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European Commission launches cloud computing consultation

Jenny Williams

The European Commission (EC) has opened a public consultation to collect views on the benefits of cloud computing.

Opinions from individuals, businesses and public bodies will be used to define the EC's European cloud computing strategy, due to be presented in 2012. The strategy aims to clarify legal and technical issues, which are slowing down the adoption of cloud computing within larger European businesses.

Neelie Kroes, EC vice-president for the digital agenda, said: "I am excited about the potential benefits of cloud computing to cut costs, improve services and open up new business opportunities. We need a well-defined cloud computing strategy to ensure that we make the best use of this potential. The input we are requesting from all interested parties is important to get it right."

The EC said it is interested in opinions from cloud developers and cloud users on cross-border data protection and liability issues, technical barriers to the development of cloud computing, as well as ways of introducing standardisation and interoperability.

Kroes says businesses can benefit from lower IT costs. "Cloud computing represents a paradigm shift away from today's decentralised IT systems. It is already transforming providers of IT services and it will change the way other industrial sectors provision their IT needs as users, as well as the way citizens interact with their computers and their mobile devices," she added.

In January 2011, Kroes said the strategy would also support the deployment of pilot cloud services: "I want to make Europe not just 'cloud-friendly' but 'cloud-active'."

According to Gartner figures, cloud services will generate sales of $148.8bn by 2014.

The online public consultation is open until 31 August 2011.

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