Hashtag Trending; Microsoft surpasses Apple as most valuable company; Broadcom dumps VMWare partners; Google layoffs

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Microsoft overtakes Apple as the most valuable company. Broadcom stirs up a hornets nest when it dumps VMWare partners. The U.S. government demands that hospitals improve cybersecurity if they want government funding and Google is not only axing people, it’s dropping services as well. 

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These and more top tech stories on this edition of Hashtag Trending

I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

Microsoft has dethroned Apple to become the world’s most valuable public company. 

This shift in market value comes as Apple’s share price dipped by a mere one percent. 

The news marks a notable moment in the ongoing rivalry between these tech giants. 

Microsoft has always been a highly valued company and some of us remember when Microsoft had to lend Apple money so it wouldn’t go out of business and leave Microsoft as a monopoly. 

But the resurgence of Apple under Steve Jobs brought it to the status of the world’s most valuable company.  Now, the fact that Microsoft can catch up and even surpass it is a tribute to Microsoft’s leadership team. 

Sources include: MacRumors 

Hawaii has taken a big step in its clean energy journey by replacing its last coal plant with a massive battery system.  

The Kapolei Energy Storage project marks a significant shift from fossil-fueled power to renewable energy. This project, developed by Plus Power, features 158 Tesla Megapacks and boasts an impressive 185 megawatts of discharge capacity, matching the power output of the old coal plant. 

The battery’s rapid response time and ability to store and release energy make it a crucial component in stabilizing the grid. It’s not just about replacing the coal plant’s energy production; this battery system enables more renewable energy to be added to the grid, reducing the curtailment of renewables by an estimated 69 per cent for the first five years. 

The story of how this works is fascinating from a tech standpoint and you may want to check out the full article to geek out on this one. There’s a link on the show notes.

The Kapolei project isn’t the biggest battery of its kind, but it does mark one of the most sophisticated systems and maintains Hawaii’s leadership example of how to maintain a reliable grid while transitioning to clean energy sources, a model that could be replicated nationwide.

Sources include: Canary Media 

Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware has led to a significant shake-up in the virtualization giant’s partner programs, leaving many in the dark. The $61 billion deal, followed by plans to reorganize VMware into several Broadcom divisions, has particularly impacted Cloud Services Providers (CSPs). 

Broadcom announced the termination of the VMware Cloud Services Provider program by April 30, 2024. This move affects smaller cloud operators who sell VMware-based cloud services. The abrupt change has sparked industry chatter that Broadcom is focusing on larger, more profitable customers, potentially leaving smaller users and providers out in the cold. The decision has left many smaller providers and their customers facing uncertainty, with fears of needing to migrate to new providers on short notice.

My colleague Paul Barker is covering this in Channel Daily News if you want some more perspective on this. 

Sources include: Channel Daily News  and The Register

The U.S. government is set to introduce new cybersecurity standards for hospitals, linking federal funding to compliance with these standards. This move, expected to be proposed by the White House in the coming weeks, aims to address the increasing threat of ransomware attacks on healthcare facilities. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are reportedly drafting rules that will require hospitals to implement basic network defenses to qualify for federal funding. These rules are a response to the growing number of ransomware attacks on hospitals, which not only compromise sensitive patient data but also employ aggressive extortion tactics. In 2023 alone, at least 46 U.S. hospital corporations were hit by ransomware, with patient data often being stolen. While the intention is to improve hospital security, some experts, like Emsisoft Threat Analyst Brett Callow, caution that cutting off funding might not be the most effective approach and could potentially worsen the situation.

Given the recent hits that Canadian hospitals and health care services have taken, it might behoove the Canadian governments to take a look at what’s happening here as well. 

Sources include: The Register 

Google has announced significant layoffs across multiple teams, including its Voice Assistant unit, hardware team, and central engineering team. The hardware team, responsible for products like Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit, is notably affected, with the augmented reality (AR) team facing the majority of layoffs. 

Google’s spokesperson gave the usual blah blah about enhanced efficiency and better aligning resources but these changes raise some questions. 

We assume that some of this realignment is towards artificial intelligence (AI) technology, with Google planning to integrate generative AI into its virtual assistant. But Google has also slashed the team and some of the services for the Google smart speaker. 

I saw the list of services they cut, supposedly because no one is using them. I had no idea that the smart speaker had features like waking up to music and others. Which might explain why nobody is using them. 

And the severe layoffs in Augmented Reality is a bit of a surprise.  Many had thought that Google and others would be gearing up to compete with Apple’s new A/R offering.

Google is the other G word that works in mysterious ways. 

Sources include: Reuters 

Hashtag Trending goes to air 5 days a week with a special weekend interview show we call “the Weekend Edition.”

You can get us anywhere you get audio podcasts and there is a copy of the show notes at itworldcanada.com/podcasts 

I’m your host, Jim Love. Have a Fantastic Friday!

The post Hashtag Trending; Microsoft surpasses Apple as most valuable company; Broadcom dumps VMWare partners; Google layoffs first appeared on IT World Canada.

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