All posts by Sabina Weston

US judge pauses JEDI contract work following Amazon lawsuit


Sabina Weston

14 Feb, 2020

A federal judge has granted Amazon’s request to temporarily halt work on the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure (JEDI), the controversial project which involves almost 80% of the Department of Defence’s IT systems being migrated to the cloud – a process that could last a decade.

According to court documents filed by AWS in December 2019, it is alleged that President Trump engaged in a series of “public and behind-the-scenes attacks” against “his perceived political enemy” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, reportedly telling Pentagon Secretary James Mattis to “screw Amazon”.

Now it seems that Trump’s alleged comments might potentially come back to haunt him, as Amazon wants the President to explain his involvement in court.

Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith granted Amazon’s request to pause the JEDI contract work, but also ordered Amazon to pay $42 million (£33 million) if the injunction was proven to be wrongfully issued.

Campbell-Smith did not release a written opinion nor clarify whether the President would be forced to testify in the case, an unprecedented practice so far.

The US Pentagon had awarded the controversial $10 billion, 10-year contract to Microsoft last October, despite AWS being seen as a clear frontrunner by some.

Amazon filed an appeal two months later, suggesting at the time that “political influence” had led to the ‘biased’ contract ruling. Trump had locked horns with Bezos, whom he refers to as “Jeff Bozo”, as he is the current owner of The Washington Post – a publication which has been exceptionally critical of the President ever since his 2016 election.

JEDI had been repeatedly embroiled in lawsuits and controversies. In late 2018, Oracle filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defence in the US Court of Federal Claims, arguing that it is illegal to award the cloud contract to only a single winning bidder.

Coronavirus starts to take its toll on the tech industry


Sabina Weston

7 Feb, 2020

The spread of coronavirus is affecting technology companies including Tesla, Qualcomm, and Hon Hai – whicn makes iPhones for Apple, as well as products for HP Inc. and Sony.

Tesla’s stock fell by 17% on Wednesday, following VP Tao Lin’s announcement, via Weibo, that the coronavirus outbreak in China would delay deliveries of its Model 3 cars.

The Model 3 vehicles are produced in Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory, which last month was ordered by the Chinese government to shut down due to fears of the virus spreading within it. At the time, Tesla finance chief Zach Kirkhorn said that the closure would “slightly” impact the company’s profitability in the first quarter of the year.

Factories are scheduled to reopen on 9 February, yet with the death toll reaching 563, it is uncertain whether the Chinese government will or will not extend the shutdown.

The phone industry may also be negatively affected by the virus outbreak in China.

Qualcomm’s chief financial officer Akash Palkhiwala stated on Wednesday that the government-imposed shutdown caused by the coronavirus might threaten manufacturing and sales.

During a conference call with investors, Palkhiwala said that Qualcomm expects “significant uncertainty around the impact from the coronavirus on handset demand and supply chain”.

Hon Hai had more precise estimates about the coronavirus’ impact on its business. The outbreak forced the company to revise its expected sales growth to 1-3%, rather than a previously projected 3-5%.

So far, the effects of the virus outbreak on tech companies were largely due to China being brought to a standstill by mandatory ‘self-quarantines’. Companies have not reported any cases of coronavirus among their workers.

However, LG has decided to prioritise its employees’ wellbeing by withdrawing from this month’s upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC), in order to protect its staff from the virus outbreak.

MWC is scheduled to go ahead, yet organisers are likely to introduce a ‘no handshake’ policy to contain the possibility of the virus spreading among attendees.

As such, the coronavirus is having a direct impact on the technology industry form the manufacturing side through to technology showcases nations apart from China. 

Oracle broadens geographic reach with five new cloud data centres


Sabina Weston

4 Feb, 2020

Oracle is expanding its cloud data centre footprint in a bid to draw in customers by providing them with data sovereignty.

The corporation announced on Monday that it has successfully added cloud data centres in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and has expanded on existing centres in Japan, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands.

This falls into Oracle’s plan to open 36 locations by the end of 2020, which it hopes will broaden its target audience. In the UK, it is scheduled to open a cloud data centre in Newport, Wales, as well as a public sector facility in London.

In comparison, AWS plans to add five more regions and 16 availability zones. It currently holds 22 regions and 69 zones.

Oracle aims to have data centres in at least two physically separate locations (or “availability zones”) in each country where it operates – one primary location and one as a backup. This means that the newly added cloud data centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, will be joined by a second location this year, while new regions in Osaka, Melbourne, Montreal, and Amsterdam, are all functioning as a second sites.

“Customers have told us that to run critical systems of record in the cloud, they need to run workloads across fully independent cloud regions for disaster recovery purposes,” Oracle’s director of product management Andrew Reichman explained in a blog post.

“They also told us that those multiple sites must be in the same country to meet data residency requirements,” he wrote, referring to the data privacy regulations, such as those recently introduced by the European Union, which obligate many businesses to retain data in the country where it was generated.

The data centres are part of the second generation of Oracle’s cloud systems, allowing customers to rent their capacity. The company’s focus to expand its range of cloud data centre locations comes after its CEO pledged that Oracle’s cloud system is uniquely positioned to help businesses overcome challenges.