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Yet Another Analyst Insists on AWS Spinoff, Others Disagree

Not for the first time an investment analyst, this time Oppenheimer analyst Tim Horan in a report published on Monday, insists in a report that AWS will inevitably be spun off to avoid “channel conflict”, etc.

“In our view, we believe an ultimate spin-off of AWS is inevitable due to its channel conflicts and the need to gain scale. We see the business as extremely valuable on a standalone basis…”

The Register has a useful take on Horan’s opinion, with a well-thought-out contrary view.

The crack in this bout of crystal-ball gazing is that Oppenheimer is an investment firm that by nature likes predictable cash above everything else, and Amazon’s leader Jeff Bezos is a mercurial, ambitious figure who has demonstrated time and time again a love for risky, long-term projects*.

This Reg hack believes the Oppenheimer spin-off analysis misses the temple for the gold fixtures: keeping Amazon Web Services yoked to Amazon holds a slew of major advantages, many of which could be critical in the battle for dominance of the cloud, but they will all take time to play out and are not a sure thing.


Amazon Acquires IVONA, Makers of Kindle Text-to-Speech Tech, Inc. today announced that it has acquired text-to-speech technology company IVONA Software. IVONA technologies power the “Text-to-Speech,” “Voice Guide” and “Explore by Touch” features on Kindle Fire tablets. Additionally, IVONA delivers text-to-speech products and services for thousands of developers, businesses and customers around the world.

“IVONA’s exceptional text-to-speech technology leads the industry in natural voice quality, accuracy and ease of use. IVONA is already instrumental in helping us deliver excellent accessibility features on Kindle Fire, including Text-to-Speech, Voice Guide and Explore by Touch,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “The IVONA team shares our passion for innovation and customer obsession, and we look forward to building great products to deliver world-class voice solutions to customers around the world.”

“For more than ten years, the IVONA team has been focused on creating innovative text-to-speech technologies,” said Lukasz Osowski, CEO and co-founder of IVONA. “We are all thrilled that Amazon is supporting our growth so that we can continue to innovate and deliver exceptional voice and language support for our customers.”

IVONA offers voice and language portfolios with 44 voices in 17 languages and more in development.

Amazon “just gets cheaper, and cheaper, and cheaper”

Good article in the New York Times on the effect of AWS on startup access to major computing resources. Great takeaway quote:

“I have 10 engineers, but without A.W.S. I guarantee I’d need 60,” said Daniel Gross, Cue’s 20-year-old co-founder. “It just gets cheaper, and cheaper, and cheaper.” He figures Cue spends something under $100,000 a month with Amazon but would spend “probably $2 million to do it ourselves, without the speed and flexibility.”

He conceded that “I don’t even know what the ballpark number for a server is — for me, it would be like knowing what the price of a sword is.”

Read the full article.

Box, Dropbox Coming of Age? Ready to Take on Amazon?

“Two of the buzziest competitors in cloud computing are settling into coexistence — and maybe figuring out ways to take on the giant in the market,”

That’s the lead of a New York Times Bits column today that arrives on the heels of the news that Box has a new round of VC funding to the tune of$125 Million.

“Like its competitor Dropbox, Box offers a little bit of data storage free, then charges for additional amounts. Both companies make money from a relatively small number of paying customers who need large amounts of storage. Mr. Levie said Box has about 125,000 businesses using its service, but only “tens of thousands” of paying customers.

Despite being in the same business, the two companies seem to be finding entirely different customer bases. While Dropbox has a corporate service, it recently announced capacity and pricing changes in its much larger consumer business, aimed at encouraging people to store things like photos taken with cell phones.”


AWS Outage Postmortum: “the generators did not pick up the load”

Amazon has provided their take on how the big derecho storm that hit the Eastern US (and still leaves millions without power during a heat wave) brought down one of their data centers. Basically it was “hardware failure” — in this case a couple of emergency generators.

In the single datacenter that did not successfully transfer to the generator backup, all servers continued to operate normally on Uninterruptable Power Supply (“UPS”) power. As onsite personnel worked to stabilize the primary and backup power generators, the UPS systems were depleting and servers began losing power at 8:04pm PDT.

Read the AWS statement for more detail.