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Salesforce signs hosting deal with Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services, the biggest of the cloud-computing providers, has a new line of work: Taking other cloud-computing giants into other countries.

Salesforce.com announced last week it would use AWS to expand in Canada and Australia, in a deal valued at about $400 million. If successful, the value of the transaction will most likely get much bigger.

“For sure, we’re talking of billions of dollars in services over the next several years,” said Marc Benioff, the co-founder and chief executive of Salesforce.

Salesforce already uses AWS for some of its businesses, but this is the first time its key applications will be on someone else’s computers.

Benioff said Salesforce had evaluated similar deals with Microsoft and Google. So far, AWS is still ahead on its range of offerings and low prices, he said. – New York Times

Conn. hedge fund gets aid

HARTFORD, Conn. – The Connecticut State Bond Commission approved $22 million in grants and loans for the world’s largest hedge fund – despite bipartisan complaints that the wealthy company doesn’t need help at a time when state employees are being laid off.

The commission voted 7 -2 to award the package to Bridgewater Associates, a giant in the financial industry that is operated by Greenwich billionaire Ray Dalio, one of the nation’s wealthiest individuals.

State comptroller Kevin Lembo, a Democrat, and Rep. Christopher Davis, a Republican, voted against the deal – saying it was too lucrative for a wealthy company.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy strongly defended the deal in a series of back-and-forth questions and answers with Davis during the commission’s meeting at the state Capitol complex. Malloy noted that Bridgewater had been searching for a possible new headquarters in Westchester County, N.Y., and could have left the state in the same way as General Electric Co. is moving to Boston this summer from its 68-acre headquarters campus in Fairfield. – Hartford Courant

New way of rating charities

A popular charity-rating website is changing the way it rates nonprofit groups, saying the new method gives donors a better picture of how a particular charity performs over time.

Charity Navigator, which rates charities on a zero- to four-star scale, will start using the new rating system Wednesday. The system changes the way the group assesses a charity’s financial health, but it leaves intact the way it rates a group’s “accountability and transparency,” the second major performance category.

Charity Navigator is one of the more influential charity assessment organizations, rating about 8,000 charities. Many groups consider the rating “absolutely critical to attract new resources and donors,” said Elizabeth Ashbourne, executive director of the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations, which helps coordinate supplies and equipment for disaster relief operations.

– New York Times