(Bloomberg) — In the race to commercialize a new type of powerful computer, Microsoft Corp. has just pulled up to the starting line with a slick-looking set of wheels. There’s just one problem: it doesn’t have an engine – at least not yet. The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant is competing with Alphabet Inc.’s Google, International Business Machines Corp. and a clutch of small, specialized companies to develop quantum computers – machines that, in theory, will be many times more powerful than existing computers by bending the laws of physics.

Microsoft says it has a different approach that will make its technology less error-prone and more suitable for commercial use. If it works. On Monday, the company unveiled a new programming language called Q# – pronounced Q Sharp – and tools that help coders craft software for quantum computers. Microsoft is also releasing simulators that will let programmers test that software on a traditional desktop computer or through its Azure cloud-computing service.
The machines are one of the advanced technologies, along with artificial intelligence and augmented reality, that Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella considers crucial to the future of his company. Microsoft, like IBM and Google, will most likely rent computing time on these quantum machines through the internet as a service.D-Wave Systems Inc. in 2011 became the first company to sell a quantum computer, although its technology has been

 

(Bloomberg) — Big technology companies have added the digital signatures of 40,000 terrorist videos and images to a shared database as they seek to keep extremist content off their platforms.
Facebook Inc., Google’s YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Twitter Inc. revealed the numbers in a joint blog post Monday.
The four big social media companies, which are part of a group called the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, announced one year ago that they would begin sharing digital fingerprints – known as hashes – of videos they removed from their platforms for terrorism.
Under the initiative, if a company removes a piece of content from its network for violating policies around terrorism, it is logged in the shared database. Then, if someone tries to post the same content to one of the other participating social networks, the content is automatically flagged for review – usually by a human analyst – and possible removal.
Technology companies have been under increasing pressure from Western politicians to do more to tackle terrorist propaganda and recruitment online. British Prime Minister Theresa May has been particularly active in accusing tech companies of not doing enough to keep extremists off their platforms and has called for international regulation to force the companies to do more or face substantial penalties.
The companies, for their part, have recently been highlighting their progress in using artificial

 

(Bloomberg) — Big technology companies have added the digital signatures of 40,000 terrorist videos and images to a shared database as they seek to keep extremist content off their platforms.
Facebook Inc., Google’s YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Twitter Inc. revealed the numbers in a joint blog post Monday.
The four big social media companies, which are part of a group called the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, announced one year ago that they would begin sharing digital fingerprints – known as hashes – of videos they removed from their platforms for terrorism.
Under the initiative, if a company removes a piece of content from its network for violating policies around terrorism, it is logged in the shared database. Then, if someone tries to post the same content to one of the other participating social networks, the content is automatically flagged for review – usually by a human analyst – and possible removal.
Technology companies have been under increasing pressure from Western politicians to do more to tackle terrorist propaganda and recruitment online. British Prime Minister Theresa May has been particularly active in accusing tech companies of not doing enough to keep extremists off their platforms and has called for international regulation to force the companies to do more or face substantial penalties.
The companies, for their part, have recently been highlighting their progress in using artificial

 

(Bloomberg) — Amazon.com Inc. unveiled new cloud computing services and tools Wednesday aimed at maintaining its edge over Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc. in the fast-growing, profitable market.

Amazon Web Services Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy announced machine learning capabilities such as speech recognition and translation, intended to make the technology more accessible to developers who don’t have the time or resources to experiment with it on their own.
The presentation showed that Amazon anticipates high demand for machine learning products that can be sold to a variety of industries. Speech and image recognition and real-time language translation were among the tools Jassy unveiled Wednesday at the company’s annual convention in Las Vegas. The gathering is expected to draw 40,000 people for a week of learning about the latest offerings and services.
Amazon introduced SageMaker, which provides popular algorithms for tasks such as parsing data or recognizing images and speech. Amazon also showed off AWS DeepLens, a $249 device to help developers understand and experiment with machine learning. In a demonstration, the camera recognized a smile to be a positive reaction to a music album cover and a frown to be a negative reaction, enabling it to fine tune a customized playlist for the user. Other possible uses are to program a garage door to open when the camera recognizes a license plate number or sending an alert to an owner when their dog jumps on

 

(Bloomberg) — Amazon.com Inc. unveiled new cloud computing services and tools Wednesday aimed at maintaining its edge over Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc. in the fast-growing, profitable market.

Amazon Web Services Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy announced machine learning capabilities such as speech recognition and translation, intended to make the technology more accessible to developers who don’t have the time or resources to experiment with it on their own.
The presentation showed that Amazon anticipates high demand for machine learning products that can be sold to a variety of industries. Speech and image recognition and real-time language translation were among the tools Jassy unveiled Wednesday at the company’s annual convention in Las Vegas. The gathering is expected to draw 40,000 people for a week of learning about the latest offerings and services.
Amazon introduced SageMaker, which provides popular algorithms for tasks such as parsing data or recognizing images and speech. Amazon also showed off AWS DeepLens, a $249 device to help developers understand and experiment with machine learning. In a demonstration, the camera recognized a smile to be a positive reaction to a music album cover and a frown to be a negative reaction, enabling it to fine tune a customized playlist for the user. Other possible uses are to program a garage door to open when the camera recognizes a license plate number or sending an alert to an owner when their dog jumps on

 

(Bloomberg) — Verizon Communications Inc. paid $4.5 billion for Yahoo! Inc.’s web businesses. Then it took a $500 million hit for post-acquisition costs. It’s poised to pay up again, thanks to a high-profile deal struck by Marissa Mayer when she ran the internet company.

