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Microsoft’s differential treatment of cloud providers sparks controversy

In European discussion groups, Microsoft has become extremely well-liked—and for the wrong reasons

Customers of Google Cloud Platform and Alibaba continue to be troubled by Microsoft’s intention to hike costs to deter consumers from using its software on other third-party clouds.

Redmond modified its conditions earlier in August 2023 to permit AWS customers to use its office software on the competing platform, but many people are still left out.

Since the adjustment, a few weeks have passed, but the corporation has yet to say whether Google and Alibaba would see a similar change.

Microsoft dissuades competing cloud service providers.

Microsoft stated that starting on August 1 “users with specific licenses may run Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise/business, Microsoft Project, and Microsoft Visio on Amazon WorkSpaces” for virtual desktop infrastructure.

When asked if it would make comparable accommodations for Google and Alibaba, Microsoft did not react right away.

There is “absolutely no technical reason” why Google and Alibaba should be excluded, according to unnamed people close to Microsoft and competitors (via The Register). Instead, “it is purely commercial.”

According to Michael Silver, vice president of Gartner Research, the problem is still present for all Listed Providers, including Amazon, and consumers “should still be lobbying Microsoft to eliminate the Listed Provider limitations.”

In European discussion groups, Microsoft has become extremely well-liked—and for the wrong reasons. It recently encountered a protracted legal struggle over discriminatory licensing restrictions that make switching providers or using a multi-cloud environment difficult and expensive. Redmond has not provided any information on it other than a commitment to collaborate with the pertinent organizations.

Amit Zavery, vice president, general manager, and head of platform at Google Cloud, said in June 2023 that antitrust regulators were “starting to understand the situation” and were asking questions.

The comment came amid Google joining the chorus of complaints about Microsoft’s alleged restrictive cloud software licensing policies, claiming that unless the European Union formally tackles it, the industry and customers would suffer lasting damage.

“Any enterprise company will be impacted negatively if things are not resolved properly. I think there should be an appetite [from the regulators] and I think there should be movement in that area to really put some kind of checks and balances on Microsoft’s policies,” Amit Zavery told The Register.

“Microsoft publicly touts that if you run their software on Azure versus other vendors like AWS and GCP, it’s five times cheaper or it’s more expensive to run on us, basically because of the tax customers have to pay to Microsoft,” Amit Zavery concluded.

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