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Does Skype Need To Be Rewritten

February 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Skype has a significant security flaw that Microsoft can’t fix without a major code rewrite.

The flaw is in Skype’s updater process can allow an attacker to gain system-level privileges to a vulnerable computer. If exploited, can escalate a local unprivileged user to the full “system” level rights — granting them access to every corner of the operating system.

Security researcher Stefan Kanthak found that the Skype update installer could be exploited with a DLL hijacking technique, which allows an attacker to trick an application into drawing malicious code instead of the correct library. An attacker can download a malicious DLL into a user-accessible temporary folder and rename it to an existing DLL that can be modified by an unprivileged user, like UXTheme.dll. The bug works because the malicious DLL is found first when the app searches for the DLL it needs.

Once installed, Skype uses its built-in updater to keep the software up to date. When that updater runs, it uses another executable file to run the update, which is vulnerable to the hijacking.

Kanthak told ZDNet that the attack could be easily weaponized and showed two command line examples, how a script or malware could remotely transfer a malicious DLL into that temporary folder.

“Windows provides multiple ways to do it,” he said. But DLL hijacking isn’t limited to Windows; he said — noting that it can apply to Macs and Linux, too.

Once “system” privileges are gained, an attacker “can do anything,” Kanthak said.

Kanthak informed Microsoft of the bug in September, but the software giant said issuing a fix would require the updater go through “a large code revision.”

The company told him that even though engineers could reproduce the issue,” a fix will land “in a newer version of the product rather than a security update.”

Microsoft said that it was better to put “all resources” on building a new client.

To cause any damage of worth, you need to be an administrator or above — like the “system” user.

Courtesy-Fud

Does Amazon Plan To Develop Chips

February 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Amazon bought a home security camera outfit,  Blink last year. Analysts wondered why, but it turns out the outfit had some rather interesting energy-efficient chips.

Amazon paid about $90 million to acquire the maker of Blink home security cameras late last year. But Amazon did not need to sell another camera, and it was interested in the company’s chip tech.

According to Reuters, the online retailer is exploring chips exclusive to Blink that could lower production costs and lengthen the battery life of other gadgets, starting with Amazon’s Cloud Cam and potentially extend to its family of Echo speakers, one of the people said.

Amazon views its in-house devices as key to deepening its relationship with shoppers. The Cloud Cam and Echo currently need a plug-in power source to operate. Blink, which says its cameras can last two years on a single pair of AA lithium batteries, could change that.

Blink’s owner was Immedia Semiconductor which was started in Massachusetts by old hands from the chip industry. Chief Executive Peter Besen and two of his co-founders came from Sand Video, which had designed chips in the early 2000s that decoded a new and improved video standard.

In 2004 they sold Sand Video to Broadcom and remained there as executives, according to an Immedia website. The group left in 2008 to create Immedia, aiming to design chips for video conferencing, and later targeting laptop makers as potential customers.

Dan Grunberg, a co-founder who left Immedia in 2016, said that plan fell through. Laptop makers were unwilling to pay $1 per chip when cheaper options were on the market. So Immedia changed to cameras.

The Blink security camera, which hit the market in 2016, did not require a power cable like many rival products, making it easier to place around users’ properties. It was cheaper, too, starting at $99. Amazon’s wired Cloud Cam launched at $119.99, while Netgear Inc’s wire-free Arlo cost more still. Netgear said last week it plans to spin off its Arlo business.

As Blink’s sales rose on Amazon’s website, the retailer noticed and realized the camera’s chip was the secret sauce.

Having a proprietary chip design will make it harder for rival retailers to copy Amazon’s devices. And now that Amazon owns its chips, it can go straight to the manufacturers, cutting out middlemen chip designers such as Ambarella which has powered GoPro Inc products. Amazon has a division called Annapurna Labs that makes an unrelated kind of chip, and it was not clear which supplier it uses for chips that primarily process video.

Courtesy-Fud

HP Adds Apple Devices To Managed Services Offerings

February 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

As part of HP’s updated DaaS offering, known more generally under the industry term of managed mobility services (MMS), customers will be able to pair iPhones, iPads, Macs and other Apple devices with HP’s support, managed services and analytics.

Apple for years pushed, without much success, to get its hardware and software into the office. But the organic adoption of its iOS devices – especially the iPhone – finally forced enterprises to take it seriously.

In the past year, 82% of the work done on mobile devices in the enterprise was performed using iOS; the remaining 18% of mobile activities were done on Android devices, according to new research from file synchronization software vendor Egnyte.

