A diverse group, ranging from Apple to CNN, is backing Microsoft in its legal clash with the U.S. government over access to emails stored overseas. Fred Katayama reports.
Microsoft holding hands with archrival Apple? The company Steve Jobs co-founded is among the many organizations and individuals ranging from Amazon to CNN that support Microsoft in its legal clash with the U.S. government. At issue: privacy in the cloud. The government wants access to Microsoft's data stored in Ireland, saying it needs that for a drug investigation. A federal judge had ordered Microsoft to fork over those emails, and Microsoft is urging an appeals court to reverse that order. The debate over privacy and technology broke out last year when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed how tech giants had given in to government demands for information. Now, the tech companies are putting up a fight to win back their customers' trust ... and protect the fast-growing cloud computing business. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation estimates the Snowden scandal could rob the U.S. cloud computing industry of up to $35 billion over the next three years. That's especially important for Microsoft, whose CEO Satya Nadella is shifting the software-centric giant into what he calls the "cloud first, mobile first" world. Morningstar analyst Michael Hodel said, "Windows Azure also has the potential to become a dominant enterprise cloud platform, acting as a potential hedge against the threats facing the core software business." Microsoft's shares, up nearly 25 percent this year, gave back some of those gains in early trading.