Today’s topics include the rumor that Apple plans to open its Siri platform to developers, the preview of the new streamlined Windows 10 upgrade, Facebook and Microsoft’s plan to run a high-capacity subsea cable from Virginia to Spain, and Dell, Qualcomm and Brocade’s new partnerships in China.
Apple plans to open up its Siri personal digital assistant application to third-party developers to extend its use, while also working to develop its own Siri-based version of Amazon’s Echo voice-controlled digital assistant for home and office use. The rumored Siri developments were reported May 24 by The Washington Post, which said the plans came from a person with direct knowledge of the alleged plans.
Interestingly, Apple could be a bit late to the Echo market. In March, rumors began flowing that Google was working on its own such Echo competitor in a voice-activated product that is under development. By opening up its Siri technology to outside developers, it could gain new features and capabilities faster and help Apple expand its market for Siri-based products.
Prior to Windows 10, Microsoft did not support in-place upgrades from the Pro to the Enterprise edition of the operating system. Getting Enterprise’s extra security features and expanded set of IT-friendly capabilities meant wiping the system and reinstalling the OS. Windows 10 solved this by essentially packing all of the features found in Enterprise into Pro and allowing users to enable them by changing the product key. After a reboot, users are greeted with Windows 10 Enterprise. Now, a new preview build of the OS, released on May 26 to the Fast Ring of the Windows Insider beta testing program, does away with the reboot requirement, allowing users to continue working without missing a step.
Microsoft and Facebook have forged a partnership to lay an undersea cable from Virginia Beach, Va., to Bilbao, Spain, that they say will help them meet customer demand for reliable, high-speed online services. The project, called Marea—”tide,” in Spanish—will also involve Telxius, a subsidiary of Spanish telecom Telefónica, which will operate the cable and rent some of its capacity to customers. Telxius already has considerable experience with undersea cables, as other cables run to Spain from Australia and Africa. Construction will begin in August and is expected to be completed in October 2017.
Dell, Qualcomm and Brocade are all using partnerships with Chinese entities to expand their presence in the country’s massive market. Officials with all three U.S. tech vendors this past week said they are either creating joint ventures with Chinese companies or the government or investing in a Chinese-owned startup to gain more traction in a country that offers one of the fastest-growing tech markets in the world but that also has made it increasingly challenging over the past several years for foreign technology companies to do business there.