Cloud

Microsoft’s global cloud share grows, as do complaints about its enterprise licenses

Microsoft has captured nearly one-quarter of the global cloud infrastructure market, according to Synergy Research Group.
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Microsoft has continued to gobble up more of the world’s cloud infrastructure—its share of the market expanded by two points to an all-time high of 24% by the end of 2023.

Computer Weekly reported that Amazon Web Services’s (AWS) share of the global market fell by the same percentage, to 31%, according to data from Synergy Research Group.

Yet at the same time, rumblings have grown around Microsoft’s enterprise software licensing terms, which include additional charges to run software that customers already own in the company’s Azure cloud, fees for running Microsoft software on competing cloud services, and egress fees.

Last year, complaints calling its practices anticompetitive led Microsoft to loosen some restrictions on running Microsoft 365 via AWS, and unbundle Teams from other Office apps throughout the European Union. However, those concessions haven’t solved its regulatory problems in Europe. In early February, Reuters reported that Microsoft had entered negotiations with a coalition of smaller cloud providers that had filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission.

The complaints aren’t unique to Microsoft. The UK’s comms regulator, Ofcom, for example, has investigated whether anticompetitive strategies around pricing and vendor lock-in allowed AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft to capture around 65-80% of the UK’s cloud infrastructure market in 2021. Ofcom sent those findings to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is conducting another inquiry due to conclude in April 2025.

While AWS and Microsoft dominate the UK’s cloud market, both Amazon and Google have sent complaints to the CMA urging them to focus on Microsoft.

According to Computer Weekly, a Feb. 2024 report by research firm Savanta found 40% of nearly 1,250 IT decision-makers across Europe said their software licensing terms prohibit “taking on-premise licences to another vendor.” CISPE research has claimed Microsoft’s licensing practices force businesses in Europe to pay billions of euros extra annually to run software they already own in Azure.

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.