EU seeks to maximise cloud computing potential

BRUSSELS Mon May 16, 2011 10:23am EDT

European Commission's vice president Neelie Kroes addresses a news conference on the European Digital Agenda at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels May 19, 2010. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

European Commission's vice president Neelie Kroes addresses a news conference on the European Digital Agenda at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels May 19, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission called on Monday for contributions to an EU strategy on cloud computing, saying the remote technology could bring savings as well as huge revenues to the 27-member bloc.

The EU executive said cloud computing could generate 35 billion euros in revenue in Europe by 2014 and the right regulations could help business and government make considerable savings on their costs by using the technology.

"We need a well-defined cloud computing strategy to ensure that we make the best use of this potential," Neelie Kroes, the EU commissioner overseeing digital technology in the EU, said in a statement.

Cloud computing, which allows remote access to computing power and data over the Internet, can drive down costs and save energy through more efficient use of hardware and software.

The technology allows services such as Google's (GOOG.O) Gmail and Yahoo's (YHOO.O) Flickr photo management site to store data remotely.

The Commission consultation aims to address concerns the technology generates, in particular over matters of privacy and jurisdiction, such as who owns the information and who bears responsibility for how EU legislation is applied.

Boosting the use of the technology by small and medium-sized businesses and creating more standardisation are also part of the Commission's consultation, which is open until the end of August.

The EU executive is expected to present a European cloud computing strategy next year.

(Reporting by Christopher Le Coq; Editing by Rex Merrifield and Peter Graff)

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