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Following Amazon And Netflix, Rakuten Is Expanding Its Wuaki Video Service Across Europe; First Stop UK (Original)

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E-commerce giant Rakuten, often called the Amazon of Japan, is taking another step in a bid to square up to is rival: today it is officially launching a beta of its Wuaki video streaming service in the UK, part of what Wuaki’s CEO tells us is a plan to take the service across other countries in Europe.

“The UK is the first stop in Wuaki.tv´s European expansion beyond the company’s home market in Spain. Wuaki.tv has a long term aim of becoming a leader in the European VOD space, and is planning to complete launches in the main European countries, in addition to the UK and Spain, within the next 18-24 months,” Wuaki’s CEO Jacinto Roca told TechCrunch. “A detailed plan will be confirmed in the next few months, following the UK launch and initial feedback and results in that market.”

The UK launch is kicking off with “thousands of hours of movie and TV content,” including titles from Warner Bros., Disney, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and the BBC, among others (some of the specific titles include Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful and Lincoln, and series like The Tudors and Doctor Who). Subscription prices for those who take up offers this summer will be £2.99 ($4.50) per month, plus an a la carte offering.…

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Merlin: iTunes Remains Biggest Digital Destination; Spotify + Amazon 2nd And 3rd; Streaming Still Just An Opening Act (Original)

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On the heels of Google wading into the music streaming waters with its Google Play Music All Access service, with a $10 fee for all-you-can-eat streamed tracks, the indie music agency Merlin has today published results of a recent survey of its 20,000-label member group, plus an analysis of 6.5 billion music streams over the last year, which spell out where the money is coming from today. Streaming services are making increasing headway as a revenue driver for musicians, but digital downloads — specifically Apple’s iTunes — are still ruling the roost.

Worldwide, iTunes has held on to its spot as the single-biggest source of revenues for Merlin’s independent label members, both across key markets like the U.S. and UK, as well across Europe and globally. Interestingly, Spotify is securely in second position, underscoring just how popular both Spotify and streaming services  have become — second has been a place held by Amazon for some time prior to this. Amazon’s MP3 download service subsequently slipped down to third place across the board, while Deezer and eMusic are split regionally in terms of their influence and in grabbing fourth place.

We’re reaching out to Merlin to see if we can get a specific percentage breakdown here.…

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Amazon’s Prime Instant Video set-top box sounds like a winner (Original)

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With so many companies failing to deliver a great television companion box, it looks like Amazon plans to toss their hat in the ring and see how they do. Let’s face it, the……

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Amazon reportedly planning STB (Original)

Amazon is reportedly developing its own internet-streaming TV set-top box with plans to launch the device this autumn.

According to a Bloomberg report, which cites unnamed sources, the device will give viewers access to Amazon’s Instant Video store and Prime Instant Video pay-monthly service on their TV sets and will compete with the likes of Apple’s Apple TV offering and streaming devices by firms like Roku and Boxee.

Amazon’s Lab126 division in Cupertino is reportedly developing the device. Former Cisco executive Malachy Moynihan is said to be running the project.

The news comes just days after Amazon made  eight comedy pilots and six kids pilots available online, with viewers to decide which shows will go to series, as it moves forward with its own original content strategy.

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Amazon’s AWS Turns On Redshift Data Warehousing And EC2 High Storage In Europe (Original)

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Amazon’s business model, CTO Werner Vogels reminded us today, is based on “low margins, high volume”, and today the company announced a development on how it’s applying that principle to its enterprise services. From today, AWS is expanding to Europe its Redshift data warehousing service and its EC2 High Storage service. Amazon first announced the intention to take Redshift global in February; it’s actually turning on Europe today.

The news of the international expansion was made this morning during the Amazon Web Services Summit in London, part of a wider roadshow for AWS. Redshift, Amazon’s petabyte-scale solution to better manage huge backlogs of data, was first announced in November 2012. It is very competitive on price: traditional data warehousing solutions can cost between $19,000 and $25,000 per terabyte while Redshift charges $1,000 per terabyte per year.

Big data, Vogels said in a speech today, will be the crux of competitive advantage in the future, but also, it can be the biggest stumbling block. “The database will be the bottleneck,” he said.

Vogels also took the audience through what he sees as the cloud services to watch in the future — a primer, of sorts, for what we may expect to see from AWS in terms of its product roadmap.…

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Amazon buys Siri-esque Evi, planning voice-based shopping assistant? (Original)

Amazon has bought British start-up Evi, akin to Apple's Siri, for $26 million, rumored to be launching a new voice-based shopping guide or its own smartphone within the year.…

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Amazon Android app store to open in 200 additional countries, could lead up to smartphone launch program (Original)

Amazon has announced it will be opening its Android application store in nearly 200 new countries around the world very soon. The list includes several key emerging markets, which could signify the beginning of a smartphone launch program.…

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AWS Drops Prices For Windows On-Demand EC2 Instances Up To 26% As Competition Intensifies (Original)

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) is dropping the price  of Windows On-Demand EC2 instances up to 26 percent, which is another clear sign of the price wars in the cloud computing market. The news follows Google’s announcement earlier today that it is dropping instance prices by 4 percent.

AWS says the drop in price continues its tradition of  exploring ways to reduce its costs:

This reduction applies to the Standard (m1), Second-Generation Standard (m3), High-Memory (m2), and High-CPU (c1) instance families. All prices are effective from April 1, 2013. The size of the reduction varies by instance family and region. You can visit the AWS Windows page for more information about Windows pricing on AWS.

AWS has extended its support for AWS in the last month with support for SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groupsa beta of the AWS Diagnostics for Microsoft Windows Server, and new drivers for our virtual instances that improve performance and increase the supported number of volumes.

Earlier today, Google opened Compute Engine to developers who subscribe to Google’s $400 per month Gold Support package. The package includes 24/7 phone support. Users can access Compute Engine without the need to talk to sales or an invitation.…

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Google Ramps Up Its Amazon Cloud Rival (Original)

Anyone can now use the Google Compute Engine -- the web giant's answer to Amazon's seminal EC2 cloud computing service. Well, anyone who's willing to pay Google $400 a month for customer support.

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Amazon Takes on Dropbox With New Desktop File Syncing (Original)

It's still rough around the edges, but a new desktop syncing client puts Amazon's Cloud Drive tool in league with Dropbox, Google Drive and other cloud-based file syncing tools. It's half the price of Dropbox, but unfortunately Amazon's Cloud Drive currently lacks most of what makes Dropbox so indispensable.

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