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Technology Digest

Hewlett Packard splitting in two

HP has found itself floundering in both the consumer and enterprise markets. It has decided that the best way to address this is to split itself into two distinct companies. This is the fourth year in a five-year turnaround plan. The company will split into “Hewlett-Packard Enterprise” and “HP Inc”. This is a peculiar move given the HP board sacked a previous CEO for trying to do the same just three years ago! Hewlett-Packard Enterprise will cover servers, storage, networking, converged systems, services (previously EDS) and software. This will be led by the current CEO, Meg Whitman. HP Inc. will manufacture and sell PCs and inherit the lucrative printer business (think: pricey toner cartridges). Dion Weisler (current EVP of printing and PCs) will lead HP Inc.


What does this mean for our clients?

HP will be less all-encompassing in large outsourcing bids where they try to bundle desktop and data centre infrastructure services. The two companies will be completely separate (and both listed on NYSE) so will have limited ability to co-operate without incurring anti-trust investigation. Existing support contracts will need to be split as printers move away from the same company that is delivering the server estate. This will be make or break for HP Enterprise since it will need to grow rapidly to survive. There have been rumours of them purchasing the world’s largest storage maker, EMC along with its virtualisation darling, VMware. Time will tell.


Oracle loses its founder

Oracle, the world’s largest software company, has lost its founder Larry Ellison. At 70, Larry is changing his gaze to sailing and other interests. He leaves behind him an enterprise tour-de-force of hardware, software and cloud services that can look after most companies’ data centre computing needs.


What next?

After 37 years, Oracle is going to have a two new leaders. Larry Ellison will be succeeded by Mark Hurd (of HP expenses “irregularity” fame) and Safra Catz. Time will reveal whether this unusual co-CEO arrangement works and continues to drive Oracle in the direction that Mr Ellison has set. He will stay on as Executive Chairman.
Speculating on the future, it appears the move to create two CEOs is in readiness to split the company – perhaps moving h/w and s/w apart, similar to the ‘refocus’ which IBM recently endured. Despite buying one open source competitor in 2005, MySQL, Oracle continues to be under attack. Hadoop and other open source ‘Big Data’ databases are attempting to displacing it in the corporate market. One person at Oracle to watch will be Thomas Kurian when Mr Ellison does finally step down.
In the short term, clients are likely to see little change and it will be interesting to see whether Oracle manages to balance the need to maintain prices for its old customers, but stay competitive for new applications.


Apple and Android handsets to offer full encryption

One of our technical themes this year has been mobile computing and in particular, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Our clients that are already leveraging BYOD will welcome that both Android (Google) and Apple are now implementing full device encryption by default on their latest operating system (Nov release of Android 5.0 Lollipop and iOS 8). This will provide some extra assurance for CISO’s.
Despite being a win for individual privacy (and thus, corporate privacy) default encryption has sparked much debate over governments’ ability to access data with the appropriate court orders. Some US Federal agencies have been asking for back-doors such that they can access data when the situation demands it. The difficulty with this approach is that the back door is just as accessible to people with bad intentions as good.