The progress of e-commerce in Germany—home to Europe’s largest Internet population—was relatively slow, retarded by many of the same issues seen earlier in other countries, such as the UK and the US. Heightened security concerns and adherence to traditional payment habits on the part of many Germans hindered the development of online selling. But the situation has changed. By the end of 2008, the GfK Group reported that retail e-commerce sales—excluding event tickets, financial products and travel—reached €13.6 billion ($20 billion), up €2.2 billion ($3.2 billion) from 2007.
Cloud computing lets companies move data and applications from their own servers to those managed by someone else. The dream is to forget all about managing infrastructure, but in reality, applications are still deeply tied to surrounding software, such as a specific operating system or database, so it’s not so easy to move them. A company based in Raleigh, NC, called rPath is winning admirers among IT experts by selling technology that addresses this problem. The company won top honors last week in the “cloud and infrastructure” category at a competition held at the 2009 Venture Summit East conference in Boston.