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Survey: VCs more confident investing domestically, in IT sectors

If every cloud has a silver lining, the silver lining for global venture capitalists during the current economic gloom appears to be cloud computing, according to results of a confidence survey from Deloitte and the National Venture Capital Association released Monday.

The first Global Venture Capital Confidence Survey measured the input of more than 440 venture capital, private equity and growth equity investors from around the world, revealing that global VCs have higher confidence investing domestically versus abroad and in information technology sectors like cloud computing and social media.

Venture capitalists favored Brazil, China and the United States for investing, showing the least confidence in France, Japan and South Africa. Cloud computing, software and new media/social networking held the most confidence by industry, with the lowest confidence in semiconductors, telecommunications and clean technologies.

Respondents from Brazil, Canada, Israel and the Netherlands expressed the most confidence in their country’s ability to enact investment-friendly policies, while VCs from India, Australia, Japan and Taiwan had the least confidence.

A spokeswoman from the National Venture Capital Association said Deloitte and the NVCA hope to repeat the survey going forward to create a historical database of global venture capitalist confidence.

Greenpeace upgrades Apple on ‘coal-free’ promise

Greenpeace International revisited their rankings of industry leaders in cloud computing to adjust Apple’s score, due in part to Apple’s promise to make its data centers “coal-free” by 2013 and its increasing ambition to power its growing iCloud through 100 percent renewable energy.

In a report released Thursday, the environmental organization upgraded Apple in three of four categories reflecting the company’s commitment to clean energy in its cloud computing facilities. Even with its upgrades, Apple remains near the bottom of the pack, which includes Microsoft, Google, Facebook, IBM, Oracle and others.

In May, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer announced plans for implementing renewable energy at the company’s three current data centers by 2013, and Apple’s new data center in Reno, Nevada, will have access to many renewable energy options, according to the Greenpeace report.

The high costs of the cloud

How great is it that high-definition video is now portable? Thanks to cloud computing, superfast 4G networks and tablets with high-resolution screens, we can watch thousands of movies and TV shows in lush, beautiful clarity wherever we go.

In a way, that is pretty great, as the millions of people who have bought the new iPad with retina display and LTE connections have already seen. But in another way, it’s going to quickly become not so great: As hi-def video – or rather, the data bandwidth to deliver it – becomes a commodity for more people, that commodity will start to become much more expensive. Not just for consumers, but for the companies that will increasingly need more wireless spectrum and wired infrastructure to handle the surge in data demand.

Call it the curse of the cloud. The proliferation of online video services and portable devices to watch them on have added congestion to data networks even as wireless carriers impose fees on its biggest data users. According to Bytemobile, video accounted for half of all mobile data traffic in February, up from 40 percent only a year earlier.

Tech wrap: Apple beats Google to the music cloud

Storm clouds gather over Hanoi's skyline September 21, 2009. REUTERS/KhamApple has completed work on an online music storage service and is set to launch it ahead of Google, whose own music efforts have stalled, according to several people familiar with both companies’ plans. The sources revealed that Apple’s plans will allow iTunes customers to store their songs on a remote server, and then access them from wherever they have an Internet connection and that Apple has yet to sign any new licenses for the service and major music labels are hoping to secure deals before the service is launched. Amazon.com launched a music locker service earlier in April without new licensing agreements leading to threats of legal action from some music companies.

Verizon gained wireless subscribers with Apple’s iPhone, but the device’s affect on its financials failed to impress investors. Verizon Wireless posted 906,000 net new subscribers, roughly in line with expectations. That was much better than AT&T, which added only 62,000 net subscribers in the quarter as it lost iPhone exclusivity. However, a key sticking point for investors when comparing the two operators was the fact that AT&T won more new iPhone customers in the quarter than Verizon. Verizon announced that it would sell a new version of the iPhone later this year that, unlike its current iPhone, would work globally.

The risky attempt by The New York Times to charge fees to website readers looks to be paying off, although it still faces stiff challenges in turning around a fall-off in print advertising revenue at its core business. The company gained more than 100,000 new subscribers since it introduced its digital subscription service on March 28, representing at least an estimated $26 million in annual revenue and trouncing early expectations for the service.

“The Cloud” overhyped? Brocade says not there for business yet

Say it’s not so — ‘the cloud’ isn’t ready for prime time? That’s the view from networking company Brocade, whose marketing chief compared the hype to the rush years ago to call center outsourcing.

All those applications and data that live off your computer somewhere in the Internet make up the cloud, from Google word processing software to your home pictures and video, and it is hot, hot, hot. But Brocade chief marketing officer John McHugh told the Reuters Global Technology Summit in San Francisco that big business was not ready to embrace it for sensitive data and the most important applications.

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“There’s lots of issues. They’re being skirted over because they are really tough and there are no obvious solutions for them today,” he said. It will take “years” before big companies do that with important data, he said.

from The Great Debate UK:

The future of computing is in the cloud

pierslinney-Piers Linney is a self made entrepreneur and former City investment banker. He is currently Joint-Chief Executive Officer at Outsourcery, a leading communications and hosted IT company. The opinions expressed are his own.-

"Cloud computing" can sound like a very amorphous concept, perhaps even conjuring up images of important business data floating around in the skies above us. It often raises questions about control and security. But the reality is a lot more down to earth and it is quite simply the future of computing and the way in which businesses will consume pooled resources of software and hardware.

It is not a technology that is on the way or in "beta testing". Cloud computing uses tried and tested software that is just delivered in a new way. It is already empowering thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK while saving them money, increasing productivity and allowing them to get on with running their business instead of their IT.

from Commentaries:

Twitter backlash foretold

Technology market research firm Gartner Inc has published the 2009 "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies," its effort to chart out what's hot or not at the cutting edge of hi-tech jargon. It's just one of an annual phalanx of reports that handicap some 1,650 technologies or trends in 79 different categories for how likely the terms are to make it into mainstream corporate parlance.

Jackie Fenn, the report's lead analyst and author of the 2008 book "Mastering the Hype Cycle," delivers the main verdict:

Technologies at the Peak of Inflated Expectations during 2009 include cloud computing, e-books (such as from Amazon and Sony) and internet TV (for example, Hulu), while social software and microblogging sites (such as Twitter) have tipped over the peak and will soon experience disillusionment among corporate users.

Sun CEO takes stage, ignores IBM deal talk

What do you do if your company is reported to be involved in an $8 billion acquisition and you’re already scheduled to give a big speech?******If you’re Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, you honor the commitment and then make a swift exit.******The pony-tailed CEO took the lectern on Wednesday at the Open Source Business Conference at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, his first public appearance since reports surfaced last week that IBM and Sun were in acquisition talks (reports that neither company has so far commented on).******While the putative deal has produced endless column inches of analysis and speculation in the business media, it had no place in Schwartz’s remarks. Instead, Schwartz spoke about Sun’s recently-released cloud computing service, largely rehashing talking points he made in an earlier series of blog posts.******The most intriguing nugget, for those running Schwartz’s comments through the filter of an IBM deal, was his characterization of Sun’s open source operating system as the “single most valuable” part of the company, as it represents the key building block for Sun to play in high-margin, adjacent markets like networking.******When his 30 minutes were up, Schwartz slipped behind a curtain and retreated backstage, conveniently avoiding any reporters in the audience eager for ask him about the IBM deal.******And when a couple of reporters greeted him at the hotel’s exit, Schwartz proved equally aloof – the surprised CEO was good-mannered enough to shake hands, but didn’t break his stride, or his silence, to answer a question about the progress of the IBM deal. Maybe next time…

What on earth is ‘cloud computing’?

Silicon Valley billionaire Larry Ellison shed a little sunshine on “cloud computing” on Thursday at a financial analyst meeting held by Oracle Corp, the software company that he founded and runs (when he’s not making into the headlines for his more nautical pursuits).

We’ve redefined ‘cloud computing’ to include everything we currently do. So it has already achieved dominance in the industry. I can’t think of anything that isn’t cloud computing.

The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Cloud Computing. I remember I was reading W and I read that orange is the new pink. And cloud is the new SaaS. (Software as a Service) Or cloud is the new virtualization. It is the most nonsensical. I mean I read these articles … I have no idea what anybody is talking about. I mean it is really just complete gibberish.