Tag Archives: tech

For Sale – (SOLD) Lenovo Thinkpad X240 (i5 2.5Ghz, 8GB Ram, 180GB SSD, 4G LTE, 2 Batteries, Windows 10) – Reduced to £120 delivered

Having a tech clearout and this Lenovo is up for sale as its not being used.

This Lenovo x240 comes with two internal batteries and a working 4G LTE module for internet access where there is no Wifi (options that are not normally found on these laptops.)

It’s in good overall condition for its age (one of the better ones actually) but does show signs on the plastics as you would expect.

The trackpad and keyboard are in great condition as you can see.

It has the following spec:

12.5″ 1366×768 matt screen (not IPS – In excellent condition apart from two small pressure marks on the right hand side – see pictures)
i5 4300U @ 1.9Ghz
8GB Ram
180GB Intel SSD0E38417
Internal battery 1 – Genuine Lenovo P/N 45N1108 – 11.1V 1.93Ah battery
Internal battery 2 – Genuine Lenovo P/N 45N1124 – 11.1v 2.09Ah 24w battery
Both batteries give a combined life of anywhere between 4hrs to 6hrs and maybe more depending on use
Fingerprint reader
4G LTE Module
Wireless & BT
Windows 10 pro official (upgraded from the Win 8 Pro it came with)

Comes with official Lenovo charger and has been a great workhorse over the years. Still one of the best laptop keyboards around too.

Please note… apart from the usual cosmetic marks and bumps you would expect from a laptop this old, there are two small pressure marks on the screen, bottom right. As you can see from the images, they are not visible on a black screen, but are visible on white screens. I have shown the two extremes here, so screen colours between those two will show differing variations of the impact of the pressure marks. The white screenshot shows the worst case scenario, so if you are OK with that then there will be no surprises as that is as bad as it gets.

Also, any lines you see on the images of the screen are due to the usual camera / screen htz issues. This screen is mint apart from the two small pressure marks as I have tried to show.

Looking for £120 including insured delivery (was £135 then £125)

Advertised elsewhere

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With support for Windows 7 ending, a look back at the OS

With Microsoft’s support for Windows 7 ending this week, tech experts and IT professionals remembered the venerable operating system as a reliable and trustworthy solution for its time.

The OS was launched in 2009, and its official end of life came Tuesday, Jan. 14.

Industry observers spoke of Windows 7 ending, remembering the good and the bad of an OS that managed to hold its ground during the explosive rise of mobile devices and the growing popularity of web applications.

An old reliable

Stephen Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner, said Windows 7 was a significant step forward from Windows XP, the system that had previously gained dominance in the enterprise.

Stephen KleynhansStephen Kleynhans

“Windows 7 kind of defined computing for most enterprises over the last decade,” he said. “You could argue it was the first version of Windows designed with some level of true security in mind.”

Windows 7 introduced several new security features, including enhanced Encrypting File System protection, increased control of administrator privileges and allowing for multiple firewall policies on a single system.

The OS, according to Kleynhans, also provided a comfortable familiarity for PC users.

“It was a really solid platform that businesses could build on,” he said. “It was a good, solid, reliable OS that wasn’t too flashy, but supported the hardware on the market.”

“It didn’t put much strain on its users,” he added. “It fit in with what they knew.”

Eric Klein, analyst at VDC Research Group Inc., said the launch of Windows 7 was a positive move from Microsoft following the “debacle” that was Windows Vista — the immediate predecessor of Windows 7, released in 2007.

“Vista was a very big black eye for Microsoft,” he said. “Windows 7 was more well-refined and very stable.”

Eric KleinEric Klein

The fact that Windows 7 could be more easily administered than previous iterations of the OS, Klein said, was another factor in its enterprise adoption.

“So many businesses, small businesses included, really were all-in for Windows 7,” he said. “It was reliable and securable.”

Windows 7’s longevity, Klein said, was also due to slower hardware refresh rates, as companies often adopt new OSes when buying new computers. With web applications, there is less of a need for individual desktops to have high-end horsepower — meaning users can get by with older machines for longer.

Mark BowkerMark Bowker

“Ultimately, it was a well-tuned OS,” said Mark Bowker, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. “It worked, so it became the old reliable for a lot of organizations. Therefore, it remains on a lot of organizations’ computers, even at its end of life.”

