Microsoft Faces Global Scrutiny

Apr 5, 2024 | Comments, News

South Africa joins growing list of jurisdictions probing Microsoft’s unfair software licensing practices.

Yesterday news broke in Bloomberg that the South African Competition Commission is expected to open a formal probe into Microsoft’s use of its market power to squeeze out rivals. Specifically, the probe is set to look at the costs charged by Microsoft if customers want to move software licenses to alternative cloud providers.

This week also saw the first recognition in national legislation of the need to end unfair software licensing practices. The new French Digital Safety Law (the SREN) includes specific mention of this issue and requires that the French competition authority opens an investigation in the next 90 days.

These events add to ongoing pressure on Microsoft from the UK’s CMA Cloud Market Inquiry, in which an interim report is expected in the coming weeks, and of course CISPE’s own complaint against Microsoft at DG Competition in the European Commission.

The saying goes that there is no smoke without fire – and now there is an awful lot of smoke which only seems to be getting thicker around unfair software licensing practices in the cloud. Microsoft must bring an end to these unfair practices by respecting the simple principle that any customer should be able to use the Microsoft licenses it owns for any product, on any cloud, free from discriminatory pricing and technical or feature lock-in.

If Microsoft will not make these changes voluntarily then regulators around the world must coordinate to ensure that they are rapidly and effectively forced to deploy these remedies for the protection of all customers globally.

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