cloud computing

The FT’s latest ebook is about Amazon and its voracious expansion from online book retailer into technological giant.

Is the company a force for good? Can it justify its current stock price? Why does Amazon compete with the companies it provides services to? Will Amazon agree to pay more tax in the UK as Starbucks just agreed to do?

Thanks to everyone who took part in the Q&A. If you have further questions, please post them to Twitter using #FTAmazon. Barney Jopson, the FT’s US retail correspondent, and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, global media editor, will answer them here as soon as possible. Read more

Chris Nuttall

A major investor in Gaikai, the cloud gaming service bought by Sony for $380m last week, has said the console maker could do something revolutionary with its acquisition that would transcend its hardware business.

“I think [Gaikai] will really show its true promise in the hands of Sony,” Mitch Lasky, general partner at the Benchmark Capital VC firm (pictured left), told the GamesBeat 2012 conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. “My hope is that we are going to see ‘PlayStation as a Service’,” he said. Read more

Maija Palmer

Add an ImageNorwegian public sector organisations will be banned from using Google Apps after the Norwegian data protection authorities ruled that the service could put citizens’ personal data at risk.

The data protection authority said Google Apps did not comply with Norwegian privacy  laws because there was insufficient information about where data was being kept. The decision came from a test case in Narvik, where the local council had chosen to use Google Apps for their email. Read more

Robin Kwong

When Taiwan’s Quanta landed orders from Facebook and Google to help custom-build their data centres earlier this year, it was the first step into a new industry for the world’s biggest contract maker of notebooks.

Quanta chairman Barry Lam’s said on Monday, however, that his ambitions go further than just completing built-to-order projects for tech companies. Quanta will instead look to offer a full turnkey solution for servers, he said for the first time. It is a move that will put it into direct competition with industry leaders like HP, Dell, IBM and Sun Microsystems. Read more

Robin Kwong

If MiCloud had been launched this week in the US, it would have been just the latest entrant into the growing market of cloud-based services aimed at developers and small companies, a la Amazon’s Elastic Computing Cloud.

But the venture, a joint effort by MiTAC, one of the world’s biggest IT distribution and systems integrators, and Joyent, whose cloud services power LinkedIn, had its debut in Taiwan. There, it makes the claim of being the island’s first public cloud service. Read more

Robin Kwong

Acer boosted its cloud computing capabilities on Thursday by announcing that it plans to spend $320m to acquire iGware, a US cloud computing company whose technology powers Nintendo’s WiFi Connection. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • DirecTV is in advanced talks to be Hollywood’s first partner for early video-on-demand, according to the Los Angeles Times. The satellite TV company would likely be the first distributor to launch so-called premium VOD – where consumers would pay about $30 to rent a movie via the Internet or cable 60 days after it opened in theaters and at least a month before it would become available on DVD.  Film studios including 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros and Walt Disney Pictures are said to be in talks to join the initiative.

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Tim Bradshaw

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft‘s high-octane chief executive, addressed a crowd of students, academics and industry folk at the London School of Economics on Tuesday.

Invited there to deliver a lecture on cloud computing, Mr Ballmer answered a wide range of questions on topics ranging from tablets, piracy and regulation to the likelihood of Microsoft’s demise.

One eye-catching nugget: Mr Ballmer indicated that he was more excited about the potential for Kinect, Microsoft’s new Xbox motion controller, than he was for Windows Phone 7, which launches in London next Monday. Read more

Hardly a week goes by without a big technology company trumpeting its cloud computing services. Not to be left out, telecoms operators are also eyeing the burgeoning market.

Orange has just announced a tie-up with Cisco, EMC and VMware that will see the four companies offering cloud computing service for businesses. Read more

Maija Palmer

Microsoft logo Why has Microsoft recently been so keen to play nicely and comply with all of the EU’s requests on antitrust and privacy?

This week the company began rolling out its “browser ballot screen” which allows European Windows users to chose which internet browser they would like to have on their computer. It marks – almost – the end of Microsoft’s long-running antitrust battle with Brussels, although the company will still be under the Commission’s scrutiny for a while to see how well the browser choice scheme works. Read more

Richard Waters

On a day when cyber-attacks are item number one in the tech news, it does not look like the most auspicious moment to launch a long-term alliance around cloud computing.

But for Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, which said they would spend $250m over the next three years to extend their existing partnership deeper into cloud services, the timing makes perfect sense.

Alliances are hardening and battle lines are being drawn around the next computing platform. With Cisco moving steadily onto both companies’ turf, it’s a natural step to deepen one of the tech industry’s longer-standing partnerships. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Data centres are the modern version of the original mainframe computers, taking up vast amounts of space, with racks and racks of servers delivering high-performance computing.

As any engineer will tell you, a mobile phone now has more processing power than a room-filling mainframe of old, with its cost and electricity consumption infinitely leaner.

On Wednesday, Intel showed off a new 48-core chip that could crunch the size of data centres down in a similar way, describing it as a “‘single-chip cloud computer’ that rethinks many of the approaches used in today’s designs for laptops, PCs and servers.” Read more

Richard Waters

In the evolution of the Amazon Cloud, Wednesday’s news of a trial service designed specifically for the core applications of large companies seems to mark a watershed.

So far, the Amazon pitch has mainly been directed at smaller companies, or at bigger ones looking for somewhere to host high-volume Web services. It is now trying to take things one step further. Read more

  • Google is looking for the next Google. With Google Ventures, a new venture capital arm, the internet search giant hopes to expand its already outsized influence on Silicon Valley and eventually rival established venture firms such as Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital.
  • Facebook is replacing its chief financial officer as it seeks to balance rapid growth against increased capital needs and a closed IPO market. Speculation about Facebook’s financial health has been rampant of late, but today details emerged that suggested the company is in better shape than many thought.

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  • After yet another privacy row, Facebook rebuffed the critics by essentially opening up its terms of service to user input. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg reiterated that “Facebook does not own users’ content.”

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