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Bulletins

IBM shares crater after 'disappointing' Q4

IBM logo

Shares of IBM plummeted on the New York Stock Exchange by as much as 10% on Friday after Big Blue reported lower-than-expected earnings for the three months through December.


Topline sales were down across all of IBM's core business units, including the cloud and software segment, which is pivotal to CEO Arvind Krishna's plans to turn around the struggling tech giant. Overall, revenue dropped 6.5% in the fourth quarter to $20 billion, while profits cratered 63% to $1.3 billion.

Speaking to Wall Street analysts on Thursday, Krishna said he expects sales to rebound in 2021. Among other changes, he also touted a "higher tolerance for failure" within the company, part of a broader culture shift at Big Blue.

Despite those assurances, Edward Jones analyst Logan Purk called it a "disappointing quarter for IBM." Still, he remains "optimistic longer term based on IBM's pivot to focus more on cloud- and software-based products, which should support higher growth rates and a higher earnings multiple."

Power

Google wants to help you get a life

Digital car windows, curved AR glasses, automatic presentations and other patents from Big Tech.

A new patent from Google offers a few suggestions.

Image: USPTO

Another week has come to pass, meaning it's time again for Big Tech patents! You've hopefully been busy reading all the new Manual Series stories that have come out this week and are now looking forward to hearing what comes after what comes next. Google wants to get rid of your double-chin selfie videos and find things for you as you sit bored at home; Apple wants to bring translucent displays to car windows; and Microsoft is exploring how much you can stress out a virtual assistant.

And remember: The big tech companies file all kinds of crazy patents for things, and though most never amount to anything, some end up defining the future.

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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

Sponsored Content

The future of computing at the edge: an interview with Intel’s Tom Lantzsch

An interview with Tom Lantzsch, SVP and GM, Internet of Things Group at Intel

An interview with Tom Lantzsch

Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corporation

Edge computing had been on the rise in the last 18 months – and accelerated amid the need for new applications to solve challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Tom Lantzsch, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corp., thinks there are more innovations to come – and wants technology leaders to think equally about data and the algorithms as critical differentiators.

In his role at Intel, Lantzsch leads the worldwide group of solutions architects across IoT market segments, including retail, banking, hospitality, education, industrial, transportation, smart cities and healthcare. And he's seen first-hand how artificial intelligence run at the edge can have a big impact on customers' success.

Protocol sat down with Lantzsch to talk about the challenges faced by companies seeking to move from the cloud to the edge; some of the surprising ways that Intel has found to help customers and the next big breakthrough in this space.

What are the biggest trends you are seeing with edge computing and IoT?

A few years ago, there was a notion that the edge was going to be a simplistic model, where we were going to have everything connected up into the cloud and all the compute was going to happen in the cloud. At Intel, we had a bit of a contrarian view. We thought much of the interesting compute was going to happen closer to where data was created. And we believed, at that time, that camera technology was going to be the driving force – that just the sheer amount of content that was created would be overwhelming to ship to the cloud – so we'd have to do compute at the edge. A few years later – that hypothesis is in action and we're seeing edge compute happen in a big way.

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Saul Hudson
Saul Hudson has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, especially in understanding and targeting messages in cutting-edge technologies. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, in helping companies to build passionate audiences and accelerate their growth. Hudson has reported from more than 30 countries, from war zones to boardrooms to presidential palaces. He has led multinational, multi-lingual teams and managed operations for hundreds of journalists. Hudson is a Managing Partner at Angle42, a strategic communications consultancy.
Protocol | Fintech

IBM’s huge bet on building a cloud for banks

Howard Boville left his post as Bank of America's CTO to lead Big Blue's bold cloud offensive. Can he make it work?

IBM is embarking on an ambitious bid to build a cloud banking platform.

Image: Scott Eells/Getty Images

Moving to the cloud can be burdensome for a bank: If you don't know exactly how and where your company's data is being stored, meeting regulations that control it can be almost impossible. Howard Boville is betting he can solve that problem.

Last spring, Boville left his post as chief technology officer at Bank of America to lead IBM's ambitious bid to build a cloud banking platform. The concept: that any bank or fintech would automatically be following the rules in any part of the world it operates, as soon as it started using the platform.

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Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

Transforming 2021

Blockchain, QR codes and your phone: the race to build vaccine passports

Digital verification systems could give people the freedom to work and travel. Here's how they could actually happen.

One day, you might not need to carry that physical passport around, either.

Photo: CommonPass

There will come a time, hopefully in the near future, when you'll feel comfortable getting on a plane again. You might even stop at the lounge at the airport, head to the regional office when you land and maybe even see a concert that evening. This seemingly distant reality will depend upon vaccine rollouts continuing on schedule, an open-sourced digital verification system and, amazingly, the blockchain.

Several countries around the world have begun to prepare for what comes after vaccinations. Swaths of the population will be vaccinated before others, but that hasn't stopped industries decimated by the pandemic from pioneering ways to get some people back to work and play. One of the most promising efforts is the idea of a "vaccine passport," which would allow individuals to show proof that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in a way that could be verified by businesses to allow them to travel, work or relax in public without a great fear of spreading the virus.

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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

People

IBM wants to help people ‘reimagine the resume’

A letter to the U.S. secretaries of Education and Labor suggests allowing federal funds to be used for skills education.

IBM's letter details working with the new administration to give Americans more pathways to skills-based careers, expanding access to federal student aid and creating a national credentialing system to reimagine the resume.

Photo: SOPA Images/Getty Images

Global tech giant IBM published a letter Thursday to the U.S. secretaries of Education and Labor with ideas and policy recommendations on how the country can lead in education and build a more equitable economy.

IBM's letter proposes collaboration with the new administration to give Americans more pathways to skills-based careers, expand access to federal student aid and create a national credentialing system — using blockchain — to reimagine the resume.

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Penelope Blackwell

Penelope Blackwell is a reporting fellow at Protocol covering edtech. She reports on the developments in tech that are shaping the future of learning. Previously, she interned at The Baltimore Sun covering emerging news and produced content for Carnegie-Knight's News21 documenting hate and bias incidents in the U.S. She is also a recent graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and Morgan State University.

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