Justin Trudeau Sends an HQ2 Love Letter to Amazon

No tax breaks, but Canada offers a valuable perk: Universal healthcare.

Canadian cities are going all out to woo Amazon’s second headquarters, including a “Dear Jeff” letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos.

In his letter, which comes on the final day of a competition for cities to make their case to Amazon, Trudeau reminds Bezos that “it is in one other that Canada and the United States have found their closest friend and ally.”

If that’s not enough to tell Bezos where Amazon’s loyalties should lie, Trudeau adds “[W]e enjoy the longest, most peaceful and mutually beneficial relationship of any two countries in the world.”

The Prime Minister did not, however, specify exactly where in Canada that Amazon should set up shop, though most of the country’s major cities—including Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary—have put their hat in the ring.

Amazon set off a frenzy among city governments this summer when it announced it was seeking to open a second headquarters outside of Seattle, and could create as many as 50,000 high paying jobs in coming years.

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As the competition came to a close on Thursday for cities to make their case, one research firm cited Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York, and Washington D.C.—but not one of the Canadian ones—as the leading candidates.

Nonetheless, Trudeau’s letter makes some strong economic arguments, along with the sentimental ones, for Amazon to make its second home north of the border.

“Canadians enjoy a universal health care system and a robust public pension plan which help support our excellent quality of life and lower costs for employers,” he states, while also talking up the country’s universities and policies to attract high-skilled immigrants.

Trudeau’s letter also appeared to include a subtle swipe at the nativist policies of the Trump Administration:

“As the first country in the world to adopt a policy of multiculturalism, we have shown time and again that a country can be stronger not in spite of its differences but because of them. Diversity is a fact but inclusion is a choice.”

One other notable feature of the Canadian cities’ pitch is they don’t offer tax breaks, which have been a controversial feature of the bids of a number of U.S. cities. Instead, the suitors have Canadian have emphasized the savings Amazon would incur from Canada’s public health system.

You can read Trudeau’s letter in full here.

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Amazon Alexa is so smart it’s stupid

The Amazon Alexa platform is on a roll, now crammed with more than 15,000 “skills,” up from 10,000 in February, as reported by Voicebot. While this sounds amazing, the reality is that the vast majority of Amazon Echo customers don’t know 99.999 percent of those skills exist. Worse, there seems to be no viable way for anyone to discover what all those skills are.

So while Amazon keeps fanning the flames with developer outreach like the upcoming Alexa Dev Days, Amazon’s far larger problem is Alexa skill discovery, not skill development.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Amazon, VMware rumored to be developing data center software

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and VMware are reportedly in talks about possibly teaming up to develop data center software products, according to The Information, which cited anonymous sources.

Unfortunately, the article doesn’t have much if any detail on what that product would be. The speculation is it might be a stack-like product, since VMware already provides what would be the base software for such a product and stacks are becoming the in thing.

Already there is OpenStack, the open-source product that runs cloud services in a data center, and Microsoft just shipped Azure Stack, its answer to OpenStack that will allow the same features of its Azure public cloud to run within a company’s private data center.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Amazon Web Services sets a lure for Java programmers

Amazon Web Services has long offered an SDK to make it easier to access its web services from Java. Now it has another lure for Java programmers: James Gosling, the father of Java.

Gosling revealed his new employer on his Facebook page with the words: “It’s time for a change. I’m leaving Boeing Defense (nee Liquid Robotics), with many fond memories. Today I start a new Adventure at Amazon Web Services.”

james gosling joins aws IDG News Service

On May 22, 2017, James Gosling announced on his Facebook page that he is joining Amazon Web Services.

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Network World Cloud Computing

IDG Contributor Network: Can Amazon be stopped?

Prime retail space is going vacant. The latest example of yet another retailer closing its doors is Payless Shoe Source. Payless has filed Chapter 11 and will be closing 400 stores. It’s ironic really, because their whole premise is Americans want to pay less for shoes, but the retailer can’t match the price or experience of online options. It’s one more example of the epidemic hitting brick-and-mortar retailers.

Last year (and again this year), it was Radio Shack that prompted the headlines. Sears has been in decline for decades. The Limited is even more limited now that it has filed for bankruptcy and has begun closing 250 of its stores.

Macy’s and Sears alone will be abandoning 28 million square feet of retail space. The loss of these anchor stores is what starts the dreaded domino effect at the mall. If the mall can’t back fill that space, reduced numbers of shoppers impact the demand for sunglasses, cinnamon rolls and all the other small businesses that survive on the other brands’ crowds. When they fall, so does the mall.

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Network World Cloud Computing

After Amazon outage, HealthExpense worries about cloud lock-in

Financial services companies as popular targets of cybercriminals for the obvious reason — they’re where the money’s at. And health care companies have medical records, which are very valuable on the black market since the information there can be abused in so many ways, and doesn’t expire.

HealthExpense, which provides health care payment services to banks and their enterprise customers, straddles both worlds.

“When we started, every new client asked us about security,” said Marco Smit, CEO at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Health Expense.

“It has to do with the data we’re collecting,” said company CSO Ken Lee. “We are definitely bound by HIPAA compliance, and we hold all the personal health information and financial information.”

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Network World Cloud Computing

Amazon shows why you shouldn’t put all your tech eggs in one cloud basket

When Amazon’s S3 cloud storage service at Amazon’s US-EAST-1 data centers went down, things went bad. Very, very bad.

How bad? Popular sites such as Quora, Business Insider, Netflix, Reddit and Slack either crashed entirely or were broken. By SimilarTech’s count, over 124,000 sites were affected. A college student told me, “It’s knocked out my school’s technology back end. Students are freaking out because they can’t access assignments.” A cloud consultant told me his phone was ringing off the hook by Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers who wanted to switch to Azure.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Computerworld Cloud Computing