Tag Archives: Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services files complaint in court over CIA contract

Amazon Web Services has filed a complaint in a U.S. court after the Government Accountability Office sustained in part a protest by IBM against the award of a contract by the CIA for a cloud computing project.

IBM had challenged the evaluation of proposals and the selection decision in the award of the CIA contract for commercial cloud services to AWS in Seattle, Washington.

The bid protest complaint filed by AWS on Wednesday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims is under seal as some of the information contained in it is under a protective order from the GAO.

“We believe strongly that the CIA got it right the first time. Providing true cloud computing services to the intelligence community requires a transformative approach with superior technology,” AWS said in an emailed statement.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

HP, NEC to develop next-generation x86 servers

Hewlett Packard and Japan’s NEC will expand their existing partnership to develop high-end x86-based servers for cloud and Web applications.

The companies said Thursday they will team up to accelerate research on HP’s next generation of blade-based server systems, which the U.S. company is gradually introducing alongside its traditional Itanium Unix-based servers. They said their focus will be on creating x86 hardware that can run with the same reliability as the Unix products, which can then be employed in mission-critical roles running today’s social networks, mobile applications and cloud-based services.

HP is trying to catch up to rivals such as Amazon Web Services in the growing market for cloud services, while also stay competitive in hardware amid a general shift away from Unix. The company announced a strategy to pursue a hybrid cloud approach last year, based on a solution it is calling HP Converged Cloud. Last month it announced a new operating system for cloud computing, HP Cloud OS, built on the open-source hosting software platform OpenStack, but said initially the new OS will only run on its own hardware.

The new partnership will aim to speed up the development of HP’s Project Odyssey, which it first announced in 2011. The project is an attempt to integrate x86 server blades running Windows or Linux with its Itanium-based server lineup based on Unix. NEC said the companies will specifically focus on a system that HP has been developing for years called “DragonHawk,” which is supposed to be able to incorporate both types of servers into a single cabinet but has been slow to materialize.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Citrix bequeaths Xen to the Linux Foundation

In an effort to attract a more diverse set of contributors, enterprise software vendor Citrix has donated its open source Xen hypervisor to the Linux Foundation.

Citrix announced the donation Monday at the Linux Foundation‘s Collaboration Summit, being held this week in San Francisco.

The Linux Foundation will support continued development and maintenance of Xen. As a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, the newly named Xen Project will get support infrastructure and guidance from the nonprofit foundation.

Citrix is hoping that, by donating the code to the Linux Foundation, future Xen development will get input from a wider, more diverse group of contributors. Companies such as Amazon Web Services, AMD, CA Technologies, Cisco, Google, Intel, Oracle, Samsung and Verizon have pledged to support Xen Project.

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From: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2034663/citrix-bequeaths-xen-to-the-linux-foundation.html#tk.rss_all

Ground Control to Amazon: "Seattle, We Have a Problem"

By Asit Sharma, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Before reporting its fourth quarter earnings at the end of January, Amazon.com was valued at approximately 3,500 times trailing 12-month earnings. This is a fascinating statistic, the magnitude of which is difficult at first to grasp. Suppose that you took a profitable tech company like Cisco Systems, which makes $9 billion in profit from $47 billion in revenue, and represented its P/E ratio of 12 as an extremely tall building — say the height of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Apples to apples, how much higher would Amazon’s building be? You would have to stack an equivalent of 290 Giza Pyramids, all the way into the stratosphere, to construct this tower, finally stopping at about 40 kilometers above the Earth, or just the right height to ask Felix Baumgartner to hand you a Red Bull from his Stratos space capsule. Even after Amazon’s earnings for the trailing 12 months turned negative, its stock has remained buoyant. Let’s examine why Amazon’s stratospheric valuation, so long untethered, may soon approach re-entry.

Elusive profits from “Other Services”
Over the last 10 years, Amazon’s total gross margin has remained within a fairly predictable band, ranging in most quarters between 20% and 26%. For years, investors have assumed that Amazon’s top-line growth will come from online retail sales, while its margins will rise on the shoulders of what Amazon terms “Other Services,” which includes Amazon Web Services, fulfillment, digital content, publishing, and advertising. You might think that, by now, the boost from other services, especially Amazon Web Services, or AWS, would have kicked in. AWS is the largest provider of public cloud computing services, and has been estimated to have grossed over $2 billion last year. Amazon does not break out results for AWS separately in its financials.

