Broadcom Eyes Mobile Chip Maker Qualcomm to Challenge Intel, Samsung

Today’s topics include Broadcom making an unsolicited bid for Qualcomm; a fake WhatsApp update showing up on Google Play; IBM Cloud Object Storage adding three new functions; and a survey showing continued popularity of outdated Microsoft Office versions.

Broadcom is making an unsolicited bid to buy mobile chip maker Qualcomm for $130 billion in an effort to challenge industry leaders Intel and Samsung and continue the multiyear consolidation trend in the semiconductor space.

Broadcom President and CEO Hock Tan said combining the two companies “will create a strong, global company with an impressive portfolio of industry-leading technologies and products.” Broadcom is offering $70 per share, a 28 percent premium over Qualcomm’s stock price at the Nov. 2 closing. This would put the company’s price at $130 billion, should Qualcomm close a separate $47 billion offer for chip maker NXP. The deal would come in around $105 billion without NXP.

According to Bloomberg, Qualcomm is preparing to reject Broadcom’s offer, saying it would undervalue the company.

A fake update to the WhatsApp instant messenger for Android was downloaded at least 1 million times over the past few days before Google removed it Sunday. On Nov. 5 a security researcher from Avast Antivirus posted a screenshot on Twitter of icons for as many as eight fake WhatsApp versions on Google Play.

This particular rogue application was relatively benign, since it just served up advertising, but the outcome could have been different if the payload had been more dangerous. The fake app was removed on Nov. 6, and the responsible developer’s account was suspended for violating the company's terms of service.

This situation is the latest in an increasingly embarrassing string of incidents where outsiders have found rogue applications on Google's Play store.
IBM’s Cloud Object Storage group, which helps companies manage data growth, unveiled on Nov. 6 three new functions: integration with Watson Data Platform services, a more unified user experience with IBM Cloud and increased security options.

The Watson Data Platform integration provides a persistent storage layer for ad hoc analytics, predictive analytics, real-time streaming, artificial intelligence and machine learning for software developers and data scientists.

The new “unified user experience” simplifies startup, codifies data management and interaction, accelerates application development, and enables easier integration with IBM Cloud services. Security-wise, IBM has enabled customer-driven permission identity control by integrating with IBM Identity and Access Manager.

Many businesses are clinging to older, pre-cloud and even unsupported versions of Office, a Spiceworks survey of 1,168 IT professionals has found. Sixty-eight percent of organizations, mostly midsize ones, are still running Office 2007, which Microsoft stopped supporting with security patches and updates on Oct. 10. Nearly half of all companies have at least some users on Office 2003, and 21 percent of organizations are still using Office 2000. Newer, more cloud-enhanced versions including Office 2013 and 2016 have penetration rates of 46 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

Spiceworks Senior IT Analyst Peter Tsai said, "There's no doubt that many users value newer Microsoft Office features. … However, when businesses are strapped for cash, some functionality might be viewed as 'nice to have' instead of essential.”

Fortunately for Microsoft, businesses may be warming to the Office 365 suite and the newer applications it contains, as 70 percent of IT professionals consider the professional-grade features "extremely important.” Office 365 may also get a bump due to a predicted increase in IT budgets this year.