Channel Surfing with Kris & Mike - May 27, 2016

This week, Kris Blackmon and Michael Cusanelli take aim at the recent spate of technology-focused courtroom drama as well as some new developments from Apple, Salesforce and HPE.

Kris Blackmon, Head of Channel Communities

May 27, 2016

5 Min Read
Channel Surfing with Kris & Mike - May 27, 2016

KRIS: Today is the best kind of Friday: the kind before a three-day weekend. Do you have any big plans?

MIKE: I’m breaking out the grill to do a little cooking for some friends this weekend, Kris. I’ve got my ironic apron and a heaping helping of BBQ sauce ready to go – now let’s just hope I don’t set myself on fire lighting the grill!

KRIS: We have plenty of drama to see us through until Tuesday.

MIKE: More drama than your average soap opera, to be exact. This week, new allegations surfaced that Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist and co-founder of PayPal, was secretly backing wrestler Hulk Hogan in his recent suit against Gawker Media. It turns out that Thiel has a serious axe to grind against Gawker after one of their affiliate blogs, ValleyWag, outed him as gay in 2007. Although the site claimed to be celebrating Thiel’s strength as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Thiel didn’t seem to think of the article as complementary, according to The New York Times.

KRIS: Talk about a long game.

MIKE: Sounds to me like a classic Wrestlemania Tag Team Match. Oh yeah, brother! That was my attempt at a Hulk Hogan impression, by the way.

KRIS: In order to exact his revenge, Thiel did something no American has ever done: threw secret money at the judicial system to get what he wanted.

MIKE: Call me crazy, but I think that’s definitely happened on more than a few occasions.

KRIS: If there’s one thing that makes me angrier than tabloid journalism, it’s smug rich folk rigging the system. Thiel had to go to special lengths in order to seem less classy than Gawker, but I think he managed it. And his strategy, like all his strategies, seems to have worked. The New York Times reported yesterday that Gawker has hired an investment firm to help it “explore strategic options.” Which probably means a sale.

MIKE: In other crazy courtroom news, Google has officially won its case against Oracle, putting to bed the issue of whether or not the company did indeed steal Java APIs from the company to create its Android operating system. Aside from being a juicy bit of legal drama for the country to fawn over, the case sets an important precedent for how programmers utilize open source code, according to Bloomberg.

KRIS: Now that the courts have ruled that ‘free and open’ software is, in fact, free and open, software programmers around the world rejoice.

MIKE: However, Oracle doesn’t seem to want to give up without a fight – the company has pledged to take the case to a higher court in order to overturn the decision. At this rate, we’ll be writing about the Oracle vs. Google case from the comfort of a rocking chair in a futuristic nursing home.

KRIS: The iRocker?

MIKE: Let’s patent that right now!

KRIS: With the news out of Apple this week, that doesn’t seem too far out of the realm of possibility. A report on The Information said Apple is opening up Siri to outside developers, which will allow third-party apps to connect to its voice recognition software. Speculation is that this paves the way for Apple to release its own version of the Amazon Echo, a week after Google debuted its plans for Google Home.

MIKE: Now I’m even more torn on whether or not to order myself a Google Home. Maybe I’ll eventually get all three so I can have all of the AI’s talk to each other. I always did fancy myself as a robot party planner.

KRIS: Apple also got a patent for technology that lets drivers control their cars with their iPhone or iPad, which has everyone in a tizzy wondering when they’re going to reveal plans for an Apple Car.

MIKE: Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I’m not sure I’m ready for an automated car, whether it's from Apple or Google or anyone else. Half the time when I try to use voice commands on my phone to order a pizza I get directions to the nearest Walmart instead. Do we really want that kind of technology driving us around?

KRIS: I can’t wait for self-driving cars. Neither can my insurance company.

MIKE: It looks like it’s finally time for Amazon and Salesforce to officially change their respective Facebook statuses to ‘in a relationship’ following the announcement this week that Amazon Web Services is Salesforce’s “official preferred public cloud infrastructure provider,” according to the press release.

KRIS: Aw, that’s so sweet! And Salesforce is returning the love, it seems. According to its 10Q statement, it’s going to spend $400 million on an unnamed “third-party provider” over the next four years, but everyone knows they’re talking about AWS. 

MIKE: Way to make the rest of us look bad, Amazon. Usually when I go on a date I bring flowers – how am I supposed to compete with a $400 million purchase?

KRIS: Okay, can we talk HP Enterprise for just a second? So Meg Whitman announced HPE is going to spin off and merge its IT services business unit with rival Computer Sciences Corporation, effectively shaking off the last of the albatross that is Electronic Data Systems, which HP bought eight years ago and has performed miserably for them ever since. Clever move, right?

But the New York Times pointed out that the deal, while still good for HPE, isn’t nearly as sunny as Whitman made it seem. She said that it would net about $14 billion in cost cuts and other benefits, but they crunched the numbers and it’s really only about half that.

MIKE: Even for someone like myself who reads and writes about the channel every day, all the news surrounding the Hewlett Packard split and the goings-on of the two new companies still confuses me.

KRIS: Well, you have a three-day weekend coming up. I bet if you study real hard, you can come back on Tuesday as an HPE expert.

MIKE: Perhaps I’ll do some reading while cooking up a few hot dogs. Food always helps me retain information (and weight, particularly in my midsection).
KRIS: Let me know how that works out for you. Until then, have a great holiday!

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About the Author(s)

Kris Blackmon

Head of Channel Communities, Zift Solutions

Kris Blackmon is head of channel communities at Zift Solutions. She previously worked as chief channel officer at JS Group, and as senior content director at Informa Tech and project director of the MSP 501er Community. Blackmon is chair of CompTIA's Channel Development Advisory Council and operates KB Consulting. You may follow her on LinkedIn and @zift on X.

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