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Amazon Accuses Microsoft of Anticompetitive Practices in UK Cloud Market Probe

 |  December 5, 2023

Amazon has joined the chorus of critics in the ongoing UK cloud computing industry investigation, expressing concerns over Microsoft’s alleged anticompetitive practices. The submission to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) claims that Microsoft’s business strategies hinder customer choice, marking the second major company to cast a spotlight on the U.S. tech giant during the probe initiated by media regulator Ofcom in October.

Amazon’s letter, made public on the CMA’s website on Tuesday, points to recent changes in Microsoft’s terms of services that, according to Amazon, impede customers from seamlessly transitioning to alternative cloud providers or integrating competitors’ services alongside Microsoft’s offerings. The requirement to purchase a separate license, even when customers already own the software, is cited as a financial deterrent for users exploring options beyond Microsoft.

“To use many of Microsoft’s software products with these other cloud services providers, a customer must purchase a separate license even if they already own the software,” Amazon asserted. “This often makes it financially unviable for a customer to choose a provider other than Microsoft.”

Read more: UK Probes Amazon & Microsoft Cloud Services

Amazon’s critique follows Ofcom’s initial referral that emphasized the dominant positions of Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud computing market, prompting the CMA’s antitrust investigation.

In response, Microsoft defended its stance, asserting that the cloud computing market in the UK remains highly competitive. The company, in its submission to the CMA, highlighted the presence of strong competition from global players such as Google, Oracle, and IBM, who are investing substantial amounts in cloud infrastructure worldwide.

“There are many sources of competition in the cloud market in the UK. Google, Oracle, IBM, and many other cloud players are also investing billions of pounds in cloud infrastructure globally to satisfy demand and are competing strongly for each customer workload where they operate,” Microsoft stated in its submission.

As the CMA delves into the allegations, the investigation will assess the validity of Amazon’s claims and scrutinize whether Microsoft’s practices align with fostering fair competition within the UK’s cloud computing sector. The outcome of this inquiry is anticipated to have significant ramifications, potentially reshaping the dynamics of the industry and influencing the relationships between major players in the market.

Source: Reuters