For the last year, the tech world has buzzed with talk of the next big thing: cloud computing. Hailed as a breakthrough that will allow companies to compute without much hardware, the technology has pushed companies such as Microsoft, Amazon.com and Google to stake their claim, reports the Seattle Times. As U.S. companies start exploring doing some of this computing this year, a school system on the other side of the globe has already leapt into the cloud. Ethiopia is rolling out 250,000 laptops to its schoolteachers nationwide, all running on Microsoft’s cloud platform, called Azure. The laptops will allow teachers to download curriculum, keep track of academic records and securely transfer student data throughout the education system, without having to build a support system of hardware and software to connect them. "They’re going to be able to leapfrog ahead of most companies in the U.S.," said Danny Kim, chief technology officer of FullArmor, a Boston company working on the software deployment in the Ethiopian project.

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