Microsoft cloud business targeted by EU antitrust regulators

General view of the Microsoft Corporation headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris, France, April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

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BRUSSELS, April 1 (Reuters) – EU antitrust regulators are questioning rivals and Microsoft’s customers about its cloud business and licensing deals, according to a questionnaire seen by Reuters, in a move which could lead to a formal investigation and renewed review. from the American software company.

The European Commission has fined Microsoft a total of 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) over the past decade for breaching EU antitrust rules and failing to comply with its order to put an end to anti-competitive practices.

The company found itself on the radar of EU competition authorities again after German software provider NextCloud, France’s OVHcloud (OVH.PA) and two other companies filed complaints about the company’s cloud practices. Microsoft.

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“The Commission has information that Microsoft may use its potentially dominant position in certain software markets to prevent competition in certain cloud computing services,” the questionnaire said.

Regulators have questioned whether the terms of Microsoft’s licensing agreements with cloud service providers allow rivals to compete effectively.

They also want to know whether companies needed Microsoft’s operating systems and productivity apps to complement their own cloud infrastructure offerings in order to compete effectively.

The companies were also asked about differences in license rights and commercial terms between license agreements with cloud service providers and another program in which they bundle and indirectly resell Microsoft’s cloud services with their own.

Another focus was the potential technical limitations of cloud storage services available on enterprise cloud infrastructure.

“We are continually evaluating how we can best support our partners and make Microsoft software available to customers in all environments, including those from other cloud providers,” Microsoft said in an emailed statement. .

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said earlier this week that she had no concerns about cloud computing yet and cited competition from Europe’s Gaia-X initiative. Read more

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Written by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Bill Berkrot

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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