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Virginia Backaitis News & Analysis

Why Microsoft's Cortana is 14 for 14 Calling World Cup Matches

2014-11-July-Paul-the-Octopus-Hat.jpgUpdate: Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in extra time to win the 2014 World Cup at Estadio do Maracana in Rio De Janeiro yesterday — boosting Cortana's record to 15 for 15.

Celebrity data scientist Nate Silver, take a seat. You too Google, machine learning gods.

Microsoft’s Cortana, the Siri equivalent on the Windows phone, has called every FIFA World Cup elimination round match correctly. That’s right, she’s 14 for 14.

On Wednesday she correctly predicted that Argentina would beat the Netherlands. In Tuesday’s game she said that Germany would beat Brazil. And as you keep going back through each game in the elimination round, you’ll see that she was right over and over again.

Amazon Wants In on the Enterprise Sync and Share Action Too

Just yesterday we wrote that the file storage, synching and sharing market may be as big as one trillion dollars. When Amazon found out about it, they went and built their own EFSS offering.

OK, maybe it wasn’t our article that inspired AWS, but they did introduce an Enterprise Storage and Sharing service today. Its name? Zocalo.

Available in limited preview starting now, its primary functions seem to be primitive versions of what the Leaders and Challengers in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for EFSS have to offer.

Microsoft Moves to Win Cloud, EFSS and Other Markets

Storing, synching, editing and/or sharing files in the cloud has suddenly become big business. Startups like Box, Dropbox, and Syncplicity (now owned by EMC) sensed this long ago because their founders rightly predicted that the knowledge workers of the future wouldn’t want to be emailing files to themselves and keeping track of various versions any more than they did. Ditto for carrying thumb drives around.

Fast forward a few years and the market cap for enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) services may be as big as a trillion dollars. It’s no wonder giants like Citrix, EMC, Google and Microsoft all want part (or all) of that action. Winning is critical to their ability to gain, or even retain, Enterprise market share.

As we’ve written before, Microsoft isn’t sitting back and watching as Google and Amazon race to the bottom on the price of cost storage. And while part of the reason they are doing this is to sell the Azure platform, the other part is retaining Microsoft Office, Office 365 and SharePoint market share. After all, as Enterprises map their cloud strategies, they’ll likely look at all of their options versus simply lobbing what they have on the ground to the sky.

Meet the Challengers: Gartner's MQ for EFSS

The Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) Market is competitive, to say the least. Last year’s strong performer can become leader of the pack in as little as a year. EMC Syncplicity proved that when it went from a Positive (Vs Strong Positive) in Gartner’s Marketscope last year to a Leader in its EFSS Magic Quadrant this year.

Which “Challenger” will broaden its vision and build out its capabilities quickly enough to make it into the Leader’s Quadrant by 2015?

Let’s take a closer look at what Gartner’s EFSS Challengers (Dropbox, Google, IBM and Microsoft) have to offer and where Gartner said they fall short. If you haven’t read our coverage on Gartner’s overall report and the MQ Leaders, it’s here.

Cha-Ching! Box Gets More Cash

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It’s raining money, at least in Los Altos, Calif., that is. Box has reportedly received a $150 million round of funding, which the Wall Street Journal reports will be used to hold the company over until IPO waters get warmer.

This comes only hours after the Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) vendor was publicly announced as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.

The investors, we can now confirm, are TPG Growth, which will appoint a director to Box’s Board of Directors, and Coatue Management, which incidentally just lost an incoming executive to Twitter, where he is now the CFO.

Gartner Rates Enterprise File Sync and Share Vendors

As anyone who reads CMSWire regularly already knows, the Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) market is hotter than hot. The 100+ players within it introduce new features and new releases almost as often as soccer's Tim Howard saves goals.

So it’s no wonder that Gartner, in its newly released Magic Quadrant for EFSS, notes that the market is maturing and that vendors are working hard to differentiate themselves.

Big Data Bits: MongoDB Edition + There's a Prize Inside

2014-03-July-Prize-Inside.jpgSmall pieces loosely joined in a non-zero sum world.

Write that phrase down and wrap your brain around it because that’s how the vendors who are shaping computing’s next platform are thinking. It’s not about “I win, you lose,” but about how well we can play and build something together.

And though that idea was verbalized by Cloudera founder Mike Olson (who borrowed from David Weinbereger’s book "Small Pieces Loosely Joined") at MongoDB World this week, we got an idea of how it might play out in computing’s third era as we watched MongoDB’s customers talk about game-changing solutions they built leveraging the world’s leading NoSQL database and other leading and emerging technologies.

Databricks' Spark Could Light SAP's Fire

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SAP HANA seems to have taken a bit of a public beating lately, namely because its creator, Vishal Sikka, and several other notable executives left the company.

