France and Germany are teaming up to jointly create a cloud-computing ecosystem that would challenge Amazon, Microsoft and Google, according to Reuters.
The project, which is called Gaia-X, is working to create common standards for storing and processing data on servers that are located inside of the countries, which would result in cloud services that comply with the European Union's laws on data privacy, according to the Reuters story.
The goal of Gaia-X is to reduce the cloud dominance of Amazon, Microsoft and Google. According to Reuters, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier described Gaia-X as a "moonshot" that would help assert Europe's technological sovereignty. Altmaier invited additional companies and countries to participate.
“We are not China, we are not the United States, we are European countries with our own values and with our own economic interest that we want to defend,” said France's Bruno Le Maire, in a joint video news conference, according to Reuters.
The first step of the moonshot includes 22 French and German companies setting up a non-profit foundation to run Gaia-X. Reuters said one of the goals Gaia-X was being a referee of sorts for a common set of European cloud rules.
Gaia-X would include the concept of "reversibility," which would allow users to easily switch providers, according to Reuters. The first set of services are slated for next year.
While Germany and France are attempting to wrest more control of the cloud landscape, it would be easy for AWS, Microsoft and Google to undercut the effort by lowering their prices. They also have a wide range of services, experience and applications that enterprises and other organizations rely on as they move their software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and data to the cloud.
Just as they are in the U.S., Amazon Web Services and Microsoft are the leading cloud providers across Europe based on cloud infrastructure revenues, according to first quarter research by Synergy Research Group (SRG.)
Amazon is the top cloud provider in Europe and the leader in all of the major individual country markets while Microsoft is ranked second across the board. Below Amazon and Microsoft, SRG said the results varied across the countries.
Overall Google is the third-ranked cloud provider in Europe, but it trails both OVH and Orange, respectively, in France. IBM is ranked fourth overall, but has various top-six rankings in each individual country. Salesforce, Rackspace and Oracle are global providers that are farther down the country rankings, with Salesforce ranked fifth overall across all of Europe.
Given the importance of scale, global presence and deep pockets, SRG's John Dinsdale, a chief analyst and research director, has previously said it would be difficult for smaller cloud providers to close the gap on Amazon, Microsoft and Google. On that note, it's hard to imagine that France and Germany will be able to take significant market share away from the top-three U.S. cloud providers.