Amazon experienced a cloud computing outage on Tuesday that showed the world just how much it relies on Amazon and its services.
According to CNBC, the outage started around 11 a.m. EST and lasted until 6:30 p.m. Amazon Web Services’ status page stated that it was having issues primarily in its main US-East-1 region.
While the general public may not know much about what the AWS cloud-computing system does or about its existence at all, many users still felt the effects of the outage when trying to use some of their favorite websites or apps.
AWS is a host for institutions such as universities, governments, and companies, according to the Associated Press. When the hosting system goes down, its entities follow suit.
Users had trouble streaming when using Amazon Prime, Disney+, or Netflix. Work and academic performance were affected by the outage of Slack and Canvas. Users could not even access finance-based apps like Coinbase or Robinhood.
The outage disrupted the company’s retail operations as well, as warehouse and delivery workers were unable to scan or deliver packages. Workers were instructed to just wait until services were up and running again. This was unfortunate timing with the holiday season in full-swing.
In the midst of the outage, users took to social media to express their concerns, commentary, and frustration.
Some took this opportunity to criticize the amount of companies and institutions Amazon has a monopoly over.
Seeing how many daily operations were affected by just an hours-long shortage puts into perspective how much the world, more specifically the United States, relies on Amazon. It really poses the question of what would happen if the outage lasted days or weeks instead of a few hours. Or more hypothetically, what would happen if Amazon shut down for good?
With these questions in mind, the more important notion to ponder is: what should be considered a monopoly?