While Windows continues to dominate the desktop with 75% of enterprise transactions, Apple’s desktop macOS still takes a healthy 25%, according to Egnyte.

To date, most of the growth in MMS has been around PC as a Service.

“HP helped pioneer it, and other PC vendors such as Dell and Lenovo as well as other service providers have been pushing hard, too,” according to Tom Mainelli, IDC’s vice president of Devices and AR/VR. “Now we see the market evolving to include additional devices such as smartphones and tablets. HP’s move to offer Apple hardware is a very interesting one. It’s smart because they know that iOS devices are often the de facto standard within companies. So I’d say they’re ahead of the curve in offering iOS, and it gives them a strong position in the market.”

Until now, HP had not supported any other mobile devices except its own HP Elite x3. “The HP DaaS offerings have evolved over the past couple of years as we continue to address customer demand for new ways to manage the expansion of device types and operating systems across their workforce,” said Michael Park, HP’s general manager of Emerging Compute Solutions.

Is Xerox Making A Deal With Fujifilm

February 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Xerox is close to agreeing on a deal that would combine the printer and photocopier company with Japan’s Fujifilm in a bid to revive its fortunes and thwart an activist shareholder revolt.

Fujifilm is expected to make a stock and cash offer to Xerox that would give the Japanese group a 51 percent stake in the combined company, said a person with direct knowledge of the transaction terms.

A deal, which could be announced will value Xerox at $8 billion, which was the market value of Xerox at the close of trading on Tuesday.

Ties between the two companies date back to the early 1960s when they formed a copier joint venture, which has grown to generate almost half of the Japanese group’s total annual revenues of $21 billion.

However some analysts questioned the merit of Fujifilm investing further in Xerox’s business, which has suffered a 15 percent decline in annual revenue to $10bn over the past three years. Such a deal would break with the Japanese company’s strategy of branching into new areas such as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics to cushion the decline of its photo film sales.

Fujifilm said it would cut 10,000 jobs globally at its joint venture with Xerox, representing about 22 percent of its workforce at FujiXerox. It also lowered its full-year operating profit guidance by 30 percent to reflect related restructuring charges. The Japanese company is scheduled to hold a news conference on its business strategy tonight.

Courtesy-Fud

Blockchain Spending Set To Double in 2018

January 29, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Spending by big businesses and other entities on blockchain networks is expected to increase to $2.1 billion this year, more than double what was spent on the distributed electronic ledger technology in 2017.

The U.S. will lead the world in blockchain investments, accounting for 40% of spending, followed by Western Europe, China and the Asia Pacific region (not including Japan), according to a new report from IDC.

By 2021, spending on blockchain is expected to reach $9.2 billion, the report said.

Last year was considered a year of experimentations for the still-evolving technology, when businesses came to see both its benefits and the challenges it still must overcome, according to IDC.

The industries expected to see the fastest growth in blockchain spending will be professional services, discrete manufacturing, and the resource industries. All are likely to show a better than 83% combined annual growth rate.

riven by banking industry adoption, financial services is expected to lead spending in the U.S. with $754 million this year.

Other industries, such as distribution and the services market, are expected to spend $510 million, with manufacturing and the resources sector spending as much as $410 million this year.

IT services and business services will account for about 75% of all blockchain spending throughout the year fairly. Blockchain platform software will be the largest category of spending outside of the services category and one of the fastest growing categories overall, along with security software.

“The U.S. will look to improve efficiencies in existing operations while promoting new applications in others, creating new streams of revenue and areas of spend,” Soohoo said in a statement. “With increased investments driven by pressures to keep up with the accelerating pace in innovation, the world will continue to look to the U.S. for guidance as other regions forge ahead in their own blockchain projects and initiatives.”

Blockchain lends itself to a number of common use cases in the financial services market, including regulatory compliance, cross-border payments & settlements, custody and asset tracking, and trade finance and post-trade/transaction settlements, according to IDC.

In the distribution and services sector and the manufacturing and resources sectors, the leading use cases include asset and goods management and lot lineage and provenance.

Cross-border payments & settlements will see the largest spending in 2018 ($242 million), followed by lot/lineage provenance ($202 million) and trade finance & post-trade/transaction settlements ($199 million). These three use cases will remain the largest in terms of overall spending in 2021 as well, according to the report.

