Microsoft is now facing a new investigation into the extent to which the company is abusing its market power in one area in order to restrict competition in another segment. The basis is a complaint from competitor Google.
The search engine group has contacted the US trade authority FTC and officially lodged a complaint. According to a report by The Information magazine, the issue is that Microsoft is abusing its quasi-monopoly in office applications for companies in order to bind the customers it has won to its Azure cloud services.
This isn’t the first time Microsoft’s customer acquisition for its cloud division has been questioned. Last year, a three-year-old complaint forced Microsoft to change its licensing terms in the European Union. As part of the agreement reached, Microsoft made it easier for its customers to transfer their software to other cloud services and gave them more flexibility. However, the company has not implemented these changes in the US.
It’s about the competition
With the complaint that has now been filed, Google is trying to draw the US regulator’s attention to practices that its EU counterpart has classified as anti-competitive. If Google’s push is successful, Microsoft could also be forced in the USA to implement the change made in Europe.
This can have noticeable consequences for the cloud market. Because the sector continues to grow rapidly and in view of the massive dynamics, it is important for the large providers to retain customers over the long term. Microsoft has some advantages on its side since it is already very present in the corporate sector. The competition authorities should also take a correspondingly close look here in order to ensure reasonably fair competition.
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