business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  More legal trouble for Amazon.

CNBC reports that "Britain’s anti-competition regulators have been tasked with investigating Microsoft and Amazon’s dominance of the cloud computing market.

"Media watchdog Ofcom on Thursday referred its inquiry for further investigation to the Competition and Markets Authority, kickstarting the process.

"Ofcom said that it had identified features which make it more difficult for U.K. businesses to switch cloud providers, or use multiple cloud services, and that it is 'particularly concerned' about the position of market leaders Amazon and Microsoft."

According to the story, "Ofcom is concerned that so-called 'hyperscalers' like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are limiting competition in the cloud computing market. These are companies that allow businesses of all stripes to carry out critical computing tasks — like storage and management of data, delivery of content, analytics and intelligence — over the internet, rather than through servers stored on site, or 'on premise.'

"An Amazon spokesperson said in a Thursday statement that the company disagrees with the Ofcom finding. Microsoft was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC."

•  From the Financial Times:

"Belgium’s intelligence service has been monitoring Alibaba’s main logistics hub in Europe for espionage following suspicions Beijing has been exploiting its growing economic presence in the west. European governments have been increasing scrutiny of the alleged security and economic risks posed by Chinese companies, which has been part of a wider reassessment of the EU’s traditional openness to trade with China. In specific reference to Alibaba’s logistics arm at the cargo airport in Liège, Belgium’s security services told the Financial Times they were working to detect 'possible espionage and/or interference activities' carried out by Chinese entities 'including Alibaba'."

Alibaba has denied any wrongdoing.

•  From The Verge:

"Amp, the live radio app launched by Amazon just last year, will soon be no more … Amazon’s experiment in live audio only lasted about a year and a half — the app was first launched in March 2022 and seemed to be a competitor to Clubhouse and other live or social audio services launched during the pandemic. But unlike Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces, which allowed anyone to launch a live chat room on any topic, Amp was geared toward fans of music and talk radio. Any Amp user with an Amazon account could launch a live show and access millions of licensed songs, which they could compile into playlists and play for their followers. Amp users could 'call in' to shows and ask hosts questions."

Steve Boom, the vice president of Amazon Music, said that "this decision was not made quickly or easily … It only became clear after months of careful consideration determining the investments Amazon wants to make for the future."

I'm kind of sorry I didn't know about this - I would've loved to have done a one-hour call-in talk show on Amp.  After all, people often write to me saying "first time/long time," and it would've been fun to interacted live on the radio.