Amazon, Microsoft, Google Face Cloud-Services Examination in UK

The UK Office for Communications is investigating Amazon’s market positions.

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com Inc., Microsoft corp.

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and Alphabet Inc.’s

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Google in the coming weeks as part of an investigation into the country’s cloud infrastructure services sector.

The regulator said the three firms account for around 81% of revenue generated in the UK’s public cloud infrastructure market and that its investigation will formally assess how well the market is working. Ofcom said it would examine the strength of competition in cloud services in general and the position of the three companies in the market, as well as consider any features that may limit innovation, growth or new players.

Microsoft said it would contribute to the investigation. Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The survey is the latest initiative from Great Britain. regulators and policy makers to try to play a bigger role for the country as a global tech regulator after the country’s exit from the EU. Over the past decade, the EU has tried to position itself as the West’s pre-eminent technology regulator. Recently, US state governments, as well as federal regulators, have stepped up their efforts to rein in alleged competition and privacy abuses by major technology companies with lawsuits and investigations.

The UK competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority, has created a new digital markets unit which it hopes will be given new powers to order changes to the business practices of tech giants. The CMA launched competition investigations into Apple earlier this year Inc.

and Google’s power over mobile device software. Both companies said at the time that their practices promoted competition and that they would cooperate with the regulator.

Ofcom said on Thursday that telecoms providers and broadcasters are increasingly relying on cloud infrastructure, and said it would look to ensure the switch does not expose consumers to less competition or sharp price increases.

The regulator said it would solicit feedback from stakeholders in its cloud investigation and issue a final report – including concerns or recommendations – within a year. It said it would consider how any competition concerns could be addressed, but said a full investigation into how to do so could require further work. Among Ofcom’s powers are competition enforcement actions as well as a referral to the CMA.

Ofcom also said it would launch a wider assessment of online personal communications and audiovisual apps. It said it was interested in how services such as Meta Platforms Inc.’s WhatsApp and FaceTime, as well as Zoom Video Communications Inc.

have affected traditional calling and messaging and how competition and innovation may evolve. It further said that a future area of ​​focus is the nature and intensity of competition between digital personal assistants and audiovisual “gateways” such as connected TV and smart speakers.

Write to Sam Schechner at sam.schechner@wsj.com

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