Too Big For Their Boots
Within cloud computing, Microsoft and Amazon have become hugely powerful, commanding the cloud computing market in the UK and around the world. Recently, this dominance has come under scrutiny from the UK’s communications watchdog, who are calling for an investigation into their cloud supremacy.
The question is – why have these companies been allowed to establish such dominance?
Due to the resources afforded them as already established tech giants, Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) offer a broad range of services that are scalable, reliable, and relatively affordable. Both companies have invested heavily in data centres across the UK, ensuring low-latency, high-speed services that appeal to businesses of all sizes.
As much as these factors have driven their success, they also give regulators cause for concern. The UK watchdog is concerned that their stronghold may potentially stifle competition, hinder innovation, and give them disproportionate control over the vital digital infrastructure.
What Does The Watchdog Want?
The watchdog hasn’t said yet what restrictions in plans to impose on the companies, but experts say they could do anything from enforcing data portability standards to facilitate switching between cloud providers, to stricter regulations on how these companies can leverage their market position.
Microsoft and Amazon haven’t shared their thoughts on this, but both companies have a record of expressing a commitment to fair competition and providing quality services for their customers. As the global scrutiny intensifies, it is likely they will need to shout louder about their intentions.
An opportunity for other providers?
If regulation is bought in to decentralise the cloud market – lessening the strength of AWS and Azure’s near-monopoly – smaller providers could have a chance to shine, meaning more innovation, variety and more viability for niche solutions.
The heat from the UK watchdog, comes alongside an international uptick in scrutiny of tech firms from regulators. The EU has toughened its rules and the US has taken up several antitrust cases against big tech companies. The UK watchdog’s attention to the issue of cloud monopolies could help make sure this relatively new industry prioritises fairness and healthy competition as it grows up.
While we should recognise the great innovations these giants have introduced, it’s important to ensure innovation and customer choice. The cloud industry has serious potential to make a massive impact in the world – the stakes are high, and the world is watching.
Do you think the regulators are right to investigate? Or do you reckon AWS and Azure control cloud because they’re the best? Let us know in the comments!