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  • Voltaire Staff

Google accuses Microsoft of trying to monopolise cloud computing market




Having earlier termed it a competitor in the search engine market, Google has now accused Microsoft of aiming for a monopoly in cloud computing services that could hinder the progress of emerging technologies like generative artificial intelligence.


Google, which is facing the allegations that it has insuperable monopoly in the search engine market, recently made a deposition in a US court that it does have "competition" in the search market in Microsoft's Bing.


According to a court filing by Google, Microsoft approached Apple to make Bing the default search engine on its Safari browser at least six times since 2009 – the year Bing was launched –, the latest being in 2020.

 

Google Cloud Vice President Amit Zavery on Monday said in an interview, "We worry about Microsoft wanting to flex their decade-long practices where they had a lot of monopoly on the on-premise software before and now they are trying to push that into cloud now."  


He added, "So they are creating this whole walled garden, which is completely controlled and owned by Microsoft, and customers who want to do any of this stuff, you have to go to Microsoft only," as he called on antitrust regulators to take action.


Zavery claimed that if Microsoft cloud doesn't remain open, other companies will face "issues and long-term problems, even in next generation technologies like AI as well, because Microsoft is forcing customers to go to Azure in many ways."


"I think regulators need to provide some kind of guidance as well as maybe regulations which prevent the way Microsoft is building the Azure cloud business, not allow your on-premise monopoly to bring it into the cloud monopoly," he added.


 

Microsoft and Amazon have been under scrutiny in Britain, the European Union, and the United States over their dominance in cloud computing. Google lags behind as the third-largest player in the field.


The partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI, has further raised concerns for Google.


The issues stems back to early 2023 when Google Cloud accused Microsoft of engaging in anti-competitive practices in cloud computing.


It has also criticised Microsoft's upcoming agreements with various European cloud vendors, arguing that these agreements fail to address broader concerns regarding licensing terms.


In late 2023, the tech giants Google and Microsoft were at loggerheads once again, this time with Google calling for antitrust measures against Microsoft in the United Kingdom.


Google then urged the UK's antitrust regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), to take action against Microsoft.

Microsoft, however, dismissed that argument.


"As the latest independent data shows, competition between cloud hyperscalers remains healthy," said a Microsoft spokesperson.


On Monday, Microsoft President Brad Smith subtly criticised Google at the mobile world congress in Barcelona by saying, "Today, only one company is vertically integrated in a manner that includes every AI layer from chips to a thriving mobile app store."


Zavery also criticised Microsoft's contracts with specific cloud vendors, arguing that they overlook larger concerns.


Last month, the trade group, CISPE (Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe) announced that it was discussing with Microsoft to address its EU antitrust complaint regarding the company's cloud computing licensing policies.


"Microsoft has been very smart, picking individual vendors who complain and do one-side deals but they don't solve the broader problem. So they can choose the winners and losers in many case as well, so they kind of pick who they want to compete with," Zavery said.


Microsoft refuted this as well. A spokesperson from Microsoft remarked, "We have listened to and work constructively and directly with independent cloud providers to change our licensing terms, addressing their concerns and providing more opportunity for them. Worldwide, more than 100 cloud providers have already taken advantage of these changes."

 

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