Amazon to Launch Web Hosting Services in Germany – 11/13/2014

Amazon.com Inc. on Thursday said it would launch web hosting services in Germany, pushing deeper into a country that has been openly hostile to U.S. Internet firms.

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The web retailer and other American Internet companies face mounting pressure from German regulators and privacy advocates to conduct more business locally. But Amazon’s move also highlights a trend largely overshadowed by German criticism of U.S. web giants: Germans frequently say they fear the growing power of Amazon and Google Inc. but rank among the world’s most avid users of their offerings.

German media have joined the chorus. The chief executive of Axel Springer SE, one of Germany’s top media companies, in April published an open letter titled, “Why We Fear Google.”

Germany is Amazon’s second-biggest market after the U.S. Google handles more than 90% of German online searches, giving it a much higher market share than it holds in the U.S.

Not all Germans are comfortable with what that usage entails. According to a June survey by Allensbach Institute, a Germany market research institute, 70% of Germans oppose companies collecting personal data and 42% express serious concern about it.

Many Germans are wary of American web companies because they are foreign, and because Germany has few successful large Internet firms. But some say the antagonism is also being stoked by German media, which see American web giant’s power to attract advertising as a threat to their traditional business.