The 10 Biggest News Stories Of 2023 (So Far)
This year’s leading news stories so far include repercussions across the IT industry and the channel from the uncertain economy. But the biggest story has been the surge of technology innovation and wave of new products spurred by generative AI.
Economic Uncertainty Reigns In 2023
As summer vacations come to an end and the IT industry revs back up, here’s a look at what have been the biggest news stories so far in the IT industry and the channel in 2023.
The uncertain economy, including rising interest rates and expectations of a possible recession, has driven much of what’s been happening in the industry this year. That includes the tens of thousands of layoffs that IT companies – from industry leaders to startups – have undertaken this year.
The repercussions of current economic conditions can also be seen in everything from changes in customer IT buying plans to reduced venture capital needed to fuel startups.
Cybersecurity continues to be a problem with many businesses, organizations and government entities – and even IT companies themselves – joining the ranks of cyberattack victims. This year news stories of major security breaches and the critical vulnerabilities in IT systems that led to them have dominated the cybersecurity sector.
Also making this list are developments at specific IT companies, including Intel’s efforts to regain its momentum, Microsoft’s cloud service outrages, and Dell Technologies’ significant change in channel strategy.
But the biggest news story this year (so far) has been how the late 2022 release of an open-source product called ChatGPT has spurred practically every company in the IT industry to re-think its technology strategy and generated a wave of AI-focused innovation.
Here’s our look at the top 10 news stories of 2022 (so far), starting with No. 10 and counting down to No. 1. Take a look and see if you agree with our choices.
No. 10: Online Marketplaces Continue To Expand, Evolve
The use of cloud marketplaces by IT vendors to promote and deliver their software and services has been on the increase in recent years. That momentum continued into 2023, especially as distributors expand their online marketplace initiatives.
In April distributor Westcon-Comstor launched PartnerCentral, its first multi-vendor marketplace where partners can configure, quote and order complex hybrid solutions with billing for software, hardware and services. The company said PartnerCentral is designed to “accelerate and simplify” the move to cloud and “as-a-service” payment models.
In January distributor Ingram Micro rolled out enhancements to its Cloud Marketplace that help partners work with Microsoft Azure and its New Commerce Experience (NCE) platform. In June Pax8, which has evolved from a distributor to a cloud marketplace operator, unveiled its enhanced cloud marketplace saying its new data and AI capabilities create a “customer acquisition engine” for MSPs.
The public cloud platform giants, meanwhile, have continued to expand and evolve their own rapidly growing cloud marketplaces. Google Cloud started off the year by unveiling new capabilities for the Google Cloud Marketplace, being rolled out through the year, including expanded private offers, the ability for resellers to receive margins from ISVs, accelerated onboarding, more cost management options, and new governed transacting and management functions.
Kevin Ichhpurani, Google Cloud’s global ecosystem and partner leader, told CRN in August that Google Cloud’s commitment to making the open-source community “first-class citizens” in the Google Cloud Marketplace is key. “We’ve taken an approach that is very open and multi-cloud in nature, which is very much resonating with the partners. Because the channel views it the same way: They need to be able to service their customers regardless of what the customer’s preferences are,” he said.
AWS global channel chief Ruba Borno told CRN in May that the AWS Marketplace had grown to 330,000 active customers.
Questions remain, however, about the ongoing evolution of public cloud marketplaces. In April Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora, in comments at The Channel Company’s Best of Breed conference, said he views the widespread use of public cloud marketplace credits as a “transitory payment mechanism” that should not be viewed as a long-term business model by partners.
“I think as companies start to get up to the spend that they’ve committed to the public cloud partners, their marketplace currency will shrink,” Arora said. “I think it’s more of a transitory payment mechanism. I wouldn’t build a long-term business model around it.”
New Relic channel chief Riya Shanmugam, in an interview with CRN in February about the availability of the New Relic observability service through the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, predicted that within the next four to five years 80 to 85 percent of all software purchases will be made through a small number of leading cloud marketplaces.
