Highlights – Memorial Day Weekend

Tom Paine

While many people were taking advantage of the limited freedoms allowed by the State, a few notable things in the tech world were happening:

Rather than letting Covid-19 slow it down, Microsoft appears to be speeding up, or perhaps its just doing a better job at publicity. The biggest news of the week from Microsoft was the introduction of Microsoft Industry Clouds, beginning with Healthcare.

The standard for industry clouds is Veeva Systems for life sciences .Everything in Veeva’s cloud is highly integrated to work together. I’m not sure that Microsoft has achieved that yet, but its put alot of tools out there, mostly focused on communications and scheduling. But that’s a good start, and the company should be patient with a slow build.

Veeva is worth just under $30 billion today. Pharma has unique regulatory conditions that has probably made that possible. Its not clear that it can be replicated.

Other industry clouds are expected to be forthcoming from Microsoft.

Also, Microsoft has been busy on the acquisition front. A Light Reading podcast discusses how it might utilize two recent telecom-related acquisitions: Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch Networks.

In another telecom situation, Microsoft is reported to be close to making a $2 billion investment for a ~2% stake in Jio Platform, India’s largest wireless network.

Alibaba’s Cloud business saw revenue grow 62% to a $5.6B run rate in Q1 2020, but its still only a sixth the size of AWS. Given that the breakdown in economic and technological ties between China and the US is expected to worsen, China is likely to increasingly see Alibaba Cloud as a vital national. strategic asset. It doesn’t want Chinese business to depend on the US clouds.

Also, today another Chinese internet power, Tencent, announced plans to invest US$70 billion in new digital infrastructure. The five-year plan will have Tencent focus on fields that include cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology and the Internet of Things. Other investments will go to infrastructure such as advanced servers, supercomputers, data centers and 5G mobile networks.

CNBC weighs in with a piece about how “Digital health stocks are surging because ‘suddenly now we’re in the future’ “, thanks to Covid -19. There’s a whole bunch of digital health startups in Philly that aren’t IPO-ready yet. One that was ready is Moorestown-based Tabula Rasa, which went public in 2016 and is now worth $1.35 billion.

Other items worthy of mention:

As this Twitter ad makes clear, GSK is teaming up with a sometime-competitor for a Covud-19 vaccine effort:

It will be interesting to see how $16 billion will be spent to expand broadband to places in the US that are currently not served. Expect a big fight between both political parties and telecom companies.

Comcast decides what the next move in its network architecture will look like, while some other cable operators decide differently.