Being a cloud company in 2022 is hard and the task is even harder when you're a European cloud company. All three of the top cloud services – AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud – are American, while the rest are mostly Chinese.
However European cloud companies do have a friend: the European Union. Or so a group of them hope, after writing an open letter, signed by 41 companies, asking for help combating "monopoly software providers" who are "once again using their dominant position to lock in customers, forcing them to use the cloud infrastructure they provide."
The letter is addressed to the EU's Margrethe Vestager, one of the most pro-EU politicians and – helpfully – someone with a track record for being tough on American companies, especially internet and technology firms.
DMA to the rescue
"We have a fast-closing window of opportunity to preserve an autonomous European cloud infrastructure sector," the companies write. "The Digital Markets Act (DMA) could quickly ensure that the European cloud market is free, open and competitive. Unfortunately, the current version of the DMA requires clarification to ensure that its remedies also apply to unfair software practices by gatekeepers with dominant positions in productivity and enterprise software."
Signatories include Aruba, elogic, Leaseweb, and netalia, among others.
The companies might be in luck, too, as the forthcoming DMA specifies that "cloud computing services" would be included under the definition of "core platform service", the framework by which the EU describes which companies fall under the scope of the legislation.
Most of the focus has been on Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, and Meta, only one of which runs the kind of service that bothers these companies. Unfortunately for them, the focus has been on how Amazon runs its retail operations, not AWS. (Google Cloud is, in the grand scheme, quite small.)
Presumably one of the goals of the letter is to shed light on this fact, prompting the EU to expand the scope of the regulations to examine AWS and, eventually, Azure.
"Without clarification in the DMA, the result will be the continuation of the unfair practices of monopoly software gatekeepers, identified by the Commission and in the studies by Professors Jenny and Metzger as including Microsoft, Oracle and SAP," the letter says.
The letter continues: "[These] practices create a systemic market distortion that traditional case-by-case competition law is ill-equipped to tackle. Ex-ante measures are required. We cannot wait for a revision of the DMA in five years, nor for a pyrrhic victory in antitrust litigations in 10 years or more when the competitiveness of the market will not be recoverable."
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Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.