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Today in Cloud

Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President, and the woman responsible for shaping the continent’s legislative reaction to cloud computing, released a press release today that went beyond her speech in Davos to provide a concrete timeline for consultation around a European cloud computing strategy. Consultations will take place in Brussels (possibly within sight of the hotel I’m typing from right now) on 23 May, and online. There is certainly plenty for the European Commission to consult upon with respect to the cloud, and there are many areas in which judicious nudges, targeted funding, or the banging together of recalcitrant corporate heads would produce outcomes beneficial to Europe and the wider world. I remain concerned, though, that the Commission is in danger of attempting to over-legislate for the cloud as if it were a telephone network with fixed assets, defined geographies, and a universal service mandate to uphold. The wires may be the same, and the legislative system certainly understands how to act in this way, but the issues — and the opportunities — are very different. The wrong interventions now would harm European industry for a very long time to come, and no one wants that to happen.