Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Microsoft enters strategic partnership with UAE-based G42

Microsoft will invest $1.5 billion in G42, the  UAE-based artificial intelligence (AI) technology holding company, with the goal of bringing the latest Microsoft AI technologies and skilling initiatives to the UAE and other countries around the world. As part of this expanded partnership Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft, will join the G42 Board of Directors. 

Under the strategic partnership. G42 will run its AI applications and services on Microsoft Azure and partner to deliver advanced AI solutions to global public sector clients and large enterprises. G42 and Microsoft will also work together to bring advanced AI and digital infrastructure to countries in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, providing these nations with equitable access to services to address important governmental and business concerns while ensuring the highest standards of security and privacy.  

The companies also agreed to elevate the security and compliance framework of their joint international infrastructure. Both companies will move forward with a commitment to comply with US and international trade, security, responsible AI, and business integrity laws and regulations. The work on these topics is governed by a detailed Intergovernmental Assurance Agreement (IGAA) between G42 and Microsoft that was developed in close consultation with both the UAE and US governments. 

H.H. Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of G42, said: “Microsoft’s investment in G42 marks a pivotal moment in our company's journey of growth and innovation, signifying a strategic alignment of vision and execution between the two organizations. This partnership is a testament to the shared values and aspirations for progress, fostering greater cooperation and synergy globally.”  

"Our two companies will work together not only in the UAE, but to bring AI and digital infrastructure and services to underserved nations,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft Vice Chair and President. "We will combine world-class technology with world-leading standards for safe, trusted, and responsible AI, in close coordination with the governments of both the UAE and the United States."  

Peng Xiao, Group Chief Executive Officer of G42, said: “Through Microsoft’s strategic investment, we are advancing our mission to deliver cutting-edge AI technologies at scale. This partnership significantly enhances our international market presence, combining G42's unique AI capabilities with Microsoft’s robust global infrastructure. Together, we are not only expanding our operational horizons but also setting new industry standards for innovation.” 


Equinix enters $600m JV to build xScale data center in San Jose

Equinix and PGIM Real Estate will establish a $600 million joint venture to develop and operate an xScale data center in San Jose, California.

PGIM is the $210 billion real estate investment and financing arm of Prudential Financial's global asset management business.

The two-story facility, which will be known as SV12x, will be built out in two phases and is expected to provide more than 28 megawatts (MW) of power capacity at full build out.  SV12x is located at Equinix's Great Oaks data center campus in San Jose, California alongside four existing Equinix International Business ExchangeTM (IBX) data centers. The first phase of the facility is scheduled to be completed in Q2 2024.

This new joint venture will bring the global xScale data center portfolio to more than $8 billion across more than 35 facilities, and an expected greater than 725 megawatts of power capacity when completed and fully constructed.


Ericsson posts a 14% drop in Q1 sales, sees stabilization in 2nd half of year

Citing a steep decline in Network sales to mobile operators, Ericsson reported overall Q1 sales of SEK 53.3 billion, a 14% drop from a year earlier. Gross income excluding restructuring charges decreased to SEK 22.8 (24.9) billion as lower sales were partly offset by an improvement in gross margin. Reported gross income was SEK 22.7 (24.2) billion. Gross margin excluding restructuring charges improved to 42.7% (39.8%) supported by a competitive product portfolio, cost actions, improved commercial discipline, as well as increased IPR licensing revenues. Reported gross margin was 42.5% (38.6%).  Net income was SEK 2.6 (1.6) billion. EPS diluted was SEK 0.77 (0.45).

Comments from Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson:

"In Q1, we continued to execute on our strategy to strengthen our leadership in mobile networks, drive a focused expansion in enterprise, and pursue cultural transformation. We maintained our leading market position, but as expected our customers continued to exercise caution with their investments. Against this tough market backdrop, we delivered solid expansion in gross margins. This underscores the competitiveness of our solutions, our commercial discipline, and our actions on costs. We will continue to proactively optimize the business, including through strategic cost-saving measures, to ensure Ericsson is best positioned to increase shareholder value."

