Tag: Amazon

EU gives its cloud to BT, IBM, Accenture and Atos

Eu-flag-vector-material2The European Commission has announced BT, IBM, Accenture and Atos will get most of the contracts to supply its new cloud services.

Contracts were broken out into three “lots,” covering a private cloud setup, public cloud setup, and platform-as-a-service, for which it will pay $38.5 million.
The whole lot will be platformed by Telecom Italia which is a bit unfortunate. That outfit is under resourced and its mobile arm TIM just adopted the iChing hexagram for “standing still” as its logo.waiting

It is unusual that Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Amazon and none of the other big cloud outfits managed to get their paws on the EU’s clouds.

The Commission said that all the systems will be physically located within the European Union, the Commission noted, “to be compliant with EU data handling requirements” basically it means that the US will not be able to steal it.

According to the announcement, the contract will “enable the Commission to follow the ceaseless pace of today’s technological race.”

The EU hopes that use of cloud services will help it come up with future improvements to how it works, such as using “Big Data.”

The private cloud service will provide computing and storage facilities through a private network link connected to the EC’s data centres, and will be hosted by a single provider. The public cloud infrastructure will be run over the public internet. And the public platform-as-a-service will include both operating systems and database services run over the cloud.

The first cloud services should appear this year.

Social networking marketing might be illegal


thumb-mark-zuckerberg-facebook-pro-4566Using social media
to market products might end up being illegal, according to a German court.

The German courts have looked dimly on a  feature that encourages Amazon customers to share links to products of the online shop with their contacts. The Amazon “share” feature invites customers to share a product via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or Pintrest and really it could be part of any consumer marketing operation.

The court said that sharing by e-mail without approval of the recipient was illegal. It is “unsolicited advertising and unreasonable harassment,” the regional court in Hamm said, confirming the ruling of a lower court in Arnsberg.

The case was brought against one of Amazon’s resellers by a competitor.

The ruling comes after Germany’s highest court ruled earlier this month that a similar feature that encourages Facebook users to market the social media network to their contacts as unlawful.

At the time, the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV), which brought the Facebook case to court, had said the ruling would have implications for other services in Germany which use similar forms of advertising.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday pointless in the UK

2390E7EB00000578-2852585-Scrum_down_Customers_push_each_other_out_of_the_way_as_the_crowd-72_1417213372623Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a US sales tool which proves perfectly pointless for the UK channel and might die out.

Black Friday is a US retail sales event popularised by global giant Walmart but appeared to catch on in the UK. Commerce consultancy Salmon predicts that it will raise a £1 billion online shopping day in the UK.

But it is starting to look like it will come unstuck. Walmart-owned Asda recently announced it would not take part in the event this year after listening to customers’ views. Basically, no one wanted to see British people fighting in shops.

But vendors are started to suggest that the Black Friday numbers don’t stack up. They are losing 30 or 40 percent of their margin and are wondering if it is worth it.

Vendors like VIP are telling the press that in tech, where the margins are so slim, you’re going to end up with people saying ‘I don’t want to participate in it’ next year and the year after”.

The theory is that Amazon and Dixons will continue the tradition, but other major brands will give the sale a miss as they gingerly fondle their bruised bottom lines. After all they are taking money away from the busy period – Christmas, which is when many resellers make most of their cash.

Analyst Context’s founder Jeremy Davies agreed that the phenomenon could be on its way out. He said that the whole Black Friday thing will weaken next year because the experience has been negative.

HP Enterprise to name Microsoft’s Azure cloud partner

Cloud computing - photo Mike MageeThe former maker of expensive printer ink, HP Enterprise, has selected Microsoft’s Azure as its preferred public cloud partner.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman said HPE will officially unveil the partnership with Microsoft at the HPE Discover Conference in London next week.

She said that Vole shared HP’s view of a hybrid IT approach for enterprises, and sees an opportunity to simplify hybrid infrastructure.

