Verizon, Yahoo Agree to Reduce Buyout Price to $4.55 Billion

Today's topics include reports that Verizon has negotiated a $250 million reduction in the price to acquire Yahoo, congressional committee staffers say investigations of Russian hacking and a vote to reauthorize FISA will keep Congress buy this year, IBM’s launch of a machine learning platform for z System mainframes and the start of beta testing on Google's Cloud Spanner database service.

Verizon has reportedly negotiated a reduction of price for buying the beleaguered web services company Yahoo from $4.8 billion to $4.55 billion the Web media in the wake of Yahoo's belated disclosure that the data of more than 1 billion Yahoo users were breached in a 2013 cyber-attack.

This admission came after Yahoo disclosed in September 2016 that it had sustained a data breach in 2014 that had exposed the data of about half of the users hit in the 2013 incident.

Verizon said that it might seek to renegotiate the terms of the transaction after Yahoo disclosed the first hacking incident in September.

Those negotiations have reportedly resulted in a $250 million price reduction. Nine years ago Microsoft offered to pay $47 billion for Yahoo, but the web company rejected the offer saying it wanted to remain independent.

Investigations into the extent and impact of Russia’s hacking and disinformation campaigns aimed at impacting the U.S. elections will likely keep Congress busy for much of the year, three Congressional staffers told attendees at the RSA Security Conference on Feb. 14.

During a session focused on Congressional priorities—which took even greater significance with the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn the day before—Michael Bahar, Minority Staff Director and General Counsel for the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told attendees that the issue of what Russia did will consume Congress for months.

IBM on Feb. 15 launched a new product that should fit in nicely with its Watson artificial intelligence service inside a mainframe-based private cloud environment: IBM Machine Learning.

The company describes this as the "first cognitive platform for continuously creating, training and deploying a high volume of analytic models in the private cloud at the source of vast corporate data stores." If this all works the way IBM thinks it will, it could help spur a resurgence in the use of its mainframe systems.

Google this week announced beta availability of Cloud Spanner, a distributed database service that it says combines the guaranteed transactional consistency of relational databases with the high-scalability of NoSQL databases.

Cloud Spanner, according to the company, is currently the only available relational database service that is horizontally scalable, meaning it can run on thousands of servers while also supporting Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability (ACID) transactions.

It supports all the standard features associated with relational database management systems including SQL queries and relational schemas and is well suited for very high transaction workloads said Deepti Srivastava, Google’s product manager for Cloud Spammer in a blog.

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