HomeMalware & ThreatsImplications of EU Antitrust Probe on Microsoft's Entra ID

Implications of EU Antitrust Probe on Microsoft’s Entra ID

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Microsoft is once again under scrutiny by antitrust regulators, this time for its practices surrounding the Entra ID identity management product. The Information reported that the European Commission, responsible for enforcing the EU’s antitrust laws, is investigating whether Microsoft is preventing customers from purchasing security software that competes with its own offerings. The investigation stems from complaints received by the European Commission regarding Microsoft’s Azure product, with regulators seeking to understand if customers are able to use alternative security software to authenticate into Microsoft services or if they are required to use Entra ID.

According to reports, Microsoft does not allow customers of Entra ID (formerly known as Azure Active Directory) to replace it with identity management products from competitors such as Okta or Cloudflare. The European Commission has the authority to request information as part of its investigation into Microsoft’s practices.

In response to the investigation, a Microsoft spokesperson stated that the company provides built-in identity capabilities to enable customers to access cloud services. The spokesperson also noted that Microsoft allows for integration with third-party identity services and security providers through open APIs, giving customers the freedom to choose the solutions that best suit their needs.

Market data shows that Microsoft holds a significant share of the identity and access management market, with Azure Active Directory controlling 23.8% in 2021. This market dominance has raised concerns among competitors and industry watchers, with Gartner recognizing Microsoft as a leader in access management alongside other key players.

However, Microsoft’s bundling of security products with its enterprise software licenses has also attracted regulatory attention. The company’s approach has been criticized for potentially limiting competition and coercing customers to adopt its security suite. Last year, the EU opened an antitrust probe into Microsoft’s inclusion of Teams meeting software with Office subscriptions following a complaint from Slack. The FTC in the U.S. is also investigating how cloud providers bundle server rentals with other software offerings.

In response to these investigations, Google and other firms have raised concerns about Microsoft leveraging its market dominance to promote its security products and services. Pure-play cybersecurity vendors have voiced complaints about unfair competition practices, alleging that Microsoft’s bundling strategies make it challenging for rivals to compete on price.

The outcome of the Entra ID investigation by European regulators is eagerly anticipated by the cybersecurity industry, as it could have significant implications for competition in the market. Observers will closely monitor developments in the case as it unfolds.

With comments from Microsoft, this story continues to evolve as regulators delve deeper into Microsoft’s practices surrounding its identity management product. The tech giant’s response to the investigation and the potential outcomes will shape the competitive landscape in the cybersecurity sector.

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