(Bloomberg) — What keeps corporate leaders up at night?
It isn’t the chaos in Washington or rising worker pay. It’s what Amazon.com Inc. is, or could be, doing to their business models. The expanding online behemoth has morphed from a retail category killer to a much broader enterprise that now competes with everything from high-end grocers to technology developers.
It’s safe to say corporate America has taken notice — and is increasingly concerned about the competition. So much so that Amazon’s overshadowed the Trump administration’s inability to claim a signature legislative achievement after more than six months in office.
Amazon Reminds Market That Dominating E-Commerce Has a Price
Looking at the last 90 days of earnings calls and other corporate events such as investor days, a trend emerges. Amazon comes up a lot. It was mentioned a staggering 635 times over that time frame, while President Trump came up just 162 times and wages were discussed 111, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s become even more pronounced over the past 30 days, with Amazon garnering 165 mentions compared with 32 for Trump and 22 for wages.
The trend holds over the past 12 months, which encompasses the period when Trump pulled off his surprise election victory. Yet, Amazon was mentioned 1,800 times on earnings calls over that span, compared with 1,000 for Trump and 406 for wages.
Amazon typically comes up in discussions about efforts to expand into new business


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It’s happened again. Microsoft has joined yet another open source group. Whatever happened to Redmond’s long held belief that open source is a cancer? Times change, and evidently Microsoft has learned to change with them.
On Wednesday the company announced it’s joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation as a top tier platinum member. The foundation is a project of the Linux Foundation, where Microsoft is also a platinum member. According to CNCF’s website, the membership is costing Microsoft $370,000 per year.
“We have contributed across many cloud native projects, including Kubernetes, Helm, containerd, and gRPC, and plan to expand our involvement in the future,” said Corey Sanders, Microsoft’s partner director. “Joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation is another natural step on our open source journey, and we look forward to learning and engaging with the community on a deeper level as a CNCF member.”
Although the foundation hosts at least 10 projects, including containerd and gRPC (which Sanders mentioned in his statement), the organization’s crown jewel is Kubernetes, which has become an essential element for managing containers. Having input into the direction of Kubernetes’ development is most of what Microsoft is buying with this membership.
Redmond considers Kubernetes an important part of both Azure and its Azure Container Service. So important that in May the company


(Bloomberg) — Apple Inc. has removed some virtual private network applications from its stores in China, a move that could block users ability to bypass a local web firewall and access overseas sites.
New Chinese Internet Clampdown Hurts Business, U.S. Group Says
“We have been required to remove some VPN apps in China that do not meet the new regulations,” Carolyn Wu, Apple’s China spokeswoman told Bloomberg in an emailed response, referring to rules issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology earlier this year that asks all developers offering VPNs to obtain a government license.
VPNs are popular in China as they help users get around the Great Firewall, a system used by China to control Internet access. The removal is the latest sign of China’s tightening measures to block individuals’ access to virtual private networks, following shutdowns of several popular VPN services. Policy makers have prioritized stability ahead of a twice-a-decade leadership reshuffle due in the fall.
China Is Said to Close Major Hole in its Great Internet Firewall
Wu said the VPN apps remain available in all other markets where Apple does business.
China’s MIIT didn’t immediately respond to a Bloomberg’s fax seeking comment on the issue out of business hours.


(Bloomberg) — Dropbox Inc. is expected to hire Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as lead adviser on its potential initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter.
The file-sharing company is working with Goldman Sachs to prepare documents for an IPO that could be filed as soon as this year, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public. Dropbox has also held talks with JPMorgan Chase & Co. about a role on the listing, though no banks have yet been officially mandated, the people said.
No final decisions have been made and Dropbox may choose not to go forward with the IPO process. Goldman Sachs has previously advised the company on a credit line as well as earlier funding rounds, the people said.
Representatives for Dropbox, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan declined to comment.
After its founding in 2007, Dropbox gained a loyal following from people looking to store photos and other files in the cloud, making them available from any computer or mobile device. It rode this wave to a $10 billion valuation in early 2014, making it one of Silicon Valley’s most valuable unicorn startups.
The company’s chief executive officer and co-founder, Drew Houston, said in April that the company is now generating a profit excluding interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a key metric that investors will watch as the software maker moves closer to becoming a public company.
“It’s rare for software companies to be operating at


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As researchers and vendors apply machine learning to spot security vulnerabilities, cybercriminals are using the same techniques to train bots to outsmart detection tools, according to presentations this week at Black Hat in Las Vegas.
Machine learning in cybersecurity is still early days, but researchers say that it could significantly reduce the opportunity for and limit the damage of cyberattacks. But it will come with several challenges.
One of these challenges is the need for updated data. According to Sophos data scientist Hillary Sanders, who presented research at Black Hat on Wednesday, cybersecurity machine learning researchers face two main problems when acquiring data to train models.
“First, any available data is necessarily old and potentially outdated in comparison to the environment the model will face on deployment. Second, researchers may not even have access to relevant past data, often due to privacy concerns,” she writes in “Garbage In, Garbage Out: How Purportedly Great ML Models Can be Screwed Up by Bad Data.”
She argues that in a cybersecurity context,”training and test data used to create and evaluate systems matters greatly.” In her research, Sanders explores how analyzing the sensitivity of models to differences in training and testing data can develop better training datasets that will perform more reliably on deployment. You can see the full report here.
As the human-side of security garnered a lot of