“Microsoft Azure will become a preferred public cloud partner. HPE will serve as a preferred provider of Microsoft’s infrastructure and services for its hybrid cloud offerings,” she said.

HP said it will shut down its HP Helion Public Cloud offering effective January 21, 2016 and generally “doubling down” on its managed and virtual private cloud offerings in the wake of the public cloud exit. Whitman claimed this move played to HP’s strengths in private and managed cloud.

“We will continue to extend our cloud infrastructure leadership and integrate the public cloud element for our customers through a strategic, partner-based model,” she said.

Whitman did not say what this deal might have on HPE’s relationship with Amazon Web Services.

Word on the street is that HPE will provide support for AWS’ popular public cloud simply because it has to.

HP gets off of its public cloud

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudThe maker of expensive printer ink, HP is calling it quits on its public cloud offering.

The Helion Public Cloud will be abandoned next year as the vendor is more interested in private cloud products and rather scared of its chums Microsoft and Amazon.

HP has been denying that it will close Helion for six months, but the signs were there. In April, HP executive Bill Hilf said that HP no longer saw public cloud as a priority and that it made “no sense” for HP to go head to head with the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

He backtracked on this statement and said that HP would continue running Helion which operates  one of the largest OpenStack-based public clouds. Writing in his bog, Hilf confirmed what he denied six months ago and that Helion Public Cloud is doomed.

Hilf said HP has made the decision to “double down on our private and managed cloud capabilities” and confirmed that HP will “sunset” Helion Public Cloud on 31 January 2016.

Public cloud remains relevant to HP as part of its hybrid cloud strategy, but the vendor will now work with multiple partners such as Amazon to satisfy its customers’ public cloud needs.

“In order to deliver on this demand with best-of-breed public cloud offerings, we will move to a strategic, multiple partner-based model for public cloud capabilities, as a component of how we deliver these hybrid cloud solutions to enterprise customers,” Hilf said.

“Therefore, we will sunset our HP Helion Public Cloud offering on 31 January 2016.”

HP has been getting closer to Amazon of late as part of its hybrid delivery with HP Helion Eucalyptus. It has also worked with Microsoft to support Office 365 and Azure, he added.

“We also support our PaaS customers wherever they want to run our Cloud Foundry platform – in their own private clouds, in our managed cloud, or in a large-scale public cloud such as AWS or Azure,” Hilf said.

HP invested more than $1bn in its cloud business over two years when it unveiled its Helion range of OpenStack-based cloud products and services last May so it looks half that money was lost.

Walmart takes on Amazon with open source cloud

ASDA1US retail giant Walmart is looking to an open source cloud to turn the tables on Amazon.

Walmart, which owns Asda, saw its shares fall 10 percent this week following news that the company will grow just three to four percent over the next three years, with profit dropping 12 percent in 2017.

Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley blamed rising wages, and the increased cost of training staff. It’s not until 2019 that revenue will grow again.

Walmart is still bigger than Amazon in terms of revenue, but after 18 years, Amazon.com’s market value stands at $254.8 billion. Walmart this week managed to wipe more than $21 billion off its value, down to $213.9 billion.

This is where the cloud comes in. Walmart is creating WalmartOne, which runs on the open source OneOps cloud computing code.

OneOps is Walmart’s own cloud platform, with the company claiming it changed the way its engineers developed and helped shaped how Walmart launched new products to customers.

This week WalmartLabs said OneOps will be released to the world as open source, with the source code being uploaded to code repository GitHub by Christmas.

This means that Walmart is taking the fight to Amazon Web Services by giving developers a chance to avoid vendor lock-in, a situation in which companies are stuck to contracts and technologies supplied by one cloud provider.

King added that by making the platform open source, OneOps will drive competitors to “compete based on price, customer service and innovation.

Google and Amazon will win cloud wars

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudBeancounters from Forrester believe that the future of cloud computing belongs to Amazon and Google.

