Google says Microsoft is exploiting its anti-competitive advantage over the European cloud market.
big picture: Google was once the dominant force in the growing cloud computing market. Things are different these days as Alphabet’s internet business is lagging behind market leaders Microsoft and Amazon.
Google is officially accusing Microsoft of anti-competitive behavior in the cloud computing space as the Redmond-based corporation enters into specific agreements with several cloud service providers in Europe. The deals, Google says, do not provide clear answers to broader concerns the company has (and European authorities should have) about actual licensing terms.
Google Cloud Vice President Amit Zaveri said Microsoft has a “very anti-competitive position in the cloud” as the company uses its dominance in the local market as well as with Office 365 and Windows to “tie Azure and the rest of the cloud services” together. Essentially, Microsoft is making an offer customers can’t refuse, Zaveri suggested, so they no longer have a choice about the cloud provider.
Assurey said that when Google talks to “many” of its potential customers, they are already being held hostage to Microsoft’s bundling practices, pricing and licensing restrictions, and they can no longer choose other cloud providers. Google suggests that Redmond is using its unfair advantage in the cloud business to silence smaller European vendors.
Zavery also said that Microsoft “selectively chooses those” who complain about its market practices, offering conditions that they would not provide to other companies. This is definitely “an unfair advantage for Microsoft and ties people who have complained about Microsoft anyway,” Zavery said.
European regulators should look at this behavior from a historical perspective, Zaveri said, meaning the EU should consider the anti-competitive behavior that Microsoft was known for back in the pre-cloud era. Even if one or two suppliers are able to settle their antitrust lawsuit, a bigger problem remains.
Zaveri said the problem isn’t just the spat between Google and Microsoft, as Microsoft has already faced an antitrust complaint from Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers in Europe (CISPE). CISPE Members includes Amazon (AWS) and many companies in the European cloud business.
“It’s not about Google,” Zaveri said, “it’s about the cloud.” It should be an “open and flexible way” to deploy customer software and give companies more choice so they can run their software anywhere and much easier.