Another cloud provider runs to shelter from Microsoft's licensing practices

First British biz joins Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers

A cloud group pressing the European Commission to address Microsoft's software licensing practices has snagged its first British member.

Hyve Managed Hosting is joining the Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe (CISPE), a trade association backed by 25 other businesses including Aruba S.p.A, flamenetworks, and AWS.

CISPE continues to speak critically of Microsoft's licensing behavior, and in November 2022 filed a compliant with the EC claiming Microsoft uses "unjustified and discriminatory bundling, tying, self-preferencing pricing and technical and economic lock-in" to "restrict choice."

This came a month after Microsoft introduced tweaks to its own policies – suggested in May – that were a response to antitrust filings with European regulators from OVHcloud, Aruba S.p.A and DCC. CISPE said the changes imposed by Microsoft still hadn't resolved their specific commercial grievances and potentially added several more.

Archrival AWS weighed in on the topic of Microsoft's proposed licensing tweaks last year. SVP sales and marketing Matt Garmin said in June: "MSFT's answer is not to do what's right for customers and fix their policy so all customers can run MSFT's software on the cloud provider they choose; but rather, under the pretext of supporting European technology needs, MSFT proposes to select cloud providers about whom it is less competitively concerned and allow MSFT software to run only on those providers."

Jake Madders, co-founder and director of Hyve, told us: "Elements of public cloud infrastructure that create vendor lock-in, such as restrictions on collaboration between different platforms, and difficulty of switching between providers, are affecting competition and stifling innovation."

"Everyone at Hyve is looking forward to working closely with CISPE on its central initiatives to make sure the industry is a level playing field and cloud can continue to fulfill its role in empowering innovation."

Microsoft is understood to have resolved antitrust complaints with OVHcloud, Aruba S.p.A, and DCC last month, though the concessions made – if any – are not public and likely won't be made so. This week it emerged Microsoft has offered to stop bundling products after Slack and others told the EC they were being shut out of competitive scenarios.

In response, Microsoft told us it was "mindful of our responsibilities in the EU" and was continuing to "engage" with the Commission in its "investigation."

As of September last year, three US cloud giants (AWS, Microsoft, and Google) accounted for 72 percent of cloud spending by customers in Europe.

John Dinsdale, chief analyst at market researcher Synergy, said at the time that in the past half-decade, local cloud providers had grown revenue by 167 percent but had seen their market share more than halve to 13 percent.

"The top three are in a league of their own," he told The Register. ®

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