Analyst John Rymer says “public cloud services,” which is where the future lies and even Dell’s EMC purchase can’t change that.

Amazon and Google now offer their own infrastructure to the rest of the world as cloud computing services. This will be bad news for Microsoft which is bigger than Google at the moment.

Forrester’s report, which draws on interviews with vendors and customers across the market, looks exclusively at “public cloud services” rather than private clouds.

Rymer and Forrester now call the public cloud a “hyper-growth” market. Its new report predicts that this market will grow to $191 billion by 2020. That’s 20 percent more than they predicted in their previous report, back in 2011.

“The adoption among cloud among enterprises, which is really where the money is, has really picked up steam. It’s a big shift. The cloud has arrived. It’s inevitable.”

The report encompasses a wide range of services, like Amazon’s EC2, which serves up virtual machines where you can run practically any software you want and Microsoft Office 365, a suite of pre-built and configured software applications you can tap into via the ‘net.

It said that companies like Amazon and Microsoft and Google continue to expand across all these areas. Amazon just introduced a sweeping array of new services last week.

According to the report, “cloud platform services” like Amazon EC2, where you can build and run your own software, will be a $44 billion market by 2020. Meanwhile, back-end business services will reach $14 billion, and cloud software applications will hit $131 billion.

“A lot of businesses are now saying: ‘I want to move my operational application, back office applications, into public clouds. That’s a big deal. In the past, so many people said: ‘I’m never going there.’ Now they’re actually working at it.”

The public cloud won’t take over the whole IT market, Rymer says, but this is where the big growth lies. According to Rhymer, software-as-a-service offerings such as Office 365 are growing the quickest at the moment.

The biggest winner here will likely be Amazon because it has a massive customer base and they’re been at it longer.

Amazon has revealed that its cloud operation is now a $4.6 billion business, and the company expects it to grow to $6.23 billion by the end of the year. The next-biggest player is Microsoft. In April, Redmond said it’s on track to reach $6.3 billion in revenue this year, including sales of its Office 365 and its Dynamics customer relationship management service. Google, in many respects, has a technical lead on Amazon and Microsoft, but it was slower to market. IBM, with its acquisition of a company called SoftLayer is also a presence.

Services from Google and IBM may not grow as quickly as Amazon’s. But they will grow. It’s where the world is moving, the report said.

Amazon shoes Reno out of the market

shoeBricks and mortar shops are continuing to die as consumers realise they do not have to leave their homes to go shopping.

The latest casualty to report being in trouble is family owners of German shoe chain Reno.

Chief Executive and co-owner Matthias Haendle needs to find a buyer by the end of the year.

Reno owner HR Group is Germany’s largest shoe retailer after Deichmann, and $672.24 million in annual sales and staff of 4,500.

Haendle said in an interview the group needs fresh capital for investment and acquisitions as it is being squeezed by online groups such as Amazon and Zalando

The business comprises wholesale unit Hamm, which is doing well, and struggling retail unit Reno, which has 750 outlets, a source familiar with the matter said earlier this year, without providing an estimate on HR Group’s prospective enterprise value.

Ironically Reno should have done a bit better.  It was founded in 1977 as a mail order group which later merged with Hamm – a leather trading company in 1888.  It should have been the sort of outfit which did well from the online boom.

The difficulty is that Amazon and Zalando did it much better and have carved up a nearly impregnable niche.

Similar patterns are being seen in the UK where established bricks and mortar companies with a large high street presence have been killed off because they did not adapt quick enough to compete with Amazon.

Amazon plans $50 tablet

amazonAmazon will release a $50 tablet in time for the Christmas sales.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the 6-inch screen tablet comes with a mono speaker and is priced much lower than Amazon’s Fire tablet. The Fire sells for $99.

Amazon also plans to release 8-inch and 10-inch screen tablets, the report said.

While other Amazon Fire tablets show advertisements as screen savers, it was not clear if the new 6-inch tablet’s cost included ads.

