Microsoft gets antitrust complaints from Aruba, Danish Firms Over Cloud

Italian cloud provider Aruba SpA and a group of cloud providers in Denmark are part of a high-profile complaint made against Microsoft Corp. to the European Union’s antitrust watchdog.

Italian cloud provider Aruba SpA and a group of cloud providers in Denmark are part of a high-profile complaint made against Microsoft Corp. to the European Union’s antitrust watchdog.

European cloud companies have called on regulators to investigate the US tech giant, arguing that Microsoft undermines competition and limits consumer choice in the cloud computing services market. The complaint was filed last year but only one of the three cloud providers who were on it was named, France’s OVH.

Microsoft customers have complained that they pay more to use its must-have programs like Windows and Office when they’re run through rival cloud-computing systems instead of Microsoft’s Azure, and the practice shows Microsoft is using its power in one market to undermine competitors in another, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

A spokesman for Aruba confirmed to Bloomberg that it’s part of OVH’s complaint. Danish Cloud Community, a group of cloud providers in Denmark, is also part of the complaint, according to a people familiar with the matter.

Microsoft President Brad Smith has pledged the company will talk to customers and rivals, saying in an interview on Monday that “there are definitely some valid concerns” and “it’s very important for us to learn more and then make some changes.” In particular, the company wants to improve relations with European cloud providers that it has failed to work closely enough with so far.

“Especially when it comes to European cloud providers, we just haven’t been engaged in enough direct conversation with them,” Smith said. “I don’t think there’s been anything close to the level of dialogue that we need to pursue to solve this problem. One of the lessons for the future is we need as a company to prioritize at a higher level how we work with and support these European cloud providers. ”

European cloud trade group CISPE said Smith’s remarks demonstrated the need for “urgent action, not only vague commitments to talk,” and called on European Union officials to hold the company to account. The group’s members include Amazon.com Inc., whose Amazon Web Services dominates the market for cloud computing, followed by Azure.

“Microsoft’s steady pattern of amendments to license terms has ratcheted up pressure on rival vendors and led to increasing costs for customers over several years,” a CISPE spokesman said in a statement. “We urge regulators to continue investigating forcefully.”

The bloc’s officials have been asking regional cloud companies about Microsoft’s practices, Bloomberg reported earlier this month.

A spokesman for Microsoft did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the CISPE remarks. Danish Cloud Community declined to comment.

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