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Unique-Google pushes for antitrust motion towards Microsoft in UK cloud market By Reuters


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An illuminated Google emblem is seen inside an workplace constructing in Zurich, Switzerland December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photograph

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By Martin Coulter

LONDON (Reuters) -Google has referred to as on Britain’s antitrust regulator to take motion towards Microsoft (NASDAQ:), claiming its enterprise practices had left rivals at a big drawback, based on a letter seen by Reuters.

Microsoft and Amazon (NASDAQ:) have confronted mounting scrutiny around the globe over their dominance of the cloud computing trade, with regulators in Britain, the European Union, and the U.S. probing their market energy.

The CMA (Competitors and Markets Authority) launched an investigation into Britain’s cloud computing trade in October, following a referral from media regulator Ofcom which highlighted Amazon and Microsoft’s dominance of the market.

In 2022, Amazon Internet Companies (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure had a mixed 70-80% share of Britain’s public cloud infrastructure companies market, Ofcom mentioned. Google’s cloud division was their closest competitor, at round 5-10%.

In a letter submitted to the CMA, Google (NASDAQ:) mentioned Microsoft’s licensing practices unfairly discouraged clients from utilizing competitor companies, at the same time as a secondary supplier alongside Azure.

“With Microsoft’s licensing restrictions particularly, UK clients are left with no economically cheap different however to make use of Azure as their cloud companies supplier, even when they like the costs, high quality, safety, improvements, and options of rivals,” Google mentioned in its letter to the CMA.

Such practices straight harmed clients, and have been the one vital barrier to competitors in Britain’s cloud computing market, the corporate mentioned.

Microsoft final 12 months up to date its licensing guidelines to deal with such considerations and promote competitors, although the modifications didn’t fulfill rivals.

A Microsoft spokesperson mentioned the corporate had labored with impartial cloud suppliers to deal with considerations and supply alternative and that greater than 100 worldwide had taken benefit of the modifications.

“As the most recent impartial information exhibits, competitors between cloud hyperscalers stays wholesome. Within the second quarter of 2023 Microsoft and Google made equally small features on AWS, which continues to stay the worldwide market chief by a big margin,” the Microsoft spokesperson mentioned.

Chatting with Reuters, Google Cloud Vice President Amit Zavery criticised Microsoft’s practices, and mentioned his firm was dedicated to a multi-cloud strategy, through which clients might simply transfer between suppliers relying on their wants.

“A variety of our software program and cloud companies interoperate, and may run on AWS or on Azure as nicely, so you are not restricted,” he mentioned. “In case you do not repair this, ultimately you’ll have fewer cloud suppliers, after which innovation is not going to actually occur, and investments will begin shrinking.”

At situation was Microsoft’s resolution to replace the phrases for when clients wished to make use of their Home windows or different software program licenses within the cloud, successfully leading to greater prices in the event that they used Google or AWS as an alternative of Microsoft’s Azure.

Requested why Amazon, which boasts a bigger share of the cloud market than Microsoft, didn’t pose a equally anticompetitive threat, Zavery mentioned AWS shoppers weren’t going through the identical restrictions.

“There are some points, by way of cloud interoperability, however we are able to repair that. That is a dialogue between suppliers, which is way understood, and clients are forcing that dialog,” he mentioned.

“The issue we run into with Microsoft is that there isn’t any technical situation, however you’ve gotten licensing restrictions which implies we at the moment are being prevented from competing.”  

Google made six suggestions to the CMA, together with forcing Microsoft to enhance interoperability for patrons utilizing Azure and alongside different cloud companies, and banning it from withholding safety updates from those who change.

The CMA didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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