The Week in Tech: A Break From Consumer Tech

The Week in Tech: A Break From Consumer Tech

IBM talks about “chapter two” in the cloud market. Increasingly, it says, companies will run not only new applications but also their legacy software on the cloud, either private clouds in their own data centers or on IBM’s cloud. The next stage of cloud computing, Virginia Rometty, IBM’s chief executive, told Jon Fortt of CNBC, “is going to be driven by the modernization of mission-critical apps. That’s our sweet spot.”

And in a nod to reality, IBM announced a Watson Anywhere initiative: Its A.I. technology will run on the popular clouds of Amazon, Microsoft or Google as well as IBM’s cloud.

In other news:

■ In an article this week before Amazon’s retreat, J. David Goodman, City Hall reporter for The Times, deftly explained the shifting politics before Amazon withdrew its plan in “Why Amazon Is Caught in an Unexpected Brawl in New York.”

But what happened in Queens is part of a broader resistance to the tech boom, and its consequences. After the protests surfaced last year, Fred Wilson, the dean of New York venture capitalists, told me that “it’s partly from a sense that Amazon coming in is not going to help them, and will only drive up their costs. To really be a success in New York, the benefits of the tech sector have to extend to every borough and every neighborhood.”

That concern, across the country, as A.I. technology marches ahead, is the subject of a lengthy analysis this week by Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

■ For a rich, enlightening read, I recommend a piece in this week’s New York Times Magazine, “The Secret History of Women in Coding.” The “secret” is a headline writer’s exaggeration. Anyone with an interest in computing history knows about Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper and the women who programmed the early Eniac computer. Those stories have been told repeatedly, including in books.

But Clive Thompson, the author, elegantly weaves that history around the story of an early female programmer who is alive and recalls it all. His piece captures what it was like in the 1940s through early 1960s, when writing software was a wide-open field, before a male-dominated culture took root.

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