"We expect a further decline in the RAN market, at least through the end of this year, as customers remain cautious with their investments and the pace of investment in India continues to normalize. Dell’Oro estimates the global RAN equipment market will decline by -4% in 2024, which may prove optimistic."

"If current trends persist, we expect our sales to stabilize during the second half of the year, benefiting from recent contract wins and the normalization of customer inventory levels in North America. In Q2, we expect Networks gross margin excluding restructuring charges to be in the range of 42-44%. In the second half, our margins should benefit from improved business mix. We also remain highly focused on delivering stronger cash flow, based on our operating discipline. "

"Our enterprise strategy aims to leverage network capabilities to increase telecoms industry revenue growth above the level that traffic growth alone could deliver. We are creating new, differentiated, products and services, supporting our customers in this transformation. In turn, this will support industry investment levels in the longer term."

"While near-term dynamics are challenging, we remain fully committed to our long-term targets, and we continue to be focused on increasing shareholder value."


Networks Sales: Ericsson experienced a 19% organic decrease in year-over-year sales in the Networks segment as customers remained cautious in their investments. Despite this downturn, Ericsson maintained a strong gross margin of 44.3%, highlighting the strength of its technology leadership, competitive product offerings, and strategic cost management efforts.

Cloud Software and Services: Ericsson continued to enhance its delivery performance and commercial discipline within this segment. The gross margin stood at 37.4%, and the EBITA margin improved for the fifth consecutive quarter, reaching a rolling four-quarter EBITA margin of 3.0%.

Enterprise and Global Communications Platform: While Ericsson saw overall organic growth in its Enterprise sales, the Global Communications Platform experienced a decline due to the loss of a low-margin customer contract in Q4 and a strategic scale-back in some countries. Ericsson remains focused on utilizing its existing business to further develop its Global Network Platform for network APIs.

Intellectual Property Revenues (IPR): Ericsson's IPR revenues increased, bolstered by a new 5G patent license agreement with a handset manufacturer. Ericsson is optimistic about future growth in IPR revenues, driven by additional 5G agreements and expansion into new licensing areas, although the timing of contracts may vary.


Rivos raises $250 million for its RISC-V silicon

Rivos, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California, raised more than $250M in its oversubscribed Series A-3 funding round for its RISC-V accelerated platform targeting data analytics and Generative AI.

Matrix Capital Management, the largest investor in this round, was joined by new investors including Intel Capital, MediaTek, Cambium Capital, CIDC, Capital TEN, and Hotung Venture Group, as well as existing investors Walden Catalyst, Dell Technologies Capital, Koch Disruptive Technologies, and VentureTech Alliance.

Rivos is working on power optimized chips combining high performance server-class RISC-V CPUs and a Data Parallel Accelerator (a GPGPU optimized for large language models (LLMs) and data analytics).

The funding will enable the company to tape out its first silicon product.

"Expanding the application of data analytics and large language models to encompass not just traditional data types such as text, images, and video, but also genomic and medical data, unlocks unprecedented opportunities for innovation in research and treatment," remarked David Goel, Managing General Partner of Matrix Capital Management. "The Rivos team has adeptly integrated the groundbreaking new RISC-V architecture with an inventive accelerator, effectively bringing this vision to life. Their prototype chip serves as a compelling demonstration of their unique capability to leverage the advanced TSMC 3nm process node - a feat few startups have managed to achieve. We eagerly anticipate furthering our support for the company's move into new realms of achievement, marking each milestone with shared enthusiasm and commitment to excellence."


Indonesia's HSPnet deploys Ciena on subsea and terrestrial routes

HSPnet, which is an Indonesian internet services and integrated network access provider, has deployed Ciena's WaveLogic Ai-powered 6500 platform on its B3JS (Jakarta-Bangka-Bintan-Batam-Singapore) and BDMCS (Batam-Dumai-Medan) cable systems.

The transmission routes, totaling around 2,000km across both underwater and land cables, offer capacity of up to 6 Tbps. 

