Google has pushed Britain’s antitrust regulator to take action against Microsoft, claiming its business practices had left rivals at a major disadvantage
Amazon and Microsoft are facing rising inspection around the world over their dominance of the cloud computing industry, with regulators in Britain, the European Union, and the US 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 emphasized 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 services provider, even if they prefer the prices, quality, security, innovations, and features of rivals,” Google said in its letter to the CMA.
Such practices directly harmed customers, and were the only significant barrier to competition in Britain’s cloud computing market, the company said.
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 provide opportunities and that more 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,” the Microsoft spokesperson said.