Some insights can be gained in reviewing how Amazon treats expenditures to build this business. Internal use software is amortized over two years, and the servers used for AWS are depreciated over three years. The short amortization and depreciation periods signal that the infrastructure for web services may be more capital intensive than one might assume. Generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, require that software and equipment are amortized and depreciated over management’s best estimate of their useful lives. Having to replace server infrastructure every few years signals a relatively high fixed cost.

Couple this fixed cost challenge with Amazon’s penchant for discounting to gain business, and you can see why AWS is not having more of an impact on the company’s net income. AWS tends to cut pricing for server time as it gains efficiencies, and has passed on 20 price cuts to clients over the last few years. This is helping AWS grow and fend off competition from the likes of Oracle, Google, and IBM. But it also helps explain why strategically, AWS may not be much different than Amazon’s media and electronics online retail business, which, incidentally, still comprises roughly 95% of Amazon’s total

From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/11/ground-control-to-amazon-seattle-we-have-a-problem/

How to make the most of free Amazon business services

The best way to think of the free tier to Amazon Web Services is as a stepping-stone. It’s a way to get your feet wet with the basic mechanisms of AWS and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2); to understand Amazon’s way of handling virtual machine instances, storage, data, and networking; and to create something that can eventually be hosted on a full-blown, for-pay AWS instance. It’s also a way to learn how to manage and constrain AWS usage—if you’re not careful you may end up paying for your “free” AWS usage after all.

In this article, we’ll look at what the free tier offers you and on what terms, then take a closer peek at what’s possible or practical within those constraints. In the long run, any serious AWS user will want to take fuller advantage of what the Amazon cloud has to offer—but why not make the most of the free resources in the meantime? The free tier is a great way to find one’s legs with AWS, start some projects, and maybe even build a functional application or three.

As a side note, one of the more ominous statements in Amazon’s documentation about the free tier is this little warning: “We may stop accepting new registrations for the Offer at any time.” This may be boilerplate CYA on Amazon’s part, but if you’re thinking about setting up a free-tier account, you might as well do it now and get in on the action while it’s available.

What do you get for your $0 a month?The AWS Free Usage Tier provides you with a level of usage for many AWS components that is often just enough to get up and running. But even if it doesn’t give you all the resources you might want to create something truly useful, you can certainly create something functional. Just don’t expect it to scale well for unrestricted public use. Here’s a rundown of some of the most useful AWS components and what you get with them on the free tier.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Adobe Primetime Launches, Bringing TV Content to Connected Screens

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

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Adobe Primetime Launches, Bringing TV Content to Connected Screens

Comcast Cable and NBC Sports Group Sign On As Launch Partners

LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)– At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference, Adobe Systems Incorporated (NAS: ADBE) today announced the general availability of Adobe® Primetime (formerly “Project Primetime”), the industry’s most advanced TV publishing and monetization platform for programmers and pay TV service providers. The company also announced technology collaborations with dozens of industry leaders, including encoders, cloud platform providers, and content delivery networks (CDNs) to pave the way for TV content across every connected screen. Ecosystem partners include Akamai, Amazon Web Services, Cisco SystemsElemental Technologies, Envivio, Harmonic, iStreamPlanet, RGB Networks, thePlatform and others. Comcast Cable and NBC Sports Group have signed on as first Adobe Primetime launch partners.

Adobe Primetime enables programmers and pay TV service providers to capitalize on the rising consumer interest in watching and engaging with digital video while helping protect and maximize the value of their content. The platform tightly integrates Adobe’s video publishing, player, DRM, advertising and analytics solutions to help eliminate the complexity of reaching audiences across screens and to create great digital video experiences while also offering new monetization opportunities for programmers and pay TV service providers. The seamless tie-in with ecosystem partners offers for the first time a highly scalable and reliable solution that can be implemented consistently across devices and platforms. Adobe Primetime‘s interoperable components can be deployed individually to fit their infrastructure needs or let the full solution handle the entire workflow.

Comcast Cable has incorporated several of Adobe Primetime‘s modular components across certain XFINITY Web properties to deliver and monetize IP-delivered video and give their subscribers access to their favorite content via these properties. Comcast is leveraging a broad range of Adobe Primetime capabilities, including the player, DRM, ad insertion, ad serving, and analytics – in various configurations. NBC Sports Group also launched with Adobe Primetime, and now uses the solution to offer live sporting events, including Major League Soccer (MLS) and National Hockey League (NHL) games, as well as Golf Channel content across devices. Consumers are able to watch the content live and on demand.

