In November 2012, we wrote an Alert about the European Commission’s Communication on Cloud Computing intended, it said, to “… unleash the potential of cloud computing in Europe”. Sceptics were doubtful that the cloud industry needed much help from European regulators to thrive.
Twenty months later, the Commission has begun to deliver on its key actions in the Communication with the publication of its Cloud Service Level Agreement Standardisation Guidelines.
How helpful are these Standardisation Guidelines to the cloud sector at this point in its development?
The recently-issued Cloud Service Level Agreement Standardisation Guidelines have their origin back in November 2012. At that time, the European Commission issued a Communication setting out a road map for the future growth of cloud computing in Europe.
In the 2012 Communication, the Commission set out a number of key actions, including to cut through the jungle of standards and to promote safe and fair cloud contracts. The Commission believes that the development of model terms for cloud computing – and, specifically, service level agreements in the cloud sector – is one of the most important issues affecting the future growth of the cloud industry in Europe, and that standardising the approach to cloud services will enable buyers of cloud computing services to make fair comparisons between different providers’ offerings.
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The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here.
All this–plus a collection of thought-provoking statistics about online privacy…
As the use of social media continues to grow, social media is likely to play an increasingly more prominent role in proxy contests. In this context, the recent Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations issued by the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance provide helpful clarifications on how social media outlets can be used in proxy contests in compliance with SEC regulations.
SOCIAL MEDIA’S IMPACT ON PROXY CONTESTS
Activist investors have used social media and have at times been able to “move the market” through social media statements in support of or against a public company. Carl Icahn first used Twitter to express his concerns against Dell Inc.’s buyout in 2013, referencing his interest in Dell in his first Twitter posting. Icahn also made extensive use of social media in the recent eBay, Inc proxy contest, in which Icahn pressured eBay to add two of Icahn’s nominees to eBay’s board of directors and to spin off eBay’s PayPal division. Icahn made multiple statements related to the eBay proxy contest through his personal Twitter account, including a link to an article about eBay’s corporate governance problems, links to letters on Icahn’s website supporting his position and criticizing eBay, and short jabs at eBay that could stand alone within the 140 character limitation of a Twitter post. Similarly, members of eBay’s board also used Twitter to announce their positions against Icahn in the proxy contest (In April 2014, Icahn and eBay reached an agreement that put one of Icahn’s nominees on the eBay board).
In the general effort to inform and persuade shareholders during a proxy contest, social media can be a powerful tool, and it can grab the attention of a larger audience. As Carl Icahn’s example suggests, social media can be used to make statements with a length and tone tailored to a specific social media platform, and to share links to information and analysis that provide more depth and greater disclosure to an interested reader.