Even Microsoft saw the value many enterprises placed in Windows 7 and responded by continuing support, provided customers pay for the service, according to Bowker. The company is allowing customers to pay for extended support for a maximum of three years past the January 14 end of life.

Early struggles for Windows 7

Kleynhans said, although the OS is remembered fondly, the switch from Windows XP was far from a seamless one.

“What people tend to forget about the transition from XP to 7 was that it was actually pretty painful,” he said. “I think a lot of people gloss over the fact that the early days with Windows 7 were kind of rough.”

The biggest issue with that transition was with compatibility, Kleynhans said.

“At the time, a lot of applications that ran on XP and were developed on XP were not developed with a secure environment in mind,” he said. “When they were dropped into Windows 7, with its tighter security, a lot of them stopped working.”

Daniel BeatoDaniel Beato

Daniel Beato, director of technology at IT consulting firm TNTMAX, recalled some grumbling about a hard transition from Windows XP.

“At first, like with Windows 10, everyone was complaining,” he said. “As it matured, it became something [enterprises] relied on.”

A worthy successor?

Windows 7 is survived by Windows 10, an OS that experts said is in a better position to deal with modern computing.

“Windows 7 has fallen behind,” Kleynhans said. “It’s a great legacy system, but it’s not really what we want for the 2020s.”

Companies, said Bowker, may be hesitant to upgrade OSes, given the complications of the change. Still, he said, Windows 10 features make the switch more alluring for IT admins.

“Windows 10, especially with Office 365, starts to provide a lot of analytics back to IT. That data can be used to see how efficiently [an organization] is working,” he said. “[Windows 10] really opens eyes with the way you can secure a desktop… the way you can authenticate users. These things become attractive [and prompt a switch].”

Klein said news this week of a serious security vulnerability in Windows underscored the importance of regular support.

“[The vulnerability] speaks to the point that users cannot feel at ease, regardless of the fact that, in 2020, Windows is a very, very enterprise-worthy and robust operating system that is very secure,” he said. “Unfortunately, these things pop up over time.”

The news, Klein said, only underlines the fact that, while some companies may wish to remain with Windows 7, there is a large community of hackers who are aware of these vulnerabilities — and aware that the company is ending support for the OS.

Beato said he still had customers working on Windows 7, but most people with whom he worked had made the switch to Windows 10. Microsoft, he said, had learned from Windows XP and provided a solid pathway to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

The future of Windows

Klein noted that news about the next version of Windows would likely be coming soon. He wondered whether the trend toward keeping the smallest amount of data possible on local PCs would affect its design.

“Personally, I’ve found Microsoft to be the most interesting [of the OS vendors] to watch,” he said, calling attention to the company’s willingness to take risks and innovate, as compared to Google and Apple. “They’ve clearly turned the page from the [former Microsoft CEO Steve] Ballmer era.”

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For Sale – (SOLD) Lenovo Thinkpad X240 (i5 2.5Ghz, 8GB Ram, 180GB SSD, 4G LTE, 2 Batteries, Windows 10) – Reduced to £120 delivered

Having a tech clearout and this Lenovo is up for sale as its not being used.

This Lenovo x240 comes with two internal batteries and a working 4G LTE module for internet access where there is no Wifi (options that are not normally found on these laptops.)

It’s in good overall condition for its age (one of the better ones actually) but does show signs on the plastics as you would expect.

The trackpad and keyboard are in great condition as you can see.

It has the following spec:

12.5″ 1366×768 matt screen (not IPS – In excellent condition apart from two small pressure marks on the right hand side – see pictures)
i5 4300U @ 1.9Ghz
8GB Ram
180GB Intel SSD0E38417
Internal battery 1 – Genuine Lenovo P/N 45N1108 – 11.1V 1.93Ah battery
Internal battery 2 – Genuine Lenovo P/N 45N1124 – 11.1v 2.09Ah 24w battery
Both batteries give a combined life of anywhere between 4hrs to 6hrs and maybe more depending on use
Fingerprint reader
4G LTE Module
Wireless & BT
Windows 10 pro official (upgraded from the Win 8 Pro it came with)

Comes with official Lenovo charger and has been a great workhorse over the years. Still one of the best laptop keyboards around too.

Please note… apart from the usual cosmetic marks and bumps you would expect from a laptop this old, there are two small pressure marks on the screen, bottom right. As you can see from the images, they are not visible on a black screen, but are visible on white screens. I have shown the two extremes here, so screen colours between those two will show differing variations of the impact of the pressure marks. The white screenshot shows the worst case scenario, so if you are OK with that then there will be no surprises as that is as bad as it gets.

Also, any lines you see on the images of the screen are due to the usual camera / screen htz issues. This screen is mint apart from the two small pressure marks as I have tried to show.

Looking for £120 including insured delivery (was £135 then £125)

Advertised elsewhere

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Author:

For Sale – Lenovo Thinkpad X240 (i5 2.5Ghz, 8GB Ram, 180GB SSD, 4G LTE, 2 Batteries, Windows 10) – Reduced to £125 delivered

05/01/2020 ** Reduced to £130 delivered **

Having a tech clearout and this Lenovo is up for sale as its not being used.

This Lenovo x240 comes with two internal batteries and a working 4G LTE module for internet access where there is no Wifi (options that are not normally found on these laptops.)

It’s in good overall condition for its age (one of the better ones actually) but does show signs on the plastics as you would expect.

The trackpad and keyboard are in great condition as you can see.

It has the following spec:

12.5″ 1366×768 matt screen (not IPS – In excellent condition apart from two small pressure marks on the right hand side – see pictures)
i5 4300U @ 1.9Ghz
8GB Ram
180GB Intel SSD0E38417
Internal battery 1 – Genuine Lenovo P/N 45N1108 – 11.1V 1.93Ah battery
Internal battery 2 – Genuine Lenovo P/N 45N1124 – 11.1v 2.09Ah 24w battery
Both batteries give a combined life of anywhere between 4hrs to 6hrs and maybe more depending on use
Fingerprint reader
4G LTE Module
Wireless & BT
Windows 10 pro official (upgraded from the Win 8 Pro it came with)

Comes with official Lenovo charger and has been a great workhorse over the years. Still one of the best laptop keyboards around too.

Please note… apart from the usual cosmetic marks and bumps you would expect from a laptop this old, there are two small pressure marks on the screen, bottom right. As you can see from the images, they are not visible on a black screen, but are visible on white screens. I have shown the two extremes here, so screen colours between those two will show differing variations of the impact of the pressure marks. The white screenshot shows the worst case scenario, so if you are OK with that then there will be no surprises as that is as bad as it gets.

Also, any lines you see on the images of the screen are due to the usual camera / screen htz issues. This screen is mint apart from the two small pressure marks as I have tried to show.

Looking for £125 including insured delivery (was £135)

Advertised elsewhere

Go to Original Article
Author:

For Sale – Lenovo Thinkpad X240 (i5 2.5Ghz, 8GB Ram, 180GB SSD, 4G LTE, 2 Batteries, Windows 10) – £135 delivered

Having a tech clearout and this Lenovo is up for sale as its not being used.

This Lenovo x240 comes with two internal batteries and a working 4G LTE module for internet access where there is no Wifi (options that are not normally found on these laptops.)

It’s in good overall condition for its age (one of the better ones actually) but does show signs on the plastics as you would expect.

The trackpad and keyboard are in great condition as you can see.

It has the following spec:

12.5″ 1366×768 matt screen (not IPS – In excellent condition apart from two small pressure marks on the right hand side – see pictures)
i5 4300U @ 1.9Ghz
8GB Ram
180GB Intel SSD0E38417
Internal battery 1 – Genuine Lenovo P/N 45N1108 – 11.1V 1.93Ah battery
Internal battery 2 – Genuine Lenovo P/N 45N1124 – 11.1v 2.09Ah 24w battery
Both batteries give a combined life of anywhere between 4hrs to 6hrs and maybe more depending on use
Fingerprint reader
4G LTE Module
Wireless & BT
Windows 10 pro official (upgraded from the Win 8 Pro it came with)

Comes with official Lenovo charger and has been a great workhorse over the years. Still one of the best laptop keyboards around too.

