Google formally accuses monopolist Microsoft of trapping people in its cloud

Trending 3 months ago

Updated Google, nan target of galore antitrust investigations, has complained to nan US Federal Trade Commission astir rival Microsoft's alleged anti-competitive practices.

The Chrome elephantine told nan FTC successful a missive connected Wednesday that Microsoft uses package licensing restrictions to support customers locked into its unreality computing services. More than 2 decades ago, arsenic you whitethorn recall, nan Windows biz was recovered to person engaged successful unlawful anticompetitive behaviour with respect to individual computers.

The letter, obtained by CNBC, takes rumor pinch Microsoft utilizing its Windows Server and Office products to support clients connected Azure, and argues that Microsoft's power presents a nationalist information risk.

As The Register reported earlier this month, Google has raised akin objections to European regulators. Essentially, Microsoft charges third-party unreality providers other to tally its software, a costs that customers do not carnivore if they tally nan aforesaid package connected Microsoft's Azure unreality platform. This authorities of affairs evidently follows from a Microsoft licensing alteration enacted successful 2019.

Google's missive was prompted by nan FTC's March 22 request for comment connected really nan business practices of unreality computing providers impact title and information security. And it has not been nan only submission to raise concerns astir unreality level competition.

Amit Zavery, Google Cloud

Scoop: Google calls retired Microsoft's unreality licensing 'tax'


"Cloud providers erstwhile focused connected customer retention via invention and customer satisfaction," observed Corey Quinn, main unreality economist astatine a consultancy called The Duckbill Group, successful a comment submitted connected Tuesday to nan FTC.

"Today, they person capable deterrent business practices successful spot to make switching providers an costly Herculean undertaking. Fundamentally, there’s capable differentiation astatine higher levels of work to create an effective shape of customer lock-in. At nan little levels of service, location are different barriers specified arsenic idiosyncratic information and personality abstractions, costly information egress fees, and contractual disincentives."

Quinn said that there's been a dependable displacement toward making migrations to different providers much painful, and that "various unreality providers commencement to look a batch much anticompetitive pinch each passing year."

The measurement information egress is priced, Quinn said, it's seldom affordable to move important amounts of information betwixt unreality providers.

The Democratic mostly unit 2020 study connected title successful integer markets from nan US House Subcommittee connected Antitrust recovered that anticompetitive behaviour is perceived to beryllium a problem among various unreality platforms, not conscionable Microsoft Azure.

"Market participants person raised concerns that unreality infrastructure providers tin penchant their ain offerings, aliases connection these products pinch exceedingly steep discounts, making it difficult for third-party package vendors pinch less products to compete," nan report [PDF] says.

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The Coalition for Fair Software Licensing (CFSL), a lobbying group supported by unidentified IT firms, asked nan FTC to salary much attraction to what Microsoft is doing.

"Rather than supporting customer choice, Microsoft is unfairly leveraging customer limitations to its ain benefit," nan group said successful its nationalist comment.

"Specifically, Microsoft is utilizing its marketplace powerfulness and restrictive and discriminatory licensing position to: coerce customers into utilizing Azure unreality infrastructure and fastener them into nan Azure ecosystem; necktie products successful nan vertical stack of Microsoft ecosystem into an ever-growing suite of services, sloppy of customer preferences, to advantage its products complete competitors; limit integration capabilities of competing services connected adjacent position pinch its ain products; and group its ain products arsenic defaults."

CFSL said Microsoft behaviour mostly dates backmost to its 2019 licensing change.

"This alteration presented existing package customers pinch a Hobson’s choice: forego their antecedently purchased (often perpetual) package licenses and incur nan further costs of purchasing a 2nd licence to usage nan unreality supplier of their choice; aliases migrate to Microsoft unreality services and person antecedently purchased licenses (and their beneficial terms) transferred to cloud-based subscription licenses astatine nary further cost," nan group said.

Microsoft's behaviour has besides been challenged successful Europe by nan Cloud Infrastructure Service Provider of Europe (CISPE) waste and acquisition association, which counts AWS arsenic a member. The group filed a complaint against Microsoft successful November and that litigation is ongoing.

Microsoft did not instantly respond to a petition for comment. ®

Updated to adhd connected June 22

In a connection received aft this communicative was published, a Microsoft spokesperson told us: