Tag: Amazon

Server brands decline in cost cutting moves

destroyedserverOriginal design manufacturers (ODMs) including Quanta and Wiston Wiwynn are benefiting from moves by big internet service providers to keep costs low.

According to a report in Digitimes, the ISPs are choosing the so-called white box manufacturers like Quanta and Wistron because they don’t see any need to have branded servers in their data centres.

That is likely to hit Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

There’s no systematic let up in server demand, the report said. Sales are steady at 10 million units this year.

The report said Google, Facebook and Amazon are voting with their wallets by adopting servers from the ODMs.

Quanta was well known as being a major ODM of notebooks, but it has diversified into white box servers that now represent just over a third of its revenues.

Amazon UK takes on Tesco and Waitrose

Jeff Bezos, Amazon - pic Wikimedia CommonsAmazon has introduced a grocery service in the UK but right now it is only offering packaged items and not fresh food.

In the USA, Amazon already operates a service called Fresh which is a bit more ambitious than its UK counterpart.

Amazon is calling the service “Pantry” and is available for Amazon Prime members, selling drink, food, baby stuff and other items.

The firm lets people fill up a 20Kg Pantry box for £2.99 for the first box.

The online grocery business is highly competitive with Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose and others competing for the home delivery business.

Prime Now already exists in London and Birmingham – that offers a one hour delivery for certain postcodes and Amazon is set to roll out that service to other cities in the future.

* Earlier this week Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon (pictured), was named by Bloomberg as the world’s fourth richest man.

Microsoft to build two data centres in the UK

Microsoft campusSatya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, announced that the company will build two data centres in the UK.

The UK data centres will become part of a network of 26 data centres worldwide.

Microsoft is interested in growing its cloud computing business in which it finds itself in an unlikely war against Amazon.

Amazon has plunged billions into providing web services which also generate billions in revenue but have only yielded tiny profits in the last financial quarter.

According to the BBC, the reason that Microsoft is building data centres in the UK is partly to allay privacy worries about data being held outside a country’s borders.

Microsoft, Amazon to aid the tablet market

Dell TabletEven though growth in the market fell during the third quarter, shipments rose by 6.8 percent from the second calendar quarter.

Taiwanese market research company Trendforce said the drop in demand is because the market is saturated.

Total shipments of tablets in 2015 are expected to amount to 163.4 million units, down 14.9 percent compared with 2014.

But there appears to be some light at the end of the tablet tunnel.

Trendforce believes Amazon will see “a dramatic increase” in shipments as the year ends and that’s largely due to the introduction of the seven inch Fire tablet released at the end of last month. It only costs $50 and will push Amazon shipments up steeply in this, the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Microsoft saw 2-in-1 growth in the third quarter, with sales of Surface 3 doing particularly well.

Netflix forces TV channel rethink

old-school-tvA survey from IHS said that the success of Netflix is prompting TV channels to totally re-think their strategy.

IHS said that outside of sports, Netflix outspent companies like ITV and Amazon – and in the case of both those channels that’s by a factor of two.

IHS research director Ted Hall said: “The traditional linear channel will be around for a long time to come,but it will become increasingly marginalised by a plethora of online services, from catch-up TV to TV Everywhere, pay TV channels’ streaming offerings and Youtube multi channel networks.”

The broadcasters want a piece of the online subscription cake.

IHS said that in 2019 Netflix will have over 100 million subscribers worldwide and between now and 2019 subscriptions will grow by 22 percent.

In Western Europe in particular, IHS said, Netflix will see “huge growth” with 10 million new subscribers.

IHS said the UK will be the biggest market in Europe for Netflix, with 7.1 million paying subscribers by 2018.

Amazon and New York Times in handbag scrap

rampage-black-friday-mainAmazon is having a handbags at dawn duel with the New York Times over a story it ran about how working for the online bookseller is a nightmare.

Two months ago the New York Times penned a yarn about Amazon’s workplace culture and  the tough work environment.

Amazon has been hitting back. Jay Carney, Amazon’s SVP of global corporate affairs, swung back at the newspaper and said it failed to adhere to journalistic standards, noting that the article in question relied heavily on anecdotes from former Amazon employees and didn’t provide enough context.

Carney specifically refuted the accounts of four employees who were quoted in the Times article. It appeared that he was prepared to get nasty too. For example one of the Times quoted employees, Bo Olson, resigned from Amazon after he was caught trying to defraud vendors.

The executive editor at the Times, Dean Baquet, swung his handbag back a few hours later saying that Carney merely challenged the four employees’ credibility, but did not dispute the article’s overall findings.

Carney didn’t try to argue that Amazon is a great place to work, nor did he repudiate the Times’s characterization of its workplace as “bruising.” He specifically took aim at a handful of employees who provided anecdotes to the Times under their real names.

Baquet pointed out that Olson denies any allegations of fraud.

Amazon makes tiny profit

AmazonDespite registering sales of $25.4 billion in its financial third quarter, Amazon only managed to record net income of $79 million.

However, that’s an improvement on the same financial period last year, where it made a net loss of $437 million.

Amazon said net sales grew by 23 percent in the third quarter, but recorder a $1.3 billion impact from changes in foreign exchange rates.

Most of the tiny profits appears to come from its cloud business – Amazon Web Services (AWS) –  where it continues to trounce more traditional IT companies.

Amazon Web Services, it said, had more than 19,000 attendees at its customer and partner conference and introduced AWS Snowball that can transfer 50TB of data per appliance for a fifth of the cost of high speed internet.