“There are a multitude of potential new use cases for blockchain, as transactions and records are the lifeblood of just about every organization,” said Jessica Goepfert, IDC’s program director for Customer Insights and Analysis. “However, we are seeing initial blockchain spending [designed] to transform existing highly manual and inefficient processes such as cross-border payments, provenance and post transaction settlements. These are areas of existing pain for many firms, and thus blockchain presents an attractive value proposition.”

Big Blue Still The Patent King

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

While the media attention has shifted away from Biggish Blue in the hardware world, there are signs that the company is still quietly getting on with it and inventing things.

IBM inventors received a record 9,043 patents in 2017, marking the company’s 25th consecutive year of U.S. patent leadership and crossing the 100,000-patent milestone. IBM is still the outfit which churns out that most patents. 2017 marks the 25th consecutive year that IBM has been named the leader in granted U.S. patents, with a record 9,043 patents

The new patents were granted to a diverse group of more than 8,500 IBM researchers, engineers, scientists and designers in 47 different U.S. states and 47 countries.

For example there was Maja Vukovic’s patent for a system that detects and counteracts cyber attacks.

Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO said that for the past 25 years, IBM’s patent leadership has changed the way the world works with advancements critical to the modern era of computing.

“Today, nearly half of our patents are pioneering advancements in AI, cloud computing, cybersecurity, blockchain and quantum computing – and all are aimed at helping our clients create smarter businesses.”

IBM inventors received in 2017 more than 1,900 cloud patents, including a patent for a system that uses unstructured data about world or local events to forecast cloud resource needs. The system can monitor data sources – including news feeds, network statistics, weather reports and social networks – to identify where and how cloud resources should be allocated to meet demand.

Another set of innovations helps solve one of artificial intelligence’s current limits: lack of personalization, which can hinder how AI communicates with people. Among the industry-leading 1,400 AI patents IBM inventors were granted in 2017 is a patent for a system that can help AI analyze and mirror a user’s speech patterns to improve communication between AI and humans.

IBM inventors also received 1,200 cybersecurity patents, including one for technology that enables AI systems to turn the table on hackers by baiting them into email exchanges and websites that expend their resources and frustrate their attacks. It could substantially reduce the security risks associated with “phishing” emails and other attacks.

IBM inventors also patented significant inventions in emerging areas like quantum computing, including a new way for improving a quantum computer’s ability to acquire and retain information – otherwise known as signal readout fidelity. This can lead to efficiency in the components necessary to build a quantum computing system.

Other patented innovations from IBM inventors in 2017 include:
• A machine learning system designed to shift control between an autonomous vehicle and a human driver as needed, such as in an emergency.
• A method that uses blockchain technology to reduce the number of steps involved in settling transactions between multiple business parties, even those that are not trusted and might otherwise require a third-party clearinghouse to execute.
• A technique that automatically elevates the security protection of a mobile device when it determines that device is located far from its owner and is likely under someone else’s control.

Courtesy-Fud

Amazon’s Alexa For Business Eyes The Enterprise Market

December 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Much as smartphones did in the late 2000s,voice-activated A.I. assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant appear ready to migrate from homes into the workplace. That’s the the idea behind this month’s launch of Alexa for Business by Amazon’s cloud computing subsidiary, Amazon Web Services.

The virtual assistant, unveiled at the company’s Re:Invent conference, is aimed at automating and simplifying a variety of tedious office tasks. It allows users to check calendars, reorder supplies, set up meetings and kick off video conference calls using voice commands directed at its Echo devices.

Amazon is not the first to target its intelligent assistant for workplace uses. Cisco, for example, announced its Spark Assistant last month; it’s designed specifically to take some of the pain out of organizing video conferences.  Microsoft, meanwhile, has integrated Cortana with its Office 365 applications.

All of those moves serve to highlight the emergence of natural language processing and voice recognition and the potential for a new way of interacting with workplace software.

“Voice will very much have a big part to play in how we collaborate and work over the next 10  years,” said IDC research director Wayne Kurtzman. “The Alexa and Cisco announcements are both key indicators of that.”

There are already tens of thousands of Alexa skills available to consumer users that are now accessible with Alexa for Business; beyond that, Amazon expects companies will start to build their own skills for internal purposes.

Capital One, for example, has built a skill that enables IT staff to quickly check the status of corporate systems and receive updates on high-severity incidents.

Another user, WeWork, has placed Amazon Echo devices around offices at its headquarters as part of a pilot project. The WeWork set-up, touted by Amazon. allows employees to reserve meetings rooms, start meetings and file help-desk tickets.

