Moor Insights & Strategy Two-Week Update ending February 12, 2021

I hope you all had a great couple of weeks!  

This week, Anshel attended Qualcomm WhatsNextIn5G and Microsoft 24 Hour Holographic V.R. Surgery Event. I attended Oracle’s CX and Marketing SaaS event. Last week, Mark and I attended H.P. Power of Print.  Anshel attended Sundance Film Festival 2021.  Paul attended the 24th Annual Conference on Quantum Information Processing

Next week, Mark will be attending  Qualcomm IoT Analyst Event.

Our MI&S team published 23 deliverables over the last two weeks: 

The press quoted us with 36 citations. Journalists wanted to hear about AI, Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Bitcoin, Chips, Cisco earnings, Cloud spending, Cirrus Logic, Graphcore, Intel, IoT, Qualcomm, Qumulo, RAN, Samsung, Tesla, T-Mobile, and VMware.

Quick Insights:

AR/VR (Anshel Sag)

  • Facebook is testing support for keyboard and mouse on the Oculus Quest 2, a step on the company’s path of delivering productivity in V.R. but still with limited applications without being attached to a P.C.
  • Apple’s rumored $3,000 VR headset is expected to have every bell and whistle imaginable on a V.R. headset and will supposedly have dual 8K displays along with A.R. pass-through capabilities. I believe that this headset will be used primarily as a prosumer headset for entertainment and exercise and as a development platform for Apple’s A.R. capabilities.
  • Magic Leap’s 2nd generation A.R. headset is expected later this year with improved FOV and squarely focused on enterprise. I believe that if Magic Leap chooses the right hardware solution, it could re-enter the competitive scene with Microsoft and others.

 Carrier/Wireless (Will Townsend) 

  • This week Nokia announced its collaboration with the Brazilian government to deploy Open RAN to accelerate 5G use cases that include fixed wireless access, smart cities, and industrial IoT. I like the use case approach given Open RAN isn’t necessarily optimized for performance but rather for cost and agility.
  • T-Mobile reported its best earnings year ever in 2020 despite the pandemic challenges. Nearly $70B in revenue and 5.6M net subscriber additions a record as well. Speaks to its strong value prop and emphasis on deploying the most expansive 5G coverage footprint.

Cloud Services (Rhett Dillingham) 

  • N/A


  • Storage- (Steve McDowell) 
    • VMware rolled out an update to its Vmware Cloud Formation product that brings a substantial new set of vSAN storage features into the Cloud Formation family.  Cloud Formation now supports the vSAN Data Persistence platform, which is immediately available with plugins for Cloudian HyperStore and MinIO object storage.   Object storage is being the lingua franca of unstructured data, especially in the cloud, so this is a huge validation of the technology, plus just a nice set of features for the Cloud Formation administrator to leverage.  Cloud Formation also has new support for vSAN HCI Mesh technology, allowing for shared resources between vSAN clusters.  Cloud Formation continues to accrue capabilities that make it a compelling basis for delivering a vendor-neutral cloud experience into enterprise I.T.
    • Growing data protection player Rubrick has a shake-up over the past week as it lost both its chief revenue officer, Brett Shirk, its head of engineering, Vinod Maur, and several other unnamed “senior execs.” Reports vary as to what’s going on, but the company’s external positioning is that Rubrick is on a massive growth spurt (which it is) coupled with a business model shift to subscription-based services.  Rubrick is a strong player with a compelling story; the occasional cultural upheaval is not unheard of in high-growth environments. I expect that Rubrick will be just fine. 
    • Databricks took in a substantial series-G funding round — 1B dollar big!  The post-money valuation on the company sits at $28B.  Databricks said that the money would mostly be used to drive a series of acquisitions.  Databricks is in a nice segment of the data market, but there are gaps where strategic acquisitions could make all the difference. We’ll keep watching Databricks, see where this money takes them.      
  • Networking- (Will Townsend) 
    • Cisco announced 2Q earnings this week. I’m most impressed with its average 60 points of gross margin and double-digit growth in security – reinforces the power and opportunity for infrastructure providers to integrate security into the networking stack and simplify SecOps.
    • I spoke with HPE Aruba executives this week and expect the company to announce the synergy of adding Silver Peak to its SDBranch platform at its Digital ATM event in mid-April. I believe it will solidify them as one of the emerging SDWAN offerings as companies ramp adoption to support post-pandemic hybrid work from home and campus.
  • Server- (Matt Kimball) 
    • N/A

