Webscale Internet companies (Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon) now are exerting a “markedly increased influence” on markets for communications service. Analysts at Heavy Reading now think the webscale players also increasingly are shaping the market for networking hardware, software and services.
That will be a contentious point of view, even if many telecom industry execs and others think that is true, to some extent.
Google and Facebook are developing new backhaul and access platforms. Google Fiber does buy industry-standard optical access networks as well.
But Facebook mostly is looking at open source platforms that can be manufactured by supplied by industry suppliers.
Clearly, there is impact in terms of buying behavior in the case of Google Fiber, and development potential in the open source efforts by Facebook.
At least some telecom industry professionals believe the webscale providers are "leading in networking innovation"; are "increasingly calling the shots"; increasingly "building out their own telecom infrastructure" and that "it's a matter of time before one of these guys buys one of the big CSPs (communications service providers).”
A Heavy Reading analyst team interviewed more than a dozen leading network infrastructure professionals at leading CSPs at the CTO, VP and director level, as well as more than 25 senior individuals in network equipment vendors at CTO, VP and director level; plus several leaders in key telecom industry associations, standards bodies and other specialist consultancies; and some of the WICs themselves.
The primary and secondary research was complemented by a Heavy Reading online survey, generating responses from 82 qualified respondents in network equipment vendors and 57 from qualified respondents in CSPs.
Keep in mind that about half the 82 vendor respondents came from individuals from one vendor company.
Around half came from vendors from whom two or more (but no more than four) respondents supplied responses. Those companies from which two or more respondents participated include ADVA, Broadsoft, Casa Systems, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, F5, Huawei, HP, IBM, Infinera, Juniper Networks, Nokia, NetScout, Vasona Networks and Radisys.
As you might expect, the online respondents identified Google as the webscale player posing the greatest threat to communications service providers.