Ofcom from the UK to survey cloud services, messaging apps and smart devices

FaceTime, WhatsApp and Zoom could be in the crosshairs of UK communications regulator Ofcom, which has announced an investigation into cloud services, messaging apps and smart devices. It’s just the latest in a global sequence of regulatory investigations that could impact Big Tech.

The UK looks up in the clouds

The UK regulator says it intends to look into the positions of Amazon, Microsoft and Google in the $ 17 billion UK cloud services market. These three “hyperscalers” represent the vast majority (81%) of that market.

Businesses have become much more trusted on cloud services during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Gartner predicts that 45% of IT spending will go to public cloud by 2026, for example.

Ofcom’s investigation will extend to how the cloud is used. “The cloud has become an essential part of how products are delivered to telecommunications users, as well as viewers and listeners of TV, radio and audio content,” Ofcom said. “If we find that a market is not performing well, there can be negative impacts on businesses and ultimately on consumers, due to higher prices, lower quality of service and reduced innovation.”

Regulators in other nations will no doubt monitor the progress of the investigation as they try to maintain their level of competitive playing fields.

The newly announced study will include a look at digital services like WhatsApp, Zoom and FaceTime, as well as the smart speaker market; the latter will draw many names into the picture, including, no doubt, Apple’s HomePod.

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