Like the physical cloud, the services provided by technology majors are completely opaque to the outside world.
near the end of July, Microsoft and the parent company of Google, the alphabet, presented their latest relatively disappointing economic results, blaming surrounding macroeconomic distress. However, both companies noted the momentum of their cloud service, which is an important driver of future growth. The cloud was also responsible for AmazonQuarterly data is better than expected.
The cloud includes computing services, including software, hardware, and platforms, progress Online rather than running locally on individual computers. By 2025, 45 percent of the world’s data storage will be in the cloud. While these services are used by all types of businesses and public sector organizations, cloud ownership is largely dominated by Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. with them focus About 65 percent of cloud infrastructure services.
Even like a giant like Netflix It recently said that it relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and cannot easily switch to another cloud service provider. Uberwhich can only work via Google Maps, and Reservation Likewise, they realized their dependence on big tech companies. Leading European companies have similarly done in a 2021 report to the European Commission.
Since many can use the same lines of code simultaneously, the reproduction costs of selling artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms such as cloud services tend to be zero. Hence, as Amazon, Microsoft and Google expand their customer base, profits increase exponentially: AWS is Amazon’s service The most profitable business. Moreover, since the AI-as-a-service code includes deep learning algorithms, which learn while processing data, the more these algorithms are introduced, the more they learn and improve themselves, thus enhancing the digital leadership of the three giants.
The tendency towards market dominance based on premium data access is exacerbated by code that underpins cloud services that cannot be accessed by customers, who become "locked in". Clients know what certain services can be used for, but they can't learn from the rented code because they don't have access to the algorithms that make those things happen - even if those algorithms Partially placed by universities and other public research institutions.
This is true even when those customers are other big companies. Siemens, for example, is the leading European company when it comes to the number of Artificial intelligence patents been granted. But Siemens also depend On the Big Tech cloud, including the most advanced artificial general intelligence needed to power the most specific applications Siemens integrates into its medical imaging, energy and transportation products.
Just one year after launching the company Siemens MindSphereAWS, a cloud-based platform for storing and analyzing data retrieved using the Internet of Things (IoT) from its sold devices. took over Part of the development of this platform. Provides computing services that Siemens cannot develop in-house but needs in order to deliver AI solutions to its customers.
Reliance is risky
Such technological dependence is risky for at least two reasons. First, Google, Amazon and Microsoft have already entered Siemens' medical business, with the potential to become serious competitors.
Second, unlike the first wave of ICT, where adopters can learn with and adapt technologies, leading to complementary innovations, cloud computing presents technology as a black box. It limits user learning and generates long-term technology adoption, with no visible way out.
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All this while tech giants' algorithms work on self-improvement by processing data collected by companies like Siemens, widening the technology gap between cloud service providers and other companies. As this dependence grows, Siemens may continue to reduce its own development of MindSphere, relying instead on services from Big Tech clouds.
Siemens is one of thousands of companies building their digital transformation on analytics, databases, and the Internet of Things delivered as cloud services by tech giants. Where these platforms are used as a service accelerate From recourse to others, the Leviathan will surround the Internet commons more.
This economic power eludes regulatory frameworks. until the Digital Markets Lawprobably the world's most advanced digital policy, still focused In the markets: The concern is only with the tech giants as potential gatekeepers to the market.
The term "cloud" appears only 14 times in the 193-page interim general version of this legislation. No word has been said about how Amazon, Microsoft, and Google operate this aspect of their business, broadening the personalization of their knowledge while subservient to other organizations: they are not only a market, they are Guardians of knowledge and information. If the European Union and other global regions seriously want to introduce legislation that can balance their power, this broader guard of the gate must be prevented.
The European Commission must strive on two fronts. Algorithms trained on data collected in Europe, and which are based on collaborations with European universities and other research organizations, should be made publicly available. At the same time, the European Union should allocate funding and research Create a truly public cloud.
Being in the know as a cloud service provider will definitely be a huge challenge and the chances are that Europe will never catch up. However, if there is a lagging region in the digital economy that has the scientific and technological basis to make the attempt, then Europe is.
Does the European Union have the political courage to do so? This is a different discussion.
Cecilia Recap is Lecturer in International Political Economy (IPE) at City University of London, Researcher at CONICET, the Argentine Research Council, and Research Associate at COSTECH Laboratory, Université de Technologie de Compiègne. She is the author of a book Capitalism, Power and Innovation: Uncovering Capitalism's Intellectual Monopoly (Routledge) and co-author of The Digital Innovation Race: Envisioning the Emerging New World Order (Palgrave).