This Week in Tech: Huawei v U.S., Azure v AWS

It’s been a busy week for enterprise tech – if you work in security or cryptography, it’s been all hands on deck for the RSA Conference. SHIFT has supported the conference for 15 years, and that team will have a recap of the event next week. Until then, here’s what grabbed our attention this week in B2B tech:

Huawei v U.S.

In the ongoing battle between Chinese tech giant Huawei and the United States, this week the company sued the U.S. government for its “unlawful” ban on the use of its equipment by federal agencies. The National Defense Authorization Act, signed in August, forbids any federal agency from using equipment from Huawei or ZTE, another Chinese manufacturer. Why the ban? U.S. officials have long suspected that the Chinese government could use Huawei equipment to spy on other nations. Experts say the suit is unlikely to result in a victory for Huawei, however, the litigation may influence other nations that are weighing limiting the deployment of Chinese-made telecom infrastructure. Interested in learning more? CBS News has a good explainer.

Microsoft crowding Amazon’s Cloud

Cloud infrastructure management vendor Flexera issued its annual RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud Report. The survey of more than 750 IT professionals found that adoption of Microsoft Azure grew to 52 percent in 2018, sneaking up on Amazon Web Services’ 61 percent. Google Cloud remained in third place, with an incremental increase of 1 percent, to 19 percent. The study indicated that more than three quarters of surveyed organizations have deployed a multi-cloud strategy (which is why the numbers exceed 100 percent). You can read more about the state of cloud services via the link above (registration required).

Google adds privacy to AI tool

In AI news, Google this week announced a new privacy module for its popular TensorFlow framework. With the addition of the open-sourced TensorFlow Privacy, developers can now protect users’ data with strong encryption. According to Google, it plugs easily into the standard TensorFlow platform without developers needing to change modeling architectures, procedures or processes. As modern machine learning becomes more pervasive and the data sets used to train models include more personally identifying information, it becomes imperative for that data to remain anonymous. TensorFlow Privacy employs a concept called “differential privacy,” which is the engine behind Gmail’s Smart Reply that predicts your next word based on the analysis of other people’s email. Differential privacy ensures that AI cannot encode data that is unique to an individual and could reveal their identity. It’s kinda complicated, but if you want to learn more, this piece in Engadget should help.

Owning the moment

A day after a gaffe in which the president referred to him as “Tim Apple,” Apple CEO Tim Cook showed how to seize the PR moment. On Thursday, Cook had some fun with the moment, changing his Twitter name to “Tim Apple” with the apple represented by the company logo.

Related pro tip

Your client might not be Apple, but every team should recognize when to roll out a Rapid Response to breaking news. Whether it’s a security breach, competitive announcement or a current event here’s a brief primer on putting the “rapid” in Rapid Response.

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