Reuters: South African Antitrust Agency to Investigate Microsoft

Reuters: South African Antitrust Agency to Investigate Microsoft
Photo: Thinkstock / Microsoft 05.04.2024 444

The investigation will touch on cloud computing licensing practices, Reuters reported, citing sources. 

In the coming days, South Africa's Competition Commission will accuse Microsoft of charging too much for businesses to switch their cloud licenses to other vendors, according to people familiar with the filing, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The South African case against Microsoft is likely to mirror the European Union antitrust case, according to the source.

The U.S. software giant faces a EU complaint by rivals over its cloud computing licensing practices in the region. Industry group CISPE, which includes members such as Amazon.com and 26 small EU cloud providers, filed a complaint in late 2022 alleging Microsoft's new contractual terms were harming Europe's cloud computing ecosystem.

Microsoft amended its licensing terms in mid-2022 after rivals in Germany, Italy, Denmark and France took their grievances to the EU competition watchdog.

The UK’s competition regulator has also started a probe into the cloud market, where it is examining in part how Microsoft’s Azure terms may be limiting competition.

Microsoft is not aware of any complaint filed by the South African competition authority, the company said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Like regulators across the world, the South African watchdog has been cracking down on Big Tech in recent years and firms’ alleged abuses of market power.

Last year, Google was ordered to improve visibility for smaller South African companies in search results, and to pay out for the training of smaller platforms.

Officials are currently probing whether artificial intelligence models, digital and social media platforms managed by services including Microsoft’s Bing are limiting the nation’s news and media companies’ ability to generate revenue.

Sources: Reuters, Mybroadband

digital markets  South Africa 

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