Google has filed a complaint to the U.S. FTC about Microsoft’s alleged anti-competitive practices in the cloud. By allowing its own Windows Server and Office services to run in Azure without additional payment, Microsoft is allegedly discouraging customers from choosing a cloud competitor.
Currently, the cloud market is fairly hierarchically shaped: AWS is the most significant player, Microsoft Azure a clear second, and Google Cloud occupies spot three far removed from the other two. The cloud is more in demand than ever, resulting in the possible dangers of vendor lock-in. In such a situation, an organization is effectively restricted in their choices within a particular provider’s ecosystem. For example, the range of cloud-based applications may be limited, or only the provider’s services may run properly or at a lower cost.
In the letter to the FTC, which was seen by CNBC, Google accuses Microsoft of creating said “lock-in” for customers. It describes a “complex web” of licensing restrictions that would keep organizations from expanding the enterprise software vendor suite.
Google went further: these anti-competitive actions are even putting cybersecurity at risk, or so the letter claims. It points to the SolarWinds hack, which affected Intel, Cisco, Deloitte, among others, as well as Microsoft. In other words: Google is suggesting what damage can occur when one is too dependent on one company.
A bigger problem
Those who think of Google do not easily come up with the term “underdog”. Especially since it has been fined several times for abusing its own power. Nevertheless, the call for a fairer cloud model is crucial. The technology may be experiencing wide adoption, but utilization of the cloud is at an early enough stage that uniformity in service offerings and compatibility have yet to be concretely established.
Amazon and Microsoft already faced scrutiny from British competition authorities two months ago. In essence, Google is merely fanning the flames rather than starting a fire.