FinTech (Melody Brue)

  • PayPal Q4 Transaction Revenue Rose 11.8% in its first quarterly report since adding cryptocurrency (BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC) buying and selling late last year. The company reported customers who purchased crypto through the platform have been logging into PayPal twice as much as before buying crypto in the latest investor update.
  • Tesla bought $1.5B worth of Bitcoin and announced it would eventually accept the cryptocurrency as payment for its electric vehicles. The price of bitcoin has recently surged after several bubbles over the last few years and is now trading at close to $50,000. The high in years prior was less than half of that in December of 2018. 
  • As Cryptocurrencies are back in the spotlight, retailers and payment platforms are introducing rewards and loyalty programs using blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies as an alternative to traditional points or cash-back programs. Square’s Cash App has added a “boost” in which users can earn 3% worth of Bitcoin (max USD 7.50 per purchase equivalent).
  • The House Financial Services Committee announced that it would host a Feb 18 hearing: “Game Stopped? Who Wins and Loses When Short Sellers, Social Media, and Retail Investors Collide.” The committee has not yet publicly announced the list of witnesses, but Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev is rumored to testify. 
  • In a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Examination and Risk Monitoring Program report issued this week, the securities regulator put trading apps and platforms on notice as it identified emerging issues for the coming year. FINRA cited an uptick in new retail investors entering the market in 2020 via app-based and online brokerages that offer trading capabilities, including options trading, exposing inexperienced investors to more sophisticated and potentially risky moves. The report specifically called out gamification tactics, free trades, and interactive features, signaling that companies like Robinhood may face a coming wave of regulatory actions amid claims that it put inexperienced investors at risk. 
  • Venmo announced budgeting, saving, and cryptocurrency expansion into the app “in the next few months” per Venmo’s parent company PayPal’s Wednesday Q4 earnings call. Many call the shift a move into neo bank territory, but the company is sticking to digital wallet jargon. Venmo also announced plans for its Honey integration (the shopping and rewards platform it acquired in 2019 for $4B) to add price tracking, wish lists, and targeted offers in-app.

Home Automation/ Smart Home (Mark Vena) 

