When we talk about regulating big tech, the discussion usually centers on online privacy and location tracking, but we never seem to discuss the control these companies have over a vast majority of the internet. We use free apps and services every day but fail to mention where all that data is stored—in the cloud. If we want big tech to have less control over our daily lives, maybe we should start worrying about the stranglehold these few companies have over our data.
According to data collected by the Synergy Research Group, four companies own 67% of the world’s $130 billion cloud market. Leading the pack by a large margin is Amazon Web Services, which enjoys a whopping 32% market share against the competition. This is followed by the 20% share enjoyed by Microsoft’s Azure infrastructure. So these two companies alone make up 52% of the market.
Behind the two dominant companies, Google Cloud at 9% and Alibaba Cloud at 6% round out the top four, which own over half of the overall market. After that, IBM Cloud, Salesforce, Tencent Cloud, and Oracle Cloud make up 12% of the market combined.
Between the infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service schemes employers subscribe to and the hosted private cloud services we use every day, companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Alibaba have ultimate control over our data. Google may not be viewing everything you upload to Google Drive, for instance, but these companies do gain access to our personal data through the free services you use.
In the fourth quarter of 2020 alone, cloud infrastructure services brought in a total of $37 billion as the world solidified its work from home setup. This was a $4 billion jump from the previous quarter, proving that these companies continue to thrive off our data while many other businesses suffer.
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