(Bloomberg) — Amazon.com Inc. reminded investors that luring shoppers away from stores and dominating the cloud-computing industry isn’t cheap.
The company on Thursday forecast a potential quarterly loss for the first time in two years. Amazon said it’s boosting spending on new warehouses to meet growing e-commerce demand, data centers for its Amazon Web Services division, video programming to keep customers engaged and gadgets like the Echo line of voice-activated speakers to stay on the cutting edge of the emerging smart-home market.
The outlook underscored the high cost of Amazon’s business model, which consistently delivers big sales gains and plows a chunk of that money back into the company by hiring workers, expanding its footprint and launching new products.
Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said Amazon’s expenses would climb in the second half of the year as it hires workers and works out the kinks in new warehouses to prepare for the peak shopping season. That’s why Amazon projected operating income in the current period ranging from a loss of $400 million to a gain of $300 million. The last projected quarterly loss came in July 2015 for similar reasons.
The third quarter “is generally a high investment period for the holiday,” he said.
Analysts estimated operating profit of $863.5 million, and shares fell as much as 4.3 percent to $1,001.80 in extended trading Thursday after the forecast and earnings were reported. Friday morning the stock


(Bloomberg Gadfly) — What do Democratic Senator Cory Booker, White House strategist Steve Bannon and the successor to the Ma Bell telephone monopoly have in common? They all think America’s technology titans are too big and powerful.
The growing might of Google parent Alphabet, Apple Inc., Facebook and Amazon has been a recurring theme, particularly since last year when America’s five tech kings became the five most valuable public companies in the world.  The companies themselves haven’t quite figured out how to deal with the hand-wringing over their power coming from politicians, regulators, academics and corporate enemies.
This backlash is one of the most serious business risks for America’s tech superpowers, and they need to develop a coherent message fast.
I was surprised this week when Google executives seemed awkward addressing analysts’ questions about regulatory investigations and data-privacy policies. At one point, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sounded as if he would have preferred to be trapped in Antarctic ice rather than tackle a query that touched on the company’s move to combine data from several of its web services to improve ad targeting.
Alphabet Q2 2017: Enterprise Efforts Pay Off for Google Cloud
Mind you, the company first announced in 2012 that it was starting to share user information among Google services such as search and YouTube, and privacy watchdogs have howled about all subsequent


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In the 20 years since the first Black Hat conference in 1997, security hacks have become incredibly cheap to initiate, increasingly expensive and complex to mitigate, and have more real-world consequences than ever before, according to speakers and attendees at this year’s conference.
The first day of sessions at the conference, which runs until Thursday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, not only touched on new technology but also the human element of security. Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos shifted the lens on hackers themselves in his keynote session on Wednesday morning, urging them to reflect on their empathy for users.
Here’s a look at the keynote and other highlights from day one at Black Hat conference.
Facebook CSO: Hackers Need to Work on Empathy
Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos kicked off the Black Hat conference on Wednesday with a keynote that called on attendees – which include security practitioners, vendors, academics and others – to go beyond finding bugs and the next zero-day and recognize the potential human harm of less interesting security issues like phishing and spam.
According to a report by ThreatPost, Stamos said that the community “is not yet living up to its potential. We’ve perfected the art of finding problems over and over without addressing root issues. We need to think carefully about what to do about it downstream after discovery.” He said that the security community tends to shy


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GigaSpaces Technologies announced today that its business unit for Cloudify, the open source orchestration and cloud management platform, will be spun off into a new company focused on its core markets — cloud and telecoms. GigaSpaces’ core product is its in-memory computing platform XAP. It also sells an in-memory analytics solution called InsightEdge.
“It was always our plan to eventually spin off Cloudify,” said Nati Shalom, Cloudify’s CTO, in a statement. “Based on the impressive growth of the open-source Cloudify project, and increased market penetration of the commercially supported Cloudify product, it has become clear that now is the time to do so. This strategic move gives us the freedom to accelerate engineering development in both product lines.”
The new company will retain Cloudify’s core engineering, product, and marketing teams, who will work from existing offices in New York City, San Jose, and Tel Aviv.
Cloudify is a framework used to deploy, manage, and scale applications in the cloud first released by GigaSpaces in 2012. It ships with built-in support for private clouds, such as OpenStack and VMware, as well as public clouds like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. In addition, it supports container technologies, such as Kubernetes, and configuration management tools, including Chef, Puppet, and Ansible.
The platform is also used increasingly by large telecoms and carriers


RightScale launched its enterprise cloud cost management tool Optima to general availability on Tuesday, allowing departments across an enterprise to coordinate cloud resources and spending.
RightScale Optima provides the company’s analysis, reporting and forecasting capabilities along with automated actions and collaborative optimization.
Optima currently supports AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Softlayer, and private clouds.
“The RightScale 2017 State of the Cloud Survey of more than 1,000 IT professionals found that optimizing cloud costs is the top initiative among all cloud users,” RightScale CEO Michael Crandell said in a statement. “Despite an increased focus on cloud cost management, only a minority of companies are taking critical actions to optimize cloud costs, such as shutting down unused workloads or selecting lower-cost clouds or regions. We believe RightScale Optima is a major step forward for large enterprises looking to manage cloud spend.”
Startup That Helps AWS Users Reduce Cloud Costs Raises $2 Million
RightScale said Optima is designed to reduce inaccurate recommendations, helping enterprises forecast, track, and develop overrun alerts for cloud application costs. Usage and cost data from all cloud providers is shown in a unified dashboard, and costs can be viewed cloud account, team, or application. The dashboard also enables chargeback and showback, and tags to allocate costs to enterprise departments or business units.

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