A range of companies, including Salesforce, SAP SuccessFactors, Concur, Ring Central and ServiceNow are also integrating their applications with Alexa for Business. Users can also access corporate applications through their home devices, in effect giving them the ability to ask Alexa what important meetings are lined up on a given day, and make changes to personal work schedule.

All of those moves serve to highlight the emergence of natural language processing and voice recognition and the potential for a new way of interacting with workplace software.

“Voice will very much have a big part to play in how we collaborate and work over the next 10  years,” said IDC research director Wayne Kurtzman. “The Alexa and Cisco announcements are both key indicators of that.”

There are already tens of thousands of Alexa skills available to consumer users that are now accessible with Alexa for Business; beyond that, Amazon expects companies will start to build their own skills for internal purposes.

Capital One, for example, has built a skill that enables IT staff to quickly check the status of corporate systems and receive updates on high-severity incidents.

Another user, WeWork, has placed Amazon Echo devices around offices at its headquarters as part of a pilot project. The WeWork set-up, touted by Amazon. allows employees to reserve meetings rooms, start meetings and file help-desk tickets.

A range of companies, including Salesforce, SAP SuccessFactors, Concur, Ring Central and ServiceNow are also integrating their applications with Alexa for Business. Users can also access corporate applications through their home devices, in effect giving them the ability to ask Alexa what important meetings are lined up on a given day, and make changes to personal work schedule.

BP, Shell Promote Blockchain For Energy Trading

November 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A consortium including energy giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell will develop a blockchain-based digital platform for energy commodities trading expected to start by end-2018, the group said on Monday.

Other members of the consortium include Norwegian oil firm Statoil, trading houses Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mercuria, and banks ABN Amro, ING and Societe Generale.

Blockchain technology, which first emerged as the architecture underpinning cryptocurrency bitcoin, uses a shared database that updates itself in real-time and can process and settle transactions in minutes using computer algorithms, with no need for third-party verification.

Mercuria has been a vocal advocate of implementing blockchain technology to significantly cut costs in oil trading.

“Ideally, it would help to eliminate any confusion over ownership of a cargo and potentially help to make managing risk more exact if there are accurate timestamps to each part of the trade,” said Edward Bell, commodities analyst at Dubai-based lender Emirates NBD PJSC.

Similar efforts for an energy trading platform have failed to take off, Bell said, but added this latest bid with backing from BP and Shell and the banks, “may have more success than if it were an independent party trying to convince oil and gas companies to make use of it.”

The new venture is seeking regulatory approvals and would be run as an independent entity, the consortium said in a statement.

“The platform aims to reduce administrative operational risks and costs of physical energy trading, and improve the reliability and efficiency of back-end trading operations…,” the statement said.

BlackBerry Settles Patent Dispute With BLU Products

October 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

BlackBerry Ltd announced that it inked a new license agreement with BLU Products Inc, a Florida-based maker of low-end Android phones, that would end patent disputes between the two companies.

Canada’s BlackBerry filed lawsuits against BLU in 2016, as part of the handset-maker-turned-software-company’s move to make cash off a bunch of technology patents it had collected in its heyday.

Thursday’s agreement will include on-going payments from BLU to BlackBerry, the companies said, but did not give further details.

The settlement will allow Blackberry “to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market,” said Jerald Gnuschke, senior director of Intellectual Property Licensing at BlackBerry.

BlackBerry, which holds about 40,000 worldwide patents and applications, has been long been focusing on software sales and licensing after its once-popular phones lost out to Apple and others in the smartphone industry.

Do Brother Printers Pose A Security Risk Online

October 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A security researcher has found nearly 700 Brother printers left exposed online, allowing access to the password reset function to anyone who knows what to look for.

Ankit Anubhav, Principal Researcher at NewSky Security said the printers offer full access to their administration panel over the Internet.

According to Bleeping Computer https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/hundreds-of-printers-expose-backend-panels-and-password-reset-functions-online/ a wide range of Brother printer models, such as DCP-9020CDW, MFC-9340CDW, MFC-L2700DW, or MFC-J2510 have the issue.

The cause of all these exposures is Brother’s choice of shipping the printers with no admin password. Most organizations most likely connected the printers to their networks without realizing the admin panel was present and wide open to connections.

These printers are now easy discoverable via IoT search engines like Shodan or Censys.

Organisations running Brother printers should verify if the printer exposes the administration panel by default online, and/or set a custom password to prevent unauthorised access to the device.

