cloud computing

Richard Drew / AP Photo

Microsoft quietly cut jobs this week but released few details. That news comes in what’s otherwise been a good week for the company as the stock reached a 15-year high.  


This is a big week for earnings reports from some of our region’s biggest companies.

Microsoft investors will be watching to see if the company’s gaining ground in cloud computing against a rival right here in the neighborhood.

Amazon is the leader in cloud computing. That’s where businesses tap into big server farms run by the likes of Microsoft or Amazon instead of buying their own machines. It’s a fast-growing business and Amazon’s had the edge, but there’s still plenty of time, says Rob Helm, managing vice president with the research firm Directions On Microsoft.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Software giant Microsoft got several chances on Wednesday to impress Chinese leaders with the company's vision of a "free and open" internet. Microsoft's CEO showed the president of China new gadgets at the corporate campus.

AP Images

Amazon shares jumped more than 5 percent after the company provided results for its cloud-computing business for the first time and showed it to be more profitable than investors expected.

Profits have long been elusive for Amazon, and the company posted another loss in the most recent quarter. Amazon said it had a net loss of $57 million, or 12 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with net income of $108 million, or 23 cents, a year earlier.

But now Amazon has provided financial details for its cloud division, known as Amazon Web Services, that allows businesses to use Amazon’s computers instead of running their own. AWS net sales totaled $1.57 billion, with an operating profit of $265 million.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Amazon shares jumped 13 percent in after-hours trading on news that the company returned to profitability in the fourth quarter. Strength in the cloud-computing business was an especially bright spot.

Cloud computing means hiring a company such as Amazon to run your computer system remotely instead of managing all those machines and software in-house.

Amazon and rivals such as Microsoft have been spending a lot to build big computer server farms. In spite of that expense, IDC analyst Al Hilwa says it’s an attractive business for Amazon.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

More than 1,300 Microsoft employees in the Puget Sound region got their pink slips Thursday as part of announced cuts to the worldwide workforce that could total 18,000 by the end of the year — the biggest in the company’s history.

Oracle PR

 (Update: Corrects to say Ellison hired investigators to comb through trash of groups sympathetic to Microsoft, not Microsoft's own trash.)

A seismic shift in technology is pushing two longtime archrivals to work together. Oracle and Microsoft are announcing a cloud-computing partnership later Monday.

Chris Eaton / Greenpeace via Twitter

Calling attention to its recent study showing server farms, the basis for cloud computing, consume as much electricity as small cities, Greenpeace this morning put up a sign on Amazon's new building in Seattle:

"How green is your cloud?"

CBP Photography / Flickr

The famous "battle in Seattle" more than a decade ago put the letters "W-T-O" into the collective consciousness. Now most people have at least a vague idea about the role the World Trade Organization plays in regulating international commerce. 

But what about the letters W-C-O?