Paying for Netflix

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings tip-toed carefully through the mine field of his company’s relationship with ISPs during his third-quarter earnings call on Monday.

More iPhone discounts point to new model coming soon

Target and Best Buy are joining Sprint in offering $20 to $50 discounts on iPhones with two-year contracts. Sales on current and older devices is yet another sign pointing to new models being around the corner. Apple is reportedly matching some of these discounts.

Today in Cloud

Amazon is due to report quarterly earnings today, and Reuters took the opportunity to speculate that the company’s cloud computing division will soon pass $1Billion in revenue. Amazon, however, is notoriously unwilling to discuss financials for the business unit. We may know that 449 billion objects are stored in Amazon S3, and we may project Amazon’s marketshare as the largest, but when it comes to understanding the margins that the company achieves we’re typically left guessing. Maybe Amazon will surprise us later today, and finally lift the veil a little.

Today in Cloud

Intel has reported record quarterly revenues of $13.1 billion, slightly higher than analyst expectations. Customers continue to spend on data center equipment, with revenues for Intel’s data center group up 15%. However, despite a lot of market interest in low power Atom chips, revenue in that area was down 15% on last year. Rik Myslewski at The Register blames “the netbook-cannibalization effect of Apple’s iPads” for the fall. Quoted in the New York Times, Evercore Partners’ Patrick Wang suggested that “I fully believe that it is the data center — the cloud — that is driving Intel.” Apple, Google, Intel and others have all exceeded market expectations in the past few weeks, but it may still be too soon for complacency. Strong numbers mask the reality of large companies working hard to adjust to new customer requirements whilst building processes that will see recent growth sustained.

Today in Cloud

Oracle announced its first $10billion quarter when it reported earnings earlier this week. In the midst of the growth —which exceeded analyst expectations — the disappointment was around hardware. The former Sun server business is performing less well, declining 6% on last year. Oracle intends to beef up their sales team in order to make progress. That, and sprinkle a healthy dose of FUD on the competition over at HP.

Today in Cloud

Amazon is in the news again, and again the news is not great. This time the issues are financial rather than technological, with net income reported in the quarterly earnings as down 33%. Headline sales figures for the quarter are actually up 38% on last year at $9.86 Billion, but the company is clearly spending heavily in a number of areas. Reuters suggests that a good chunk of that investment is headed for the cloud, although it’s not clear whether there is any meaningful differentiation between investment in Amazon Web Services and investment in consumer plays like Cloud Drive and Cloud Player. Last time Bezos ignored Wall Street and invested heavily in infrastructure they hated it, but he ended up being proved right. Analysts appear prepared to cut him a little more slack this time around.

Apple Conference Call: Don’t Expect Another iPad in 2011

After today’s earning report for the second fiscal quarter, Apple’s conference call was something of a dénouement. In a relatively dry call without the presence of Steve Jobs, the main topic of interest was the iPad; the questions focused on supply problems, the answers avoided them.