AWS shows Cloud is NOT a high-margin business

AWSearningsLast week was the first of the large cloud service companies other than Rackspace to finally break out revenue and expenses for its cloud operation. The market was cheered by news that Amazon Web Services (AWS) last quarter made an operating profit of $265 million with an operating profit margin of 19.6 percent. AWS, which many thought was running at break-even or possibly at a loss, turns out to be for Amazon a $5 billion business generating a third of the company’s total profits. That’s good, right? Not if it establishes a benchmark for typical-to-good cloud service provider performance. In fact it suggests that some companies — IBM […]

The Net Neutrality Mystery

obama-teaching-1My friend Andy Regitsky, whom I have known for more than 30 years, follows the FCC, blogs about them, and teaches courses on — among other things — how to read and understand their confusing orders. Andy knows more about the FCC than most of the people who work there and Andy says the new Net Neutrality order will probably not stand. I wonder if it was even meant to?

You can read Andy’s post here. He doesn’t specifically disagree with my analysis from a few days ago, but goes further to show some very specific legal and procedural problems with the order that could lead to it […]

The sky is falling and the FAA isn’t ready

S18According to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the U.S. airspace system is incredibly vulnerable to hacking and a state-sponsored hacking effort could paralyze air traffic over North America. Very scary stuff. And as a licensed pilot for 45 years, I can tell you that it’s both true and not true, that the system is horribly hackable but that very vulnerability might be what we need to stimulate real airspace innovation.

Ask any American pilot how they feel about the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and you’ll get variations on the same negative theme. It’s not that pilots love-hate the FAA: there’s no love about it. […]

TV 3.0 is already here

PhilcoRetroTVEthernet inventor Bob Metcalfe, when I worked for him 20 years ago, taught me that we tend to over-estimate change in the short term and under-estimate it in the long term. So it can be pretty obvious what is coming but not at all obvious when. And what we know about the when of it is that making money from new technologies is often a matter of investing right before that bend upward in the hockey stick of exponential change.

We all know television is bound to enter a new era sooner or later. Heck, I’ve written dozens of columns on the subject over my 17 years in this job. But this is the first time […]

IBM’s Power8 servers are less than meets the eye

ibm-nvidiaTwo weeks ago IBM told the IT world it was taking on Intel in the battle for server chips with new Power8 processors incorporating advanced interconnection and GPU technology from NVIDIA. This followed an announcement earlier in the year that Google was using Power8 processors in some of its homemade servers. All this bodes well for IBM’s chip unit, right?

Not so fast.

Some product announcements are more real than others. While it’s true that IBM announced the imminent availability of its first servers equipped with optional Graphical Processing Units (GPUs), most of the other products announced are up to two years in the future. The real sizzle here is the NVlink and CAPi stuff that won’t really […]