Google Looks to Boost Smartphone Innovations With $1.1B HTC Deal

Today’s topics include Google paying HTC $1.1 billion to bring over some of its smartphone engineers; an SEC hack that may have resulted in insider trading; Ford utilizing Microsoft’s HoloLens artificial intelligence headset in its car designs; and Cisco’s launch of updated management controls Cisco Intersight.

Google, which has been getting help from HTC for years with its Android smartphones, has reached a $1.1 billion agreement with the company to hire about 2,000 of HTC's best engineers to create new smartphone designs and technologies as it works to expand its sales in the global handset market.

Unveiled Sept. 21, the deal will bring to Google members of the HTC team who have already been involved in designing and building Google's popular Pixel smartphone models.

For HTC, the deal will allow the company to streamline its product line and work to reverse its recent financial difficulties due to competition around the world.  And for Google, the deal will help boost the company's innovations and engineering in creating and producing smartphones on its own to take on Apple, Samsung and other competitors.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced on Sept. 20 that the agency’s online filing system, where all publicly traded companies are required to file their financial statements, was hacked in 2016 to facilitate insider trading. The SEC discovered the breach last year, but did not know that the issue may have resulted in illicit trades until last month, according to Jay Clayton, the chairman of the SEC.

The vulnerability occurred in the EDGAR public-records system, which companies use to upload more than 1.7 million financial documents a year.

“Cyber-security is critical to the operations of our markets and the risks are significant and, in many cases, systemic. We must be vigilant,” Clayton said. He added that he believes the “intrusion did not result in unauthorized access to personally identifiable information, jeopardize the operations of the Commission, or result in systemic risk.”

Coming off a yearlong pilot program, Microsoft and Ford completed a collaboration utilizing HoloLens artificial intelligence technology to help Ford designers get their creations on the road faster. Microsoft's HoloLens is a stand-alone headset with augmented-reality capabilities that works independently of a PC.

"With HoloLens, Ford designers are blending 3D holograms digitally with both clay models and physical production vehicles," wrote Lorraine Bardeen, general manager of Microsoft HoloLens and Windows Experiences. "This allows designers to experiment much more quickly without having to physically build every design prototype in clay, which can limit creativity with longer steps."

HoloLens additionally allows designers to overlay full-scale concepts over existing physical models in 3D space, helping them fine-tune their designs with fewer physical prototypes.

Cisco Systems has been building and selling its Unified Computing Systems line of preconfigured, converged servers since March 2009, which have since undergone five server updates, with more than 60,000 systems having been sold worldwide. On Sept. 21, the company added new cloud-service management controls with Cisco Intersight, a dashboard that also works with Cisco HyperFlex Systems.

Cisco Intersight simplifies data center operations by delivering systems management as a service, alleviating the requirement to maintain islands of on-premises management infrastructure. Intersight provides complete system lifecycle management using machine learning, analytics and automation.

Cisco said a number of its customers are already participating in an engineering preview of Intersight, which will become generally available later this year.