  • Disney Plus grew to 94.9 million subscribers as of early January, Disney said this week. That’s 8 million subscribers added since early November and more than three times the number of subscribers that Disney Plus had a year earlier.  By comparison, Netflix, the biggest subscription video service globally, had more than 200 million global subscribers at the end of the year. Netflix blazed the subscription streaming video path, starting its streaming business 13 years ago, but that’s still good progress. Disney Plus only launched about 15 months ago.
  • Are you hoping to buy a PlayStation 5? Get in line with a million of your closest friends. Sony’s next-generation console launched in the U.S. three months ago tomorrow, but inventory was no match for demand, and it sold out instantly. A series of subsequent inventory drops have played out roughly the same way. Right now, the only consoles you can buy are marked up to obscene levels on sites like eBay and StockX, often multiple times its retail value of $400 or $500 (depending upon which model you want). The console has been otherwise virtually impossible to find, with at least one person waiting in line for 36 hours to snag one at a California GameStop.
  • Samsung SmartTag and SmartTag Plus can be attached to frequently lost items such as keys, purses, and backpacks. If you lose them, you can use your phone to track the position of the SmartTag and thus the missing item. The regular SmartTags use Bluetooth and work with pretty much any Bluetooth-compatible Samsung phone from the last few years. The SmartTags Plus uses ultrawideband wireless, are more expensive, and (unfortunately) are only compatible with the Galaxy S20 and S21 family of devices. 
  • This is VERY cool: over the last year, I’ve found myself immersed in storytelling experiences told in A.R. and V.R. at festivals like Sundance and Cannes. Apple’s first A.R. storytelling experience is launching ahead of the second season of the Apple T.V. Plus show, For All Mankind, and it reminds me of those projects. It’s Apple’s biggest dive yet into building longer-form A.R. experiences, flexing the A.R. tools Apple’s been building out over the past year. There are already plenty of A.R. storytelling apps on iOS and Android, but For All Mankind: Time Capsule leans into tech tools like spatial audio and lidar scanning to a greater degree. The roughly hour-long, multichapter experience revolves around old memories: a box of letters, VHS tapes that get played on a small T.V., listening to music on a Walkman, or playing back answering machine messages. There’s even an A.R. recreation of an Apple II that can be used to check messages between characters.
  • Few people saw Jeff Bezos turning the CEO reigns over to Andy Jassy. Largely responsible for why Amazon Web Services outpaces cloud competitors, Google and Microsoft, Jassy will face new challenges when he takes over Jeff Bezos’ role in July. It will be interesting to see if he continues to support Bezos’ strong support of multiple smart home initiatives (particularly products) in the future.
  • The news regarding PS5 availability has been bleak for months, but occasionally a few gamers get lucky. Earlier today, the media managed to get the word out about a PS5 restock at Walmart with about an hour to spare, posting both a news article and a text message deal alert.  While the consoles sold out in about 50 minutes (Walmart dropped a small number every 10 minutes until the stock was depleted), at least some gamers managed to snag a next-gen console before it was all gone.  That means right now, the only consoles you can buy are marked up to obscene levels on sites like eBay and StockX, often several times its retail value of $400 or $500 (depending upon which model you want).  At least one gamer was desperate enough to wait in line for 36 hours to snag one at a California GameStop. 
  • Apple’s charging cables aren’t exactly known for its durability.  It often frays after a year or two and can even break down to the point where it won’t charge your device at all. (I’ve also noticed it can turn an increasingly sour shade of yellow.). But Apple is working on some ideas to make its cables more durable, filing a patent application for a “Cable with Variable Stiffness.”
  • Amazon added a few abilities to Alexa last month, introducing a variety of Super Bowl-related skills and the ability to do home automation independently. Still, today the company’s telling us about some new alarm and COVID skills that snuck under the radar.  Turning to skills that could be slightly more useful, Alexa can now help you find the nearest COVID testing site or help you find vaccine trials. Asking Alexa, “where can I get tested for COVID” will make it read out a list of the nearby testing places. You can then have Alexa call one of the locations if you want more information.

 IIoT and IoT (Bill Curtis)

  • Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon X65, “the world’s first” 10 Gbps 5G modem-RF system. Although 10 Gbps is not needed for most IoT devices, industrial IoT has an insatiable appetite for edge intelligence. 10G Ethernet is already becoming commonplace in larger installations (i.e., Industry 4.0) to connect compute servers, gateways, and AI-enhanced IoT end-nodes. For high-performance applications, the X65 will accelerate the transition to wireless edge connectivity over private networks.
  • Canonical announced G.A. of Ubuntu core 20, a containerized version of 20.04 LTS intended for IoT and embedded applications. This release emphasizes minimal footprint, secure boot, and unattended updates. 
  • Sigfox announced collaboration with Google Cloud to improve overall scalability and extend services options. Not surprisingly, it looks like its primary focus is asset tracking. The strategic similarities with AWS Core for LoRaWAN are apparent.
  • After seven years of steady progress, recent product introductions and positive press coverage confirm that Thread has finally emerged as a commercially viable LP-LAN network for both consumer and commercial applications. It has the performance and architecture to enable Internet protocols for small, low power devices. Thread (and Project CHIP) should be on your 2021 watch list.

Machine Learning/ Artificial Intelligence (Karl Freund) 

  • While things have been very quiet this month in terms of the Cambrian A.I. Explosion, I have been briefed by several startups bringing dramatics efficiency to edge A.I. processing. In particular, Flex Logix looks impressive, but Deep Vision and SimpleMachines portend to offer 10 TOPS power watt for efficient edge processing. More to come in a forthcoming Forbes Blog.

