IBM’s Facial Recognition, AWS’ Anti-recruitment, Europe’s Gaia-X: TFiR W3M: Weekly Wrap With Mike

First, and perhaps the biggest news of the week, was IBM’s announcement that it is abandoning the facial recognition business. Many called it a bold PR stunt. Many more asked whether IBM was really ever in the facial recognition business. Whether they were a player or not, statements like this by a company with the weight of an IBM aren’t typically made for a quick shot of media coverage. They are made because a company like IBM knows it can still carry a big stick. Which is likely why we saw Amazon and Microsoft quickly follow with similar announcements putting bans on the sale of their facial recognition technology to U.S. police forces.
In news that makes me yearn for the resurrection of Valleywag, AWS made a huge anti-recruitment push this week. Popular AWS VP of marketing Brian Hall attempted to jump to Google and Bezos’ NDA enforcement army swooped in to stop it. This sparked all kinds of thorny legal, HR, PR and ethical conversations in the Twittersvere. But a thread by Corey Quinn really caught my eye. He raised a good point that maybe the reason AWS is fighting Hall’s defection so aggressively is because the AWS bubble is cracking. It’s something I’ve seen within the alt cloud space with companies increasingly realizing AWS doesn’t have an ironclad lock on the market anymore.
This week also saw a Neowin story about a group of 22 German and French companies on a mission to set up this new cloud platform they are calling Gaia-X. It’s apparently an attempt to break the Big Three hyperscalers’ stranglehold in Europe. I’ve worked behind the scenes on big, multi-company consortiums like this. Let’s just say this will be fun to watch. That said, the issue of data sovereignty and localization is an issue to keep an eye on.
And, last but not least, famed woodworker and Redmonk analyst Steve O’Grady, hit send on a post looking at the convergence of content delivery networks and cloud providers. As an O’Grady piece does, it sparked a ton of deeper thinking by a lot of the industry’s big brains. It’s not long by Steve standards, but it’s the kind of provocative insight that makes what he writes when he writes a must read. Plus, it has a picture of a shark.
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