European cloud: the Gaia-X project is progressing but remains criticized

Is Gaia-X quite an ambitious project? Can he really be a game-changer? These questions continue to accompany the progress of this business alliance created in 2020 to bring about the emergence of a European ecosystem in the “cloud”, cloud computing. Some particularly regret the place given in the project to market leaders in data hosting and online services, American and Chinese companies.

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The second annual Gaia-X summit, held from November 18 to 19, opened with a small controversy around the presence of Alibaba and Huawei among the sixteen sponsors of the event: of course, the cloud provider and the Chinese telecoms giant are members of the association, but their sponsorship has raised some teeth internally, reported the site Politico November 17.

“Hijacked objectives”

In the process, on November 18, one of the 22 founding members, Scaleway, announced its withdrawal from Gaia-X due to the presence considered too important of American players such as Microsoft, Google or Amazon, which controls around 70% of the market: « The objectives of the association, although laudable at the start, are more and more diverted and thwarted ”, explains Yann Lechelle, CEO of this French hosting and cloud software company, a subsidiary of the telecoms operator Iliad (founded by Xavier Niel, individual shareholder of World). For the resigning, Gaia-X ” do not move “ and does that « strengthen the status quo, ie unbalanced competition ” on the market.

Concretely, Scaleway regrets the strong activity of American companies, with significant resources, in the technical committees of Gaia-X. These criticisms have had some echoes: “As the French and German economy ministers, Bruno Le Maire and Peter Altmaier said, by presenting Gaia-X in June 2020, it is about creating a true European data infrastructure. I fear that could not be the case if Gaia-X does not pay more attention to the truly European cloud players ”, tweeted Quentin Adam, CEO of Clever Cloud, member of the association and co-founder with Scaleway of Euclidia, an initiative of European software publishers in the sector.

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“The GAFAM have won, added on his Linkedin page Alain Garnier, CEO of Jamespot, an editor of an online office software suite, which is not a member of Gaia-X. If we want to be independent, we must be independent, otherwise we will not do European cloud, we will sell American or Chinese cloud in Europe. ” These criticisms are not confined to these French players of modest size: in Germany, the economic newspaper Handelsblatt for example evoked a feeling of “Disillusionment” around Gaia-X, notably linked to the “Heaviness” of the project, which went from 22 to 200 and then 300 members.

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European cloud: the Gaia-X project is progressing but remains criticized

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