A roundup of the best cloud computing news this month.
British Airways to roll out in-flight internet within three years
British Airways is in advanced talks with satellite firm Inmarsat to provide super-fast and reliable internet access across the European airspace.
The airline said the service, which combines satellite and air-to-ground 4G connectivity, would initially be available on its UK domestic routes within three years.
London-based Inmarsat said it had teamed up with European peer Hellas-Sat in efforts to reduce initial programme costs.
Called Europasat, the $250m satellite will be constructed by French-Italian firm Thales Alenia Space and is expected to be delivered in 2016.
Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce said: "We believe that… with the support of EU telecoms regulators, Inmarsat can rapidly bring to market unique, high-speed aviation passenger connectivity services to meet this market demand on an EU-wide basis.
"A number of European airlines are aligned with this vision and we are absolutely delighted to announce advanced discussions with British Airways to be a launch customer on our new aviation network."
Kate Thornton, head of product and service at BA, said the airline could soon be "leading Europe in a new era of broadband in the air".
"Starting with UK domestic routes, Inmarsat intends to deploy Europe’s first ground-based 4G broadband network, giving our customers the internet access they expect on the ground while in the air," she said.
Amazon Web Services awarded Bitcoin cloud computing patent
Amazon has been given granted a Bitcoin-related cloud computing patent that could soon allow the e-commerce giant to accept digital currencies as payment for its cloud computing services on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The news counters recent claims by Amazon that it is not currently interested in accepting digital currencies, unlike e-commerce rivals such as eBay.
Amazon payments boss Tom Taylor said the online retailer had considered Bitcoin, but ultimately decided that there was too little interest in the virtual currency to benefit from accepting it.
Taylor told Re/Code: "Obviously it gets a lot of press and we have considered it, but we’re not hearing from customers that it’s right for them, and don’t have any plans within Amazon to engage Bitcoin."
The US Patent and Trademark Office granted Amazon the patent. It was filed on 29 March 2012.
An abstract from the patent read: "A resource can be allocated and available as long as payment has been provided. If a user wants the resource to be available for additional processing, for example, the user can submit another request with additional funding.
"The funding can come in the form of donations from any user, or in the form of investments where the investor expects some return on the investment in the form of revenue, visibility or other such compensation.
"One or more management components can track funding for various resources, can accept and select bids for period of sponsorship, and can manage various donation models."
The patent goes on to describe how different types of digital money can be accepted for cloud computing.
"Various types of digital cash, electronic money or crypto-currency can be used, such as bitcoins provided by the Bitcoin P2P currency system."
Acer announces further Bring Your Own Cloud plans
Acer has revealed a plan to push into cloud computing amidst figures that indicate a shrinking PC market.
The Taiwanese firm is currently the fourth-largest manufacturer of PCs in the world, and now wants to start developing software and providing online services under the name Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC), which it sees as the future of personal cloud computing.
The global PC market shrank 10% at the end of 2013, and it was then when Acer announced it BYOC plans, where users can store their data on the cloud and run applications purely online.
Stan Shih, Acer founder and chairman, said: "The computer is still our foundation, but BYOC is a new platform for integration, cross-compatibility and convenience."
Acer is entering a competitive market, however, with Google and Amazon both dropping their cloud computing prices in March. Cisco and HP also recently revealed $1bn cloud investments.
Data from research firm IDC showed that Acer’s PC shipments fell by 20.2% in the first quarter of 2014, alongside an overall market drop of 4.4%.
The company has partnered up with California-based software makers NTI to help push BYOC. Both NTI and Acer said it is in their best interests to explore a collaboration with the purpose of launching the BYOC service.
NTI president Bill Yao said: "NTI has been a software supplier to Acer since 1999. It’s both an honour and our responsibility to be a member of Acer’s BYOC alliance. We believe in Acer’s strong vision and we are very confident that our software expertise will help realise that vision."
Shih is to retire this June, but said he will aid Acer in finding BYOC collaborators past this date.