Microsoft faces antitrust complaint from EU cloud industry group

10 Nov 2022

Image: © burdun/

The CISPE claims Microsoft is conducting anti-competitive practices and using its market dominance to direct customers to its Azure cloud infrastructure.

A group representing the European cloud sector has filed an antitrust complaint against Microsoft for its cloud computing practices.

Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers in Europe (CISPE), which includes Amazon Web Services as a member, filed a complaint to the European Commission.

CISPE claims Microsoft is using its market dominance to direct European customers to its Azure cloud infrastructure. The trade group claims this practice is to the “detriment of European cloud infrastructure providers and users of IT services”.

The group claims Microsoft is conducting multiple anti-competitive practices such as the discriminatory bundling and tying of its products, self-preference pricing, and locking in customers both technically and competitively.

“The market share of European cloud infrastructure providers has halved in the last five years even as the overall market has grown,” CISPE said in a statement. “Microsoft’s share of the same market has outperformed all other players who kept stable market shares, growing at the expense, we believe, of European providers, by more than 800pc.”

In May, Microsoft announced plans to revise its cloud licensing deals to make it easier for European cloud providers to compete.

This followed a report by Reuters in April that the European Commission had been quizzing Microsoft’s customers about its cloud business and licensing deals, in response to complaints made against the company in 2019.

The software giant began finalising these licensing terms at the end of August and introduced them in October. CISPE claims the changes to Microsoft’s licenses have “done nothing” to change the situation for European cloud providers.

“Indeed, we believe these changes exacerbate the harms and introduce new forms of tying, lock-in and removal of choice for customers,” CISPE said.

The trade group said that without changes, Microsoft’s practices could lead to “the demise of a European cloud infrastructure sector”.

According to Reuters, the European Commission has fined Microsoft €1.6bn over the last decade due to EU antitrust breaches.

In November 2021, a group of tech companies in the EU called out Microsoft on anti-competition grounds for favouring its own products on the market-leading Windows OS.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic