Tech companies including Google gripe about unfair cloud practices

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Technology trade groups as well as Alphabet’s Google have griped to the Federal Trade Commission about allegedly unfair business practices in the cloud, including by the industry’s No. 2 by market share Microsoft.

The comments, which were due Wednesday, respond to a March request from the US agency for information on security issues and competition in the lucrative market for data storage and computing power in the so-called cloud.

They also follow scrutiny worldwide, including a recent probe by Europe’s antitrust authority into Microsoft’s licensing agreements that allegedly discouraged rival cloud usage. Fees to take data out of various providers’ clouds have also drawn industry criticism.

In one example of the public comments Tuesday, trade group NetChoice took aim at Microsoft and Oracle.

“Despite vibrant competition in the cloud industry, a few vendors use anticompetitive practices in order to entrench their position, most often by preventing customers from switching providers in search of lower costs, stronger service offerings, and more innovative solutions for their businesses,” said NetChoice, whose members include market leader , Meta Platforms, Google and other smaller tech players.

Google echoed the sentiment in its own filing, saying that “licensing terms enforced by Microsoft, Oracle, and other legacy on-premises software providers distort competition in the cloud.”

For instance, businesses that bought software from Microsoft for their own data centers face restrictions and surcharges when migrating those licenses to Microsoft’s top cloud competitors, Google said, in line with comments it made previously. Amazon has made similar criticism.

Microsoft and Oracle did not immediately return Reuters requests for comment. Microsoft has updated some terms in response to the criticism and has said, for instance, that it is committed to a broader cloud community success, but rivals have called its changes insufficient.

The FTC declined to comment. The Information earlier reported Google’s filing.

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