Courtesy-Fud

Apple, Accenture Team Up For Better Business Apps

August 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Technology giant Apple Inc and professional services firm Accenture PLC announced that they will team up to help businesses build better applications for iOS, the operating system that powers Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Accenture helps large companies write new software and adopt new technology. The company will create special teams dedicated to helping its customers, which include banks and retailers, write iOS apps. Apple employees, including software engineers and user-interface designers, will work alongside Accenture engineers on the teams.

The first joint team will be located in San Francisco, Gene Reznik, senior managing director of technology and ecosystem at Accenture told Reuters. The companies did not say how many combined Apple-Accenture teams will eventually exist.

 But the engineering teams will focus on apps that are used by front-line workers and consumers, such as apps that run on iPads for the lobbies of retail banks, where a teller and a customer might both interact with the app.

“If you look at something like retail banking, you can imagine really redesigning the apps and coming up with a unique perspective on how agents can interact with their customers,” Reznik said.

Reznik said another focus will be so-called augmented reality, in which digital objects float over real objects on a screen. That technology could be useful to service technicians in the field, for example by pointing an iPhone or iPad at an engine and highlighting a faulty part that needs repair.

For Apple, the partnership is part of a continued push to win over business clients and try to knock Microsoft Corp from its long-held throne as the default operating system in the corporate world. To that end, Apple has established partnerships with International Business Machines Corp, Cisco Systems Inc, Deloitte and SAP SE aimed at moving more business applications over to iOS devices and making them easier to use in corporate settings.

“All those features really help it be a better overall productivity machine,” Susan Prescott, vice president of application product marketing at Apple, told Reuters. “It’s becoming more realistic for more workers to use iOS as their primary device.”

VMWare, Google Partner Up Over Chrome Devices For The Enterprise

August 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

VMware’s AirWatch subsidiary has teamed up with Google to enable unified end-point management (UEM) of all Chrome OS devices in an enterprise.

Through VMware Workspace ONE’s cloud portal, IT admins will be able to manage Chrome devices in their company alongside all other endpoints from a single console.

Among other things, IT managers will be able to perform a number of tasks including on-boarding employees; provisioning, auditing and tracking hardware; device wiping; and securing access to personalized enterprise app catalogs.

With new enterprise-ready capabilities from Chrome Enterprise License, companies will also be able to control device policies using a customizable assignment of groups based on geography, device platform, department, and employee role. The goal is to simplify policy enforcement across an enterprise, VMware said.

“The consumerization of the enterprise has left IT managing multiple operating systems on a variety of devices – some provided by the business and others brought in by employees,” said Sumit Dhawan, general manager of End-User Computing at VMware. “As Chrome OS continues to gain momentum, our customers are eager to manage these devices consistently along with all other endpoints, including mobile devices.”

Through Workspace ONE, VMware AirWatch users will also be able to securely manage the lifecycle of Chromebooks, Dhawan added.

In March, VMware’s AirWatch announced a partnership aimed at accelerating the adoption of Chromebooks by enhancing existing application accessibility of the devices through VMware Workspace ONE. That collaboration enabled one-click secure authentication and management of apps – cloud, web and virtual – for organizations deploying Chromebooks.

While it’s an industry first in terms of the Google partnership, VMware’s move to enable UEM highlights a larger trend as the enterprise mobility management (EMM) software market quickly consolidates. As a result, tools for provisioning, configuring and securing mobile devices are being subsumed into larger product suites.

Is Google Glass Making A Comeback

July 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

It appears the death of Google Glass has been somewhat exaggerated, as the accompanying MyGlass app has received its first update in three years.

For the first time since September 2014, you can suck up some bug fixes to your ridiculous goggles, recently seen adorning the newly opened “Museum of Failure” in Sweden.

But not only that! There’s a new set of firmware too!

We’re not entirely sure who is still wearing the early wearable devices which despite a huge fanfare, never really got to the high street, but if you do, it’s good to know that you four-figure investment hasn’t gone the way of Google Reader.

So what’s new? Well, the biggest news is Bluetooth. Yes, actually ruddy Bluetooth support. Because it had a Bluetooth chip all along that was never activated.

This actually is quite a big deal. It means that you can now hook up Human Interface Devices (HID) such as keyboards and mice and do a bit more than the “tap and slide” controls you had before.

But who is still working on the project? Surely Google isn’t paying for the continuing development of a project that hasn’t even had a working web presence for two years?

Perhaps it’s the 20 percenters, using their free time at Google to tinker with the former favourite. Or perhaps the successor for Google Glass, oft suggested but never realised is closer than we thought.

We were told that a Google Glass 2 with enterprise credentials was on the way in 2015, powered by an Intel chipset, but nothing emerged.

