Good day, CIOs. Amid the wreckage of the burst bitcoin bubble (see: Spencer Jakab’s Bitcoin Wasn’t a Bubble Until It Was) it is fair to assess the outlook for blockchains, the technology underlying the cryptocurrency. There’s a difference. (Please see our CIO Explainer: What Is Blockchain?) Blockchains, it is said, stand to revolutionize enterprise technology by addressing the problems with authentication and identity at the heart of the internet itself, eliminating middle layers in transactions and making it faster and easier to establish provenance.
As CIO Journal’s Kim S. Nash has reported, blockchain technology from International Business Machines Corp. has been adopted by a Walmart Inc.-led consortium of global food companies that want to modernize their supply chain. How will such efforts play out across industries and at what pace?
The adoption of blockchains in the enterprise has been slow. The question now is the extent to which the overblown investment thesis behind bitcoin and related financial mania can be separated from the utility of blockchain as a tool in enterprise technology. We urge you, blockchain experimenters and adopters, to share your experience with us. How is it going?
LATEST FROM CIO JOURNAL
In the age of expanding automation, companies must redefine work. A new report advises companies to aggressively deploy automation technologies, not as a way of getting rid of employees or reskilling them to pursue other routine work, but with the specific intent to free them up to pursue new forms of work that will create more value for both the workers and the enterprise. CIO Journal Columnist Irving Wladawsky-Berger has more.
GEOGRAPHY OF TECH
The rise of America’s superstar cities. The internet was supposed to lead to a golden age of distributed workforces. But superstar firms continue to insist that their top-performing employees cluster in global headquarters or at least regional offices. Writes WSJ Columnist Christopher Mims: “The result is a self-reinforcing trend toward ever-richer, ever-costlier metro areas that are economically dominant over the rest of the country.”
Google details major New York expansion. Alphabet Inc.’s Google said it would lease a large office building in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood and make it the centerpiece of its new 1.7 million-square-foot Hudson Square Campus. Google’s real estate empire in the city is expected to encompass nearly 7 million square feet of owned or leased office space, enough for more than 46,000 total employees, the WSJ’s Douglas MacMillan reports.
‘Designed by Apple in California’ is a state of mind. Each location where Apple Inc. announced expansion plans Thursday reflects a different facet of Apple’s evolving model toward services and higher-priced devices, says the WSJ’s Tripp Mickle. Culver City, Calif. gives Apple a Hollywood homebase as it pushes into video programming. Seattle is a machine-learning hub. San Diego and Austin offer semiconductor engineers who can advance the customized-chip efforts that help Apple wring more money out of its iPhones, iPads and Macs.
At gathering of spy chiefs, U.S., allies agreed to contain Huawei. Wondering how Huawei Technologies Co. came to be so much in the news recently? The Journal’s Rob Taylor and Sara Germano traces it back to a July meeting in Canada that drew together spy chiefs from the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing network, made up of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S. At the meeting, discussions touched on how to protect telecommunications networks from outside interference, according to one person familiar with the discussion.
Chinese hackers breach U.S. Navy contractors. Cyber fingerprints pointing to China include the remote administering of malware from a computer address accidentally exposed as located in the island province of Hainan, and a documented use of a suite of custom hacking tools shared among known Chinese hacking groups, the WSJ’s Gordon Lubold and Dustin Volz report.
The fall of the House of Ghosn. After helping to engineer Renault SA’s $5.4 billion bailout of an ailing Nissan Motor Corp. in 1999, Carlos Ghosn stitched the firms into a technology and platform-sharing alliance that later added Mitsubishi Motors Corp. to become the world’s largest. But not everybody at Nissan was happy with the chairman, the WSJ reports. Talks with dozens of Nissan veterans and people close to the investigation reveal that accusations of hidden pay and lavish spending on the company dime were intertwined with a deep sense of discontent over Mr. Ghosn’s long reign over the auto maker.
Private jets. “The most costly assets at Mr. Ghosn’s disposal were the series of private jets that Nissan had purchased over the last 18 years, each decked out with a vanity-plate registration number: N155AN.”
Real estate. Nissan created a company named Zi-A Capital BV in the Netherlands. It was assumed the company would be used to make venture investments. In actuality, it became the vehicle through which Nissan would buy additional homes for Mr. Ghosn, through multiple layers of shell companies registered in offshore locations.
MORE TECH NEWS
Possible drone collision renews focus on safety systems. An Aeromexico jetliner last week touched down in Tijuana with a large dent and an adjoining gash in its nose. Investigators and airline officials on both sides of the border are still investigating the cause. The WSJ’s Andy Pasztor reports that if the culprit was a drone, it would mark the first documented collision in North America between an unmanned aircraft and a large passenger jet.
Facebook bug potentially exposed unshared photos of up to 6.8 million users. In the latest in a series of privacy lapses at the social-media giant, up to 1,500 third-party apps may have had improper access to photos that weren’t yet shared by Facebook Inc. users, including in draft posts, from Sept. 13 to Sept. 25. The latest incident also exposes Facebook to fresh scrutiny from European regulators, says the WSJ’s Deepa Seetharaman. Facebook said it informed Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which is the company’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, about the incident on Nov. 22. The company said it believes it is in compliance with European law.
Germany tightens foreign acquisition rules amid China’s push for tech deals. China’s aggressive plans to purchase assets around the world has forced a series of countries to take steps to screen the investments, many times blocking them, the WSJ’s Christian Grimm and Patricia Kowsmann report. The latest move come in Germany, where the cabinet is set to approve Wednesday rules stating that any non-European foreign company planning to buy more than 10% of a German company involved in defense, technology or media will see its deal probed by German authorities
Fight over voter data roils Democrats ahead of election. The party is struggling to catch up with Republican efforts to collect and store voter data that allows politicians to directly target their voter outreach with the Democratic National Committee at odds with state parties over control of data, the WSJ’s Julie Bykowicz reports.
The ‘Fortnite’ dance move that spawned a lawsuit. New York rapper 2 Milly is suing Epic Games, creator of the popular “Fortnite” shooter video game for selling the “Milly Rock,” a dance move he says he created in 2011. Epic calls the move in question “Swipe It” and sold it in a $10 package of virtual goods over the summer, the Journal’s Sarah E. Needleman reports. The suit alleges “Fortnite” unlawfully steals from several dance creators, including Snoop Dogg, as well as the actor Will Smith. Dance moves, called “emotes” are a popular component of the game.
HQ Trivia co-founder found dead in Manhattan apartment of of apparent drug overdose. Before co-founding HQ Trivia, Colin Kroll, who was 34 years old, founded video app Vine, which was sold in 2012 to Twitter Inc., which later closed it. Before that, he was chief technology officer at Jetsetter, an engineering manager at Yahoo Inc. and a software manager at Right Media, according to his LinkedIn biography. The WSJ’s Melanie Grayce West and Zolan Kanno-Youngs has more.
EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW
Malaysian authorities filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs unitsand a former partner of the bank in connection with the 1MDB financial scandal. (WSJ)
The charged politics around funding a border wall has both parties struggling to keep the government funded as the clock ticks toward a partial shutdown. (WSJ)
The year 2018 will go down as one of the best in a nine-year U.S. economic expansion but trouble could lie ahead, as real-estate and financial markets flash warning signs and U.S.-China trade tensions simmer. (WSJ)
Lawmakers began debating with whether to respond with legislation to a federal court ruling that found the ACA to be unconstitutional, as Democratic attorneys general weighed legal action to challenge the judge’s decision. (WSJ)