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7/29/2010
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Amazon CTO Counters Eli Lilly Rumors Via Twitter

Werner Vogels used the micro blogging service to respond to reports that Eli Lilly, a leading EC2 customer, was "dumping" Amazon Web Services.

A major web services company has used social media to knock down a damaging rumor -- in 140 characters or less.

“I just went from 'dumped' to 'derailed'... What is next? I am pretty sure you can find a source for 'Amazon CTO pregnant with Martian Baby,' “tweeted Amazon Web Services CTO Werner Vogels to his followers this morning.

The statement refuting the story only used 113 characters.

A popular cloud computing news site, SearchCloudComputing.com, reported this morning that Eli Lilly, a leading EC2 customer, was pressing in contract talks between the two for greater Amazon accountability and legal liability over Eli Lilly data. Vogels used his instant access to social media to dispute the report. "I guess I'll be spending today fighting the usual lies & misinformation…" he told his followers, without a direct reference to the source of his ire.

In a later tweet, he told followers: "For those following this anonymous source story this morning, Eli Lilly is still very much a customer and has not dropped their use of AWS." (115 characters)

After he did so, SearchCloudComputing.com took down its headline stating, "Eli Lilly Dumps Amazon Web Services over Legal Trouble," and replaced it with, "Eli Lilly-Amazon relationship derailed."

In response to an inquiry from InformationWeek, an Eli Lilly spokesman said: "Lilly is currently a client of Amazon Web Services. We employ a wide variety of Amazon Web Services solutions, including the utilization of their cloud environment for hosting and analytics of information important to Lilly."

Amazon Web Services spokeswoman Kay Kinton said discussions with customers were private. "We are not at liberty to discuss contractual relationships with any of our customers. We did feel it important to stop the spread of inaccurate information," she said, in reference to Vogels' three tweets.

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