This week has been—and, well, most every week is—rife with news good, bad, and unclear for Amazon and Amazon Web Services. This is has some folks wondering if Amazon wouldn’t be better off spinning out AWS into its own company, so as to spare it from competitive concerns arising from Amazon’s growing footprint:
Both of these posts are filled with reasons for and against such a move, and Tom Krazit at GeekWire notes that the investor community has been pushing for this for years. Frankly, I think it would be very difficult to do for a variety of reasons, including the effect of Amazon’s business culture on AWS and the profit boost that AWS brings to Amazon. But I suspect we’re only going to hear more about this as customers revolt, competitors ramp up, and analysts and reporters search for reasons to question AWS’s cloud computing dominance.
Here are two other really interesting items from Thursday:
a16z Podcast: Engineering intent (a16z): This podcast featuring Airbnb VP of engineering Mike Curtis and Pinterest head of engineering Li Fan is really good. There’s some practical advice in terms of how to think about engineering teams and decision-making, as well as how to capture offline data as a source of true user experience, and how to take advantage of AI.
In this episode, Derrick Harris speaks with Brian Ballard, co-founder and CEO of Upskill, about the company’s mission to make customers more productive via augmented reality. Ballard discusses why the original Google Glass disappeared but never really went away, and why Glass Enterprise is poised to succeed where the consumer version failed. He also talks about the broad ecosystem of Glass competitors, applications and users, and why the network is a critical component of industrial AR architectures.
This is a good look at an under-appreciated benefit of advances in AI and deep learning to companies like Google and Microsoft. So much attention gets paid to things like mastering video games and board games that we sometimes forget how these companies make their money.
This is a feature I never have to worry about using on Facebook, but it’s good to know how the company built it. What I wonder is if there’s any opportunity for any startup to challenge Facebook, Google et al on photos anymore.
Language understanding is still a challenging problem, but Google has a new approach, called Transformer, that utilizes some different techniques as well as advances in hardware design. That latter point could matter in the cloud business if better performance is increasingly tied to certain hardware.
If you’ve been following this case and want even more details, here’s a feature about new documents suggesting DeepMind wasn’t as innocent as it let on. I think this situation should be a learning opportunity for anybody wanting access to personal records, but there’s not a lot of good that comes from raking DeepMind over the coals.
This is a pretty scathing assessment of Apple’s deal with Iowa, which sees the company getting about $200 million in tax breaks and not obligated to give back much. But from factories to data centers, states seem giddy to lure big names at all costs.
If this was announced during the event this week, I missed it. But here are some details. Again, however, I wonder how many companies will choose to opt for VMware as a platform for containerized workloads rather than choosing something container-native.
This is on my list of podcasts to listen to this week. One of the trio of interviewees about the Kubernetes technical roadmap is Eric Brewer, who’s remarkably adept at bridging technological concerns with business ones. See here, for example.
Possibly naive question: If the federal government is working on data center consolidation, why is northern Virginia such a hot data center market? Perhaps because cloud providers and others are setting up shop to serve SaaS and IaaS to agencies from there?
IBM’s acquisition of the Weather Channel was interesting and all, but I never though weather data could be the linchpin of so many partnerships. Now, Salesforce users can pull in weather data from IBM, and IBM Cloud users can connect directly to Salesforce data.
By controlling everything from the sensors to the data stores, Oracle would seem to have a pretty good story for industrial IoT customers. On the other hand, will companies line up to sell themselves to Oracle for the next couple decades, as well?
This is a really interesting take on the upcoming EU regulations, even if it is a bit biased (PageFair is an ad company, and Google and Facebook eat everyone’s ad revenues). It seems like companies should be taking this very seriously, but maybe I’m just having a Y2K moment.
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