Google is calling on the British regulator CMA to take action against Microsoft. According to Google, Microsoft would significantly harm competition.
This is according to a letter obtained by Reuters. Google’s complaint relates to the licensing policy. These policies would unfairly discourage Microsoft users from using competing services, even a second cloud platform besides Microsoft Azure. “With Microsoft’s licensing restrictions in particular, UK customers are left with no economically reasonable alternative but to use Azure as their cloud services provider, even if they prefer the prices, quality, security, innovations, and features of rivals,” Google said in the letter.
In Google’s view, the policy would directly harm customers. The Microsoft condition for customers wanting to use Windows or other software licenses in the cloud particularly bothers Google. The condition would increase costs if customers choose Google or Amazon (AWS) instead of Azure.
Google Cloud Vice President Amit Zavery also explained his company’s and its competitor’s course of action to Reuters. He indicated that Google Cloud is committed to a multicloud approach. This allows customers to switch between providers based on their needs. “A lot of our software and cloud services interoperate, and can run on AWS or on Azure as well, so you’re not restricted,” Zavery said. “If you don’t fix this, eventually you will have fewer cloud providers, and then innovation will not really happen, and investments will start shrinking.”
Microsoft makes adjustments, less worry about AWS
Last year, Microsoft updated its licensing rules to address such concerns and promote competition. However, competitors were not reassured after the update. According to Microsoft, it has since worked with independent cloud providers to address concerns and provide opportunities. Several companies have since reportedly benefited from the updates.
About competitor AWS, Google has fewer concerns. According to Zavery, AWS customers are not running into restrictions like Microsoft. “There are some issues, in terms of cloud interoperability, but we can fix that. That’s a discussion between providers, which is much understood, and customers are forcing that conversation,” Zavery explained. “The problem we run into with Microsoft is that there’s no technical issue, but you have licensing restrictions which means we are now being prevented from competing.”
Google has made six recommendations to the CMA. Notable among them are forcing Microsoft to improve interoperability for customers using Azure and other cloud services. Google also wants Microsoft not to be allowed to withhold security updates from users who switch.