This week’s highlights also include Microsoft acquiring Simplygon and Avaya filing for bankruptcy.
Enterprise customers can now upgrade to Windows 10 for free
Microsoft has announced that customers with Windows subscriptions through the Cloud Provider Solution Provider (CSP) program can now upgrade Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices to Windows 10 at no charge. The offer covers customers subscribed to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5, as well as Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5. The free Windows 10 upgrade licenses are perpetual and associated with a device, remaining valid even if the customer terminates the CSP subscription.
Microsoft acquires Simplygon
Microsoft has announced that it has acquired automatic 3D-optimization solution developer Simplygon to accelerate its 3D for Everyone strategy, announced last fall. The Simplygon SDK is used by game developer studios, and the company recently expanded into enterprise augmented reality and virtual reality. Terms of the deal were not announced.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise acquires SimpliVity
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced that it is acquiring SimpliVity, a privately-held developer of software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure, for $650 million in cash. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of HPE’s fiscal 2017, subject to regulatory approvals. HPE says that it will continue to offer its existing hyperconverged products, the HC 380 and the HC 250, to current customers and partners. For SimpliVity customers and partners, there will be no immediate change in the product roadmap and HPE will continue to support existing SimpliVity customers and platforms.
Updates announced for multiple SQL Server versions
Microsoft has released updates for SQL Server 2016 RTM, SQL Server 2016 SP1, SQL Server 2012 SP3, and SQL Server 2012 SP2. The SQL Server 2012 SP2 update is the last one that will be issued for that product, which is now unsupported. Mainstream support for SQL Server 2012 SP3 will end in July 2017, and extended support ends in July of 2022.
U.S. Department of Labor sues Oracle
Oracle America is being sued by the U.S. Department of Labor, which alleges the company has a systemic practice of paying Caucasian male workers more than their counterparts in the same job title, which led to pay discrimination against female, African American and Asian employees. The suit also challenges Oracle’s systemic practice of favouring Asian workers in its recruiting and hiring practices for product development and other technical roles, which resulted in hiring discrimination against non-Asian applicants. Should Oracle be found to have committed wrongdoing, it could face the loss of its government contracts, and be banned from receiving further government business. Oracle has responded, saying in a statement, “The complaint is politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit. Oracle values diversity and inclusion, and is a responsible equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Our hiring and pay decisions are non-discriminatory and made based on legitimate business factors including experience and merit.”
Qualcomm charged with antitrust violations
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint charging chipmaker Qualcomm with using anticompetitive tactics to maintain its monopoly in cell phone components. Qualcomm’s processors power most mobile devices worldwide. The FTC claims that Qualcomm’s licencing forces cell phone manufacturers to pay elevated royalties to Qualcomm on products that use a competitor’s baseband processors, that it has refused honour its commitment to license standard-essential patents to competing suppliers, and that it demanded exclusivity from Apple in exchange for reduced patent royalties. The FTC is asking the court to “order Qualcomm to cease its anticompetitive conduct and take actions to restore competitive conditions.”
Avaya files for bankruptcy
Telecom vendor Avaya has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. to help reduce its $6.3 billion (US) debt load, but its foreign affiliates, including Avaya Canada, are not included in the filing and will continue to business as usual. Avaya said in a statement, “This week, we are taking decisive action to address our capital structure by initiating a restructuring through chapter 11. Our operations remain strong, and this path will provide us with enhanced flexibility to invest even more in innovation and growth.”
Oracle alters Java code signing
Beginning in April, Oracle will treat Java JAR files as unsigned, and therefore untrusted, if they are signed using MD5. This will prevent them from running by default. Enterprise developers should ensure they verify that existing and new JAR files are not signed using MD5. Oracle also plans to remove support for SHA1. It says it has notified software vendors of these changes, and recommends that users concerned about the effect of the changes on third party applications should contact their respective vendor. The company has also published its Java cryptographic roadmap; developers should refer to this to ensure the cryptographic standards they use are up-to-date.