No. 9: Intel Turnaround Continues Despite Hurdles
Pat Gelsinger’s efforts to chart a new course for Intel since becoming the semiconductor giant’s CEO in early 2021 have continued into 2023. But this year the company has faced hurdles as it looks to regain the industry-leading position it enjoyed for so many years.
Gelsinger continues to shake up Intel’s corporate structure, including taking steps to operate the company’s manufacturing operations as a separate business and reorganizing the firm’s global sales team for its largest OEM and cloud accounts.
Gelsinger’s efforts have also included a series of employee layoffs through the year, some just this month, following the multibillion-dollar spending reduction plan announced in late 2022. And in February Intel cut its quarterly dividend for shareholders and slashed the base pay of senior employees and executives.
The company also has exited a number of businesses this year including its NUC mini PC business, Intel Blockscale, Intel Optane, the company’s pre-built server business, its wireless WAN business, the company’s network switch chip business, its sports division and Intel drone light shows.
Intel has also seen the departure of several key executives in 2023, most notably GPU lead Raja Koduri and Intel Foundry President Randhir Thakur.
Perhaps most importantly, Intel has made changes to its chip product roadmaps, saying it will now release data center GPUs every two years instead of annually, leading to cancelled development of the planned Rialto Bridge processor. The company also pushed back the launch of Falcon Shores, a next-generation accelerator chip in the Max Series, from 2024 to 2025.
Like other IT vendors, Intel has been hit hard by the sales slowdown in the PC market: In April Intel reported that revenue for its Client Computing Group, which markets CPUs and other products for PCs, declined 38 percent in the first quarter of 2023.
Intel, nevertheless, has demonstrated the technical prowess that made the company a chip industry leader. In January the company launched the Intel Data Center GPU Max Series, it’s long-awaited response to rival Nvidia, and in June it debuted the fastest workstation GPUs yet in its Arc Pro A-series.
In a major shift in Intel’s business model, the chipmaker said in June that it would run its manufacturing operations as a separate business, Intel Foundry Services, that will serve as a third-party contract chipmaker for the company’s product groups. The new “internal foundry” model, Intel said, is key to the transformation of the company’s integrated device manufacturing strategy – dubbed IDM 2.0.
That plan was dealt a major blow this month, however, when Intel canceled its plan, announced in February 2022, to acquire Israel-based chip manufacturer Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 billion. The deadline to complete the acquisition was Aug. 15 and published reports said the deal fell through because it failed to win regulatory approval from China.
No. 8: Broadcom Wins Key Approvals For $61B VMware Acquisition
While Broadcom’s plan to acquire virtualization giant VMware at times faced significant headwinds in 2022 and early 2023, by midyear the deal – one of the largest acquisitions in the history of the IT industry – appeared to be on-track for completion by the Oct. 30 target date.
On July 12 the European Union gave its approval to Broadcom’s plan to acquire virtualization technology giant VMware for $61 billion. One week later the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority likewise granted its provisionl approval for the deal. (Official approval was granted on Aug. 21.)
The regulatory wins helped Broadcom clear significant hurdles toward completing the acquisition deal that was first announced on May 26, 2022.
On Aug. 21 Broadcom also noted that while U.S. regulators had been scrutinizing the acquisition – the U.S. Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation in July 2022 – the Hart-Rodino pre-merger waiting periods had expired and there was “no legal impediment to closing under U.S. regulations,” the company said.
There were times through late 2022 and early 2023, when it became clear the deal was facing close scrutiny, that the timeline for completing the acquisition might be pushed back – or the acquisition could even be in jeopardy.
Throughout the spring, however, Broadcom CEO Hock Tan expressed confidence that the deal would ultimately “pass muster” from regulators.
To get the green light from EU regulators Broadcom agreed to a number of conditions, including providing competitors guaranteed access to VMware updates and technology advances, establishing a process to handle disputes, and naming a trustee to monitor Broadcom compliance. Broadcom also agreed to provide competitors with access to the source code for current and future Fiber Channel Host-Bus Adapters.
