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CISPE says Microsoft is unfairly using its dominance in the productivity software market.

This week, Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers in Europe (CISPE) filed a formal competition complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition (DG Comp). CISPE says its complaint addresses “serious unresolved issues”. The group maintains that the complaint seeks to benefit customers and vendors alike.

The main thrust of the charges is that Microsoft abuses its dominant market position. According to CISPE, the software giant uses its dominance “in productivity software to direct European customers to its own Azure cloud infrastructure to the detriment of European cloud infrastructure providers and users of IT services”.

Microsoft, which has been fined more than €1.6 billion by the Commission in the past ten years for various antitrust violations, said it is committed to addressing valid licensing concerns and supporting a competitive environment.

“The licensing changes we introduced in October give customers and cloud providers around the world even more options for running and offering our software in the cloud”, a Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters. CISPE, however, claims that Microsoft’s new contractual terms add additional unfair practices to the company’s list of transgressions.

Intervention is ‘critical’

“Microsoft’s ongoing position and behaviours are irreparably damaging the European cloud ecosystem and depriving European customers of choice in their cloud deployments”, the group declared. Consequently, CISPE feels “it has no option but to become a formal complainant and to urge the European Commission to act”.

The complaint calls upon the European Commission to open a formal investigation of Microsoft’s behaviour without further delay. The group also suggests the creation of an independent European Observatory to undertake periodic audits of software licensing terms of any dominant software company.

CISPE says it hopes the DG Comp “will fully consider its complaint and act quickly to deliver a Statement of Objections and open a formal case against Microsoft”, adding that “these matters are critical to the survival of a competitive market for cloud infrastructure in Europe”.