Please note… apart from the usual cosmetic marks and bumps you would expect from a laptop this old, there are two small pressure marks on the screen, bottom right. As you can see from the images, they are not visible on a black screen, but are visible on white screens. I have shown the two extremes here, so screen colours between those two will show differing variations of the impact of the pressure marks. The white screenshot shows the worst case scenario, so if you are OK with that then there will be no surprises as that is as bad as it gets.

Also, any lines you see on the images of the screen are due to the usual camera / screen htz issues. This screen is mint apart from the two small pressure marks as I have tried to show.

Looking for £135 including insured delivery

Advertised elsewhere

Go to Original Article
Author:

AWS AI tools focus on developers

AWS is the undisputed leader in the cloud market. As for AI, the cloud division of tech giant Amazon is also in a dominant position.

“Machine learning is at a place now where it is accessible enough that you don’t need Ph.Ds,” said Joel Minnick, head of product marketing for AI, machine learning and deep learning at AWS.

Partly, that’s due to a natural evolution of the technology, but vendors such as Google, AWS, IBM, DataRobot and others have made strides in making the process of creating and deploying machine learning and deep learning easier.

AWS AI

Over the last few years, AWS has invested heavily in making it easier for developers and engineers to create and deploy AI models, Minnick said, speaking with TechTarget at the AWS re:Invent 2019 user conference in Las Vegas in December 2019.

AWS’ efforts to simplify the machine leaning lifecycle were on full display at re:Invent. During the opening keynote, led by AWS CEO Andy Jassy, AWS revealed new products and updates for Amazon SageMaker, AWS’ full-service suite of machine learning development, deployment and governance products.

Those products and updates included new and enhanced tools for creating and managing notebooks, automatically making machine learning models, debugging models and monitoring models.

SageMaker Autopilot, a new AutoML product, in particular, presents an accessible way for users who are new to machine learning to create and deploy models, according to Minnick.

In general, SageMaker is one of AWS’ most important products, according to a blog-post-styled report on re:Invent from Nick McQuire, vice president of enterprise research at CCS Insight. The report noted that AWS, due largely to SageMaker, its machine learning-focused cloud services, and a range of edge and robotics products, is a clear leader in the AI space.

“Few companies (if any) are outpacing AWS in machine learning in 2019,” McQuire wrote, noting that SageMaker alone received 150 updates since the start of 2018.

Developers for AWS AI

In addition to the SageMaker updates, AWS in December unveiled another new product in its Deep series: DeepComposer.

The product series, which also includes DeepLens and DeepRacer, is aimed at giving machine learning and deep learning newcomers a simplified and visual means to create specialized models.

Introduced in late 2017, DeepLens is a camera that enables users to run deep learning models on it locally. The camera, which is fully programmable with AWS Lambda, comes with tutorials and sample projects to help new users. It integrates with a range of AWS products and services, including SageMaker and its Amazon Rekognition image analysis service.

“[DeepLens] was a big hit,” said Mike Miller, director of AWS AI Devices at AWS.

DeepRacer, revealed the following year, enables users to apply machine learning models to radio controlled (RC) model cars and make them autonomously race along tracks. Users can build models in SageMaker and bring them into a simulated racetrack, where they can train the models before bringing them into a 1/18th scale race car.

An AWS racing league makes DeepRacer competitive, with AWS holding yearlong tournaments comprised of multiple races. DeepRacer, Miller declared, has been exceedingly successful.

“Tons of customers around the world have been using DeepRacer to engage and upskill their employees,” Miller said.

Dave Anderson, director of technology at Liberty Information Technology, the IT arm of Liberty Mutual, said many people on his team take part in the DeepRacer tournaments.

“It’s a really fun way to learn machine learning,” Anderson said in an interview. “It’s good fun.”

Composing with AI

Meanwhile, DeepComposer as the name suggests, helps train users on machine learning and deep learning through music. The product comes with a small keyboard that can plug into a PC along with a set of pretrained music genre models. The keyboard itself isn’t unusual, but by using the models and accompanying software, users automatically create and tweak fairly basic pieces of music within a few genres.

With DeepComposer, along with DeepLens and Deep Racer, “developers of any skill level can find a perch,” Miller said.

The products fit into Amazon’s overall AI strategy well, he said.

“For the last 20 years, Amazon has been investing in machine learning,” Miller said. “Our goal is to bring those same AI and machine learning techniques to developers of all types.”

