EU antitrust officials are currently investigating the Microsoft Azure cloud service. The investigation follows concerns that Microsoft is using its monopoly to squeeze out rivals.
EU officials have been conducting a covert investigation, talking to competitors and customers about possible abuses of Microsoft’s cloud services. The authorities’ main concern is whether Microsoft is leveraging privileged information to gain a competitive edge over other cloud service providers.
It’s important to highlight that EU regulators greenlit Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which removed a major regulatory obstacle. This decision came after UK officials rejected the deal over concerns about the cloud gaming business. According to the European Commission, Microsoft’s commitments to cloud gaming allow the deal to go through. The EU found that Microsoft has no reason to prevent Sony from buying Activision titles and that such a move would not significantly reduce competition in the console market. However, the acquisition raises questions about the level of competition in the distribution of PC and console games through cloud gaming services.
The European Commission has taken steps to address these issues, including free licenses for customers and cloud gaming service providers in the European Economic Area to stream Activision Blizzard titles. The EU ruling is a step in the right direction for Microsoft, but the company still faces problems in the US and UK. Microsoft has challenged the UK authorities’ decision, and the US Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit to stop the merger.
The case is currently in the discovery phase, and it’s unclear what the outcome will be after the scheduled hearing on August 2nd. The deal is also under review in China, South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia. Microsoft has made progress with the European Union’s approval, but the final outcome of the acquisition is still uncertain.