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November 24, 2015 / 12 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Smell the Grass

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

When was the last time you walked across a field of grass?

Wait, a whole bunch of you just looked up at the ceiling and thought…what the heck is she talking about? You probably walk through a field of grass every day, don’t you? Well, if not a field, a lawn, right?

Israel is a land that was, according to the Bible and logic, very fertile. I believe I read somewhere that when the Romans conquered Judea and sent the Jews into exile, they salted the earth to prevent our return. I googled it…yeah, google is now a verb… and there are more than 50,000,000 references to it. I didn’t click on them to see if it was true or not. The bottom line is still the same.

Much of Israel is short on water – we have desert as our southern half and even towards the north, we don’t really have lush, green mountains. Where we have fields of grass, they are usually cultivated and watered. Otherwise, they aren’t really grass, but rather weeds that grow in the winter months and die in the summer.

I went to a Microsoft conference today – they put on a light and dance show that was incredible. I have to write about the amazing technologies I saw there, the wonderful things Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer said about Israel. I want a Surface computer SO badly… I would love a Windows 8 phone. I ache for a convertible laptop and have given up the idea of buying a laptop until I can afford one. Just wow…

And with my head filled with the wonders of what Microsoft is bringing to the world… I began the walk back to my car. And, as I crossed the road, I opted for the shortcut so many others were taking…across the grass.

I grew up in America – where there is so much grass – we all had front lawns and back lawns and had to cut the grass regularly. I can still remember the smell of cut grass, of grass after a rain. I stopped thinking of Microsoft and looked down at the grass – there were people in front of me, people behind me. I couldn’t stop to touch it, though deep down I longed to.

I don’t know if you’ve ever stopped to think about the wonders of grass (the legitimate kind, naturally) – but it’s important to take that time in life – to feel the grass under your feet as you walk. I’ll remember Microsoft’s products from today… but I think part of me will also remember the grass.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Microsoft, Israel To Sign Strategic Partnership

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Just ten days after the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer arrived in Jerusalem to discuss a memorandum of understanding between his company and Israel’s Finance Ministry to form a strategic partnership to develop and promote technology.

Steinitz and Ballmer heaped praise on each other’s endeavors during the Monday meeting.  Ballmer was set to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later in the day.

In September, Microsoft completed its Israeli innovation center in Ra’anana, one of its 31 centers worldwide.

Hurricane Sandy takes out Major NYC Internet Provider

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Hurricane-downgraded-to-Post-tropical storm Sandy has taken out Internap, which operates a global content delivery network and data centers.

Internap has emailed its customers the following warning:

Please be advised that Internap’s LGA11 facility is experiencing significant flooding in the sub-basement of the 75 Broad Street building as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The flooding has submerged and destroyed the site’s diesel pumps and is preventing fuel from being pumped to the generators on the mezzanine level.

The available fuel reserves on the mezzanine level are estimated to support customer loads for approximately 5-7 hours. Once this fuel supply has been exhausted the generator will no longer be able to sustain operation and critical customer power loads will be lost.

According to The Register, a Microsoft employee reported that submarine cables have gone dark. The Service Help Dashboard at Amazon Web Services reported all is well, as did Rackspace.

Technion Sues Microsoft for $6.5 Mil. over Intellectual Property

Monday, June 11th, 2012

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has filed a NIS 25,000,000 ($6,500,000) lawsuit against the Microsoft Corp, reports the website Calcalist.

The lawsuit, filed last week in the District Court in Petach Tikvah, alleges that Microsoft used intellectual property developed by Technion professor Ran Smorodinsky.

The extraordinary lawsuit opens: “For years, Microsoft has taken aggressive enforcement steps against anyone who held software belonging to Microsoft without legal permits, regardless of from whom and when it was purchased, their geographic location and whether they were rich or poor.”

The Technion is going up against the technology giant, citing illegal uses of technology which was developed by the institution’s staff.

This is a unique suit with which the Technion is marking its overall intent to receive a portion of intellectual property developed by its faculty.

The suit was submitted two and a half years after the state of Israel had filed a similar suit against the drug company Omrix and its founder Robert Taub, arguing that the development of “biological glue” is a product of research done by Prof. Uriel Martinovic, a state employee at the Tel-Hashomer medical center.

In 2008, Microsoft acquired the intellectual property of the startup YaData for approximately $150 million. The Technion now argues that all the intellectual products of the company resulted from research work done by Rann Smorodinsky, a full-time tenured professor in the School of Industrial Engineering.

