Keeping cloud computing competitive: New study by IE.F and Roland Berger

Amelie Druenkler, 15.05.2019

Press Release | Keeping cloud computing competitive - How multi-cloud solutions benefit the private & public sectors

Cloud computing has become a key element of digital products and services over the past decade. The market for cloud computing services is increasingly led by a few dominant players. This phenomenon is already familiar in other digital markets, such as search engines or social networks. To ensure diversity and innovation in the cloud computing market and increase cyber-attack resilience, government needs to ensure free and fair competition. The new study "Keeping Cloud Computing Competitive - How Multi-Cloud Solutions Benefit the Public & Private Sectors" from Roland Berger and the Internet Economy Foundation (IE.F) shows the market concentration tendencies for cloud computing services, describes the benefits of multi-cloud solutions for companies and public administrations and suggests how the state as a buyer and rule-setter can strengthen fair competition in cloud computing.

In addition to providing decentralized IT infrastructure, cloud computing also includes the use of complete platforms to develop or operate digital services and applications that can be obtained directly from the cloud. Thanks to its high scalability, the market has grown steadily and very rapidly since Amazon Web Services' launch in 2006. For the big Internet companies, cloud computing has long since become a decisive growth engine. In addition to Amazon, other players such as Google, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle also offer cloud computing services. In addition, there are large cloud specialists such as Salesforce and numerous niche providers. However, market shares are now increasingly focusing on a modest number of market players. Particularly in the area of infrastructure and platform services, a dominance of a few companies is emerging. "We see the danger of a monopolization, as we have already experienced in mobile operating systems or search engines," says Friedbert Pflüger, Chairman of the IE.F. "But policymakers still have time to act, because the market power of individual providers is not yet as concentrated as in other markets."

The authors of the study identify six levers to secure long-term innovation and diversity in cloud computing. The public sector, both as a buyer and as a rule-setter, plays a key role in ensuring fair competition. As the primary buyer of cloud services, the state must ensure that public administration is able to build a balanced cloud portfolio within a multi-faceted cloud. Although this increases the control effort necessary when compared to single-cloud solutions, it reduces the dependency on individual providers. In its role as legislator, the state can also actively shape the framework conditions of the market and must in this function promote Europe-wide standards with regard to the security and interoperability of cloud services.

Six keys to innovation and diversity in cloud computing:

In their capacity as buyers, governments must...

  1. align their use of the cloud with strategic objectives,
  2. minimize lock-in effects by deploying multi-cloud solutions,
  3. create contractual obligations for interoperability and portability.

In their capacity as regulators, governments must...

  1. drive the development of Europe-wide security standards for cloud computing,
  2. support self-regulation by cloud service providers,
  3. pursue the statutory regulation of cloud service interoperability as a last resort.

The study is now available for download:


Press Release Roland Berger