No. 7: Acquisitions, Consolidation Continue To Remake The Channel Landscape
Mergers and acquisitions are an ongoing part of the channel. But M&A activity has been especially brisk in 2023 as solution providers leverage acquisitions to boost their expertise and services in new technologies and disciplines and expand their reach into new markets and geographies.
Systems integration and IT services giant Accenture, No. 1 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, finished 2022 with some two dozen acquisitions. The company has been roughly on that same pace this year, making nearly a dozen acquisitions as of midyear, many of them outside of the U.S. They include sustainability services consulting firm Green Domus of Sao Paulo, Brazil; digital design agency Bourne Digital of Melbourne, Australia; biopharma strategy and consulting firm Bionest of New York and Paris; AI services provider Flutura of Bangalore, India; and cloud and platform development service company Objectivity of Coventry, U.K.
Cybersecurity solution provider powerhouse Optiv kicked off a major expansion within the federal government space in March when it acquired solution provider ClearShark, a cybersecurity and IT VAR and consulting service provider to the U.S. federal government. The acquisition of Hanover, Md.-based ClearShark more than doubled Denver-based Optiv’s federal government presence while “significantly deepening its bench of government expertise and expanding the breadth of its federal capabilities,” Optiv said.
Fulcrum IT Partners is on course to achieve $1 billion in annual revenue by the end of this year after acquiring “everything-as-a-service” provider Advizex in March, fast-growing London MSP Viadex in April and public sector IT service provider Stoneworks in July. Other acquisitions are likely before the end of the year.
Ahead, which has grown in recent years through acquisitions of RoundTower, Kovarus and vCore, has continued its shopping spree this year with its June acquisition of MBX Systems and that company’s edge and hyperscale solutions. In August Belgium-based IT solution provider Cegeka said it is buying digital IT solution and services provider Computer Task Group in a deal valued at $170 million.
Expanding a solution provider’s expertise in specific technology and vertical industry areas is often the driver behind channel company mergers. IT services giant Cognizant increased its IoT capabilities with its January purchase of Mobica, for example, while Trace3 boosted its cybersecurity bonafides with its April deal to buy Set Solutions.
Taking the opposite approach of a merger, global solutions provider Atos is splitting into two businesses with its Tech Foundations business – along with the Atos brand – being sold to private equity firm EP Equity in a deal valued at 2 billion euros (about U.S. $2.17 billion). That includes Atos’ managed services, hybrid cloud and infrastructure, employee experience, and technology services business lines. Once the deal is complete Atos’ Eviden business will be a separate company known as Eviden SE with digital, cloud, big data and security services.
Even mergers and acquisitions that don’t happen can be big news. DXC Technology confirmed in late 2022 that it was in discussions with a potential buyer – possibly a private equity firm. But on March 7 DXC issued a statement saying it had ended those talks without a deal.
Bain Capital has been pursuing SoftwareOne, No. 43 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, but the Switzerland-based provider of cloud-focused solutions and services has been playing hard to get. In June SoftwareOne turned down Bain’s $3.2 billion acquisition offer, saying it undervalued the company. And on July 24 SoftwareOne said it had rejected a revised offer of $3.7 billion and was undertaking a strategic review of the company to consider “all options for value creation” including a possible sale or merger or continuing to operate as a public company.
No. 6: Microsoft, Customers Hit With Cloud Service Outages
It’s been a tough 2023 so far for Microsoft, as well as for its partners and customers, as the company’s cloud services – including its popular enterprise applications – have been hit by a series of disruptions in the first half of this year.
The problems began early in the year when Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 suffered a five-hour service outage on Jan. 17 in North America. That was followed by a global service outage on Jan. 25 for Azure, Teams, Outlook and other services.
On March 1 some Exchange Online users were unable to access their mailboxes. On April 20 users faced a nearly six-hour service disruption involving Microsoft 365 online applications and the Teams collaboration application.