One Format, Every Screen

To help content owners and distributors more efficiently bring more content to more devices, Adobe Primetime provides a single publishing workflow with one video format (HLS) and one DRM …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Amazon Web Services and Google lower cloud pricing

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has lowered the cost of running Windows on its cloud, while Google announced a reduction on all Compute Engine pricing. Google has also expanded the number of virtual servers users can choose from and made its cloud more Euro friendly.

Competition in the market for public cloud platform and infrastructure services is heating up, as vendors compete both with each other as well as with private and hybrid cloud platforms. Although public cloud service vendors like Amazon and Google continually improve their products, price is still a main motivation for companies to shift away from their on premises servers.

As part of its push to increase the variety of Windows-based server products customers can host on its infrastructure, Amazon has lowered the cost of Windows on-demand EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) instances by up to 26 percent. For example, a large standard instance in the U.S. east region now costs US$0.364 per hour instead of $0.460 per hour. That translates to more than $2,000 in quarterly savings when running 10 such instances, according to Amazon.

Earlier this week, the company also lowered the cost of its Simple Storage Service (S3), and since the beginning of the year, running Linux and databases in Amazon’s cloud have also become cheaper.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Amazon and Google Cut Cloud Computing Prices

By Evan Niu, CFA, The Motley Fool

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E-tail giant Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) has now announced that it is reducing prices on cloud computing services in its Amazon Web Services division. Instances of Microsoft Windows running on its Elastic Cloud Compute, or EC2, service will receive the price cuts of up to 26% as Amazon continues to reduce costs and pass those savings on to customers.

Amazon has a long history of reducing AWS pricing. In its last earnings release, the company noted that AWS has lowered prices 24 times since launching in 2006, with 10 price reductions in 2012 alone.

At the same time, rival Google (NAS: GOOG) similarly said it would lower prices for its Google Compute Engine, nine months after launching the service. Google is dropping prices by 4% across all Compute Engine pricing. Additionally, the search giant has expanded availability and added new features.

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The article Amazon and Google Cut Cloud Computing Prices originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares Amazon.com and Google. It also owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Amazon Launches Tool to Increase Cloud Security

By Kevin Chen, The Motley Fool

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Amazon.com is launching a new offering to increase cloud security for its Amazon Web Services customers.

CloudHSM is a hardware security module that provides secure key storage and a set of cryptographic operations. Customers can encrypt and decrypt data and maintain full control of the keys and cryptographics. Amazon says the hardware is designed to meet a number of international and U.S. government standards.

The service is available for an one-time upfront fee of $5,000 per HSM, or an hourly rate of $1.88 per hour. It’s currently available in the company’s U.S. East and EU West regions — specifically, Northern Virginia and Ireland. Expansion will continue throughout 2013. 

The article Amazon Launches Tool to Increase Cloud Security originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Kevin Chen has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Amazon.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don’t all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Can Microsoft Ever Matter in the Cloud?

By Richard Saintvilus, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Although I no longer hold the stock, I still find myself defending Microsoft quite a bit. That in and of itself might seem like a problem — when a company of Microsoft’s stature needs so much validation. There’s still a lot of good in this company, however. This despite the fact that it seems the tech world — specifically Apple and Google — has left Mr. Softy in the dust.

And now Microsoft is looking to make up the difference in the cloud. Will it be enough?

Will Microsoft remain a cloud underdog?
Although the popularity of mobile devices has allowed Apple and Google to steal Microsoft’s luster, this has not taken away from Microsoft’s dominance in enterprise and, in particular, Office and Windows. That 80% of the company’s revenue still comes from businesses proves how strong those franchises still are. Nevertheless, with the cloud getting bigger each year, Microsoft has come under considerable pressure.

In Azure, Microsoft has not been asleep at the wheel. And despite what bears may think, the platform is better than adequate. But even though I’m willing to give Microsoft a “glass half-full” thesis in its efforts, I don’t think Azure is ready for primetime yet. There was a point, though, when I felt Azure would be a significant player, especially since the cloud market is still fairly short on development tools. Plus, I felt the company’s Office 365 solution would have presented a solid software-as-a-service, or SaaS, rival to Salesforce.com and Oracle . Today, I’m not so sure.

I say this even though Microsoft has recently launched Azure community portal, which invites a wide range of developers to create, thereby increasing a broader adoption of the service. Microsoft also refreshed Azure with a Virtual Machine-centric platform similar to Amazon‘s Elastic Compute Cloud. Going after Amazon is a good strategy, but Azure is still limited in functionality when compared to Amazon’s Web Services, or AWS.

