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How Amazon Secretly Controls almost half of The Internet!

You might think it'd be more than enough for one man Jeff Bezos to simultaneously run the world's most powerful online retailer the Washington post newspaper and his own pet project space program. You'd be dead wrong because Jeff Bezos and his Amazon group also oversees a quite extraordinary proportion of everyday traffic on the world wide web.

Think household names like Netflix, Zoom, Disney and the BBC all of which depend heavily on technical infrastructure directly created and controlled by the world's richest man himself and most of us are wholly unaware of how and why that is. 

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So today we're going to examine how and to what extent Jeff Bezos secretly controls the internet!

It all started in 2002, so-called Amazon web services or AWS was first created as a department within Amazon charged by Jeff Bezos with building the leanest meanest internal tech infrastructure the world had ever seen nothing less would do in order to help Bezos realise his stratospheric ambitions for the company. Then best known as a nerdy online book retailer the following year 2003 AWS engineers Chris Pinkam and Benjamin Black proposed that their slick new servers as a service brainchild could not only make their company agile and omnipotent as it is today.

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It could also be sold on as a service to third-party companies in turn creating modest extra revenue. For Amazon fast forward to today and that nifty little side hustle earned Amazon 11.6 billion dollars in the third quarter of 2020 alone close to three quarters of the group's overall profits.

So what does Amazon web services actually do?

Imagine you're an online startup back in the day having sussed out your killer app idea and found backing. You'd need to invest in service if you were ambitious. You'd be in the market for a whole load of servers that kind of hardware still doesn't come cheap and neither does the labor and myriad other costs required to maintain and expand it.

So what AWS does is rent out at phenomenally cheap rates access to and capacity on Amazon's colossal international network of service. Essentially Amazon the company figured out the best possible infrastructure to galvanize and nourish its own mammoth operation and then decided to rent that out for others to use as well.

It's been said somewhat fancifully that when you upload to the cloud your data isn't in the cloud at all it's just on somebody else's computer well to the extent that's true more often than not the person whose computer your stuff is on is Jeff Bezos. According to some estimates Amazon controls little over half of the cloud computing sector although to the end user that's you and me any migration to the AWS cloud by our favorite online services is seamless. In that you wouldn't even know but every time you catch a movie on Netflix or hail an Uber, rewind the news on BBC, Book an Airbnb or Zoom call your best mate that data is probably running through Amazon controlled servers.

So why do big companies who can presumably afford their own server infrastructure use AWS?

Scalability is a huge factor. If Netflix is launching a new show and anticipates high levels of viewership it can temporarily upgrade its server capacity on AWS essentially at the push of a button the later when traffic settles down it can reduce its take-up of AWS services in a way that simply wouldn't be feasible if they were paying for their own hardware. Indeed Netflix a rival to Amazon's Prime video streaming service. Remember has publicly stated that its operating costs have reduced substantially as a consequence of migrating onto the AWS cloud.

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Amazon's power isn't simply limited to helping you binge watch Ozark though in 2013 it was revealed that Amazon Web Services had been awarded a 600 million dollar contract with the CIA and in 2019 it announced that the US Navy would begin migrating military adjacent data onto the Amazon cloud. This cozy relationship between the government agencies and Amazon is a two-way street.

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By the way, top Obama administration official Anne Rung went to work for Amazon immediately after her contract with the us government expired and in case you think this all sounds like abstract Software Technobabble, AWS is genuinely physically changing the world as well as controlling the internet.

For one AWS has been busy laying its own submarine cables most strikingly a mammoth 14000 Kilometre beast running all the way from Sydney, Australia to Oregon in the Western United States via New Zealand with additional stops at American Samoa and Hawaii.

In the autumn of 2020 Amazon switched on its very own wind farm in Sweden, engineered to generate electricity for its ferociously power thirsty European Data Centers. A similar Amazon wind farm has already been in operation in Texas since 2017.

Amazon has plans to run on 100% renewable energy by the year 2025 and let's face it, you wouldn't bet against them.  AWS data centers are right now supplying energy back to consumers and in astonishing new ways at the new data center in Tallahas South Dublin, AWS is recycling searing heat from its humming servers into low-cost, low-carbon heating and hot water supply for domestic public sector and commercial customers.

Talk about servers of the community, which brings us to the real trillion dollar question.

If Jeff Bezos really does run at least half of the internet is that a good or a bad thing?

Amazon web services has been accused of being a monopoly. It isn't quite Google and Microsoft both run their own massive cloud services although their only minnows by comparison but AWS's consistently healthy profits certainly prop up some of Amazon's less profitable business ventures.

Some big companies to be sure make a point of avoiding AWS. Walmart in particular points out that whatever cost savings it's missing out on it will be insane to store vital company secrets on the hard drive of a mortal foe and Amazon web services has occasionally been known to do a Kim Kardashian and break the internet on Christmas eve 2012.

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For instance a catastrophic AWS server failure caused Netflix to go down which doubtless upset many a festive Netflix and chill session. More seriously in 2017 a four-hour outage caused by a simple typo at one data center wiped some 160 million dollars off the value of US financial services companies. Imagine your boss Jeff Bezos calling you into his office to explain that one!

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Still on the whole, the freedom AWS gives developers and Startups to innovate and grow at low cost and with a fraction of the risk is probably a force for good but Amazon web services is only getting started.

The company's forthcoming Kuiper satellite program intends to put 3236 satellites into orbit and provide high-speed internet to currently inaccessible locations. It will improve connectivity for billions of people even as it further entrenches AWS dominance of the sector. So for good or real Jeff Bezos's stranglehold over all our online lives looks set to intensify going forwards.

So that was all in todays post. Hope you guys liked it and if you did, don’t forget to share this information with your techie friends as well.

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