May 25, 2016

"In a surprise move Tuesday, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise said it would spin off its enterprise services business and merge it with CSC to create an IT services giant with U$26 billion in annual revenue."

CIO: It's the latest step by CEO Meg Whitman in her effort to turn around one of Silicon Valley's oldest companies. By Blair Hanley Frank via IDG News Service

'Just last year, Hewlett-Packard split itself into two vendors, with HPE selling data center products and services, and HP Inc. selling PCs.

'Now, HPE will slice itself up further, doubling down on its bet that a smaller company will be able to move faster and attract new business in a world increasingly dominated by the cloud.

'HPE said it expects to complete the "spin-merger" by March 2017. The combined company will be led by Mike Lawrie, CSC's chairman, president and CEO. Whitman will have a seat on the board, and the remaining directors will be nominated half by HPE and half by CSC.'

"Dozens of French police raided Google's (GOOGL.O) Paris headquarters on Tuesday, escalating an investigation into the digital giant on suspicion of tax evasion."

Reuters: Google, which said it was fully complying with French law, is under pressure across Europe from public opinion and governments angry at the way multinationals exploit their presence around the world to minimize the tax they pay. By Michel Rose and Chine Labbé

'Investigators from the financial prosecutors office and France's central office against corruption and tax fraud, accompanied by 25 IT specialists, took part in the raid.

'"The investigation aims to verify whether Google Ireland Ltd has a permanent base in France and if, by not declaring parts of its activities carried out in France, it failed its fiscal obligations, including on corporate tax and value added tax," the prosecutor's office said in statement.

'Google, now part of Alphabet Inc, pays little tax in most European countries because it reports almost all sales in Ireland. This is possible thanks to a loophole in international tax law but it hinges on staff in Dublin concluding all sales contracts.'

"Researchers in the US are creating half-human, half-animal embryos to help save lives, particularly people with a wide range of ailments."

International Business Times: The embryos create better animal models to study the occurrence of human diseases and its progression. By Vittorio Hernandez

'One of the aims of the experiment using chimeras is to create farm animals with human organs. The body parts could then be harvested and transplanted into very sick people, reports Boisestatepublicradio.

'However, a number of bioethicists and scientists frown on the creation of interspecies embryos which they believe crosses the line. New York Medical College Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy Stuart Newman calls the use of chimeras as entering unsettling ground which damages “our sense of humanity.”

'Ryan Troy and John Powers, from the University of California-Davis (UCD), in a paper titled “Human-Animal Chimeras: What are we going to do?” cites the mention of chimeras in Greek mythology as a monster made up of multiple parts of different animals such as a goat’s body, a lion’s head and a serpent’s tail.'

Apple "is preparing to open up Siri to apps made by others."

The Information: And it is working on an Amazon Echo-like device with a speaker and microphone that people can use to turn on music, get news headlines or set a timer. By Amir Efrati

'Opening up its Siri voice assistant to outside app developers is the more immediate step. Apple is preparing to release a software developer kit, or SDK, for app developers who want their apps to be accessible through Siri, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort.'

[via BGR and Yoni Heisler] 'Apple will finally offer official Siri APIs to developers, thus paving the way for third-party integrations, the kind that Amazon Echo users can’t seem to get enough of. Things like ordering an Uber or pizza are currently impossible, because Siri is locked down by Apple. There’s a few integrations possible via HomeKit, like Philips Hue lightbulbs or Nest, but limiting the digital assistant solely to internet-connected devices was cramping Apple’s style.

'We won’t have long to wait, either — Siri integrations are hopefully going to be launched at WWDC, in just a few weeks’ time. A preview at WWDC would pave the way very nicely for an appearance in the next version of iOS, which normally lands alongside the new iPhone in the fall.

'What’s more, Apple is also reportedly working on a standalone device meant to compete with the Amazon Echo and Google’s recently unveiled Google Home. If that’s true, it’s huge news — Apple has been lacking any kind of smart home hub until now, but a Siri-powered device would be a serious play to get Apple into our homes.'