July Tech News: The Pegasus That Flew Too Close to the Sun, the Battle for the Stars, and Yet More Cloud Wars

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July Monthly Tech News

This month was rife with big cloud news from major leadership changes, space travel battles of the Titans, cloud disappointments, and data privacy wars. We’ve rounded up the most interesting ecosystem insights with our own commentary.

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27 Years to the Day

Ofir NachmaniIOD CEO and Andy Jassy, former AWS CEO

Andy Jassy, former AWS CEO, was newly minted as Amazon CEO on July 5, 2021, succeeding Jeff Bezos in the role exactly 27 years to the day he stepped into it (and can we humblebrag by noting IOD’s own Ofir Nachmani predicted this as far back as 2017).  While this came as a surprise to no one, it certainly emphasizes the importance of Amazon’s cloud services offering in comparison to the rest of its online business, seeing Jassy as Bezos’ natural successor.

This came with a very nice package.

Which hopefully sweetened this painful blow:

Pentagon Cancels $10 Billion JEDI Cloud Contract That Amazon and Microsoft Were Fighting Over

After years of legal battles over this particular cloud contract between Amazon and Microsoft, ultimately—like all things in the cloud native world—even the Pentagon realized this particular project had become outdated even before it had begun.  With technology, data, and infrastructure demands constantly evolving for large-scale organizations, such a project is a continuously moving target.  It isn’t all bad news though, as a new project is being planned, with Microsoft and Amazon currently the only viable vendors to solicit for the project.  Let’s see how Andy Jassy weathers this first major Amazon storm.

 

An Israeli Tech Story That Isn’t an IPO

NSO found themselves in the eye of the storm recently when a major controversy around their Pegasus project exploded after the likes of world-renowned whistleblower Edward Snowden called for the ban of their alleged spyware. Amnesty International, including their technology arm Amnesty Tech, and Forbidden Stories gained access to a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers and began a months-long inquiry and report into understanding the importance behind these numbers. Turns out Pegasus has allegedly been sold to terrorist organizations, mafia, and authoritarian regimes to target journalists, activists, and any other persona non-grata, those of whom can afford to purchase the costly spyware, of course.  AWS made the move to shut down NSO’s account, at the height of the story breaking—adding fuel to the fire (Albeit they do use other infrastructure as well—Digital Ocean, Linode, and OVH among them.). It remains to be seen how this will play out.  Certainly worthwhile to track the #Pegasus and #PegasusProject hashtags on Twitter.

 

      • Israeli Tech Stories That ARE IPOs

      • And since we can’t have a roundup that doesn’t include some of our local community’s successes, here are just a few of the big IPO, funding rounds, and M&A stories from this month.

      • Outbrain and Kaltura, two veteran Israeli companies, have IPOed this month on Nasdaq.  While Outbrain was predicted to IPO at $2.2B, it ultimately finished the day at a somewhat disappointing $1.12B valuation. Likewise, Kaltura, which postponed its March IPO with a predicted $2B valuation, ultimately IPOed at a $1.3B valuation. An interesting turn of events was with Couchbase IPOing above the expected share valuation, as its share price jumped 27% by the end of the day’s trading.

      • Two more Israeli companies were acquired this month at similar sticker prices. Rapid7 acquired IntSights, yet another Israeli security company, and only six years old, in a $335M deal.  And Zerto was acquired by HPE at a $374M valuation, after the close of a years-long battle with EMC over patent infringement that did not have a clear-cut outcome and required Zerto to pay $580K in damages. Not a terrible end for the small Israeli company that got entangled with one of the biggest IT giants. We’re also starting to see our very own local companies acquire other local companies—as JFrog acquired VDoo, an Israeli DevSecOps company, for an impressive $300M.

      • And of course, it wouldn’t be a typical month in the Israeli tech scene without major funding rounds: Cybereason announcing $275M in a pre-IPO round and then immediately after an acquisition of empow, in a similar move to JFrog—Israeli companies unite! Other major rounds this month include: AnyVision (just don’t ask about their company culture, as the CEO got in hot water over comments made). This came alongside another large round by Orca Security, and Aleph Farms in an impressively large funding round for the foodtech industry.

To Infinity and Beyond: Forget Cloud Wars, We’re Now on Space Wars

Richard Branson bypassed Jeff Bezos as the first civilian to succeed in commercial space travel—check out the amazing pictures from both space flights below:

And this was my favorite trolling tweet from the whole race to the stars, as one of the travelers opted out a mere week before the flight:

Imagine being so rich that you’re able to pay for a joy trip of $10M a MINUTE—at $28M for a 3-minute space flight. Well, congrats to the billionaires for conquering new frontiers.

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