Amazon.com gives startups a 50-percent-off sale

Jeff Bezos likes to say he's in the business of delighting customers. And then he delivers that howling, hooting laugh. The latest guffaw-provoker: Amazon EC2, a service which lets startups run their programs on servers housed in Amazon.com's datacenters. When it launched, Amazon promised "the equivalent of a 1.7GHz x86 processor" — in other words, a fairly low-powered server, but at the cost of a dime an hour. Ted Dziuba, the acid-tongued former editor of Uncov, found that Amazon actually delivered half that performance. Why haven't you heard more about this? Likely because most of the me-too, slapdash websites making use of Amazon's EC2 aren't running anything more processor-intensive than an index-hit SQL select.

Update: SmugMug's Don McAskill, also an Amazon customer, thinks it's all a big misunderstanding. The short version: Not all gigahertzes are created equal.