In a June letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Google accused Microsoft of employing restrictive licensing terms in an effort to establish monopoly control of the cloud market.
An FTC request for input regarding potential anti-competitive practices within the cloud industry prompted the letter. Google specifically targeted Microsoft in its letter, asserting that because of the dominance of Microsoft’s Windows Server and Microsoft Office products in the market, it is challenging for Microsoft clients to explore alternatives to Microsoft’s Azure cloud offering. Google claimed that Microsoft’s licensing restrictions hinder businesses’ ability to diversify their enterprise software providers.
Additionally, Google emphasized the substantial national security and cybersecurity risks associated with monopolistic control of the cloud, citing previous cyberattacks involving Microsoft products, including the SolarWinds breach of 2020.1
Closer to home, Toronto-based artificial intelligence company Cohere raised US$270 million in June from investors that include chipmaker Nvidia Corp, Salesforce Ventures, and software company Oracle Corp (held by the Fund).
Cohere builds language models that can power cloud-based chatbots and search engines, and current clients include Spotify, legal tech company Casetext, and customer service provider LivePerson.
In 2017, one of Cohere’s founders co-authored a research paper outlining a novel method for computers to produce and interpret language, and that technique is now standard in large language models.2
Oracle has announced its move to a new type of processor for the first time in decades. Oracle revealed that the latest version of its database software is now compatible with chips from Ampere Computing, a five-year-old Santa Clara, California-based startup. Customers can now run Oracle’s database on servers powered by Ampere’s processors, whether on Oracle’s cloud service or their own on-premises servers.
The processors from Ampere Computing incorporate technology from Arm Ltd., a UK-based company, and offer enhanced performance at a significantly reduced cost. Oracle describes its transition to this new chip architecture as “the future” of cloud computing, indicating a shift away from Intel’s technology leading to superior performance at a more affordable price point.3
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s cloud unit, has announced a $100 million investment to develop a new center to assist companies in utilizing generative artificial intelligence (AI) more effectively. Assistance will come through no-cost workshops, engagements, and training to help customers envision innovative new use cases for AI based on best practices and industry expertise.4 This move comes both as a recognition of the significance of generative AI, as well as a response to strides made in AI by rivals Microsoft and Google.
Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, said he believes generative AI will be the next major innovation driving customer adoption of cloud services, reversing the recent slowdown in customer spending on cloud. He emphasized the importance of cloud infrastructure for AI computing. “Really, you need the cloud for generative AI,” Jassy said in a recent interview.
He believes that with Amazon’s Bedrock generative AI service, Titan language models, and the newly established innovation center, AWS and Amazon are well-positioned to continue their dominance in the cloud infrastructure and services market.5
Investing in Cloud Computing with DATA ETF
If you’re interested in investing in a cloud computing ETF, consider the Evolve Cloud Computing Index Fund (DATA ETF), Canada’s first cloud computing ETF. DATA ETF invests primarily in equity securities of companies located domestically or internationally that have business operations in the field of cloud computing.
Portfolio Strategy and Activity
For the month, Oracle Corp made the largest contribution to the Fund, followed by Amazon.com, Inc and Intuit Inc. The largest detractors to performance for the month were Salesforce Inc, followed by Alphabet Inc and Okta Inc. To learn more about DATA ETF, please click here: https://evolveetfs.com/data/.
- Goswami, R. & Elias, J., “Google accuses Microsoft of unfair practices in Azure cloud unit,” CNBC, June 21, 2023; https://www.cnbc.com/2023/06/21/google-accuses-microsoft-of-anticompetitive-practices-in-azure-cloud.html
- Castaldo, J., “Canadian AI company Cohere raises US$270-million from Inovia, NVIDIA, Oracle and Salesforce Ventures,” The Globe and Mail, June 8, 2023; https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-ai-cohere-fundraising-inovia-nvidia-oracle-salesforce/
- King, I., “Oracle Expands Database to Ampere Chips, Dealing a Blow to Intel,” Bloomberg, June 28, 2023; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-06-28/oracle-expands-database-to-ampere-chips-dealing-a-blow-to-intel
- “AWS Announces Generative AI Innovation Center,” Amazon, June 22, 2023; https://press.aboutamazon.com/2023/6/aws-announces-generative-ai-innovation-center
- Novet, J., “AWS is investing $100 million in generative A.I. center in race to keep up with Microsoft and Google,” CNBC, June 22, 2023; https://www.cnbc.com/2023/06/22/aws-invests-100-million-in-generative-ai-as-it-sees-a-long-race-ahead.html