The Deep products are just “the tip of the spear for aspiring machine learning developers,” Miller said. Amazon’s other products, such as SageMaker, extend that machine learning technology development strategy.

“We’re super excited to get more machine learning into the hands of more developers,” Miller said.

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Investing in tech startups an act of trust for VC firms

When investing in tech startups, including BI vendors trying to get started, venture capital firms want to see more than just a good idea.

They want to see a real need for a particular product when they consider investing in tech startups, and they want to see founders who have enough management experience that they won’t ruin a company with poor decisions even if what they’re bringing to market could stand out.

There is also a litany of things they don’t want to see when they’re investing in tech startups, warnings that tell investors a particular company is a bad bet.

Vanessa Larco is a partner at New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm with over $20 billion in assets under management. From Salesforce and Tableau years ago to Sisu just recently, NEA has a history of investing in tech startups, and betting on BI vendors in particular. Larco, meanwhile, has a background in computer science that includes time as director of product management at Box and leading the speech recognition experience team at Xbox Kinect v1, and she leads some of NEA’s investments in tech startups and participates on deal teams led by colleagues.

Vanessa LarcoVanessa Larco

Larco recently answered a series of questions about investing in tech startups. In Part I of a two-part Q&A, she discussed what she looks for in BI startups and what stood out about Sisu. In Part II, she went into detail about what might prevent an investor from working with a company, and her process for investing in tech startups.

In a given year, how many tech startups — not only BI vendors — might NEA invest in?

Vanessa Larco: It’s anywhere from 15 to 30 new investments per year where we take a board seat — this excludes seed deals.

Meanwhile, when looking at investing in tech startups — those 15 to 30 in a given year — how many pitches do you go through before choosing who to work with?

Larco: For me individually, I invest in one or two companies a year — period. I spend 12 months just finding those one or two companies a year. But I talk to at least one or two companies a day, so I’m seeing between 600 and 1,000 companies a year and I invest in one.

So of those other 599 to 999 companies, what is it about them that eliminates them? What are some obvious warning signs and some more subtle things that stop you from investing in a tech startup?

I can think of hundreds of reasons why you shouldn’t invest, but what you’re actually thinking about is what’s that thing, what’s the spark that makes you suspend disbelief and take that leap of faith.
Vanessa LarcoPartner, NEA

Larco: By default, it’s more about what is that special thing that makes me say, ‘Yes.’ When you’re investing in a company in their early startup phase, there are a billion reasons why you shouldn’t invest. I can give you a thousand red flags — the capital-to-revenue ratio doesn’t make sense, the team isn’t experienced in the space, it’s too early for us because they’re pre-product, or it’s too late for us because they’re pre-IPO, the work that they’re going after isn’t big enough, the economics don’t really make sense, and I don’t understand how they’re going to make sense in the future. I can think of hundreds of reasons why you shouldn’t invest, but what you’re actually thinking about is what’s that thing, what’s the spark that makes you suspend disbelief and take that leap of faith, because they’re all leaps of faith.

So what gives you that faith when investing in tech startups?

Larco: On every deal, at least a dozen people are like, ‘That’s the dumbest stuff that I’ve ever seen; how did that person ever think that was a good idea?’ You have way more naysayers than you have people who think something is brilliant. That’s just the nature of investing in startups.

You’re looking for that spark when something just clicks for you about the founding team, whether it’s that they’re incredibly accomplished, or have some unique insights, or there’s something incredibly special that even if something doesn’t make sense you feel like the team will figure it out and you just really want to work with them. There’s enough stuff there that’s interesting that you believe they’ll make something work and their initial hypothesis is something I can get behind. Or it’s, ‘Holy cow, I’ve never seen such an innovative product. It meets a need that no one is paying attention to, and it leads to their vision of how they’ll become an independent company… that expand its vision.’ Or it can be that you don’t really get it, but holy smokes, look at the customers they have attracted in a short amount of time — these are hard customers and we know they don’t just buy anything, so we know something is there, and if these people see it a bunch of other people will see it and they’ll be successful.

And what’s the process – how does the relationship start and progress to the point where NEA commits capital?

