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Amazon Web Services

Tim O’Reilly: Killer Apps Share A Common Thread: Hacker Geeks.

The really interesting bit in this is the discussion of the Amazon Web Services:

Rob Federick, senior technology manager for, asked for a show of hands for those in the room who considered to be a retailer business and those who considered it to be a technology platform. O’Reilly was amongst the few who raised hands in support of the latter.

It didn’t start out that way. But Amazon soon discovered developers taking the Amazon interface and adding their own ideas. A 19-year-old developer from Romania, ‘Catlin,’ began designing store fronts that looked like the site, and then allowing other developers to download the source code for free.

‘We are allowing people to create and innovate in ways that cannot do on its own,’ Federick said.

This is incredibly significant, and shows how Amazon’s leadership has a totally different vision compared to other online retailers. The others take the ‘Altavista view’ — they want to lock their users ‘in the trunk’ as Dave Winer says; users stay on the retailer’s site, aggregators and price-comparison engines are locked out, having to jump through hacky screen-scraping hoops, etc.

In contrast, Amazon are more than happy to let other sites scrape their content using their web services, even if this could be used to show how other sites have lower prices, or possibly lose them sales. Wow. I’m sure that was hard to sell internally, but it’s a great move.

Spam: Reg: new spam trojan, called Proxy-Guzu. Yet another. :(

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