Editor’s note: Chris Antlitz is Principal Analyst at Technology Business Research.

HAMPTON, N.H. – The Big Nine — Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), Alphabet (Nasdaq: GOOGL), Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU), Facebook (Nasdaq: FB), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Rakuten and Tencent — view 5G and distributed computing as innovation platforms on top of which value will be created in the digital economy. The Big Nine are building “brains” in their central cloud environments that will autonomously orchestrate and manage the fundamental platforms upon which the digital economy will be built.

A recent example of this trend by the Big Nine to own the intelligence layer and build these platforms is seen in Microsoft’s actions, whereby the company acquired Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch (pending) and struck partnerships with ecosystem providers such as Federated Wireless to build out digital marketplaces that enable end users to consume network resources directly from the cloud.

Over time, webscales will become the centerpieces and backbones of the global digital economy and will enable the ecosystem, which includes communication service providers, to innovate and participate in the value creation of the digital economy.

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The Webscale ICT Market Landscape includes key findings, market size, customer adoption, operator positioning and strategies, geographic adoption, vendor positioning and strategies, and acquisition and alliance strategies and opportunities.