Azure, Microsoft’s cloud business, is facing scrutiny by the antitrust unit of the European Union (EU), over fears that the US company is abusing its market dominance to drive out competitors, reported Bloomberg.
Officials are questioning rival companies and clients as part of an informal investigation into potential misuse of Microsoft’s access to commercially sensitive data belonging to cloud companies with which it has business relationships, the publication said, citing documents.
EU antitrust authorities want to find out if Microsoft uses such proprietary information to take on other cloud service providers in the market, sources said.
The EU move comes after several cloud companies complained about Microsoft’s practices.
These entities include CISPE, an industry body with connections to Amazon’s cloud services provider, Amazon Web Services, the report said.
The regulator has sought replies from the respondents, and they have also been requested to submit non-confidential versions of their evidence by the end of the month.
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If the probe is formally opened, the EU would initiate a process that could result in fines.
However, regulators can settle probes before they reach that stage or drop them if the initial concerns do not hold up.
Previously, the complaints came from OVH Cloud, a French company, Aruba, an Italian company, a Danish Cloud Association, and Nextcloud, a German cloud provider.
“The commission has received several complaints regarding Microsoft, including in relation to its product Azure, which we are assessing based on our standard procedures,” the regulator told the publication in an email.
Requests for comment from Microsoft did not immediately elicit a response.
The development comes as Microsoft tries to gain regulatory approval for its $69bn deal to buy Activision Blizzard
Recently, the European Commission conditionally approved the merger, while the UK’s competition authority decided to block it.