It also released AWS IoT (internet of things), which is a managed cloud platform to connect cars, factory floors, aircraft engine manufactures, and sensor grids.

Amazon sues fake reviewers

AmazonAmazon has sued more than 1,000 people for posting fake “five star” reviews on its US site.

The online retailer said its brand reputation was being tarnished by “false, misleading and inauthentic” reviews.

Amazon claims the 1,114 defendants it is suing touted their false review service for as little as $5 on the website Fiverr, an online platform for buying and selling minor tasks.

Many of the fake reviewers, had requested review wordings from sellers and had used multiple accounts and IP addresses – numeric codes that identify a device in a network – to avoid being caught.

The e-commerce company started its campaign against the alleged fake reviewers by hiring some of the Fiverr members.

In its complaint to a court in Seattle, Amazon said that only a small minority of sellers and manufacturers attempted to gain unfair competitive advantages by creating false, misleading, and inauthentic customer reviews for their products on Amazon.com.”

It added: “While small in number, these reviews threaten to undermine the trust that customers, and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers, place in Amazon, thereby tarnishing Amazon’s brand.”

“Amazon is bringing this action to protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and uprooting the ecosystem in which they participate,” court papers said.

Amazon said there had been misleading five-star reviews and comments about products, such as: “This has lit up my life” about a USB cable. A bogus comment said: “Definitely buying more … I was impressed with how bright the lights on the cable are,” while another reviewer gave a product top marks and added the comment: “Cool charger.”

Fiverr said it had worked closely with Amazon to remove services that violate our terms of use, and respond promptly to any reports of inappropriate content.

Amazon is also using algorithmic filtering to tackle the issue of fake product reviews and inflated star ratings, it was revealed earlier this year. According to

Amazon, the artificial intelligence will bring more accurate reviews to the top, using them to create a star rating.

Curiously though Amazon has not worked out a way of tackling one-star review campaigns which are conducted against an author by political groups or religious cults. The cult floods a book review site with one star reviews to try and take the book out of the market. Amazon has received complaints about this particular sort of attack and refused to do anything.

Amazon’s dinosaur sex obsession inspired CloudFlare

dinosaurCloudFlare chief executive Matthew Prince said his business model was inspired by Amazon bosses Jeff Bezos’ obsession with dinosaurs having sex.

ZDNET  hacks were a little surprised that at the end of a long ordinary interview with lots of paradigms and synergies, Prince let slip that he was “worried about Jeff Bezos’ bizarre obsession with dinosaur sex.”

Prince was referring to how Amazon banned so-called “monster erotica,” a genre of fan-fiction revolving around fantasy-based fictional encounters with mythical or extinct creatures, including dinosaurs.

“You can make a rational argument that if you’re writing books fantasising about having sex with animals or children, maybe that promotes a certain kind of behaviour. But there’s no risk of someone abusing a dinosaur,” Prince said.

His point was whether a company should be, or determine who is a good guy and who is a bad guy.

CloudFlare has a core ethos of making the internet faster, and safer. The company provides content delivery services, domain name server solutions, and anti-spamming and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection for websites and services.

It has got into trouble because it believes that its platform should be open to everyone and the Powers that Be have accused it of protecting terrorists,

At the time Prince said that a website is speech not a bomb.

As the internet continues to consolidate into the big companies — Amazon for retail, Google for search and mobile, Apple for devices, and so on — he argued that the decision to ban or restrict on the “basis of personal value” worries him.

“I’m somewhat sceptical of slippery slope arguments. But, if you ban books that depict sex with dinosaurs, it doesn’t take much before you ban books.”

Linux golden age threatened by bug army

bugA top Linux geek has warned that its golden age is about to be bought to a close by security problems.

Golden ages are normally brought to an end by a rebellion of giants, titans or plagues. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation said that Linux will be killed off by giant, titanic plagues of security bugs.

Several high profile zero-day vulnerabilities in popular open source technologies last year served not only to show the importance of open source to the internet and IT world, but how how badly it projects were under-resourced.

Heartbleed which impacted OpenSSL, Poodle, a vulnerability in SSL, and the Shellshock vulnerability in Bash damaged the reputation of open sauce badly and resulted in the creation of the Core infrastructure Initiative (CII), a Linux-Foundation led initiative to improve open source security.

CII’s financial backers include Adobe, Bloomberg, HP, VMware, Rackspace, NetApp, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Google, Fujitsu, Facebook, Dell, Amazon and Cisco.

Zemlin said that this support was proof we’re living in a “golden age” of open source.

“Almost the entirety of the internet is entirely reliant on open source software. We’ve reached a golden age of open source. Virtually every technology and product and service is created using open source,” he said.

Open source was not immune to the security threat faced by the entire computing industry and said Heartbleed, and others, served as a wakeup call for the IT industry. It is believed 200,000 devices are still vulnerable.

“Heartbleed literally broke the security of the internet,” he explained. “Over a long period of time, whether we knew it or not, became dependent on open source for the security and Integrity of the internet.”

Zemlin said many people had asked him why had the peer review process not highlighted these vulnerabilities, but the answer was blindingly obvious.

Many of these projects were being worked by one part-time volunteer. Before Heartbleed, OpenSSL received less than $2,000 a year in donations, while OpenSSH and Bash had similarly meagre support.

“It’s completely out of proportion to the attention these projects play in society and the Internet,” said Zemlin. “OpenSSL for a long period of time was essentially maintained by two guys named Steve. Think about that.”