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UK Regulator Doubles AWS Spend While Investigating Cloud Giant

The Competition and Markets Authority is investigating AWS for anti-competitive practices.

This article originally appeared in Channel Futures.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is set to double its cloud spend with AWS over the next 36 months. This is despite the regulator currently investigating AWS for anti-competitive practices.

The CMA announced last October a formal antitrust investigation into AWS and Microsoft. It followed an investigation by Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator, that allegedly uncovered evidence of anti-competitive behavior by both firms.

Ofcom accused the cloud giants of stifling innovation within the £15 billion (US $16.9 billion) UK cloud market. It said it had “identified features and practices that make it more difficult for customers to switch and use multiple cloud suppliers.”

Yet under the terms of the UK’s One Government Value Agreement 2.0 (OGVA), public sector IT buyers, like the CMA, take advantage of discounted prices from public cloud providers like AWS.

The CMA’s latest three-year deal with AWS is valued at approximately £437,000 (US $550,000). This is more than double the value of the previous cloud agreement the pair had in place, which was valued at a little more than £191,000 (US $240,000).

CMA and AWS: A Conflict of Interest?

AWS’ cloud rivals suggest a conflict of interest between the CMA and AWS.

The decision by CMA to renew its AWS contract was branded “a great disappointment” by the CEO of UK cloud provider Civo.

“We would expect greater awareness from the CMA on the message this sends to those eagerly awaiting its review,” said Mark Boost. “With the UK approaching the election, we need to think hard about the direction we want to take with cloud. Regulators, governments and businesses should be free to decide their own technological destiny, and not be limited by the obscure billing and convoluted services that the Big Tech brands in Silicon Valley offer. Whoever is in No. 10 [Downing Street] this time next year needs to address this as an urgent priority.”

AWS has previously said regulatory intervention was “unwarranted, and could lead to significant unintended harm to customers and competition.”

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