Personal Computing/ Collaboration (Anshel Sag) 

  • Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X65 and X62 are the company’s first 4nm 3GPP Rel.16 modems, with the X65 being the world’s first 10 Gbps modem through the support of up to 1000 MHz of mmWave 5G
  • Qualcomm also launched new 5G mmWave modules, the company’s 3rd generation, which further reduces the size of deploying mmWave in smartphones, improves performance, and adds support for 41 GHz bands.
  • The GSA reports that 144 operators in 61 countries have live 5G networks, less than two years after the first launches of 5G networks. There are over 400 operators globally that plan to deploy 5G or are in the process of doing so now.
  • The C-Band auction, now standing at $81 billion, has concerned many people about the debt burden it may place on AT&T and Verizon and its ability to roll out the spectrum it win fast enough to be competitive with other countries.
  • Valve, OpenBCI, and Tobii have partnered together to launch a brain-computer interface named ‘Galea’ in 2022
  • Chip shortages across the industry are affecting everything from gaming P.C.s and consoles to automotive manufacturers. I believe that if Biden wants to have immediate effects on relieving the global supply, he must consider undoing some of Trump’s trade policies that exacerbated this crisis and long term by helping Globalfoundries, Intel, TSMC, and Samsung build capacity.

Quantum Computing (Paul Smith-Goodson)

  • It looks like Cisco is semi-officially a quantum player. Also, Alireza Shabani announced he is moving from Google A.I. research to Cisco. Cisco also issued an RFP for research into quantum computing and quantum networking ( The prospects of quantum networking and a quantum internet isn’t something it can ignore.
  • Over the next few years, IBM will be creating a software environment that simplifies access to quantum computing for industry specialists. Technical knowledge and details of creating programs for quantum computers will be minimized by using prepackaged programs that are simple and easy to use. This will likely create a large influx of industry researchers who previously had no training in quantum. It will also accelerate the effects of quantum on society in general.
  • Q-CTRL, a quantum software startup, just announced a good example of how quantum is becoming more accessible and easy to use for developers without a physics background. It created an AI-Based tool that enables quantum computers to optimize its performance autonomously. It is important that it was done without user intervention. It is equally important to highlight that a user of the toolset doesn’t need a detailed understanding of the quantum hardware.
  • In the future, we can expect more quantum applications and algorithms will be automated and controlled by A.I.    
  • I think it is good news for quantum that Andy Jassy will replace Bezos as CEO of Amazon. Jassy certainly understands the importance of quantum as part of the AWS platform and the future of Amazon.  Whether Amazon will pursue the development of its quantum computer is still a question. It is likely that in the future, the quantum portion of AWS will be expanded to accommodate new technologies as it becomes suitable for democratized cloud research. Jassy has intimate knowledge of the AWS platform and knows precisely where he wants to take it.  But it will be several months before he makes a public disclosure. 
  •  There is an agreement between Roche and Cambridge Quantum Computing to use quantum algorithms to investigate new treatments for Alzheimer’s. CQC is a strickly software, so quantum hardware will be needed to complete the triad. CQC previously used Honeywell’s new Model H1 trapped-ion quantum computer with good results.  Additionally, Honeywell is an investor in CQC, so Honeywell is likely to be the quantum computer of choice. Roche will use CQC’s EUMEN quantum chemistry platform. Roche has previously worked on molecular simulations. Keep in mind, this is preliminary research, and nothing will be done on quantum computers that can’t be performed on classical computers.  
  • IBM has released a new quantum computing development roadmap overlaying improved software and usability on top of its previous hardware roadmap. It intends to allow developers to access its quantum services using the same coding environment it is already using. It is also announcing two new features, mid-circuit measurement/reset, and advanced phase estimation. IBM estimates that its software will allow some applications to speedup by a factor of 30 to 100 times faster.  Also, some quantum simulations can be reduced from a run time of 100 days to 1 day. 

Security (Chris Wilder)

  • N/A

Columns Published (Forbes, UPLOAD VR, and others)        

  1. Qualcomm Drops 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report, by Patrick Moorhead
  2. Oracle Is Now Bringing The Cloud To The Enterprise Edge, by Patrick Moorhead
  3. A New Look Inside The Brain Of Qualcomm’s Licensing Head, by Patrick Moorhead
  4. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro One Month In Review: A Solid Step Up, by Patrick Moorhead
  5. NI Launches Far-Reaching Initiative To Change The Face Of Engineering, by Patrick Moorhead
  6. Box Gets Into The Digital Signature Game With SignRequest Acquisition, by Patrick Moorhead
  7. Qualcomm Revs Its Engines At Its Automotive Redefined Event, by Patrick Moorhead
  8. Poly Fills The Enterprise-Consumer Collaboration Device Gap With Poly Studio P Series, by Patrick Moorhead
  9. My Apple M1 Mac Mini Purchase After 90 Days: Any Regrets? By Mark Vena
  10. IBM Upgrades Entry Enterprise Flash Storage, by Steve McDowell
  11. GameStopped: Trading App Fiasco Shows “Free Trades” Does Not Mean Trading Freely, by Melody Brue

