Microsoft is facing another antitrust case - this time from Google

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Google has asked Britain’s CMA antitrust regulator to take action against Microsoft over unfair licensing terms thatmake it hard for customers to use other companies’ services.

The news comes just weeks after media regulator Ofcom referred Microsoft and Amazon to the antitrust regulator over their disproportionate dominance in the UK cloud market. In any given month, both combined can account for three-quarters of the market, or more.

The company is also facing an ongoing battle in Europe, where regulators are exploring whether its previous bundling of Microsoft Teams in with other Office software puts other companies at a disadvantage - and it faced a similar cloud dominance allegation in the EU earlier this year as well.

Is Microsoft fighting a losing battle?

The company has not been short of a few antitrust cases over recent years, but that is fast becoming a reality for many tech firms as antitrust regulators begin to step up in a bid to increase landscape diversity and protect customers.

Google is reported to have said in a letter (seen by Reuters) to the UK CMA:

“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 Cloud Vice President Amit Zavery told Reuters: “A lot of our software and cloud services interoperate, and can run on AWS or on Azure as well, so you're not restricted. If you don't fix this, eventually you will have fewer cloud providers, and then innovation will not really happen, and investments will start shrinking."

Zavery added that Microsoft’s licensing terms impose restrictions and fundamentally prevent competition, which is the basis for Google’s complaint. Amazon’s dominance remains a concern, but the Washington-based company’s problem is more of an interoperability one, which Zavery says can be resolved with discussion between providers.

A Microsoft spokesperson told TechRadar Pro in an email:

"We have listened to and work constructively and directly with independent cloud providers to change our licensing terms, addressing their concerns and providing more opportunity for them. Worldwide, more than 100 cloud providers, including companies in the UK, have already taken advantage of these changes. And 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."

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Via Reuters

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!