Google Files FTC Cloud Protest Against Microsoft

azure cloud

Cloud battle. Submission made by Google to US antitrust regulator, alleging anti competitive practices by Microsoft Azure

Alphabet’s Google has responded to a request by the US antitrust regulator about anti-competitive practices in the cloud market.

Google in a letter to the Federal Trace Commission (FTC) accused Microsoft of anticompetitive practices in its Azure cloud unit, CNBC reported.

Google of course has faced numerous accusations and allegations of monopolistic behaviour for a number of its services, and was this week sued by the largest publisher in the US over its domination in the ad tech space.

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Cloud complaint

But for years Google Cloud has languished in third place in the cloud space, behind both Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.

CNBC reported that in its letter to the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday, Google alleged that Microsoft uses unfair licensing terms to “lock in clients” to exert control over the cloud-computing market.

The Google letter was reportedly in response to an FTC request for comment issued in March 2023 about potentially anti-competitive acts in the cloud industry.

According to CNBC, Google apparently singled out Microsoft in the letter, arguing that through its dominant Windows Server and Microsoft Offices products, Redmond can make it difficult for its clients to use anything but its Azure cloud infrastructure offering.

According to CNBC, Google described Microsoft’s licensing restrictions as a “complex web” that prevents businesses from diversifying their enterprise software vendors.

Google also reportedly said that such control represents a significant national security and cybersecurity risk.

It highlighted successive cyberattacks involving Microsoft products, including the SolarWinds breach.

Google has also reportedly identified Oracle for alleged anti-competitive practices in its submission to the FTC.

Ofcom probe

In April this year, it emerged that Amazon and Microsoft are facing a full antitrust investigation in the United Kingdom, after Ofcom said it had concerns about some aspects of the UK cloud market.

The Ofcom market study had uncovered “practices and features that could limit competition,” which includes “high fees for transferring data out, committed spend discounts and technical restrictions.”

Ofcom had begun its market study back in September 2022, when it said it would “examine the position of Amazon, Microsoft and Google in cloud services.”