This week in cloud: Amazon upsets Apple; NTT backs Cloud Foundry; cloud taxes in dispute

Amazon bests Apple in consumer appeal

Amazon(s amzn) is the most widely admired U.S. company, edging out last year’s favorite, Apple(s aapl), according to the new Harris Interactive Poll on most reputable companies. The online book seller and cloud services provider ranked in the top five in five of six criteria and its combined  reputation quotient or “RQ” score was 82.62. Apple scored 82.54. Harris takes factors including quality of products and services; workplace environment; social responsibility; financial performance; and emotional appeal to calculate the RQ, querying some 14,000 respondents.

Any score over 80 is viewed as excellent. Amazon got nearly 100 percent positive rankings on “all measures related to trust and tremendous support  and “word of mouth,” according to Harris’ summary. Those words must come as music to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ ears. He continuously champions Amazon’s customer service and low pricing as key to its success — although some bearish Wall Streeters might differ with him on that. (The top 10 “RQ” companies are listed below.)


To be fair, Amazon’s top score is more related to its consumer-focused e-commerce service than its less visible (to consumers anyway) Amazon Web Services IT-services-for- rent business

Other fun facts from Harris:

  • Bank of America remained in Harris’ bottom 5 companies, but also saw the largest reputation rebound of 6 points.
  • Google(s goog) was the only other tech company in the top ten with an RQ of 81.32
  • Microsoft(s msft) ranked 15th an RQ of 76.46
  • Dell(s dell) came in 26th with 73.05
  • IBM(s ibm) logged in at 28th at 72.21
  • Hewlett-Packard(s hpq) ranked 34th with  70.01
  • Facebook(s fb), new to the list, debuted at 42nd with an RQ of  65.63

NTT climbs aboard Cloud Foundry

cloudfoundrylogoNTT, Japan’s gigantic telco is making Cloud Foundry the basis of its upcoming Platform as a Service. It  joined Cloud Foundry Core,  a push launched last year by VMware to make its open-source Cloud Foundry the basis for a slew of compatible higher-level PaaSes. And a bunch of companies — AppFog, ActiveState, Uhuru, and Tier 3– now all offer Cloud Foundry-based platforms.

According to a February 12 NTT guest post by Hideki Kurihara, product lead for NTT Communications’ Global Cloud Services on the Cloud Foundry blog, the telco is reacting to customer demand for an agile, flexible development platform:

“But we also hear concerns about vendor lock-in and ability to meet the needs of a complex enterprise environment. We chose to build CloudPaaS on top of Cloud Foundry because of its multi-cloud nature, ability to integrate with existing assets, and solid API foundation for adding management and monitoring features. Using Cloud Foundry as the base, we are extending CloudPaaS for developers and enterprise customers in Japan. Together with other Cloud Foundry Core partners, we are delivering cloud portability to Japanese users as well as global users of Cloud Foundry.”

The Cloud Foundry Core Definition baseline includes runtimes and services built on Java, Ruby Node.js, MongoDB, MySQL, PostreSQL, RabbitMQ and Redis.

VMware launched Cloud Foundry two years ago  but is now in the process of spinning that work off into the Pivotal Initiative, a move which has some members of the Cloud Foundry ecosystem worrying about what changes could be in store.

States rethink cloud computing sales taxes

money dollar bills benjamin franklin cashFearing that cloud computing companies will flee for business friendlier environs, several states are moving to remove sales taxes levied on cloud computing services. Last week, a legislative panel in Idaho agreed to hammer out that topic once and for all, according to the Idaho Spokesman Review. The Idaho House’s tax committee said it will introduce legislation that will classify cloud computing services as, well as services, not tangible physical goods the sales of which are taxed.

Nineteen years ago, a state law held that software is taxable regardless of how it is delivered.

Meanwhile, cross country in Vermont, Governor Peter Shumlin is also working to remove a state tax on cloud services, according to

Shumlin’s administration “backed a retroactive cloud computing moratorium that reimbursed businesses for about $2 million in taxes that had already been collected. This time, the proposal would make the exemption permanent,” according to the publication.

Removing yet another source of revenue from cash-strapped states is bound to stir up controversy however.

Feature art courtesy of Shutterstock  userGena96