The company was rocked by multiple cloud service outages in early June.
On June 5, an outage affected tens of thousands of Microsoft 365 users and the next day the company and its customers saw a recurrence of the 365 service issues. That was followed by an Azure portal service outage on June 9.
The earlier service outages appeared to be caused by various technical problems. But the June service issues were apparently the work of outside bad actors. On June 8, a hacktivist group known as “Anonymous Sudan” claimed responsibility for causing a Microsoft OneDrive outage. And on June 20 Microsoft confirmed that the outages earlier in the month were the result of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks meant to knock websites offline.
Some incidents with Microsoft’s services were due to vulnerabilities within the company’s software. Those include a Windows zero-day vulnerability that attackers began exploiting in January, a critical Outlook vulnerability disclosed in March, and an API flaw that allowed a cloud email breach in July. And in August a newly revealed vulnerability in the Azure cloud platform also earned a “critical” severity rating.
No. 5: Dell Launches Partner-First Strategy For Storage Products
In what company executives called the biggest change ever to its go-to-market operations, Dell Technologies adopted a partner-first strategy for its extensive storage product lineup. As of early August, Dell’s direct sales representatives earn more money if they move the company’s storage systems through the channel than if they take that same business direct.
The new program includes the company’s PowerMax, PowerFlex, PowerStore and PowerScale storage systems, as well as converged and hyperconverged products, and security storage products.
“This is the biggest change ever to our go-to-market,” Bill Scannell, president of global sales and customer operations, told CRN. “This is massive. This is exciting. We’ve been working on this for a while because we want to make sure we get it right. But we got it right and it’s supported by [CEO] Michael Dell and [COO] Jeff Clarke – all the way through the organization.”
“We have decades of experience working with our partner community to accelerate transformation for our customers,” Michael Dell said in a statement. “The ‘partner-first strategy for storage’ extends our partner commitment and unites the strengths of our partners with the advantages of our world-class team and solutions.”
Dell Partners praised the new strategy. “It gives predictability and strength to the channel,” said Neil Hall, North American president for Dell partner Computacenter. “This is the biggest step I’ve seen from a vendor to place much greater significance on the channel in one sweeping move. We want to be there. We want to be a strong partner for Dell and build great success stories for our customers.”
The strategy shift did have a downside for some Dell employees in that the same day the plan was announced Dell Technologies said it would cut an undisclosed number of jobs among its core sales teams as the company relies more on the channel for storage system sales.
No. 4: The Ongoing PC Market Slump
Spending for IT products and services has been uneven in 2023 due to the uncertain economy. But no sector of the IT industry has been harder hit over the last year than the PC space as leading personal computer makers have continued to suffer through a slowdown that began in 2022.
PC shipments declined 16.6 percent to 59.7 million units in the second quarter of 2023 from 71.5 million units in the second quarter of 2022, according to market researcher Gartner. That followed a year-over-year 30 percent decline in the first quarter to 55.2 million units.
Analysts cite a number of reasons for the sales contraction, which includes weak demand from both commercial and consumer buyers. PC sales soared in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the work-from-home move amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to reduced demand in 2022 and 2023. And businesses have been shifting IT budgets away from device purchases, according to market researcher IDC.
The PC market contraction has taken a toll on the financial results of leading vendors including Apple, HP Inc., Dell Technologies and Lenovo.
In April Lenovo implemented a $115 million cost-cutting plan – including employee layoffs – in response to the downturn in its PC business. One month later the company said that revenue in its fiscal 2023 (ended March 31) plunged $10 billion with declining PC sales a major factor.
In May HP reported a 29 percent drop in PC sales in its fiscal 2023 second quarter, significantly contributing to a 22 percent decline in total revenue. Also in May Apple reported that Apple Mac sales dropped in its second fiscal quarter (although sales of iPad tablets grew). And in June Dell’s revenue took a 20-percent hit due to soft demand in its commercial PC unit (as well as in the company’s infrastructure IT business).
