Microsoft’s cloud computing business is reportedly facing a new antitrust complaint at a time when its acquisition of Activision Blizzard is facing EU antitrust scrutiny. On Wednesday, local time, trade group CISPE, whose members include Amazon, filed a complaint with EU antitrust regulators.
CISPE says new contract terms implemented by Microsoft on Oct. 1, along with other practices by the company, are causing irreparable harm to the European cloud computing ecosystem.
Amazon is the market leader in cloud computing, followed by Microsoft and Alphabet’s Google.
In a statement, CISPE Secretary-General Francisco Mingorance said, “At a time when European customers are looking to move to the cloud, Microsoft is impacting Europe’s digital economy by using its dominant position in productivity software to limit customer choice and raise costs for customers.”
In its complaint to the European Commission, CISPE alleges that the company used its dominant position in productivity software to steer European customers to its own Azure cloud infrastructure, thereby putting its European competitors at a disadvantage.
The organization alleges that Microsoft’s anti-competitive practices include discriminatory bundling and tying of its products, pricing in its own favor, and locking out customers on a technical and competitive level.
Microsoft, which has been fined more than €1.6 billion by the European Commission for various monopolistic practices over the past decade, proposed to have previously stated that they offer its software to all customers, including rival cloud providers.
Cloud service providers in Germany, Italy, Denmark and France, two of which are members of CISPE, have also filed similar complaints with the Commission over the past few years.
Microsoft subsequently revised its licensing agreement and made other changes to make it easier for cloud providers to compete with it starting Oct. 1 to avoid EU antitrust penalties. However, its rivals Amazon, Alphabet’s Google and Microsoft’s own cloud services were excluded from those changes.
CISPE said the EU competition watchdog should address the problem by adopting for Microsoft the fair software licensing principles the agency developed last year.
The agency believes the EU could establish an independent European Observatory to audit the licensing terms of dominant software companies.
CISPE also said the European Commission could add another provision to the newly adopted rules for technology companies, known as the Digital Markets Act, that would prohibit cloud computing dominant companies from favoring their own software programs.