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Spanish startups complain against Microsoft, claim company’s practices hurting them – Times of India


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Microsoft is facing a new complaint from a startup group in Spain regarding its cloud practices. The startup group submitted its complaint against the tech giant to the country’s antitrust regulator. Earlier, another trade group made a similar complaint against the company to the EU. This is the latest grievance concerning Microsoft’s rapidly expanding cloud computing services.
The Spanish Startup Association, which brought about the complaint, represents more than 700 startups in the country.The organisation cited several allegedly anti-competitive measures practised by Microsoft in recent years.

What the startup group has to say against Microsoft

The complaint document (seen by the news agency Reuters) alleges: “Microsoft has not only taken advantage of the dominant position in the markets of Operating Systems (Windows) and traditional productivity software (Microsoft Office, Windows Server, SQL Server) to force the use of its Azure cloud, but they have also imposed artificial barriers that limit the ability of startups to compete fairly and competitively. These practices include barriers to data portability or contractual conditions that restrict competition in software licenses, preventing the free choice of providers of these services, reducing the capacity for choice and flexibility that startups need to be able to be resilient, innovate and grow.”
The association asked the Spanish competition watchdog to launch an investigation against Microsoft’s cloud practices and to take urgent measures to ensure a competitive market.

In a statement to Reuters, the Spanish Startup Association’s president, Carlos Mateo said: “We believe that all companies should be able to compete in an environment of equality so as not to be left behind either as customers or as companies providing this technology.”

Previous complaints about Microsoft’s cloud practices

In November 2023, Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe (CISPE) complained to EU antitrust regulators about Microsoft’s new contract terms that were imposed in October of the same year. The group whose members include e-commerce major and Microsoft’s cloud computing rival Amazon also highlighted other alleged malpractices. CISPE said that these practices were harming the European cloud computing ecosystem.
As part of its investigation, the European Commission asked other cloud rivals about Microsoft’s request for customer data. Apart from the EU’s competition watchdog, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is also probing the cloud sector.
Microsoft ranks second in the cloud computing sector, behind market leader Amazon. However, the company is expected to close the gap rapidly as multiple generative AI-based features powered by OpenAI’s technology are attracting more business users.

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