The move is part of a cunning plan to attract buyers looking for a simple device for straightforward tasks like streaming video at home and shopping on Amazon.com.

The inexpensive tablet will have compromises like inferior screen quality, durability or battery life in comparison to more expensive tablets like Amazon’s larger Fire.

Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has said, the company prefers to make money by selling services that work with the devices, like e-books and video rentals.

He set a $50 price tag for versions of both the Fire tablet and Kindle e-reader, viewing the rock-bottom prices as a crucial lure for a more cost-conscious group of buyers.

E-reader screen technology from its vendors ultimately proved too expensive to drop the retail price, the people said. Amazon’s cheapest Kindle sells for $79.

Analysts are less enthusiastic about the idea claiming that halving the price for a tablet which is less useful defeats the purpose.

Ubuntu is the cloud king

cloud 2Ubuntu is more than twice as popular on the Amazon cloud as all other operating systems combined, according to a new analysis.

According to the Cloud Market which looked at operating systems on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Ubuntu has approximately 135,000 instances. In second place is Amazon’s own Amazon Linux Amazon Machine Image (AMI), with 54,000. Windows is third with 17,600 instances.

By dominating AWS, Ubuntu is the most popular cloud Linux.

Ubuntu has been available on HP Cloud, and Microsoft Azure since 2013. It’s also now available on Google Cloud Platform, Fujitsu, and Joyent.

Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, is also putting considerable efforts behind OpenStack for the private and hybrid cloud. Indeed, Canonical has also worked with Microsoft to bring Windows Server to OpenStack and with Oracle to bring Oracle Linux to the Ubuntu take on OpenStack.

Apparently, 53 percent of all production OpenStack clouds are running Ubuntu. CentOS is far in the back with 29 percent.

Amazon kills off pay-per-click advertising programme

amazonAmazon has pulled the plug on a pay-per-click advertising programme that allowed businesses to divert traffic from the retailer’s platform to their own websites.

The programme allowed businesses that were not sellers on Amazon’s online marketplace to buy ad space on the website. Targeted ads for specific items would pop up on Amazon’s website and drive shoppers to the retailer or manufacturer’s own site.

Scot Wingo, the executive chairman of ChannelAdvisor told Reuters that customers liked it because it provided a middle ground of being able to partner with Amazon but also not allowing them to see all their transaction data.

Wingo said the programme was known for its high conversion rate and said advertisers were surprised when they received an email from Amazon notifying them of the change this week.

An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed the change and said the advertising programme will no longer be available after  October.

Amazon offers other advertising options for third-party sellers to differentiate their products like its sponsored ads program.

Angela Hsu, vice president of Internet business and marketing at Lamps Plus, a home decor company that used the product ads programme told Reuters she was disappointed.

The company was featured in an Amazon case study in May and said the programme increased its sales by more than 80 percent.

People are increasingly starting their product searches on e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon before looking on an individual retailer’s website.

 

Amazon’s Prime Day miffs customers

amazonAmazon’s Prime day failed to live up to the hype generated sending a strong message to e-retailers of the dangers of overreaching customers’ expectations.

Merchants participating in Amazon.com’s much-advertised “Prime Day” sale saw an 80 percent rise in US sales from a year earlier but it appears that the event caused more trouble that it was worth.

The one-day sale on Wednesday for members of Amazon’s $99 per year Prime subscription service is similar to an annual sale by China e-commerce merchant Alibaba.

Wal-Mart panicked and also launched an online sale, fearing that the Prime Day would lose it customers.

Amazon was trying to create a Black Friday frenzy and partly managed it., Amazon did not give detailed sales numbers but said it sold 35,000 Lord of the Rings Blu-Ray sets in 15 minutes and that a Kate Spade handbag was sold out in a minute.

However Amazon shoppers were completely underwhelmed by the experience. Twitter polls show that Prime Day deals were selling out too quickly and complained that deals were not attractive enough.

