Monday, July 12, 2021

Microsoft and NEC expand strategic partnership

Microsoft and NEC announced a new multi-year strategic partnership focused on Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365 and NEC’s 5G, network and IT expertise.

Key points:

  • NEC will adopt Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform to help customers transform their business models and empower employees with more personalized work styles in the post-pandemic world.  
  • NEC will migrate its on-premises IT environment to Azure and deploy Azure Virtual Desktop and other Azure services to NEC Group’s 110,00 employees around the world.  
  • NEC and Microsoft will leverage Microsoft’s Intelligent Edge solutions and NEC’s private 5G networking technologies to help customers improve operations and customer experience.  

The companies said their expanded partnership will bring new digital services for public sector and enterprise customers through workplace and workforce transformation, including Microsoft’s Intelligent Edge solutions and NEC’s private 5G networking technologies, the companies will work together to help customers across industries transform. 

“As we’ve seen over the past year, digital adoption curves are accelerating across every industry and business function,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “Our strategic partnership with NEC brings together the power of Azure and Microsoft 365 with NEC’s services and infrastructure expertise to help public and private sector customers build resilience and transform during this era of rapid change.”

“NEC is pleased to enter into this strategic collaboration with Microsoft Corp.,” said Takayuki Morita, president and CEO of NEC Corporation. “With Microsoft’s trusted cloud and services, the experience that NEC has cultivated in its own systems, and both companies’ AI and IoT technologies, we will enable companies globally to use digital services that are safer and more secure than ever before as they progress with digital initiatives.”

AT&T to power its network with Microsoft Azure for Operators

AT&T will power its mobile network on Microsoft's Azure for Operators cloud starting with the 5G and migrating existing and future workloads over time. Microsoft will assume responsibility for both software development and deployment of AT&T’s Network Cloud immediately and bring AT&T’s existing network cloud to Azure over the next three years. Financial terms were not disclosed.Under an expanded strategic alliance between the firms, AT&T...


Halo acquires 2 more companies: ARIA and Solid Optics

 Halo Technology Group has further broadened its optical portfolio by acquiring two companies: ARIA Technologies, an designer, manufacturer, and provider of fiber optical connectivity solutions headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Solid Optics, a global provider of fiber optic transceivers, high-speed cabling, and passive and active networking technology headquartered in Almere, Netherlands. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The ARIA product offering includes fiber cable assemblies, rackmount enclosures, wall mount enclosures, and fiber optic and copper-based network components.

Solid Optics is a global provider of compatible transceivers, high-speed cabling, multiplexers, and OADMs, serving data centers, service providers, telecommunications providers and commercial organizations throughout UK, Europe, and the US.

Halo Technology Group, which was created by London-based Inflexion Private Equity Partners, develops and markets optical networking solutions including transceivers, multiplexers, ROADMs, EDFAs, and high-speed cabling. The company is based in Irvine, California.

"We are thrilled to add the incredibly talented teams from ARIA Technologies and Solid Optics to the Halo Group," said Matt McCormick, Chief Executive Officer of Halo. "Our mission has been clear since the beginning—to be the global leader in optical solutions and deliver exceptional value to our customers. With the addition of ARIA and Solid Optics, we enhance our global footprint, particularly in key markets such as Germany and France, and further strengthen our product offerings, as well as our technical and commercial capabilities."

"Coupled with Halo's strong organic growth, these acquisitions demonstrate that Halo is the growth platform of choice in the third-party optoelectronics industry," said Al Aguirre, Chairman of the Halo Group Board of Directors.

Halo acquires Skylane Optics for its transceivers

Halo Technology Group has acquired Skylane Optics, a leading provider of transceivers for optical communications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Skylane offers a range of optical solutions including optical and copper transceivers, DACs, AOCs, multiplexers, and coding boxes (TCS) for a broad range of applications. The company has offices in Belgium, Brazil, Sweden, and the U.S.

