The big three cloud service providers, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, account for nearly three-quarters of the European cloud market, according to data published by Synergy Research Group.
And although all three companies have been subject to various EU antitrust investigations over the years, their respective cloud businesses have not yet felt the full force of European competition law.
That said, the European Commission (EC) has been investigating Microsoft for anticompetitive practices after complaints were filed by rival cloud providers, including Germany’s Nextcloud and France’s OVHcloud, last year.
No formal probe has been launched since, but the implementation of changes to Microsoft’s outsourcing and hosting terms in October has been widely perceived as an attempt to appease the EU’s antitrust concerns.
The revised terms are intended to make it easier for users of Microsoft’s software products to deploy them on non-Azure cloud servers and form part of the Big Tech firm’s previous commitments to support European cloud providers.
Yet the recent amendments weren’t enough to stop the trade association Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe (CISPE) from filing another complaint with the European Commission earlier this month, alleging that the new terms not only fail to address Microsoft’s market abuse, but add new unfair practices to its contractual requirements.
“Microsoft’s ongoing position and behaviors are irreparably damaging the European cloud ecosystem and depriving European customers of choice in their cloud deployments,” CISPE stated, urging the EC to launch a formal inquiry.