And while some might speculate the Guinness World Record setting in-memory database has had its best days, there are very few facts to support that contention. In fact, we say the best may be yet to come.

After all, SAP HANA hasn’t yet infiltrated most Enterprises and SAP, as a whole, has become no holds barred, cloud-bound only lately.

Will Dropbox's New Feature Be Enough?

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Dropbox wants legitimacy in the Enterprise, and it’s racing to get all the boxes (no pun intended) checked that will win it official entry through company doors. 

To be fair, according to Dropbox for Business product manager Anand Subramani, they already have 4 million users in businesses. We haven’t called any of them to ask if they’re spending a dime on the service; in fact, it would be interesting to know how many of them are personal accounts or shadow IT.

But as we’ve asked workers at large enterprises to try to create accounts on the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) service, the most common response we get is “it’s blocked.”

Will MapR Be the First Hadoop Vendor to IPO?

2014-30-June-Wall-Street-Bull.jpgGoogle Capital doesn’t invest in that many companies, in fact, before today there were only six.

And when do they invest, they’re hardly silent partners.

“We have the capability to use our money, our time, our effort, our expertise, our brain power, and the Google brand to help build great companies,” said David Drummond, chairman of Google Capital. Drummond is also Google’s senior vice president, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer.

While that statement doesn’t tell us much about how quickly Google Capital expects to realize a return on its investments, the particular partner they assign to a startup may be telling.

This morning Gene Frantz, a general partner at Google Ventures, who specializes in late stage startups, takes a seat on MapR’s board.

MapR, for anyone who doesn’t already know, is a San Jose, Calif.-based enterprise software company that develops and sells Apache Hadoop-derived software.

Is Google's Drive for Work Too Little, Too Late? #io14

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Every time Google or Microsoft makes an announcement about lowering the price of storage, someone asks us why anyone would pay more for a service like Dropbox, Box, Syncplicity, Egnyte, Accellion … you get the picture.

So yesterday, at its I/O Conference, when Google announced Google Drive for Work (a combination of Google apps and Google Drive with added security and reporting features that comes with unlimited storage for $10 per user per month), we were slammed with inquiries. Has Google had just entered — and, all at once, won — the file sync and share market in the Enterprise?

Here's What You're Missing at #MongoDBWorld

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MongoDB is not your daddy’s database, and you probably didn’t learn it in college.

But chances are good if you work just about anywhere in the next few years, you’ll find it there. Ok, maybe not everywhere, but at least in 75 percent of enterprises, said Dwight Merriman, the company’s chairman.

If that sounds ambitious, it’s reasonably well-grounded. Consider there have been more than 7 million downloads of the Open Source database, that 10,000 plus are participating “in the product” in meetups, user groups and such, and that the company has over 500 partners including some pretty notable vendors like IBM, Teradata and SAP, as well as other up and comers like Cloudera, Pentaho and Red Hat.

MongoDB has come from its initial release in 2009 to become the fifth largest database in the world according to DB-Engines, just behind PostgreSQL, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle.

What’s its goal? “We want to become the leading database in the world,” says Merriman. “But that will take time.”

What Microsoft Will Do to Keep Your Business

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Dropbox wants Enterprises to store their content in Dropbox. Box wants it in Box. Egnyte, Accellion, Syncplicity … you get the picture. They all want to be your provider as well.

And Microsoft has something to lose if it lets that happen. And it’s not the dollars (you pay for services on the aforementioned vendors’ clouds as units of storage) that these other companies could potentially earn.

The world’s largest software company needs you to keep living and working in its products, like Office and SharePoint, which you wouldn’t have to do if you stored your stuff on these other clouds.

Box Notes Takes Flight

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Finding Box Notes in your Box iOS app may not seem like that big deal. But for Box users who want to create simple content or collaborate with their team mates while on the road, it could be huge.

Launch the Box app on your iPhone or iPad, select “Create a Note” and you’re in business. There’s no need to download software or open the premium Office app. Same holds true for Google Docs, Evernote or whatever.

Plus the option to create, share, discuss and work together with others in real time or offline is simply there. And get this, you’re always in sync, always on the Cloud, and you’re not breaking any compliance rules while you’re at it.

Like with Box itself, Enterprise worthiness is a given.

Box Watch No. 2: $100M More, Please

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Maybe Re/code has a bug  (of the non-insect variety) planted in Aaron Levie’s hair or an electronic tracking device imbedded in his shoes. But somehow the site has learned — and is now reporting —that Box is considering taking on $100 million from investors.

Re/code reported that Box is in the early stages of talks with private equity firm TPG. It quoted “sources familiar with the matter,” adding that “no final decision has been made on whether or not to accept the funding”.

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