Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Microsoft-DOJ Privacy Case

Today’s topics include the Supreme Court divided on the Microsoft cloud data privacy case; Apple iCloud turning its attention away from Microsoft Azure in favor of Google Cloud; Intel and Qualcomm accelerating 5G efforts; and Ericsson and Equinix partnering for 5G data centers.

U.S. Supreme Court justices heard arguments Feb. 27 in the Department of Justice’s effort to overturn a decision by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that found that the government did not have the authority to demand information stored on a Microsoft-owned server located in Ireland.

Two conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, appeared to side with the government. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, both liberals, appeared to side with Microsoft position.

Both sides will now file final legal briefs before the full court meets behind closed doors. A final decision on whether Microsoft will have to turn over the contents of the email account will be reached in June.

Microsoft's Azure cloud-computing platform has been conspicuously left out of the latest edition of the iOS Security online support document, which details how Apple stores encrypted user data on other cloud platforms. The updated document mentions Amazon S3 and Google’s Cloud Platform. Earlier versions of the document listed Microsoft Azure in place of Google Cloud.

The document states, "The keys and the file's metadata are stored by Apple in the user's iCloud account. The encrypted chunks of the file are stored, without any user-identifying information, using third-party storage services, such as S3 and Google Cloud Platform."

Although the language used by Apple doesn't necessarily mean the company has cut ties with Microsoft Azure, the omission is being regarded as a big win for Google in the increasingly competitive market for enterprise cloud solutions.

Rivals Intel and Qualcomm have both been focusing on 5G connectivity at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.

Intel officials said the company is working with PC OEMs Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft to bring 5G connectivity to Windows systems via their XMM 8000 series 5G modems, with the goal of bringing 5G PCs to market in the second half of 2019. Intel also demonstrated a two-in-one system concept that uses a 5G modem, is powered by Intel’s Core i5 processors and will help form the foundation of future systems.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm at MWC launched its Snapdragon 5G Module solutions, which put more than 1,000 5G components into a few modules. Through this modular approach, OEMs will be able to pull together a few modules rather than hundreds of components, which will simplify device designs, accelerate the time to commercialization and lower costs.

Swedish IT giant Ericsson revealed Feb. 27 that it is extending its partnership with data center owner and operator Equinix to offer IT managed services using the Equinix Performance Hub and 5G connectivity when it becomes widely available in 2019 or 2020. Equinix’s efficient new data management hub provides a new-gen, high-speed approach to improving network and application performance while reducing up to 40 percent of bandwidth costs.

Ericsson said it will add a full range of managed services for network transformation and optimization purposes to meet network operators’ constantly changing requirements. However, network operators won’t have to change out any of their hardware.

By combining Equinix’s global reach into 48 world markets and Ericsson’s expertise in managed services, operators can work in their legacy environments while moving to modern IT architectures at their own pace with hands-on and remote support.