The activation of the B3JS and BDMCS cables is a collaboration between Ciena, Ciena partner Terrabit Networks, and HSPnet. Leveraging Ciena’s 6500, HSPnet is able to offer 100G to 400G wavelength services to its Tier 1 and Tier 2 Indonesian telco customers. Ciena's 6500 also provides power and space efficiency benefits, enabling HSPnet to reduce energy consumption.

“With the go-live of our transmission routes on B3JS and BDMCS, we’re on an upward trajectory to become the main backbone network operator in Indonesia with very strong internet network services. Running on Ciena’s proven coherent optical technology, we’re able to provide a reliable and fast connectivity alternative to all HSPnet customers as well as future-proof our network to meet additional capacity needs over time,” said Daniel Simanjuntak, Technical and Operations Director, PT Parsaoran Global Datatrans.

“By increasing its network capacity on these critical routes connecting key economic hubs in ASEAN, HSPnet is well-positioned to provide seamless data exchange and enable business competitiveness on a global scale. Cloud and edge computing applications, secured Artificial Intelligence workloads, and low-latency data center interconnect (DCI) applications can now be supported by Ciena's underlying WaveLogic technology,” said Jamie Jefferies, Vice President and General Manager, Ciena International.


Arelion launches Global 5G roaming with BroadForward

Arelion announced a partnership with BroadForward to introduce its latest 5G Standalone Roaming solution.

Leveraging its established expertise in global 3G and 4G roaming services, Arelion aims to boost its customers' worldwide roaming capabilities by harnessing the advanced features of 5G technology. As the operator of the top-ranked IP backbone network globally, Arelion is well-positioned to facilitate the 5G solutions essential for providing high-quality mobile data services and supporting IoT applications.

"Our close partnership with Arelion provides BroadForward with an opportunity to enable worldwide 5G services across Arelion's global network footprint," said Taco Schoute, CEO of BroadForward. "Arelion's forward-thinking vision aligns with our commitment to innovative signaling technologies that help mobile network operators transitioning to 5G, enabling collaborative solutions that leverage the power of existing network infrastructure."

"Partnering with BroadForward expands Arelion's offerings to include 5G roaming capabilities, helping our customers provide new and innovative mobile data solutions on a global scale," said Mark Currier, Global Product Manager at Arelion. "BroadForward's multi-technology signaling platform and flexible licensing model enables us to leverage our global network and address our customers' individual needs, establishing Arelion as the connectivity partner of choice for mobile network operators and IoT providers."


MaxLinear teams with Dell on enterprise and cloud storage

MaxLinear has partnered with Dell to introduce the Panther III Storage Accelerator into Dell's high-end PowerMax storage solution, aiming to set new benchmarks in performance, data reduction, security, and data protection. This integration promises to transform enterprise storage capabilities, particularly for AI and machine learning which demand substantial data handling and storage scalability. 

Dell’s PowerMax storage series, comprising models 2500 and 8500, promise exceptional performance and scalability, enhanced by features like end-to-end NVMe and dynamic fabric architecture to support critical applications and workflows. The PowerMax series also focuses on security and efficiency, providing  data protection features and adaptability to both on-premise and hybrid cloud deployments, thereby setting a new standard in enterprise storage.

MaxLinear's Panther III Storage Accelerator stands out with its performance and feature set tailored for modern data centers. It offers high throughput and scalable capacity, alongside advanced functionalities like single-pass data reduction and real-time validation, which ensure optimal storage efficiency and data security. The accelerator's powerful data reduction capabilities and encryption standards provide reliable protection against unauthorized access, making it an integral component in securing and managing large volumes of sensitive data.

Key features of the MaxLinear Panther III and Dell PowerMax platform include:

  • Enhanced Data Reduction: Guarantees up to 5:1 and 3:1 data reduction ratios for Open and Mainframe systems, respectively, optimizing storage efficiency and minimizing costs.
  • Ultra-Fast Response Times: Achieves response times under 60 microseconds, facilitating swift access to crucial data and applications.
  • Robust Security and Energy Efficiency: Offers top-tier security and energy-efficient design, ensuring safe and sustainable operation in mission-critical storage environments.