However, Microsoft does have an advantage over Amazon by having a much bigger footprint among businesses and enterprise. Plus, it certainly benefits Microsoft by coming up with a way to grow Azure and all that goes into building an ecosystem. The question, though, is to what extent will users embrace Azure. And can Azure offset any decline or narrow the gap in mobile weakness against Apple and Google?

However, there’s also Oracle and Salesforce to contend with. As enterprises continue to transition to more SaaS environments, can Azure measure up against these two giants? Microsoft should be able to compete on price and seamless integration, given its strong lead with business customers. Hopefully, these customers won’t expect or insist that Microsoft be better. Microsoft will just need to be adequate.

Can the enterprise stay strong?
The recent 9% growth in the server and tools segment suggests that the company is holding its own against the likes of IBM and Oracle. Likewise, Microsoft’s SQL business still produces solid results, and the company’s Hyper-V product, which rivals VMware‘s vSphere, is …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

CloudCheckr and UX World Announce Strategic Partnership

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

Filed under:

CloudCheckr and UX World Announce Strategic Partnership

Partnership to include product integration and co-marketing initiatives

ROCHESTER, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– CloudCheckr and UX World proudly announce that they have entered into a strategic partnership to deliver customers more effective solutions for optimizing the performance of Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure. The companies will begin joint product development, integrate their technologies, and deliver new capabilities for improving availability and security of cloud infrastructure, which are recognized as major barriers for public cloud adoption.

“CloudCheckr and UX World share a common goal, lowering the barriers to cloud adoption,” said Aaron Newman, CTO and Co-Founder of CloudCheckr. “Our respective solutions both address the complexity of maintaining uptime and enhancing security on cloud infrastructure.”

CloudCheckr monitors the underlying Amazon Web Services resources and configurations to provide visibility into a customer’s AWS security and availability posture that is currently unavailable through native AWS functionality. CloudCheckr users can more tightly manage their AWS infrastructure and policies than simply using the native AWS interface. Its cutting edge analytics provide decision support for managing and scaling AWS deployments while optimally balancing performance, risk and spend.

UX World responds to the cloud-specific problem of impermanent IP addresses for virtual servers, streamlining the process for diagnosing failed cloud servers and rapid re-provisioning. The UX World virtual DNS appliance is the leading solution for maintaining DNS security within the outsourced DNS management environment of cloud computing and invaluable for cloud users. “I am pleased to partner with CloudCheckr. Like us, they recognize the importance of creating cloud-native solutions to solve cloud-unique issues,” said Nick Desai, CEO and Founder of UX World. “We look forward to working with CloudCheckr.”

About CloudCheckr:

CloudCheckr is based in Rochester, NY with satellite office in San Francisco and Argentina. CloudCheckr analytics provide decision support for cloud resource control, purchasing and configurations so companies can scale their cloud infrastructure while balancing performance, security, and spend. It is an Amazon Web Services Technology Partner.

About UX World:

UX WORLD offers a targeted and secure solution to manage DNS and DHCP. This purpose-built application is being offered as a physical device or a virtual appliance. The OVA distribution is compatible with VMware ESXi, CA AppLogic, Xen, and Amazon Web Services. As part of the core functionality, dnslfy resolves a …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Is It Too Late to Buy Amazon?

By Chris Hill, The Motley Fool

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The following video is from Wednesday’s MarketFoolery podcast, in which host Chris Hill and analysts Matt Argersinger and Jason Moser discuss the top business and investing stories of the day.

A listener writes in with a basic question: “Amazon‘s great, but is it too late to buy?”

The guys analyze the strengths of Amazon’s business, the increase in both customers and customer spending, and why Amazon Web Services may be the hidden gem of the company.

Amazon may be the king of the retail world right now, but at its sky-high valuation, most investors are worried it’s the company’s share price that will get knocked down instead of its competitors’. We’ll tell you what’s driving the company’s growth, and fill you in on reasons to buy and reasons to sell Amazon in our Motley Fool premium report. Simply click here now to get started.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Netflix Isn't as Dependent on Amazon as You Think

By Tim Beyers, The Motley Fool

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For all the complaints about Netflix , the most legitimately worrisome may be its dependence on chief competitor Amazon.com .

