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European take up of cloud computing lags global average, BSA survey finds

Cloud computing is among the fastest-growing segments of the global technology market, yet less than a quarter of European PC users report accessing cloud services. In a survey of nearly 4,000 PC users across nine European Union (EU) countries, only 24% of respondents said they access cloud applications such as online email services or online word processing, compared to 34% globally. Moreover, the vast majority of European PC users are unfamiliar with cloud computing: 65% say they have “never heard of it” or have “only heard the name.”

The European survey data come from a broader poll of computer users around the world, conducted earlier this year for Business Software Alliance (BSA) by Ipsos Public Affairs.

“Cloud computing will create enormous benefits for the European economy by allowing governments, enterprises and consumers to tap into high-caliber software and IT resources more efficiently and cost-effectively than ever before,” said Robert Holleyman, President and CEO of BSA. “Unfortunately, most computer users in the EU have little understanding of cloud computing and have not yet moved to capitalize on the opportunities cloud computing offers.”

The survey finds that familiarity with cloud computing varies significantly across the European Single Market, with around one in four PC users in the UK (28%) and Greece (24%) reporting high levels of familiarity, compared to one in 10 PC users in Poland (9%) and France (10%).

Perhaps surprisingly, use of cloud computing is highest in Greece and Romania at 39%, significantly above both the EU and global averages. This compares to Europe’s more developed markets where PC users report accessing applications through cloud computing at a much lower rate, including Germany (17%), Belgium (18%) and France (19%). This contrast mirrors the broader global trend found in the survey in which developing markets appear to have “leapfrogged” more mature markets with higher use of cloud-based services.

Across the EU, 86% of cloud users report tapping into cloud applications for personal use— largely for cloud services offered for free. Only 29% say they use the cloud for business purposes, lagging slightly behind cloud users globally at 33%. The most commonly used cloud applications in Europe are: email (79%), online word processing (36%) and photo storage and online games (both 35%).

In the autumn, the European Commission will release its Cloud Computing Strategy for the European Union as a first step toward stimulating uptake and growth of cloud in the Single Market. BSA is encouraging policymakers to take a broad, global approach to cloud policy to ensure that European end users and cloud providers can enjoy the full benefits of the growth of cloud computing worldwide.

“Cloud computing is all about scale,” said Holleyman. “To reap the full benefits, Europe needs a cohesive digital single market that is globally integrated to ensure that computer users in the EU can choose freely among the best cloud services on offer, and that European cloud providers can exploit growth opportunities in the world’s fastest-growing emerging markets outside Europe.”

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