Three companies have lodged a complaint with the European Commission against Microsoft, accusing the U.S. technology giant of anti-competitive practices in its cloud services, sources told AFP on Saturday, confirming media reports.

Microsoft is “undermining fair competition and limiting the choice of consumers” in the computing cloud services market, said one of the three, French company OVHcloud, in a statement to AFP.

The companies complain that under certain clauses in Microsoft’s licensing contracts for Office 365 services, tariffs are higher when the software is not run on Azure cloud infrastructure, which is owned by the U.S. group.

They also say the user experience is worse and that there are incompatibilities with certain other Microsoft products when not running on Azure. 

In a statement to AFP, Microsoft said, “European cloud service providers have built successful business models on Microsoft software and services” and had many options on how to use that software.

“We continually evaluate how best to support all of our partners and make Microsoft software available to all customers in all environments, including those with other cloud service providers,” it continued.

The complaint, first reported this week by The Wall Street Journal, was lodged last summer with the EU Commission’s competition authority.

Microsoft is also the subject of an earlier 2021 complaint to the European Commission by a different set of companies led by the German Nextcloud.

It denounced the “ever-stronger integration” of Microsoft’s cloud services, which it said complicated the development of competing offers.

Microsoft has already been heavily fined multiple times by Brussels for anti-competitive practices regarding its Internet Explorer browser, Windows operating system and software licensing rules. 

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