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EU Antitrust May Launch Investigation on Microsoft’s Cloud Business

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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Reports have revealed that the European Union antitrust authorities may launch a formal investigation into Microsoft after European cloud service providers accuse Microsoft of squeezing out competitors.

According to a report by Reuters, the European Union is sending out a questionnaire to rivals and customers of Microsoft’s cloud business and licensing deals.

Decades ago, the European Commission penalized Microsoft a total of 1.6 billion euros for breaking EU antitrust regulations and failing to comply with its order to stop anticompetitive conduct.

In March this year, European cloud service companies, including NextCloud in Germany, OVH in France, and two other cloud providers, accused the European Commission of accusing Microsoft of forcing out competitors in its cloud business.

Then, Microsoft released a statement claiming that the business constantly examines how to support partners and supply Microsoft products to customers in various situations.

Since 2019, the European Union has been promoting the Gaia-X effort to develop Europe’s own data infrastructure architecture in order to lessen reliance on American players.

However, Margrethe Vestager, the chair of the European Union’s antitrust committee, stated last week that there are currently no antitrust difficulties in the European cloud market, citing the Gaia-X effort as well as possibilities like AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Thus, it should be noted that with this questionnaire, the EU authorities sought to discover if Microsoft’s license agreements with cloud service providers allow competitors to compete effectively and if enterprises require Microsoft operating systems and productivity programs to complement cloud infrastructure in order to compete effectively.

They also want to know if the terms and license prices for Microsoft’s cloud service distribution are different from the terms and licensing fees for Microsoft’s business contracts with cloud service providers. And finally, to inquire about the technical constraints of these organizations’ cloud storage offerings.

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