EU tech rules should also apply to cloud computing providers

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Draft EU rules aiming to curb the power of big tech companies like Amazon, Alphabet, Apple, and Facebook should also be applied to cloud computing services providers. The assertion comes from a study whose report coincides with the concerns of some EU lawmakers who are reviewing the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The rules were proposed by EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager who may be lenient toward cloud computing services.

Amazon Web Services (Amazon) was the leading provider in Q2 of this year, followed by Azure (Microsoft) and Google Cloud, according to market research company Statista. Others include Alibaba Cloud, Salesforce, Oracle, and IBM Cloud.

The study

The study was prepared by Frederic Jenny (chairman of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Competition Committee) in his capacity for trade body CISPE (Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe).

The DMA says that cloud infrastructure can be included in the ambit of the DMA. However, it is not obvious that all the suppliers are covered. For instance, Jenny said, it does not seem like Google Cloud qualifies under the DMA as a gatekeeper. Neither does Salesforce or IBM Cloud.

The realization

It would seem that all these rules still find a way to cozy up to big tech, exacerbating the revolving door problem, and raising the eyebrows of ombudsmen in Europe. It would appear that the institutions meant to protect people are corrupted in insidious ways that aren’t immediately obvious until someone checks the fine print.

The study looked at 25 companies that use cloud computing services. Many of them cited issues that include unfair licensing terms that force customers to pay again to use software they already own when they move to the competition.

Respondent concerns also include software bundling with cloud infrastructure (to make competitors look less valuable/more expensive). None of the big cloud providers responded to requests for comment.