Halo said the acquisition adds improved technical reach and enhanced operational power to its portfolio, including Skylane's CFP-DCO coherent products. Operationally there will be a benefit of improved production capacity, automation and manufacturing efficiencies with Skylane's patented Anaconda production system. 

Halo Group, which is based in Irvine, California, develops and markets optical networking solutions including optical transceivers, multiplexers, ROADMs, EDFAs, high-speed optical cabling, in addition to other supporting optical connectivity products. With manufacturing and distribution centers in the US, UK, and India, Halo serves the networking needs of a broad spectrum of enterprise, service provider and telecommunications customers globally.

"We are incredibly excited about adding Skylane's cutting-edge product offering and their very talented team to our group," said Matt McCormick, Chief Executive Officer of Halo. "Halo is committed to growing the Skylane business and to continue to meet the demands of its sophisticated and diverse customer base. With the added strength and capabilities derived from our platform, we expect Skylane to thrive as part of the Halo Group."

"Halo has become the global market leader in compatible optics with the expertise to meet the needs of virtually any network architecture requirements, whether enterprise, hyperscale data center or multinational telco," said Al Aguirre, Chairman of the Halo Technology Board of Directors. "The Skylane transaction enhances the group's abilities and further proves the value of the platform as a global growth vehicle."

U.S. charges fiber laser expert with espionage over DARPA project

A U.S. federal grand jury has indicted Mr. Ji Wang on charges of economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

The case relates to Wang's work on a fiber laser research and development project initiated by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). 

On July 1, 2016, Wang is alleged to have downloaded and copied nonpublic and restricted DARPA project files onto a personal device with the intent to establish a fiber laser business known as QuantumWave. The U.S. Department of Justice alleges thataAt the time of the download, Wang and another person were in the midst of negotiations with various municipal and other governmental entities in the People’s Republic of China to establish the new company.

During trips to China, Wang is alleged to have illegally exported technical data regarding fiber laser manufacturing, in violation of IEEPA.

Google Cloud CA Service enters general availability

Google Cloud Certificate Authority Service has entered general availability status.

Google Cloud CAS provides a highly scalable and available private CA to address the unprecedented growth in certificates in the digital world. Google says the exponential growth in certificates is being driven by the rise of cloud computing, moving to containers, the emergence of pervasive high-speed connectivity,  the proliferation of Internet-of-things (IoT) and smart devices.

Netskope raises $300 million for SASE

Netskope closed a new $300 million investment round for its SASE solutions

The latest funding round was led by existing investor ICONIQ Growth and included all other major existing Netskope investors, including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Accel, Sequoia Capital Global Equities, Base Partners, Sapphire Ventures, and Geodesic Capital. Following this significantly oversubscribed investment round, Netskope has achieved a post-money valuation of $7.5 billion.

The Netskope Security Cloud Platform provides visibility and real-time data and threat protection when accessing cloud services, websites, and private apps from anywhere, on any device. The solution combines next-generation secure web gateway (SWG) capabilities, zero trust secure access, advanced machine learning to detect unauthorized data exfiltration, and advanced threat protection to prevent cloud-based attacks that often evade legacy defenses.

Netskope claims more than 1,500 worldwide customers, including: 

  • Over 30 of the Fortune 100
  • 2 of the world’s 4 largest commercial banks
  • 5 of the world’s 7 largest healthcare providers
  • 2 of the world’s 3 largest telecommunications companies
  • 2 of the world’s 4 largest retailers

“We started Netskope because we saw a cloud-centric, digital-first future of business that simply can’t be achieved using legacy approaches to security and networking,” said Sanjay Beri, CEO and co-founder of Netskope. “We were SASE before the term SASE existed and today we are seeing our vision manifest across the globe as enterprises increasingly turn to Netskope to enable secure digital transformation. We are fortunate to have attracted a truly exceptional team and set of partners, customers and industry luminaries who support and bring tremendous value to us, and we are pleased to take another step forward with all of them in our journey.” 

