Google Takes Aim At Microsoft Azure, Software Licensing: 5 Big Things To Know

Microsoft’s licensing models are once again coming under scrutiny after Google filed a comment with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission claiming Microsoft locks-in customers to its Azure public cloud services.

Google is alleging Microsoft has created anti-competitive practices via its bundling and software licensing agreements to make it difficult for clients to use anything outside of its Azure infrastructure solutions.

In its letter Wednesday to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Google said Microsoft’s complex agreements seek to “lock-in clients to their ecosystems,” with the software giant “limiting choice, increasing costs for customers” and disrupting the digital ecosystems throughout the world, according to CNBC. Microsoft and Google did not respond for comment on the matter by press time. CRN has sent a request to the FTC but has not heard back as of press time.

[Related: Top 10 Biggest Google Cloud News Stories Of 2023 (So Far)]

Microsoft told CRN in an email that it had “made changes to our cloud licensing terms to address licensing concerns and provide more opportunity for cloud providers.”

“Worldwide, more than 100 cloud providers have already taken advantage of these changes. And as the latest independent data shows, competition between cloud hyperscalers remains healthy. In the last quarter of 2022 Microsoft and Google made small gains on AWS, which continues to remain the market leader by a significant margin,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

Google Vs Microsoft

Google Cloud, the cloud computing arm for parent company Google, and Microsoft have been battling for cloud market share across the globe for years. Both Google Cloud and Microsoft offer cloud infrastructure and critical cloud services via their data centers to thousands of businesses of all shapes and sizes.

The two technology giants compete on other various fronts including collaboration and productivity that pits Microsoft Office 365 against Google Workspace. The two companies are going head-to-head in the emerging market of generative artificial intelligence (AI) on both the consumer and enterprise front as well as providing similar cybersecurity offerings. Additionally, Google and Microsoft compete for channel partner mindshare regarding MSPs, system integrators, resellers and cloud consultants who sell their products and services to customers around the world.

Google Cloud owns 10 percent of global cloud market share, followed by Microsoft at 23 percent share, then Amazon Web Services at 32 percent share as of the first quarter 2023, according to data from Synergy Research Group.

CRN breaks down the five things Google and Microsoft partners, investors and customers need to know about Google’s allegations against Microsoft’s licensing practices.


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 Learn About Mark Haranas


Mark Haranas is an assistant news editor and longtime journalist now covering cloud, multicloud, software, SaaS and channel partners at CRN. He speaks with world-renown CEOs and IT experts as well as covering breaking news and live events while also managing several CRN reporters. He can be reached at [email protected].


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