Google Pushes For Antitrust Action Against Microsoft In Uk Cloud Market
Google has called on Britain’s antitrust regulator to take action againstits business practices left rivals at a significant disadvantage, according to a letter seen by Reuters.
Microsoft and Amazon have faced mounting scrutiny around the world over their dominance of the cloud computingin Britain, the European Union, and the U.S. probing their market power.
The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) launched an investigation into Britain’s cloud computing industry in October, following a referral from media regulator Ofcom which highlighted Amazon and Microsoft’s dominance of the market.
In 2022, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure had a combined 70-80% share of Britain’s public cloud infrastructure services market, Ofcom said. Google’s cloud division was their closest competitor, at around 5-10%.
In a letter submitted to the CMA, Google said Microsoft’s licensing practices unfairly discouraged customers from using competitor services, even as a secondary provider alongside Azure.
“With Microsoft’s licensing restrictions in particular, UK customers are left with no economically reasonable alternative but to use Azure as their cloud serviceseven if they prefer
Such practices directly harmed customers, and were the only significant barrier to competition in Britain’s cloud computing market, the company said.
The CMA declined to comment.
Microsoft last year updated its licensing rules to address such concerns and promote competition, though the changes did not satisfy rivals.
A Microsoft spokesperson said the company had worked with independent cloud providers to address concerns and providemore than 100 worldwide had taken advantage of the changes.
“As the latest independent data shows, competition between cloud hyperscalers remains healthy. In the second quarter of 2023 Microsoft and Google made equally small gains on AWS, which continues to remain the global market leader by a significant margin,”Microsoft spokesperson said.
Speaking to Reuters, Google Cloud Vice President Amit Zavery criticised Microsoft’ssaid his company was committed to a multi-cloud approach, in which customers could easily move between providers depending on their needs.
“A lot of our software and cloud services interoperate, and can run on AWS orso you’re not restricted,” he said. “If you don’t fix this, eventually you will have fewer cloud providers, innovation will not really happen, and investments will
At issue was Microsoft’s decision to update the terms for when customers wanted to use their Windows or other software licenses in thein higher costs if they used Google or AWS instead of Microsoft’s Azure.
Asked why Amazon, which boasts a larger share of the cloud market than Microsoft, did not pose a similarly anticompetitive risk, Zavery said AWS consumers were not facing the same restrictions.
“There are some issuescloud interoperability, but we can fix that. That’s a discussion between providers, which is understood, and customers that conversation,” he said.
“The problem weinto with Microsoft is that there’s no technical issue, but you have licensing restrictions which means we are from competing.”
Google made six recommendations to the CMA, including forcing Microsoft to improve interoperability for customers using Azure and alongside other cloudit from withholding security updates from