The pressures of lofty paper valuations, massive burn rates (and the subsequent need for more cash), and unprecedented low levels of IPOs and M&A, have created a complex and unique circumstance that many Unicorn CEOs and investors are ill-prepared to navigate.

Many have noted that the aggregate shareholder value created by all of the Unicorns will vastly overshadow the losses from the inevitable failed unicorns. This likely truism is driven by the clear success of this generation’s transformational companies (AirBNB, Slack, Snapchat, Uber, etc). While this could provide some sense of comfort, most are not exposed to a Unicorn basket, and there is no index you can buy. Rather, most participants in the ecosystem have exposure to and responsibility for specific company performance, which is exactly why the changing landscape is important to understand.

Perhaps the seminal bubble-popping event was John Carreyrou’s October 16th investigative analysis of Theranos in the Wall Street Journal. John was the first to uncover that just because a company can raise money from a handful of investors at a very high price, it does not guarantee (i) everything is going well at the company, or (ii) those shares are permanently worth the last round valuation. Ironically, Carreyou is not a Silicon Valley-focused reporter, and the success of the piece served as a wake-up call for other journalists who may have been struck by Unicorn fever. Next came Rolfe Winkler’s deep dive “Highly Valued Startup Zenefits Runs Into Turbulence.” We should expect more of these in the future.

In late 2015, many public technology companies saw a significant retrenchment in their share prices primarily as a result of a reduction in valuation multiples. A high performing, high-growth SAAS company that may have been worth 10 or more times revenue was suddenly worth 4-7 times revenue. The same thing happened to many Internet stocks. These broad-based multiple contractions have an immediate impact on what investors are willing to pay for the more mature private companies.

Late 2015 also brought the arrival of “mutual fund markdowns.” Many Unicorns had taken private fundraising dollars from mutual funds. These mutual funds “mark-to-market” every day, and fund managers are compensated periodically on this performance. As a result, most firms have independent internal groups that periodically analyze valuations. With the public markets down, these groups began writing down Unicorn valuations. Once more, the fantasy began to come apart. The last round is not the permanent price, and being private does not mean you get a free pass on scrutiny.

Philippe J DEWOST's insight:

A must read article for anybody feeling sometimes we are playing Lego without the notice.

The conclusion below shall not relieve you from going through Bill Gurely's analysis of how this is different from the internet bubble :

"The reason we are all in this mess is because of the excessive amounts of capital that have poured into the VC-backed startup market.

This glut of capital has led to (1) record high burn rates, likely 5-10x those of the 1999 timeframe, (2) most companies operating far, far away from profitability, (3) excessively intense competition driven by access to said capital, (4) delayed or non-existent liquidity for employees and investors, and (5) the aforementioned solicitous fundraising practices. More money will not solve any of these problems — it will only contribute to them.

The healthiest thing that could possibly happen is a dramatic increase in the real cost of capital and a return to an appreciation for sound business execution."

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