Executives at the telecom giant are negotiating a bill they will likely owe Mozilla Corp., owner of the Firefox browser, after an expensive web search deal fell apart. Verizon could end up paying hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on how the agreement is interpreted, according to people familiar with the deal and online chat logs shared with Bloomberg. The bill could also come in lower, the people said.
Last week, Mozilla said its latest Firefox browser will rely on Google’s search engine as the default in the U.S. and three other countries. That broke a five-year contract Mozilla signed with Yahoo in 2014.
For search engines, like Yahoo and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, default placement in a browser provides a reliable pipeline of queries and ad revenue. Yahoo agreed to pay Mozilla about $375 million a year for five years for those rights in 2014. That contract had a clause, agreed to by Mayer, that let Mozilla walk away and still get paid if Yahoo was acquired and Mozilla could show the change of control damaged its brand and search experience, according to a person familiar with the situation. Verizon bought Yahoo earlier this year, bringing this part of the agreement into play.
After

 

(Bloomberg) — International Business Machines Corp. is increasing the pressure on Alphabet Inc.’s Google in the battle to commercialize quantum computing technology.
Quantum computers hold the promise of being able to solve difficult problems from fields such as chemistry and material science that are currently beyond the reach of the most powerful conventional supercomputers. They may also one day render some current encryption techniques obsolete.
See also: Google’s ‘Quantum Supremacy’ Moment May Not Mean What You Think
IBM said Friday it has created a prototype 50 qubit quantum computer. A machine this size is believed to be close to the threshold at which it could perform tasks beyond the reach of conventional supercomputers – a major milestone in computer science that researchers in the field refer to as “quantum supremacy.”
See also: IBM Makes Breakthrough in Race to Commercialize Quantum Computers
In a statement, IBM said it “aims to demonstrate capabilities beyond today’s classical systems” with quantum systems this size.
Friday’s announcement puts IBM in a neck-and-neck race with Google, which has said that it plans to show a similarly-sized machine capable of achieving this milestone by the end of the year.
Today’s quantum computers remain too small and too error-prone to outperform conventional supercomputers at most tasks, but the technology is advancing rapidly. A number of companies - including IBM, Google, Microsoft

 

(Bloomberg) — Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and IBM — looking to stoke demand for cloud computing services — are said to be shifting incentives for their sales representatives, pushing them to ensure customers become active users over the long haul.
Microsoft in July revamped the way it pays its sales staff to tie incentives to how much customers actually use cloud-based software — rather than how many sign a contract for cloud services, according to sales chief Judson Althoff. Oracle has been rolling out new rewards for at least some employees that also are connected to customers’ use of its cloud services, according to people familiar with the matter.
International Business Machines Corp. in the past year has restructured its cloud sales team and tied compensation more closely to usage, according to other people with knowledge of the matter. Traditionally, companies would ink large software deals based on factors such as the number of a customer’s devices — and not actual subsequent use of the products.
The cloud business is a crucial growth area for the traditional enterprise technology pioneers, battling against rivals Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. The public cloud services global market is likely to increase more than 18 percent to $260.2 billion this year and almost double to $411 billion in 2020, according to Gartner Inc. Microsoft, for example, said last week it had generated $20.4 billion in commercial cloud revenue

 

(Bloomberg) — The internet is steadily pulling in more shoppers, advertisers and businesses, helping the largest technology companies including Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc. churn out strong revenue and profit growth for another quarter.
All three beat analysts’ sales and profit estimates in the September quarter, sending their shares higher in late trading Thursday and putting the stocks on course to hit records or come close Friday. Consumers and corporations are moving more of their day-to-day functions and business to the internet, from advertising and shopping to workplace software, data storage and applications hosting. That means increased sales for Amazon’s online marketplace, more eyeballs on ads dished out in Google’s mobile search results, and busier servers in all three companies’ data centers.
Even technology companies on the periphery of this internet boom managed to catch some of the wave. Intel Corp.’s server-chip business has struggled as big companies use their own data centers less and move operations to the cloud. However, the semiconductor company is now selling more to the big internet companies that lead in those services.
There are risks: regulators around the world are considering how to control internet companies’ influence, and in the U.S., Google and Facebook Inc. are facing criticism after their advertising services were misused by Russia-linked groups to influence last year’s presidential election. But

 

(Bloomberg) — Any day now, Google is expected to achieve quantum supremacy—the use of a quantum computer to solve a problem that even the most advanced supercomputer can’t unravel. That milestone, which Google has said it will reach by year-end, will no doubt be greeted with headlines proclaiming the dawn of the quantum computing age. Prepare for lots of stories about how quantum computing will soon do everything from inventing wonderful new pharmaceuticals and almost-magical new materials (good) to rendering obsolete all existing public-key encryption (not so good).
There’s plenty of momentum. Earlier this month, Intel Corp. researchers unveiled a superconducting chip for quantum computers. The news follows several other advances in quantum computing over the past two years—from tech big boys like International Business Machines Corp., and Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., as well as Canada’s D-Wave Systems Inc., the only company to sell a commercial quantum computer (it has sold four) and startups like Rigetti. Google itself just released software to make it easier for chemists and material scientists to use the quantum machines it and others have built.
Investors are getting excited. In June, Blue Yard Capital, a venture capital firm based in Berlin, held a conference on quantum computing in Munich that drew many other investors and large enterprises hoping to cash in on the new technology. Several other VCs I’ve spoken

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