Larco: It’s different for everybody. Some people are super data driven, some people are very relationship driven. I’m personally a hybrid of being space driven and relationship driven. There are some spaces I really like, data being one of them, HR tech being another. And then I want to get to know the people and find out if they’re people I’ll click with, so then we’ll just spend time together over months, and then when they’re ready I’m just like, ‘I’m here.’ We’ve done all the work, I know I want to invest. And from there you talk to your partnership and do a financial analysis and a returns analysis, and do the actual quantitative work. That’s the easier part. The harder part is to get the conviction to take a leap of faith. For me that’s about the relationship, and I really believe in the founders — I see the need.

How long might it take from the point when you first meet with someone to the point when you close the deal?

Larco: For me it’s longer than most. I like to get to know someone because ideally we’re going to spend the next 10 years of our lives working together, through the ups and the downs, so I want to get to know the founders a year before they actually want to take funding from us. And once they say they’re ready to go, it can take us two to four weeks to make the investment as a partnership.

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New Amazon Kendra AI search tool indexes enterprise data

LAS VEGAS — Amazon Kendra, a new AI-driven search tool from the tech giant, is designed to enable organizations to automatically index business data, making it easily searchable using keywords and context.

Revealed during a keynote by AWS CEO Andy Jassy at the re:Invent 2019 user conference here,  Kendra relies on machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to bring enhanced search capabilities to on-premises and cloud-based business data. The system is in preview.

“Kendra is enterprise search technology,” said Forrester analyst Mike Gualtieri. “But, unlike enterprise search technology of the past, it uses ML [machine learning] to understand the intent of questions and return more relevant results.”

Cognitive search

Forrester, he said, calls this type of technology “cognitive search.” Recent leaders in that market, according to a Forrester Wave report Gualtieri helped write, include intelligent search providers Coveo, Attivio, IBM, Lucidworks, Mindbreeze and Sinequa. Microsoft was also ranked highly in the report, which came out in May 2019. AWS is a new entrant in the niche.

“Search is often an area customers list as being broken especially across multiple data stores whether they be databases, office applications or SaaS,” said Nick McQuire, vice president at advisory firm CCS Insight.

Unlike enterprise search technology of the past, [Kendra] uses ML to understand the intent of questions and return more relevant results.
Mike GualtieriAnalyst, Forrester

While vendors such as IBM and Microsoft have similar products, “the fact that AWS is now among the first of the big tech firms to step into this area illustrates the scale of the challenge” to bring a tool like this to market, he said.

During his keynote, Jassy touted the intelligent search capabilities of Amazon Kendra, asserting that the technology will “totally change the value of the data” that enterprises have.

Setup of Kendra appears straightforward. Organizations will start by linking their storage accounts and providing answers to some of the questions their employees frequently query their data about. Kendra then indexes all the provided data and answers, using machine learning and NLP to attempt to understand the data’s context.

Understanding context

“We’re not just indexing the keywords inside the document here,” Jassy said.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy announced Kendra at AWS re:Invent 2019
AWS CEO Andy Jassy announced Kendra at AWS re:Invent 2019

Meanwhile, Kendra is “an interesting move especially since AWS doesn’t really have a range of SaaS application which generate a corpus of information that AI can improve for search,” McQuire said.

“But,” he continued, “this is part of a longer-term strategy where AWS has been focusing on specific business and industry applications for its AI.”

Jassy also unveiled new features for Amazon Connect, AWS’ omnichannel cloud contact center platform. With the launch of Contact Lens for Amazon Connect, users will be able to perform machine learning analytics on their customer contact center data. The platform will also enable users to automatically transcribe phone calls and intelligently search through them.

By mid-2020, Jassy said, Amazon Kendra will support real-time transcription and analysis of phone calls.

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Cisco earnings foreshadow slowdown in tech spending

Cisco blamed political turmoil on the world stage for a slowdown in tech spending that will drive the company’s overall revenue down in the current quarter.

The latest Cisco earnings report, released this week, reflected a “pause” in spending by companies globally, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins told financial analysts. The number of product orders in the quarter ended Oct. 26 fell in three customer segments — enterprise, commercial and service provider. Only the government sector showed positive growth.

“It feels like there’s a bit of a pause [in spending],” Robbins said during the company’s quarterly earnings call.