By most accounts, the streaming sensation couldn’t deliver as much video as it does without the help of Amazon Web Services. Trouble is, AWS has gone wobbly in recent months. A Christmas Eve outage took out Netflix, too, resulting in a lot less holiday cheer.

Whatever issues were at work then appear to have been solved. But Netflix also isn’t taking chances. The company is slowly moving core pieces of infrastructure off Amazon, including infrastructure that controls the way users managers their “queue” of streamed shows and to-be-shipped DVDs. (Find the details in this admittedly technical blog post.)

Should investors expect Netflix and Amazon to part ways this year? What will it mean if they do? Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova addresses these questions and more in the video below. Please watch, and then be sure to leave a comment to let us know what you think.

Netflix’s fortunes increasingly depend on success in international markets. Can the streaming sensation expand globally even as deep-pocketed competitors attack here at home? This is a must-know issue for investors, which is why we’ve released a brand-new premium report on Netflix. Inside, you’ll learn about the key opportunities and risks facing the company, as well as reasons to buy or sell the stock. We’re also offering a full year of updates as key news hits, so make sure to click here and claim a copy today.

The article Netflix Isn’t as Dependent on Amazon as You Think originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the 
Motley Fool Rule Breakers
stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of, and had a long-term call options position in, Netflix at the time of publication. Check out Tim’s web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool owns shares of Netflix and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Netflix and Amazon.com. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Is Netflix's Monkey the Next Cloud Vaccine?

By Richard Saintvilus, The Motley Fool

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I’m beginning to realize that nobody truly knows what the cloud is. But they sure as heck understand that they need some form of it if they care to survive. And according to Netflix , a part of that survival is failure and doing so as often as possible.

To that end, the company has created Chaos Monkey, a service that runs in the Amazon Web Services, or AWS, that seeks out to terminate what is called Auto Scaling Groups. For those unfamiliar with the cloud, this is an absolutely brilliant tool. Netflix designed the software to be flexible enough to work with other cloud providers and can scale to any existing network. And you thought all Netflix did was stream movies.

However, this underscores my frustration with calling writers thinking they have fully grasped this cloud concept, to the extent that they can distinguish between what is real and what is fake, which made no sense at all. I’ve recently felt the urge to come to Oracle‘s defense after a barrage of stories surfaced launching accusations at the company’s service delivery model. The nerve it requires to discredit what is still essentially a theory didn’t sit well with me. Understandably, it didn’t sit well with many Oracle supporters, either.

In the case of Netflix and Amazon, these two companies have a lot more in common than their high-priced stocks. They are brilliant innovators with revolutionary visionaries running their businesses. While everyone focuses on their heated streaming movie battles, behind the scenes they are eating bananas together and swinging on vines. Amazon, which has arguably one of the best cloud services on the market with AWS, has Netflix as one of its biggest customers.

Similarly, when Amazon has recently suffered severe service outages, it reached out to Netflix’s Chaos Monkey for a solution. Meanwhile, conventional thinking would have you wondering, “Why would Netflix not try to capitalize on Amazon’s struggles and use it as leverage for their streaming battles?” After all, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has an ambitious goal of 60 million to 90 million domestic subscribers. It would make sense to steal what Amazon has.

Netflix is smart enough to realize that the capacity requirements of this goal would be pretty aggressive. To that end, if it can help Amazon’s 121 million worldwide users stay connected, then it means Netflix would have likely figured out how to prevent its own outages in the future. Essentially, you hire a bank robber to help prevent bank robberies. It’s the same concept. But now we’re back to that word again.

The cloud concept is so strong that it even brings rival companies together. We are seeing this all the time. Citrix and Cisco‘s partnership serves as the perfect example. While these strategic alliances do further the interest of each company, it is ultimately the customer who draws the most benefit. As Netflix pointed out, “Failures happen and they inevitably happen when least …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Will Amazon Spin Off AWS?

By Eric Savitz, Forbes Staff

Buried deep inside a fat report on the future of the cloud business, Oppenheimer analyst Jason Helfstein raising an eye-opening idea: Amazon at some point could decide to spin off Amazon Web Services. And five years from now, he adds, the business could be worth north of $100 billion. …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

How Netflix Should Recover From Amazon Addiction

By Dan Woods, Contributor When a startup is in its youth, it is perfectly okay to say, “Amazon Web Services was down” when explaining a disruption in service. If FourSquare has to say that, no problem. For OpenTable, I’m less understanding. For OMGPOP, before it was acquired, it is okay to blame Amazon. For Zynga, no way.
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest