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Service providers are arguing that the European cloud market will not develop unless the new EU antitrust laws prevent anti-competitive practices by the dominant software providers. The European trade association for cloud infrastructure services providers (CISPE) commissioned a study on potential unfair practices for cloud computing services.

The report interviewed 25 European companies and showed what it considers anti-competitive practices surrounding software licensing. Frederic Jenny, the chairman of the OECD competition committee, authored the study in which he said that over several months, he spoke to business software users of varying sizes in different industries.

What Jenny found

The professor said that some of the users he talked to were fearful of reprisals if they spoke out against unfair practices. According to the interviewees, the largest tech companies could use their considerable market positions in cloud-related services to restrict competition in the cloud infrastructure service market.

The study points in particular to Oracle and Microsoft, both of which are accused of anti-competitive behaviour against the cloud infrastructure sector. Both companies declined to comment on the report. Jenny added that even some large users of cloud services recognized that they could not do without the core productivity suites controlled by these companies.

Now is the time

The study argues that software vendors should also be designated “gatekeepers,” a key definition of the Digital Markets Act that intends to obligate systemic players to play fair. As usual, the most powerful players aren’t too keen on this level of control. They would like to continue cutting corners and eating small players until no competitors remain.

To protect the future growth, innovation, and sustainability of European cloud services, the president of CISPE, Alban Schmutz, said that now is the time to act.