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Broadcom snaps up Brocade as tech merger fever heats up

Place your bets on who buys whom next

It’s turning out to be quite the season of tech mergers and acquisitions. According to the New York Times, chipmaker Broadcom has agreed to snap up Brocade Communications Systems, which makes routers and other networking gear, for a reported $5.5 billion. Broadcom makes computer chips for a long list of tech heavyweights, including Intel and Apple.

Broadcom itself was bought up by Avago in 2015, and Avago then changed its name to Broadcom. This latest deal comes among a flurry of mergers: Qualcomm just bought chipmaker NXP for $38 billion last week, right after NXP merged with Freescale Semiconductor in a $12 billion deal, and Japan’s Softbank shocked the tech world this past summer by snapping up British chipmaker ARM for $32 billion.

What’s driving all the dealmaking? Analysts say the rise of the “internet of things” is helping to fuel chip demand, because all those “smarty things” – which eventually, will be every “thing” – will all need little computer chip brains. And that’s a lot of chips.

Why stick with 7 when 10 is such a 10?

Microsoft is pushing users to upgrade to Windows 10, and they just made the decision easier by announcing they will no longer sell Windows 7 Pro and 8.1 to PC system builders.

Halloween marked the cutoff date for Win7 Pro and 8.1, while no cutoff date has been specified for Windows 10. That might seem obvious, but Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will be the “last” version of Windows they’ll make. Whether that means the next Microsoft PC OS will be a clean-sheet effort not called Windows, or Windows 10 will become an endlessly evolving platform, sort of like Apple has done with MacOS, remains to be seen.

But for the moment, if you’re still hanging on to that dusty copy of Windows 7 Pro, you might want to just concede and pull the trigger on Redmond’s latest and greatest.

Adobe’s Sensei A.I. won’t tell you to sweep the leg

With A.I. being the hot topic in cutting edge tech, it might surprise you to learn about some unlikely places it’s popping up. Case in point: Adobe and their AI tech, called Sensei.

The maker of industry standard software including Photoshop and Premiere says future updates will include help from Sensei that will streamline tedious tasks and make advanced operations, such as cleanly altering facial features, easier to accomplish. So when will Sensei arrive in a Creative Cloud update? Adobe says its already present in some tools in the current versions of Photoshop and Premiere, and will be coming to more apps soon.

Adobe is expected to give a big demo showing Sensei being used in Photoshop next week, and we’ll be watching closely, especially when its used in a feature called “Face Aware Liquify.”