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Cloud services play a central role in business operations today, and will only grow more important over time: The global public cloud infrastructure market could grow from $214.3 billion in 2019 to $333.1 billion by 2022, according to Gartner.
Despite the size of this market, just four services — Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft's Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud — account for 75% of the public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market, with AWS alone constituting 48% of the market. And while enterprises around the world make significant cloud investments, they mostly flow to providers headquartered in one of two nations: Alibaba in China and Amazon, Microsoft, and Google in the US.
Two countries are pushing to disrupt the dominance of these big cloud players by developing regional alternatives:
- The French government wants local tech companies to strengthen domestic cloud solutions as alternatives to those offered by US firms. To develop these alternatives, the French government started collaborating with software company Dassault Systemes and cloud company OVH, according to Reuters. The strengthened cloud offering would serve both French and German corporations. This comes in response to the CLOUD Act, a law passed in the US in 2018 that gives American intelligence agencies the legal right to access any data stored on servers operated by US cloud firms, which a French official called "totally unacceptable." France certainly has cause for concern with this oversight by the US government, but the move could offer benefits beyond privacy alone, as the initiative could help foster a domestic cloud industry. Down the line, France could impose regulation to help Dassault Systemes and OVH compete against US-based cloud services.
- Indonesia's majority state-owned PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia plans to invest in cloud solutions. The new data centers will start with an investment of approximately $70.6 million, with the potential to scale according to demand, according to the Jakarta Post. Construction is slated for 2020, which would pit PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia against several of the cloud giants: Google expects to launch its Indonesia-based cloud business in the first half of 2020, Alibaba already operates there, and AWS plans to enter in late 2021 or early 2022. Indonesia's internet economy, which has incubated tech unicorns Go-Jek, Traveloka, Bukalapak, and Tokopedia, could grow from $27 billion in 2018 to $100 billion in 2025, according to a Google report cited by the Jakarta Post. By growing domestic cloud services, the Indonesian government could ensure a greater share of these revenues remain in the country.
Several countries have an appetite to disrupt the dominance of big cloud providers, but propping up regional cloud providers would likely hurt their tech economies as a whole. Global enterprises rated "cloud cost optimization" as their top priority in 2019 for the third year in a row, according to a survey from Flexera.
The big cloud providers excel in this department, as they have the scale and access to capital necessary to provide comprehensive, low-cost solutions that stave off competition from new entrants. To give regional players a chance, local governments would need to skew the market in favor of their desired "winner" — either through state subsidies or by handicapping big cloud providers — but this in turn would drive up cloud services costs for their domestic tech industry as a whole. States' appetites to create regional cloud providers will be kept in check by these market dynamics.
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