“Intellectual property rights, technology and knowledge products belong to the Technion – like all fruits of the labor of faculty members,” reads the lawsuit.

The suit alleges that the restriction on the transfer of intellectual property did not escape the notice of the original company founders. In September 2006, the Technion gave a limited approval to Professor Smorodinsky to transfer the company’s intellectual property, provided that the counseling that he himself gave was limited areas of commercial business.

“If the request to expand the areas of counseling beyond the scope of commercial business, please fill inform us and the issue will be explored,” says the same permit.

In retrospect, the Technion now argues, the company violated the permit and engaged the professor in developing its products. Smorodinsky contacted the Technion in October 2007 to extend the permit, without success.

The Technion says that all one has to do to refute “the claim that there is no connection between the scope of Professor Smorodinsky’s area of specialty at the Technion – game theory (the study of strategic decision making) – and his activity at YaData and later at Microsoft, is to quote the professor himself.”

Microsoft Israel has issued a statement saying they were studying the suit and will respond shortly.

The Face That Launched A Thousand Apps: Yours

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Israeli startup Umoove will soon offer a gesture-recognition technology for mobile devices that will control and steer devices by reading gentle facial and head movements, according to a report by NoCamels.

The mechanism uses a front-end camera, which is available on most smartphones, to detect and read facial and eye movements such as smiles, winks, or stares in real time, using those signals to operate games, TVs, computers, applications for reading, tablets, or phones.

According to the NoCamels report, Umoove CEO Moti Krispill told Israeli website Newsgeek that the company hopes to revolutionize the use of mobile devices like Kinect technology did with gaming.  The company is currently focusing on optimization for Android platforms, and is cooperating with Microsoft for the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

With JP Morgan Purchase, Conduit Becomes Israel’s First Billion Dollar Internet Company

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

JP Morgan acquired a $100 million stake in Conduit from investor Yozma fund at a $1.4 billion valuation. Three weeks ago, Yozma fund sold more than 2% of its Conduit holdings to US fund W. Capital Partners. This after having initially invested $1.5 million in Conduit.

Yozma fund thus completed the sale of its stake in Conduit through two transactions. In contrast with an earlier transaction, in which company employees could also sell their shares, this time only Yozma find was selling its holdings.

According to the company’s press release, Conduit’s cash cow is its toolbar, which the company says has been used by more than 200,000 sites, including MLB.com and Miniclip, to reach 250 million users. When those users run a search via the publisher’s toolbar, Conduit receives a volume and ad performance payout from either Microsoft’s Bing (in the US) or Google (outside the US).

But the secret is not necessarily in creative navigation, despite a reported $200 million in profit last year from those fancy toolbars. Conduit CEO Ronen Shilo announced in a recent interview that “the future is not in toolbars, we are broader than that. We’re an engagement company. We aim to help publishers and online brands engage with their users on any platform.”

Shilo recently posted on his blog an entry titled “In Praise of Control,” reviewing Mark Zuckerberg’s handling of Facebook’s IPO:

“What interests me most is the fact that Mark Zuckerberg is about to be worth $28 billion – and still maintain operational control of the company… As someone who has been concerned about maintaining control of my company from the beginning, I completely understand and empathize with what Zuckerberg and his financial gurus have structured. My partners and I control over 50% of Conduit; I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I don’t think we could have achieved what we did otherwise.”

Apple Makes First Israeli Acquisition

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

After weeks of negotiations, computer mega-giant Apple has acquired its first Israeli company, Anobit Technologies, for $390 million.

Anobit, based in Herzliya, will develop high-performance flash-memory drive components for Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone and iPad.  The agreement was signed on January 6 and confirmed by Apple spokesman Steve Dowling on January 10.

Apple is also cultivating plans to open a semiconductor development center in Israel, a plan which is unrelated to the Anobit acquisition.

While the Anobit purchase is Apple’s first foray into the Israeli market, competitors Microsoft, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard already have labs and development centers in the country.  Intel opened its doors in Israel with five employees in 1974, according to Bloomberg business news, and now has 6,600 personnel in the country.  Microsoft’s Israeli research and development center opened in the spring of 2006.

Bloomberg reported that Israel has 60 companies featured on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the most of any country outside North America with the exception of China.  It is also home to the most startups per capita of any country in the world.

Israeli companies have been featured in several major international deals recently, including the sale of Israeli chip developer Zoran to the British makers of chips for Nokia Oyj mobile phones and the $307 million acquisition of Tel Aviv information technology firm Ness Technologies by Citi Venture Capital International.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/apple-makes-first-israeli-acquisition/2012/01/12/

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