The slowdown led to only a 2% increase in revenue, to $13.2 billion in the first quarter of the 2020 fiscal year. Revenue in the previous quarter rose 6% year over year. For the current quarter, Cisco said revenue would drop between 3% and 5%.

Tight control on expenses last quarter drove net income up 5%, to $3.6 billion. Cisco earnings per share rose 12%, to 84 cents.

Global strife causing business jitters

Several events globally were making tech buyers nervous enough to delay spending, Robbins said. They included anti-China protests in Hong Kong, the trade war between China and the United States, England’s messy exit from the European Union, impeachment hearings in the U.S. Congress and political turmoil in Latin America.

It feels like there’s a bit of a pause [in spending].
Chuck RobbinsCEO, Cisco

“Business confidence just suffers when there’s a lack of clarity,” Robbins said.

As a result, a significant number of deals were smaller than expected, some fell through and others were delayed, he said.

Cisco, considered a bellwether of tech spending, reported in August a global weakening in demand. But while spending fell in the service provider customer segment, the rest had positive growth.

Last quarter, Cisco continued to struggle in the Chinese and service provider markets. Revenue in China fell 31%, compared with a 26% drop in the quarter ended July 27, while service provider orders fell 13%.

Service provider spending has fallen for several quarters. However, Cisco has predicted that sales would pick up next year, when it expects carriers to start overhauling their networks to support plans for 5G business services.

Within Cisco, the decrease in service provider sales is reflected in lower enterprise routing revenue. Also, enterprises are spending less on data center routing as they move their business software to public clouds.

“Cisco’s product lines are strong,” Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said. “But the company’s core market, enterprise routing, isn’t growing a lot.”

Cisco predicts spending recovery

Eventually, several industry trends will force businesses to increase spending, Robbins said. Companies will need new technology to take advantage of carriers’ 5G wireless networks and the higher bandwidth of the new Wi-Fi 6 standard. The increase in data traffic from those next-generation technologies would, for example, drive sales of 400 Gigabit switches.

“Technology is so absolutely core to their fundamental strategies that it just seems to me that the time that they’re going to be able to pause will be shorter than what you’ve seen in the past,” Robbins said.

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Gears 5 Versus Multiplayer Tech Test Now Open to All Xbox Live Gold Members – Xbox Wire

The Gears 5 Versus Tech Test began last weekend, inviting both those players who have pre-ordered Gears 5 and Xbox Game Pass members to rev up their Lancers and roadie run through their opponents on the way to victory. Thanks to the incredible Gears fans, both new and veteran, who made our initial Gears 5 Versus Tech Test weekend a smashing success. This weekend we’re extending the invitation to join the action to all Xbox Live Gold members as part of Xbox Live Free Play Days this weekend.

Starting at 10 a.m. PDT tomorrow, COG hopefuls who are new to the Gears 5 fight can enlist in the Boot Camp training mode and then jump right into Arcade, the new game type designed for over-the-top fun. If you’re returning for another round following last week’s Tech Test, be sure to check out fan-favorite King of the Hill, the updated competitive game type Escalation and continue your Tour of Duty, a series of challenges that grant sweet rewards. A new reward has also been added – the Wreath Bloodspray, which can be earned by completing one match during the Tech Test from 5:30 – 6:30 pm PDT on Friday, July 26. No matter your level of Gears familiarity, Gears 5 offers a game type for you.

To ensure you’re ready for battle, search the Microsoft Store for Gears 5 Tech Test and download to your library. The Tech Test is available for download right now, but servers will be offline until tomorrow at 10 a.m. PDT. We also wanted to remind you that online multiplayer will require Xbox Live Gold for Xbox Game Pass for Console members, and that because this Tech Test is to help test our servers, you might encounter some queueing as you start to play. We hope to make Gears 5 a great online experience for all players and Xbox Game Pass members on launch, and this Tech Test will help.

Thanks for your support and we look forward to seeing you online! Be sure to visit www.gears5.com and follow @GearsofWar on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date with the latest on Gears 5 ahead of its worldwide launch on September 10.

Gears 5 will release on September 10 for Xbox One, Windows 10 PC and Xbox Game Pass. Early access starts on September 6 for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members and Gears 5 Ultimate Edition purchasers. Pre-order details can be found on the Microsoft Store.

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Author: Microsoft News Center