Cloud giants file major EU antitrust suit against Microsoft

An abstract image of a magnifying glass over a digital cloud.
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Illus_man)

A cloud computing industry group has filed an antitrust complaint about Microsoft to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition.

The body, dubbed Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers in Europe or "Cispe", is made up of 24 cloud infrastructure providers, including some of Microsoft’s biggest rivals in the cloud hosting space such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).

In a statement, CISPE secretary general Francisco Mingorance alleged that Microsoft leverages “its dominance in productivity software” in a way that “restricts choice and inflates costs as European customers look to move to the cloud, thus distorting Europe’s digital economy”. 

What is Microsoft accused of?

Cispe added that the tech giant engages in “anti-competitive practices included discriminatory bundling and tying of its products, self-preference pricing and locking in customers both on the technical and competitive level".

Microsoft has been making some changes to alleviate these types of antitrust complaints so far in 2022, agreeing to amend some of its licensing rules in August, admitting to some degree of unfair practices, and posting upgrades to software packages in a blog post.

However, Cispe alleged that these changes were insufficient and that Microsoft failed to ensure that its licensing terms "should be clear and intelligible".

This year has certainly seen Microsoft receive plenty of scrutiny from an anti-trust perspective.

In March 2022, France's OVHcloud lodged a separate cloud complaint to the European Commission in partnership with Italian hosting biz Aruba.

In the last ten years, Microsoft has racked up over €1.6 billion in anti-trust fines from the European Commission.

Despite this intense level of regulatory scrutiny, the US-owed "Big Three" of the cloud computing world still have a tight stranglehold on EU cloud spending.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and Google now control nearly three-quarters (72%) of the European enterprise cloud storage market,  while the market share held by local providers has dwindled from 27% to just 13%.

  • Interested in moving away from Microsoft’s products? Checkout our guide to the best cloud storage

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.