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Microsoft to tap $2-trillion Indian cloud market
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) Sept 30, 2014

Reddit raises $50 mn - with users cut in on the action
San Francisco (AFP) Sept 30, 2014 - Social news sharing site Reddit on Tuesday announced it had raised $50 million from investors who agreed that, this time, members of its community would get a piece of the action.

The infusion of funding led by Y Combinator president Sam Altman and joined by rapper Snoop Dogg reportedly gives Reddit a valuation of about $500 million.

Y Combinator is a startup incubator that helped Reddit get its start, but Altman said in a blog post that he was personally putting money into the company.

"I was probably in the first dozen people to use the site, and I shudder to imagine the number of hours I have spent there," Altman said.

"Reddit is an example of something that started out looking like a silly toy for wasting time and has become something very interesting."

Investors joining in the funding round include high-profile Silicon Valley venture capitalists Peter Thiel, Ron Conway, and Snoop Dogg, whose birth name is Calvin Broadus Jr.

Reddit was founded in 2005 and acquired by Conde Nast Publications, which later spun it off as an independent division.

Conde Nast parent company Advance Publications owns a large stake in Reddit.

Reddit chief executive Yishan Wong said in a blog post that the new funding will be used to hire staff, build better tools for managing the website, and work on offerings tailored for mobile devices.

San Francisco-based Reddit currently has slightly more than 60 employees, according to Wong.

Investors in the new funding round have proposed to give 10 percent of their shares in Reddit back to the community, which is the driving force of the website where people submit content then collectively vote items "up" or "down."

Reddit is also popular for Ask Me Anything (AMA) online chat forum sessions in which influential or well-known figures such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and US President Barack Obama field queries in real time.

"We've long been trying to find a way for the community to own some of Reddit, because it is your contributions that help to anchor the site and give it strength," Wong said.

"We're going to need to figure out a bunch of details to make it work, but we're hopeful."

Microsoft announced plans Tuesday to offer its commercial cloud services from Indian data centres as it seeks to tap what it calls a $2-trillion market in the country where Internet use is growing rapidly.

The move is part of the US tech giant's strategy to prepare for a world in which all data is stored online in locked accounts as it attempts to keep its market edge, with desktop use declining.

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said the company would set up data centres in three Indian cities by the end of 2015, describing the country's demand for cloud services as "incredible".

"Last year, our cloud business in India grew over by 100 percent," said Nadella, on his first trip to India after taking the top job at the company in February.

"Buoyed by that success, we have now decided to offer cloud services from local data centres," he told reporters.

Microsoft, the world's biggest software maker, is facing stiff competition for cloud customers from US giants Google and Amazon.

Cloud Internet services in India represents a $2-trillion market opportunity, the Indian-born Nadella said.

The Microsoft chief kept mum about the amount of money that the firm will invest in India, but said "when we get started you will see the scale".

India's Internet use is booming as more of its 1.25-billion population buy smartphones, tablets and computers. Companies are also doing more computing in data centres.

Nadella said his company would offer its Azure and Office 365 cloud services from the new data centres.

"With more than 250 million Indians using Internet-connected devices today, there is an incredible demand and opportunity for India with Microsoft cloud services," he said.

While Microsoft has seen its computer desktop business reduces, it sees its software as giving it market clout and the cloud has become a new revenue growth driver.

Nadella's announcement came on the same day as the company said it intends to give an indication of "what's next" for its Windows operating system at a US event.


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Putting the squeeze on quantum information
Toronto, Canada (SPX) Sep 26, 2014
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