Blogs Published (MI&S)                                                              

  1. Samsung Galaxy S21 5G Review: A Big Step Forward, by Patrick Moorhead
  2. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G Review: Nailed It, by Patrick Moorhead
  3. Synaptics Unsheathes New Katana Low Power Edge A.I. Platform, by Patrick Moorhead
  4. Samsung Galaxy Tab Active3 Review, by Patrick Moorhead
  5. Samsung Expands Chromebook And Tablet Offerings At CES 2021, by Patrick Moorhead
  6. ThinkReality A3 Expands Lenovo’s Leadership Position In Enterprise X.R. At CES 2021, by Anshel Sag
  7. Smartphones Diversify With New Rollables And Foldables As Market Matures, by Anshel Sag
  8. Affirm IPO Puts A Spotlight On The “Buy Now, Pay Later” Industry, by Melody Brue


The G2 on 5G by Moor Insights & Strategy, with Anshel Sag and Will Townsend

  • Episode 39 – Feb 12, 2021
    • EU/ EC investigation of 6G  
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon X65, X62 modems, and QTM545 and QTM547 mmWave Modules, new FWA reference design
    • Spirent Communications 5G report key insights
    • GSA Report – 144 Operators in 61 Countries Have Live 5G Networks
    • Nokia’s Open RAN push in Brazil and its potential to accelerate 5G applications
    • Eric Schmidt and Nokia’s Ed Cholerton are concerned about the C-Band auction
  • Episode 38 – Feb 5, 2021
    • Nokia and T-Mobile earnings insights 
    • CTIA US Economic Report – Boston Consulting Group – 5G Impact of $1.4 to 1.7 Trillion over next ten years and 3.8 to 4.6 million jobs during that period
    • John Deere acquires CBRS mid-band spectrum- what does it mean for 5G fueled AgTech in the U.S.? 
    • Omnispace Hybrid 5G IoT company gets $60 million in funding, which will help it get more 2 GHz S-Band for satellite to combine with terrestrial spectrum to improve coverage and speeds
    • Verizon plans to lean into its 5G Ultra Wide Band service for the Super Bowl – will it demonstrate the true promise of 5G?
    • T-Mobile Super Bowl LV 5G deployment utilizing 600, 2.5 GHz, and 39 GHz bands and includes 80 MHz of spectrum for 2.5 GHz alone

DataCentric Podcast by Moor Insights & Strategywith Matt Kimball and Steve McDowell

  • N/A

SmartTechCheck Podcast by Moor Insights & Strategywith Mark Vena

  • N/A

The Six-Five Podcast by Moor Insights & Strategy and Futurum Research, with Patrick Moorhead and Daniel Newman

Moor Insights & Strategy Podcast

  • N/A

 Press Citations: 

  1. AI / Forbes (Anshel Sag)
  2. Amazon, earnings/ Geekwire:
  3. Amazon, leadership change, cloud/ SDX Central:
  4. Amazon, leadership change/ CNN:
  5. Amazon, leadership change/ WIRED:
  6. Amazon, leadership change/ Enterprise A.I.:
  7. Amazon, leadership change/ Yahoo Finance:
  8. Apple, Tesla / Canada Yahoo Finance 
  9. Apple, Tesla, EV/ Yahoo Finance:
  10. ATT / SDXCentral  (Will Townsend)
  11. Bitcoin miners, semiconductor supply/Bitcoin News:
  12. Chips / CNBC 
  13. Cloud spending, pandemic/I.T. Pro Portal:
  14. Cisco, Earnings / Bizjournals 
  15. Cisco, Earnings / SiliconAngle 
  16. Cisco, Earnings/TechTarget
  17. Cisco, Earnings / ChannelFutures 
  18. Cisco, Earnings / The Morningstar
  19. Cirrus Logic, growth/ Austin American-Statesman:
  20. Cloud / ITProportal 
  21. Consoles, China /
  22. Graphcore, IPU (Karl Freund)/ Enterprise AI:
  23. Intel, Apple /
  24. Intel, Pat Gelsinger/ Global Finance:
  25. Intel, stocks/ Investors Business Daily:
  26. IoT, Covid-19/ SDX Central:
  27. LG / AndroidCentral (Anshel Sag) 
  28. Nutanix, VMware (Matt Kimball)/ Datacenter Knowledge:
  29. Qualcomm, earnings/ SiliconAngle:
  30. Qualcomm, Chips / SDXCentral  (Anshel Sag) 
  31. Qumulo, Quantum (Steve McDowell)/ Tech Target:
  32. RAN, 5G / SDXCentral (Will Townsend)
  33. Samsung, Austin, tax incentives/ Austin American-Statesman:
  34. Tesla / Canada Yahoo Finance 
  35.  T-Mobile, 5G / AndroidHeadlines  (Anshel Sag) 
  36. VMware, Cloud Foundation (Steve McDowell)/ SiliconAngle:

New Gear or Software We are Using and Testing that is Public Knowledge 

  • Apple MacBook Pro 13″ M1, MacBook Air M1, MacBook Mini M1, iPhone 12 mini 
  • Cash App’s Crypto Boost
  • Dell XPS 13 EVO laptop
  • EK-Quantum Power Kit RX 6800/6900 D-RGB P360 – AMD Edition
  • HP Spectre EVO 13 laptop
  • Huawei P40 Pro 
  • IBM Qiskit software
  • Intel ATX12VO motherboard & PSU
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • Razer EVO laptop
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2, S21, and S21 Ultra
  • Sony blogger camera
  • TCL 10 5G U.W.
  • Xbox Series X 

 Events MI&S Plans on Attending In-Person or Virtually (New) 

  • February 2021
    • Qualcomm IoT Analyst Event, Feb 17 (Mark Vena)
    • HPE Telco Day – Moderator – Feb 24 (Will Townsend)
    • ZOHO days Feb 24-25 (Patrick Moorhead)
  • March 2021
    • Microsoft Ignite, March 2-4 (Anshel Sag, Patrick Moorhead)
    • Samsung VX Live March 4 (Patrick Moorhead)
    • MIT FinTech Conference 2021 March 5-6 (Melody Brue)
    • VMware Analyst Summit March 8 (Patrick Moorhead)
    • Cisco LIVE March 30 (Patrick Moorhead)


  • Sign up here  to get specific AI/ML, Datacenter, Cloud Services, Client Computing, IIoT, Semiconductor content. 

The Team 

Analysts and Analysts In-Residence

  1. Patrick Moorhead, Founder, President, Principal Analyst; Broad technology coverage and deep insights into Cloud & SaaS, IoT, Personal Computing, Semiconductors, Automotive 
  2. Bill Curtis, Analyst In-Residence, IIoT, and Deep IoT Technology 
  3. Rhett Dillingham, Senior Analyst, Cloud Services 
  4. Karl Freund, Senior Analyst, HPC, and Deep Learning 
  5. Matt Kimball, Senior Analyst, Datacenter Servers, CI, and HCI 
  6. Melody Brue, Senior Analyst, Financial Tech
  7. Steve McDowell, Senior Analyst, Datacenter Storage, and Storage Technologies 
  8. Anshel Sag, Senior Analyst; V.R., P.C. Gaming, Mobile Platforms 
  9. Paul Smith-Goodson, Senior Analyst; Quantum Computing 
  10. Will Townsend, Senior Analyst; Carrier Equipment and Services, DC Networking 
  11. Chris Wilder, Senior Analyst, Security 
  12. Mark Vena, Senior Analyst, Smart Home, and Home Security 


  1. Dan Pickens, Business Director 
  2. Paula Moorhead, Marketing Director, Website, and Social Media 
  3. Walker Pickens, Media Relations, and Writer 
  4. Zane Pickett, Office Manager, A.P., AR, travel, writer 
  5. Lee LeClercq Williams, Business Associate