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EU Commission launches consultation process on cloud computing

The EU Commission has launched a public consultation process into how businesses, public administrations and other interested parties can benefit from a cloud computing market that the Commission predicts will be worth €35bn in Europe by 2014.

According to the Commission, cloud can “help businesses – especially SMEs – to drastically reduce information technology costs, help governments supply services at a lower cost and save energy by making more efficient use of hardware.”

Promoting the right conditions for users to best benefit from cloud computing has been identified as a key action by the EC’s Digital Agenda for Europe body. EC VP for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, said that the EU needed a “well-defined cloud computing strategy to ensure that we make the best use of this potential,” and called on all interested parties to offer input into how this might best be achieved. Speaking on the subject in January this year, Kroes said that she wanted to make Europe not just “cloud friendly, but cloud-active.”

Among the issues the Commission is seeking feedback on are data protection and liability questions, particularly in cross-border sitations, legal and technical barriers that could slow down the development of cloud computing in Europe and standardisation and interoperability solutions.

The consultation process will end on August 31st this year and the results will be fed into a European cloud strategy to be published in 2012.

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