THE BROWSER: Truth and rumors from the tech world opens up its servers
The online retailer now wants to sell hard-drive space to startups. Plus: Cable companies try to silence VOIP.
By Owen Thomas, Business 2.0 Magazine online editor

SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) - You can already buy just about anything from But now, TechCrunch reports, you can buy space on's servers. Unlike Google's (Research) Gdrive, though, Amazon's (Research) online-storage offering isn't meant for consumers. Amazon, whose servers already host terabytes of book-cover images, music-CD reviews and sales data, is offering online storage space to companies who want to store their own data. The new service could make it easier for startups to build new services without worrying about buying and maintaining their own storage servers, writes former Goldman Sachs (Research) analyst Michael Parekh on his blog.

Cable companies try to silence VOIP

MySpace Messenger on the way
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Will cable companies try to disconnect voice-over-Internet-protocol startups like Vonage? The trade publication Networking Pipeline thinks so, pointing to attempts by Shaw Communications (Research) in Canada to charge VOIP users an extra $10 a month, as well as to complaints by Vonage subscribers in the U.S. that their service runs slowly over Comcast's (Research) broadband service. While Shaw doesn't require users to pay its so-called "service enhancement" fee, it strongly suggests that rival VOIP services will run poorly without it. (Shaw doesn't charge the fee for its own Digital Phone service.)

Microsoft's Vista may spur new PC purchases

Blogger Kevin Tofel got his hands on a Windows Vista beta, and confirmed his fears: Microsoft's (Research) upcoming operating system won't run well on older machines. Laptops and tablet PCs in particular may lack the video capabilities needed to run Microsoft's new user interface. Mimicking a feature long present in Apple's (Research) Mac OS X, Vista's Aero Glass interface lets users see through multiple application windows when they're stacked on top of each other. The feature requires more memory dedicated to video processing than is found in half of all existing PCs. Vista's introduction, expected later this year, could spur a cycle of upgrades and new purchases -- good news for PC makers like Dell (Research) and HP (Research), as well as graphics-card makers like ATI (Research) and Nvidia (Research).

VeriSign's video buy a lousy deal for VCs

Here's a cautionary tale for venture capitalists chasing the Internet video craze: Kontiki, one of the first startups to work on speeding the delivery of Internet video, was just bought by VeriSign (Research) for $62 million. That might sound like a good price for a company with 34 employees, until you realize that the company launched six years ago and raised more than $42 million in venture capital, says Business 2.0 senior writer Om Malik. If you do the math, that works out to less than a 7 percent annualized return on investment.

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