Is what’s good for Amazon good for America? The week in cloud

Someone once almost said “what’s good for General Motors is good for America.”  The fact that the quote — by a former GM CEO-turned-U.S. Secretary of Defense — got garbled in the translation doesn’t negate the fact that many people feel the U.S. needs to protect its key industries and vendors.  Just last week, for example,  the Obama administration overruled its own trade representative when it overturned a trade ban on some Apple product. map of europe
Many rank-and-file U.S. citizens are upset by revelations that the National Security Agency is collecting data on personal email and phone calls and even listening in on the calls themselves. Civil liberties groups have cried foul and European tech companies are parlaying the fact that the NSA accesses data from U.S. cloud companies for their own competitive advantage. And, that, could be bad for Amazon(s amzn), Microsoft(s msft),  Google(s goog) and  Apple(s aapl) — or any U.S.-based cloud company trying to build more business abroad.
Those companies are none too pleased with the notoriety that the NSA PRISM surveillance program has brought to their doors. On Thursday, Apple CEO Tim Cook, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, Google computer scientist and internet pioneer Vint Cerf and other tech executives and civil liberties leaders met with President Barack Obama behind closed doors, Politico reported. Interestingly, Amazon, the one major American cloud power not mentioned may gain the most if U.S. surveillance policy changes. After all it’s the largest public cloud provider by a large margin. So Amazon may not have been at the White House but it is most definitely an interested party. Nobody would disclose what transpired, but we can guess that this was not an informal little chit-chat. Here’s how the week unfolded:

This controversy will be the topic of much conversation on stage at Structure: Europe in London next month There, Joyent CTO Jason Hoffman, author Dan Gillmor, ownCloud CEO Markus Rex and CSC Leading Edge Forum researcher Simon Wardley will hash out the impact PRISM is having on the acceptance of public cloud.

Dropbox keeps push, push, pushing into the enterprise

Dropbox + MailboxWhile VMware(s vmw), Microsoft, IBM(s ibm), and other enterprise IT powers keep on building their business-focused clouds,  consumer cloud icon Dropbox keeps pushing its cloud file share and sync  service as a business-approved solution.
Yes, Dropbox itself wants to be “the Dropbox of the Enterprise” and now it’s scooped up  Matt Eccleston, chief architect and principal engineer for VMware’s End User Computing Group — the business unit behind VMware View and Horizon and associated desktop virtualization goodies.
San Francisco-based Dropbox, which — let’s face it — already has more than a toehold in most businesses because so many people use the free version personally  —  has added IT- friendly features — single-sign on support and better admin controls. And it had already hired execs from crm) and Google to further its cause.
It’s a busy marketplace. not only are big legacy  IT players already battling it out — EMC Syncplicity is another entrant — but younger smaller vendors like  Box and Owncloud are in the mix. And there are ancillary services like Ncrypted Cloud  that layer encryption atop Dropbox (or other consumer clouds) to alleviate security conderns.