Other shoppers used the #PrimeDayFail hashtag on Twitter. One user tweeted: “Hey @Amazon, #PrimeDay is not Black Friday in July. It’s April Fools’ in July. #primedayfail”.

Adobe Digital Index said that 50 percent of overall sentiment related to Prime Day on social media was about disappointment.

“Much of the disappointed chatter focused on the lack of blockbuster deals,” it said, adding that users cited sales of less desirable items like socks and towels.

“It was a sale of Amazon’s junk, there was nothing exciting there, and the limited ones which were s were either sold out in seconds,” one irate shopper said. “It was a missed opportunity for Amazon… they should have offered special deals and an across the board discount.”

An Amazon spokeswoman said the retailer was listening to its customers and planned to add more deals like TVs next time.

Wal-Mart launched a three-month online sale of some 2,000 items on Wednesday. The company said customers “shouldn’t have to pay a fee” to get low prices, a dig at Amazon, which it did not name. Deals should be around for more than a single day, a spokesman

Amazon gives loans to small sellers

amazonAmazon.com is extending its business loan program for small sellers later this year in eight more countries including China.

Until now, the e-retailer has offered the service only in the United States and Japan.

Now, according to the head of Amazon Marketplace, Peter Faricy, Amazon Lending, founded in 2012, now plans to offer short-term working capital loans in other countries where it operates a third-party, seller-run marketplace business,.

The scheme is being rolled out in Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom as an “invite-only” .

Amazon offers three- to six-month loans of $1,000 to $600,000 to help merchants buy inventory. It makes money on interest and takes a cut of all sales on its marketplace, which now account for about 40 percent of total Amazon site sales.

Amazon said it has offered hundreds of millions of dollars in loans since 2012, with more than half of its sellers opting for a repeat loan.

Faricy said the company has become better at understanding the inflection points in a small or medium business where capital can make a difference.

“We know a lot about our sellers’ business and invite only those who we think are in the best position to take capital and grow,” he said.

Amazon uses internal algorithms to choose sellers based on the frequency with which they run out of stock, the popularity of their products and their inventory cycles.

Microsoft wants $20 billion from cloud

clouds3Software giant Microsoft has said that it aims to make more than $20 billion in annual revenue from its cloud computing businesses by the end of fiscal 2018.

Chief Executive Satya Nadella said this would mean tripling its cloud based revenue in three years.

Microsoft is one of the leaders in the cloud, and been making a killing providing computing power and storage to customers through its network of data centres.

Microsoft said  that its total commercial cloud revenue, which includes online versions of its Office and Dynamics applications, is running at $6.3 billion per year.

Its closest rival in the cloud, Amazon.com said its competing Amazon Web Services operation took in $1.57 billion in revenue in the quarter, which would also equal an annual rate of $6.3 billion.

Amazon sets up service side

2580297818_3c864043e6Online book seller Amazon is creating a service side to its business based on the very sound idea that customers might want to buy flat-pack furniture, but have not got a clue how to assemble it.

Peter Faricy, vice president for Amazon Marketplace said that there were more than 85 million Amazon customers who have shopped for products this past year that often require a service afterwards.

Amazon’s answer is a new section in the US, Home Services, where customers can shop for professional help. It’s launching with 700 different services, from the ordinary to the esoteric, everything from installing a garbage disposal to renting you a goat herd.

So far it is all being tested, but it could be rolled out to the EU, where it will solve one of the biggest problems that people have – finding a service person who is not a cowboy, now that all the Polish people have gone home.

Faricy said it is tough to quickly find someone who is qualified. It has only accepted an average of three out of every 100 service professionals in each metro area. It makes sure each business is licensed, insured, and passes a five-point background check, with a further six-point background check for each technician.

Amazon said that it takes 60 seconds to buy a service, regardless of whether that is deck repair, house cleaning, or hedge trimming and you will how much it’s going to cost you, up front, no surprises.”