The PC slowdown has impacted other IT giants beyond the PC makers themselves. Chipmakers Intel and AMD, whose semiconductor products for PCs make up a significant part of their sales, have suffered. In April Intel reported that revenue for its Client Computing Group, which markets CPUs and other products for PCs, declined 38 percent in the first quarter of 2023. In May AMD said a 9 percent decline in its fiscal first quarter revenue was largely due to a nosedive in client CPU sales.
There are signs, however, that the PC market may be in the early stages of a turnaround. Gartner’s second quarter PC shipments report said the PC market was “showing initial signs of stabilization” including sequential growth from the first quarter. Gartner is forecasting that overall spending for IT devices (including PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones) will fall to $684 billion this year from $717 billion in 2022 but will rebound to $759 billion in 2024.
No. 3: MOVEit, 3CX Attacks Among Major Cybersecurity Incidents In First Half Of 2023
In late May and early June, Progress Software disclosed and issued patches for significant vulnerabilities in the company’s MOVEit Transfer managed file transfer software. But in the weeks since, the number of data breaches due to the MOVEit vulnerability has continued to grow with a steady stream of businesses and government agencies reporting attacks.
Several of the biggest data breaches so far in 2023 can be traced to the MOVEit vulnerability including attacks on the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicles division of the Oregon Department of Transportation (3.5 million affected individuals), PBI Research Services (4.92 million affected individuals) and the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (6 million affected individuals).
Clop, a Russian-speaking cybercriminal group has claimed responsibility for breaching dozens of organizations by exploiting the vulnerability – and many have confirmed they were targeted including Extreme Networks, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Ernst & Young. In July incident response firm Coveware said data extortion attacks could result in a haul of as much as $100 million for Clop.
As recently as August IBM said use of the compromised MOVEit application appeared to have resulted in the unauthorized access of millions of people’s health care information held by state agencies in Colorado and Missouri.
As damaging as the MOVEit-related attacks have been, it hasn’t been the only cybersecurity threat in 2023. In late March, in a potentially far-reaching supply chain attack, a desktop communications application from VoIP system vendor 3CX Corp. was found to be infected by malicious code and the compromised app was being used by a threat actor to target 3CX customers, according to researchers from CrowdStrike, SentinelOne and Sophos.
3CX acknowledged what it called a “complex supply chain attack” and was working to resolve the problem. But customers said they were reassessing their use of 3CX following reports that hackers might still be able to compromise additional updates of the system. The attackers appeared to be particularly targeting cryptocurrency companies, according to Kaspersky Lab. Cybersecurity providers CrowdStrike and Mandiant said a threat attacker in North Korea was most likely behind the 3CX attacks.
Altogether the 10 biggest data breaches in the first half of 2023, including attacks on T-Mobile, MCNA Insurance Company and Independent Living Systems, impacted a combined 104 million individuals.
In February ESXiArgs ransomware attacks targeting a VMware vulnerability hit hundreds of ESXi servers in the U.S. and Canada. Cybersecurity vendor Wiz said that thousands of servers running older versions of the VMware hypervisor were vulnerable and needed patching.
Leading IT vendors were also targets of cyberattacks that made headlines.
In June Microsoft acknowledged that a series of cloud service outages, including Microsoft 365 and Azure, were due to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. In July JumpCloud said its systems were breached by a “sophisticated” nation-state group.
In May Barracuda said some Email Security Gateway customers were impacted by a breach exploiting a zero-day critical vulnerability in the appliance and in June urged customers to immediately replace the devices.
There has been some good news on the cybersecurity front, however. In February SonicWall release a Cyber Threat report that showed a 21-percent decline in ransomware attack volume worldwide in 2022 and a 48-percent decline in the U.S. That wasn’t an anomaly: The company issued a report in July showing even lower levels of ransomware in the first half of 2023 (although there were indications of a rebound in the second quarter). The bad news: The report found that threat actors were pivoting to other types of attacks including extortion and cryptojacking.
No. 2: Widespread Tech Industry Layoffs
The stream of tech industry layoffs began in the later months of 2022. Faced with slowing IT spending driven by economic uncertainty, rising interest rates and inflation, IT vendors including giants such as Oracle and Salesforce began paring back their workforces last year.
But as 2022 turned to 2023 the stream quickly turned into a Tsunami of tech industry layoffs. In January alone Amazon revealed plans to lay off more than 18,000 employees, Google said it would cut 12,000 workers, Microsoft confirmed plans to reduce its employee roster by 10,000, Salesforce said it would cut about 7,000 workers from its payroll, IBM disclosed plans to cut its payroll by 3,900 and SAP said it would dismiss up to 3,000 employees.
That was followed quickly in February with Dell Technologies’ plans to lay off around 6,650 employees and Amazon Web Services’ announced cutbacks of about 9,000 positions (in addition to the earlier Amazon layoffs). In April global consulting firm Ernst & Young said it would cut its employee roster by 3,000.
Perhaps the biggest layoffs shocker in the channel space was the March announcement from global systems integrator and services giant Accenture of its plans to lay off 19,000 employees over the next 18 months. The cuts, mostly from back-office operations, came a year after the company made 25 acquisitions and increased its headcount by 39,000.
Economic headwinds have certainly been a factor in the decisions to cut staff with some companies reporting slowing demand for IT products and services. But some IT industry executives acknowledged that they had been too quick to hire people in 2020 and 2021 as the shift to work-from-home caused spikes in IT demand.
“As our revenue accelerated through the pandemic, we hired too many people leading into this economic downturn we’re now facing, and I take responsibility for that,” said CEO Marc Benioff in a letter to employees, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, announcing the company’s layoffs in January.
“The environment remains challenging and our customers are taking a more measured approach to their purchasing decisions,” Benioff said. “With this in mind, we’ve made the very difficult decision to reduce our workforce by about 10 percent, mostly over the coming weeks.”
Some, including former Aviatrix CEO Steve Mullaney, were more blunt. “Everyone just kept hiring, hiring and hiring, whether it made any sense or not. There was no downside to it. And all anyone cared about was growth at any cost,” he told CRN in April. “Then last summer hits. All of a sudden everybody then says, ‘Well now, hang on. That’s not the way the world works anymore. You actually have to be profitable.’ It’s going back to what’s normal.”
While the cutbacks made by the IT industry’s biggest companies generated the biggest headlines, layoffs were pretty much across the board with many small and mid-size companies and even startups giving their employees pink slips. Companies laying off workers in the first half of 2023 included F5 (9 percent of its workforce), NetApp (8 percent of its workforce), Splunk (4 percent of its employees), Informatica (7 percent of its workforce), GitLab (7 percent of its employees), GlobalFoundries (up to 800 workers), Atlassian (about 500 employees), Red Hat (nearly 800 employees), Logitech (300 workers) and CDW (“hundreds” of employees).
Companies – especially smaller ones and startups – in the crowded cybersecurity space have been hit particularly hard over the last year. Those disclosing layoffs since mid-2022 included Lacework (20 percent of its workforce), Cybereason (10 percent of its staff), Secureworks (9 percent of its workforce) and Snyk (198 workers).
In August Rapid7 said it would cut about 470 employees or about 18 percent of its workforce while Secureworks said it would cut 15 percent of its staff in its second round of layoffs following a 9 percent cut in February.
As of Aug. 11, U.S.-based tech companies had laid off more than 160,200 workers in 2023, according to the Crunchbase Tech Layoffs Tracker website.
No. 1: The Generative AI-Fueled Gold Rush
OpenAI, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence research and deployment company, posted a blog on Nov. 30, 2022, with the headline “Introducing ChatGPT.”
To be sure, “AI” was already a hot buzz term as 2023 began. But OpenAI’s low-key announcement has unleashed a wave of change and innovation across the IT industry that some have compared to the seismic shifts created by the personal computer, the Internet and the Apple iPhone. In the nine months since, just about every IT company, from cloud giants Amazon Web Services and Google to leading-edge tech startups, have raced to capitalize on the potential of generative AI technology sparked by OpenAI.
Perhaps no company has more aggressively pursued an AI course than software giant Microsoft, a long-time partner with – and financial backer of – OpenAI. In March Microsoft unveiled its Copilot AI tools for its most popular applications, including Word, Excel, Outlook, Teams and Power Platform with plans to develop a copilot for its Viva employee experience suite. CEO Satya Nadella said the Copilot tools represent “a new era of computing” where content-generating AI becomes as integral as keyboards and multi-touch.
In June Microsoft struck a deal with CoreWeave, a provider of GPU-based cloud computing and AI infrastructure, to potentially spend billions of dollars to support Microsoft’s growing AI portfolio. And in August Microsoft introduced Azure ChatGPT, a private version of ChatGPT built into the Azure cloud platform.
Microsoft is hardly alone in the AI arena, however, and many see an AI arms race brewing amongst Microsoft and cloud giants Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.
In April Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said his company is “investing heavily” in large language models and generative AI and “democratizing” the technology so companies of all sizes can leverage it. AWS offers the Amazon Bedrock service for building and scaling generative AI applications, Amazon EC2 Inf2 instances to lower the cost of running generative AI workloads, and the Amazon CodeWhisperer AI coding companion.
Google Cloud, meanwhile, is pushing its Bard conversational chatbot as an alternative to OpenAI’s ChapGPT.
Beyond the cloud platform giants, leading IT vendors such as Salesforce, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cisco Systems have all jumped aboard the generative AI bandwagon. Salesforce entered the generative AI race in March with its EinsteinGPT while in June Cisco said it had injected generative AI into its security and collaboration product portfolios for “reimagined” customer experiences. Also in June HPE entered the generative AI market with its HPE GreenLake for Large Language Models, a public cloud service that provides supercomputing capabilities in a consumption-based model.
IBM’s recently completed $4.6-billion acquisition of Apptio, a developer of IT cost management software, had an AI angle in that IBM plans to integrate Apptio with its AI portfolio, including using IT spending data from Apptio to augment its Watsonx AI platform.
Nvidia’s stock price has soared this year, pushing the chip designer’s market value past the $1 trillion market, as ChatGPT and other generative AI applications fuel demand for the company’s data center GPUs.
Even smaller companies such as cybersecurity and observability platform vendor Splunk, real-time data base developer Kinetica, and data analytics system provider Alteryx have all added generative AI capabilities to their products. In June fast-growing data lakehouse platform company Databricks said it would buy generative AI platform startup MosaicML for $1.3 billion.
IT security has been a major area for AI developments. Palo Alto Networks, for example, is developing its own large language model as the cybersecurity giant looks to embed generative AI into the company’s products and workflows. In April Google Cloud unveiled its Security AI Workbench that leverage’s generative AI models for better threat detection and analysis while SentinelOne launched a threat hunting tool that uses generative AI. And the RSA Conference 2023 in April was the launchpad for a Tsunami of generative AI-powered cybersecurity products.
The channel is playing a major role in the AI surge. In June systems integrator and services giant Accenture said it plans to invest $3 billion over three years in its AI and data practice.
Established solution providers such as World Wide Technology, Mark III Systems and SADA Systems – along with a new generation of solution provider startups such as Quantiphi – are racing to incorporate AI into their product and service offerings. In August AWS partner Innovative Solutions launched its Tailwinds generative AI offering (based on AWS Bedrock and Anthropic Claude technologies) that enables any application to be AI powered.
There are no signs the AI wave is anywhere near cresting. “The fast-growing workloads in our ISG [Infrastructure Solutions Group] business are AI- and machine intelligence-driven,” Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell told CRN In April. “That’s been true for some time. And this kind of generative AI, large language models just accelerates that.”