It’s not like the device didn’t find fans. Virgin Atlantic used it at check in to allow staff to keep better eye contact with customers.

But before there was a drone epidemic and alleged Russian hacking of elections, everyone was frantic about what would happen when we all walked around with head-up displays.

Turns out nobody did, and nobody has. Battery life was a big problem and turning on Bluetooth will do little to improve that. But someone, somewhere clearly thinks there’s life in the old dog yet. What it all means remains to be seen.

Courtesy-TheInq

Facebook Teach Chatbots To Negotiate

June 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Chatbots are being taught how to drive a hard bargain in a new AI experiment carried out by Facebook’s Labs.

According to New Scientist, the research could lead to more effective personal assistants able to negotiate on our behalf, sorting out calendar clashes and the like.

French website Julie Desk is already offering this kind of AI diary management, but now Facebook has jumped on the bandwagon, looking at perhaps getting you a good deal on your next holiday, according to Mike Lewis from the social network’s boffin division.

The team trained bots on a database of over 5,000 text conversations between people playing a game where they had to divvy up an inventory of “things”. Each “thing” was assigned a value, with the values unique to each player and each item. So, for example, a ball might be worth four to one player, but only two to another.

The object of the game, as in most games, is to score the most points, by acquiring the most objects with the highest personal value.

After learning, the bots were further trained with more matches, some against each other, some against humans. Working in natural language often led to a crappy deal. Working in totally selfish terms often led to a great deal, but often one made in utter gobbledegook.

The trick, therefore, was to find a way of combining techniques to produce something that would allow the bots to communicate with humans in a real world scenario. The result was a good (but not brilliant) negotiator who can work with humans on their terms.

Beyond doing work for you, a bot might be able to give you useful tips when doing a deal that perhaps you don’t want to hand over. Say you’re negotiating a house price, it could be able to tell you how much of your hand to play and what not to say.

Oliver Lemon at Heriot-Watt University explained that the use of natural language was essential as a user would need to be able to go back to a deal and work out why it did what it did – in other words, justification is important when you’re a bot.

Late last year we reported on UCLA students who had created a Judge Rinderbot.

Courtesy-TheInq

Google Sells Robotics Business Units To SoftBank

June 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

SoftBank Group Corp announced that it has agreed to acquire two firms that build walking robots from Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc, adding to the Japanese company’s growing artificial intelligence portfolio.

SoftBank said it would buy Boston Dynamics and Tokyo-based Schaft, which design and manufacture robots that simulate human movement, but did not disclose the terms of the transactions.

Shares of the company rose as much as 7.9 percent after the deal was announced, hitting a 17-year high.

“Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the information revolution, and Marc (Raibert) and his team at Boston Dynamics are the clear technology leaders in advanced dynamic robots,” SoftBank Group Chairman Masayoshi Son said in a statement on Friday.

Raibert is CEO and founder of Boston Dynamics.

SoftBank has embarked on an aggressive acquisition campaign to boost its research and development capabilities. The group is backing the $93 billion Vision Fund, the world’s largest private equity fund that seeks to invest in technologies expected to grow significantly in the near future, such as robotics and artificial intelligence.

Son, Japan’s richest man, describes the fund as essential for setting up SoftBank for a data “gold rush” which he expects to happen as the global economy becomes increasingly digitized.

Boston Dynamics and Schaft could eventually be vested with the Vision Fund, a person familiar with the deal told Reuters

Schaft, a University of Tokyo spinoff, develops bipedal robots designed to negotiate uneven terrain.

“Robotics as a field has great potential, and we’re happy to see Boston Dynamics and Schaft join the SoftBank team to continue contributing to the next generation of robotics,” an Alphabet spokesperson said.

Boston Dynamics has produced a number of robots that mimic human and animal movement, including Atlas, a humanoid model that co-ordinates motion and balance using its arms and legs and can pick itself up off the ground when knocked over.

It is best known for building robots that look as if they belong in science-fiction movies and are often co-developed or funded by the U.S. military. Its military projects would mean the acquisition is likely to be subject to regulatory approval from Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

The company was acquired by Google in 2013 during a robotics shopping spree led by Android creator Andy Rubin, but the team struggled to find its place within the tech giant after Rubin’s departure, former Boston Dynamics employees said.

“They’re advancing the state of the art in independent robotics. They are probably the leader in the U.S.,” said Arnis Mangolds, a robotics expert who has worked with Boston Dynamics.

“But the problem is it’s not ready for prime time, and very few people have a tolerance for that.”

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