EU antitrust regulators set their sights on Microsoft’s cloud business

(Image credit: Future)

Antitrust regulators in the EU have begun questioning both customers and rivals of Microsoft regarding its cloud business and licensing deals.

According to a questionnaire seen by Reuters, the software giant is facing scrutiny in the EU over how its licensing deals with cloud service providers make it difficult for its rivals to compete.

Over the previous decade, the European Commission has fined Microsoft a total of $1.8bn for breaking EU antitrust rules and failing to comply with its order to halt all anti-competitive practices.

This latest round of inquiries into the company is a direct result of complaints filed against Microsoft regarding its cloud practices by France’s OVHcloud, German software maker NextCloud and two other companies.

Stifling cloud competition

The questionnaire being given to Microsoft’s customers and rivals by EU antitrust regulators lays out the European Commission’s latest grievances with the company, saying:

"The Commission has information that Microsoft may be using its potentially dominant position in certain software markets to foreclose competition regarding certain cloud computing services."

The regulators asked respondents if the terms in the company’s licensing deals with cloud service providers allow rivals to effectively compete in the space. However, they also asked if companies need Microsoft’s operating system and productivity applications to complement their own cloud infrastructure offering in order to compete effectively according to Reuters.

Companies were then asked about the differences in license fees and commercial terms when it comes to the licensing deals the software giant makes with cloud service providers and its program where businesses resell Microsoft 365 and its other cloud services together with their own.

EU antitrust regulators are also concerned about potential technical limitations on cloud storage services available on the cloud infrastructure of Microsoft’s customers and rivals.

We’ll likely hear more from the European Commission once its survey on Microsoft is complete and at that time, we will have a better idea as to whether or not the EU plans to proceed with bringing antitrust charges against the company.

Via Reuters

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.