CFIUS to Evaluate National Security Impact of Broadcom Buying Qualcomm

Today’s topics include a U.S. regulatory committee putting Qualcomm’s shareholder vote on hold; Facebook automatically upgrading links to HTTPS; Microsoft Azure Stack coming to government customers; and HP releasing special notebooks for health care usage.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews deals that have potential national security implications, has ordered Qualcomm to delay a shareholder vote to replace six Qualcomm board directors with Broadcom-nominated candidates. If those candidates were elected and took a majority position on the board, the move could accelerate Broadcom’s proposed $117 billion acquisition of Qualcomm.

Delaying the vote by at least a month will give CFIUS more time to investigate the impact of a Broadcom takeover. Broadcom officials accused Qualcomm of using CFIUS to slow down Broadcom’s acquisition efforts. Qualcomm executives responded to the accusation by saying Broadcom is “deliberately seeking to mislead shareholders and the general public by using rhetoric rather than substance to trivialize and ignore serious regulatory and national security issues.”

CFIUS is getting involved because not only is a China-based company trying to buy an American entity, but it is doing so through a hostile takeover.

Facebook announced on March 5 a new feature for Facebook and Instagram called HTTP Strict Transport Security preloading, which will automatically direct users to an HTTPS secured version of a link target, if one is available.

Jon Millican, software engineer at Facebook, said, “We understand that many people still use browsers that don't support HSTS, and so we're working to ensure that their first connection to supported websites is secure."

HSTS is a technology protocol that forces all browsers to view a site over HTTPS, which provides an SSL/TLS encrypted version of a given site. The challenge is that not all sites that support HTTPS deploy HSTS and not all browsers support HSTS headers. With HSTS preloading, Facebook uses a list of known sites that conform to proper HTTPS best practices for deployment to redirect users to HTTPS links.

Microsoft announced March 5 that Azure Government customers will soon be able to run Azure Stack in their own data centers. Azure Stack was released at the Microsoft Ignite conference in September and bundles Microsoft's cloud software with integrated systems from Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and other server makers.

While Azure Government typically receives new cloud products and services months after their public counterparts, Tom Keane, head of Global Infrastructure at Microsoft Azure, said their wait is almost over: "Azure Stack will integrate with Azure Government, enabling consistent connections to Azure Government across identity, subscription, billing, backup and disaster recovery, and the Azure Marketplace.

"Azure Stack will also enable government customers to seamlessly use and move amongst public, government-only, and on-premises cloud environments to rapidly respond to geopolitical developments and cybersecurity threats."

HP on March 5 introduced a professional-class notebook, an all-in-one laptop and a display monitor—all tailor-made for the health care industry. These machines, which were unveiled at the HIMSS18 health care technology conference in Las Vegas, include tougher-to-crack security for patient safety, smarter workflows, telemedicine solutions and even provisions to keep them cleaner and germ-free.

The new devices include the HP EliteBook 840 G5 Healthcare Edition notebook, the HP EliteOne 800 G4 23.8 Healthcare Edition All-in-One and the HP Healthcare Edition HC270cr Clinical Review Display. The products are all designed for repeatable sanitization and tested to meet stringent industry standards, so the devices are safer to use in patient rooms.

The portfolio also includes a collaborative telemedicine experience with Vidyo Ready and Skype for Business capabilities for superior video-visits and conferencing.