Microsoft to acquire RiskIQ

Microsoft agreed to acquire RiskIQ, a leader in global threat intelligence and attack surface management. Financial terms were not disclosed, however, media reports suggested the price exceeded $500 million.

RiskIQ helps customers discover and assess the security of their entire enterprise attack surface—in the Microsoft cloud, AWS, other clouds, on-premises, and from their supply chain. In addition, RiskIQ offers global threat intelligence collected from across the internet, crowd-sourced through its PassiveTotal community of security researchers and analyzed using machine learning. Organizations can leverage RiskIQ threat intelligence to gain context into the source of attacks, tools and systems, and indicators of compromise to detect and neutralize attacks quickly.

Ekinops posts record 1H2021 revenue of EUR50.8m

Ekinops reported consolidated revenue of €27.6m in Q2 2021, a 12% increase compared with Q2 2020. At constant exchange rates, quarterly growth comes out at 14%. Revenue for the first half of the year amounted to €50.8 million, up 11% over the same period last year.

Ekinops said all its Group product lines (Optical Transport, Access and Software) posted growth and contributed to the solid half-year performance. Optical Transport demonstrated particularly strong momentum, with H1 growth of 26%, and, for the first time, generated over €10m in revenue in a single quarter.

The share of software and services increased to 12% of revenue in the reporting period (compared with 8% in H1 2020), driven in particular by the success of network function virtualization solutions.

In geographic terms, growth in North America came out at 15%, rising to 25% in US dollars. While Optical Transport equipment continue to prove highly successful, the first half was marked by a boost in the sales of Access solutions. These solutions enable operators to undertake the virtualization of their network functions and benefit from new-generation software-defined networks (SDNs). Access sales almost doubled in the region, reaching a seven-digit number over the period. After a stable first quarter, the EMEA region bounced back sharply in the second, ending the first half with robust growth of 22%. All the business lines posted growth, with an extremely strong increase for Optical Transport equipment. First-half growth in France amounted to 4%, with a slight slowdown in Q2 2021 that was to be expected owing to extremely strong momentum in the region in Q2 2020 (growth of 29%). In the domestic market, all the Group's business activities also posted growth. In Asia-Pacific, the business activity remained depressed in the first half (-29%). The region continues to struggle to rebound following the extreme impact of the pandemic.

Qualcomm names Don McGuire as CMO

Qualcomm appointed Don McGuire as senior vice president and chief marketing officer (CMO), reporting directly to Cristiano Amon, president and CEO, effective immediately. Penny Baldwin, senior vice president and chief marketing officer who joined Qualcomm in 2017, will continue to serve in an advisory role to support the transition along with other marketing initiatives until her retirement later in the year.

McGuire joined Qualcomm in 2016 as vice president of Global Product Marketing and was promoted to senior vice president last year. He joined Qualcomm from Intel where he led global marketing strategy, campaigns, and messaging supporting their Client Computing Business. Prior to Intel, McGuire was founder and CMO of Panelfly, and held leadership positions at companies including Dunebuggy Media, Amp'd Mobile, Kyocera Wireless Corp., Cricket Communications and Sprint PCS. 

Sierra Wireless appoints Phil Brace as president and CEO

Sierra Wireless appointed Phil Brace as its new President and CEO, effective July 26, 2021, replacing Kent Thexton, will stay on at Sierra Wireless until August 13, 2021 to complete the transition.

Brace was most recently Executive Vice President at Veritas Technologies. His previous executive roles include President of Seagate Technology’s Cloud Systems and Electronic Solutions, Executive Vice President at LSI Corporation, and General Manager at Intel Corporation. Brace holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science from the University of Waterloo and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from California State University, Sacramento.

Board Chair Robin Abrams also commented: "On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to thank Kent for his significant contributions to Sierra Wireless, both over the 13 years he spent as a member of the Board and over the last three years as CEO. Thanks to his vision and leadership, Sierra has successfully transformed from a hardware-only company to a strong and dynamic market leader in IoT services and solutions. We wish Kent all the best in his retirement."