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AWS calls out Microsoft’s restrictive cloud practices as UK cloud competition continues

The UK Competitions and Market Authority (CMA) launched its probe into the state of competition in the UK cloud market and Microsoft is being singled out as the biggest culprit of unfair competition. Both Google and AWS have already come out to criticize Microsoft’s restrictive licensing.

According to AWS, Microsoft’s licensing plans act as a barrier for businesses to switch or even adopt a multi-cloud environment.

This comes even after Microsoft changed its licensing terms in 2019 and 2022 following reports to EU competition regulators.

However, according to AWS, the changes did little to allow Microsoft Cloud customers to explore other options.

 “To use many of Microsoft’s software products with these other cloud services providers, a customer must purchase a separate license even if they already own the software,” AWS said. “This often makes it financially unviable for a customer to choose a provider other than Microsoft.”

The statement from AWS echoes a similar one made by Google last week.

"With Microsoft’s licensing restrictions in particular, UK customers are left with no economically reasonable alternative but to use Azure as their cloud services provider, even if they prefer the prices, quality, security, innovations, and features of rivals," the company said.

Speaking on the issue Microsoft maintains that it’s not at an unfair advantage and that Google, Oracle, IBM, and other cloud players all have the same fighting chance in the UK and global market.

But even as the war between the Big Three rages on, the small cloud providers can’t help but see the irony in the situation.

As Mark Boost, CEO at Civo, puts it, “It’s a distraction from the big picture.” The big picture here being that the three hyper scalers are all operating at a massive advantage and it’s the small providers that don’t stand a chance in the market.

“Whatever each one may claim, the fact remains that the status quo in the cloud market is unsustainable and anti-competitive,” Boost said.

“We cannot have a situation where businesses using the cloud are hemmed in with opaque pricing, dauntingly complex services, and data egress fees that make it difficult to move to another provider.”

The CEO is hopeful that the probe shed light on the real issue in the UK cloud market and prove to be the turning point where each cloud provider has a chance in the market.


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