Thursday, March 14, 2024

Tech News: EU states gave Microsoft a price ultimatum for cloud services.

Tech News: EU states gave Microsoft a price ultimatum for cloud services.


The European cloud saga of Microsoft persists.

A group of 27 European cloud infrastructure providers has issued a harsh ultimatum to Microsoft, claiming that the company must stop what they refer to as "unjustified feature and pricing discriminations against fair competition."

The announcement is an extension of the antitrust lawsuit that the non-profit Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe (CISPE), with headquarters in Brussels, brought against Microsoft in November 2022.

In the case, Microsoft is accused of discriminatory actions by making it more expensive for rivals to operate Microsoft products in their own clouds by giving discounts on its own software when it is combined with Azure cloud services.

The European cloud case against Microsoft is still ongoing.

Reportedly, CISPE and the massive Redmond company have resumed their negotiations, which is why the European organization is putting further pressure on Microsoft by threatening legal action.

CISPE demonstrated cost differences using the Azure Pricing Calculator, claiming that CISPE members pay significantly more to serve the same number of users with Microsoft software, even in cases when hardware costs are lower.

"The unjustified feature and pricing discriminations imposed by Microsoft on its dominant software, Office and Windows, outside of Azure, squeeze the margins of rival cloud infrastructure providers, lock in customers, and raise prices," stated Francisco Mingorance, Secretary General of CISPE, in reference to the nature of the ongoing case.

The EU antitrust regulator and the US FTC are both looking into Microsoft's cloud licensing terms, which is an additional layer of scrutiny on the company's already stringent policies. AWS and Google have expressed worries about Microsoft's tactics, despite being under scrutiny themselves. Google lodged a complaint with the UK's CMA in December 2023.

In an email, a Microsoft representative informed TechRadar Pro:

"This material is out of date, doesn't offer anything fresh, and seems to be more of the same advocacy that Amazon funds in an effort to hold onto market share. We are still committed to helping European cloud providers with their issues."

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