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Google Urges UK On Antitrust Action Against Microsoft in Cloud Market

 |  December 3, 2023

Google has formally called on Britain’s antitrust regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), to initiate action against Microsoft, asserting that the tech giant’s business practices are placing competitors at a substantial disadvantage.

This revelation comes from a letter obtained by Reuters, where Google emphasizes the adverse impact of Microsoft’s licensing practices on the cloud computing industry.

The cloud market has witnessed increasing global scrutiny of Microsoft and Amazon due to their overwhelming dominance. Regulatory bodies in Britain, the European Union, and the United States have been investigating their market power. In October, the CMA launched an inquiry into Britain’s cloud computing sector, triggered by a referral from media regulator Ofcom. Ofcom’s referral highlighted the duopoly of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure in the market, claiming a combined 70-80% share of the public cloud infrastructure services in the UK in 2022. In stark contrast, Google’s cloud division held a considerably smaller share, hovering around 5-10%.

According to the letter submitted to the CMA, Google contends that Microsoft’s licensing practices unfairly discourage customers from considering alternative services, even if they wish to use them alongside Azure.

Related: Google Says Microsoft Engaging In Anti-Competitive Cloud Practices

“With Microsoft’s licensing restrictions in particular, UK customers are left with no economically reasonable alternative but to use Azure as their cloud services provider, even if they prefer the prices, quality, security, innovations, and features of rivals,” Google stated in its communication to the CMA.

Google argues that these practices directly harm customers and represent a significant barrier to fair competition in Britain’s cloud computing market. By stifling customer choice and forcing reliance on a single provider, Microsoft’s licensing strategies, according to Google, hinder the growth and competitiveness of other players in the industry.

The CMA’s investigation is expected to shed light on the dynamics of the cloud computing market in the UK, exploring concerns related to anti-competitive behavior and potential monopolistic practices. As the regulator delves into the allegations raised by Google, the outcome of this antitrust action could reshape the landscape of the cloud industry in the region, impacting the choices available to businesses and consumers alike.

Source: CNBC