Reaction: Microsoft’s Brad Smith
Google yesterday urged competition watchdogs to take action against Microsoft over its dominance of cloud computing.
The US tech giant has written to the Competition Markets Authority (CMA) complaining about its rival’s licensing practices, which it argues unfairly discourages customers from using competitor services.
‘With Microsoft’s licensing restrictions UK customers are left with no alternative but to use this cloud services provider,’ Google said in a letter to the CMA.
Microsoft has faced pressure on both sides of the Atlantic over its dominance in cloud technology.
Cloud computing is when services such as data storage and software are delivered over the internet, allowing users to access services remotely.
The CMA launched an investigation into the UK’s cloud computing industry in October, following a referral from media regulator Ofcom which raised concerns about Microsoft – as well as Amazon – and their dominance. Last year Amazon Web Services and Microsoft had a combined 80 per cent share of the cloud market, figures from Ofcom suggest.
A Microsoft spokesman said it had been addressing concerns about competition and had updated licensing rules.
‘Competition between cloud players remains healthy,’ the spokesman said. The CMA declined to comment on the reports.
But Google’s letter to the CMA comes less than two months after Microsoft finally received the green light to snap up Call Of Duty maker Activision Blizzard.
The CMA had initially blocked the £53billion deal in April because of concerns about the impact it could have on the gaming market.
The move sparked a dramatic reaction from Microsoft, whose president Brad Smith slammed it as ‘bad for Britain’. He said at the time: ‘The European Union is a more attractive place to start a business. The English Channel has never seemed wider.’
He also blasted the ‘unelected’ and ‘unaccountable’ regulator. After several concessions from Microsoft, the watchdog finally agreed to the gaming tie-up in October. But Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, still blasted the firm for its approach. She said: ‘We take our decisions free from political influence and we won’t be swayed by corporate lobbying.’