Lenovo Buys Stake in Fujitsu PC Unit, to Sell PCs Under Fujitsu Brand

Today’s topics include Lenovo buying a majority stake in Fujitsu’s PC unit; VMware acquiring VeloCloud to enter the SD-WAN market; Cisco introducing its artificial intelligence-based Spark Assistant for business meetings; and Google’s release of the updated Andromeda 2.1.

Announced Nov. 2, Lenovo is paying $157 million for a 51 percent stake in Fujitsu’s troubled PC business, and the Development Bank of Japan is buying 5 percent of the unit. The joint venture will continue to be known as Fujitsu Client Computing Ltd., products will continue to carry the Fujitsu name, and Kuniaki Saito will remain the representative director and president.

The move comes as Lenovo looks to bolster its PC business, revenues of which the company actually saw rise in the most recent financial quarter to $8.4 billion, a 20 percent increase over the same time last year.

The joint venture will pair Fujitsu’s sales, support, R&D, manufacturing and systems integration capabilities with Lenovo’s global scale and strong presence in the worldwide PC market. The Development Bank of Japan will provide industry expertise.

VMware announced Nov. 2 that it is buying VeloCloud Networks as it extends its ongoing networking competition with Cisco Systems into the fast-growing software-defined WAN market.

This acquisition will enable VMware to build out its network virtualization portfolio and add branch networking to give it a more complete presence from core data centers to the network edge and out to the cloud. In a more mobile and cloud-centric world, businesses are looking for less expensive options for accessing applications and data like broadband and WiFi that are more internet-friendly.

“VeloCloud SD-WAN technology enables enterprises to securely support application growth, network agility, and simplified branch and end-point implementations while delivering high-performance, reliable access to cloud services, private data centers and SaaS-based enterprise applications,” said Shekar Ayyar, executive vice president of strategy and corporate development at VMware.

Cisco Systems has introduced virtual assistant technology on its cloud-based Spark collaboration platform that is the product of its acquisition earlier this year of artificial intelligence vendor MindMeld. Unlike other voice-based assistants like Alexa, Cortana and Siri, the Cisco Spark Assistant was created for the enterprise.

Designed to help companies facilitate more effective meetings, Spark Assistant can be used both in conference rooms and in meetings accessed via mobile devices. It will allow customers to use voice commands to start a meeting, join a Cisco WebEx personal meeting room, call co-workers and control a Spark endpoint.

Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Applications Group, said Spark Assistant will act as “a virtual team member [to] help [teams] get their work done.”

Google is claiming that an update to its Andromeda software-defined network stack significantly speeds up network performance for customers of its cloud computing services. Andromeda 2.1 reduces latency between virtual machines on Google’s cloud platform by 40 percent compared to the Andromeda 2.0 stack and by a factor of eight over the original version introduced in 2014, according to the company.

"This kind of network performance is especially important as more applications move into the cloud," said Google software engineer Jake Adriaens.

The Andromeda SDN enables software-defined control over components of Google's cloud network stack. This enables better resilience against distributed denial of service attacks, load balancing and access control lists. Andromeda also enables easier rollout of new network cloud services and security patching.