EU digital rules must consider anti-competitive licensing terms, say cloud sellers

*cough* Microsoft and Oracle *cough*


Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers in Europe (CISPE) has published a report on how the licensing antics of legacy software firms could distort the cloud marketplace.

The industry group is keen that protection from some of the chicanery turn up in the upcoming EU Digital Markets Act (DMA) and said: "It is imperative that the bad practices and unfair, anti-competitive behaviours of those that wield power to set licence terms are considered as part of the DMA."

The DMA was proposed in December 2020 in order to tackle "large, systemic online platforms" that legislators believe act as "gatekeepers" to new market entrants. The act will be implemented in 2023, at the earliest.

"It must be made certain that these legacy software players will meet the definition of 'Gatekeeper' under the DMA terms, so this bad behaviours [sic] should be proscribed in the ex-ante requirements."

The research by Professor Frédéric Jenny, chairman of the OECD Competition Committee and professor at ESSEC Paris Business School, took aim at Microsoft and Oracle - taking Big Red to task for its billing practices. The research spared AWS, El Reg notes.

For Microsoft, Jenny highlighted the higher costs for using Microsoft's productivity suite on third-party clouds while those using Azure had not suffered the same hikes. The report also noted that deals to shunt a licence from on-premises infrastructure to other clouds had gone in recent years, meaning that moving to a cloud that wasn't Microsoft's meant you were required to purchase new licences if you wished to carry on using its software.

Oracle's infamously byzantine licensing practices also came under fire as the research noted how Big Red charges "by CPU" for its cloud database. For third parties, the charge could be for every CPU "that could 'potentially' use its software," making for some heart-stopping invoices for the unwary.

CISPE itself has a variety of members in its ranks, consisting of Scaleway, OVH, and AWS.

AWS memorably ejected multiple toys from its pram in 2019 as CTO Werner Vogels complained that Microsoft's move "restricts freedom of choice."

As for CISPE, it worries that the time taken to prove the illegality of the alleged practices could prove lengthy and "mean that many will simply go out of business before any resolution," although we doubt that Bezos' moneymaking cloud machine is likely to run short of dollars any time soon.

Instead, the group wants such practices added to the DMA to ensure competition remains fair and customers are not cajoled one way or another by the cattle prod of licensing.

"To secure Europe's digital leadership," CISPE concluded, "the Parliament, the Council and the Commission must act on this evidence, and they must do so now."

The Register contacted Microsoft and Oracle for their take on the report and will update should either respond. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021