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InfoQ Homepage News Google Eliminates Exit Fees and Advocates against Restrictive Cloud Licensing

Google Eliminates Exit Fees and Advocates against Restrictive Cloud Licensing

Google recently announced that it will eliminate exit fees for customers who wish to stop using Google Cloud and migrate their data to another cloud provider and/or on premises.

The company is the first cloud provider to do so and calls for a renewed regulatory focus on the most prohibitive form of lock-in for customers: anticompetitive licensing. The change applies, according to the company, to all customers globally. In addition, the company states that some legacy providers leverage their on-premises software monopolies to create cloud monopolies, using restrictive licensing practices that lock in customers and warp competition.

Amit Zavery, GM/VP, head of platform at Google Cloud, writes in a Google blog post:

The complex web of licensing restrictions includes picking and choosing who their customers can work with and how charging 5x the cost if customers decide to use specific competitors’ clouds, and limiting interoperability of must-have software with competitors’ cloud infrastructure. These and other restrictions have no technical basis and may impose a 300% cost increase to customers. In contrast, the cost for customers to migrate data from a cloud provider is minimal.

Google feels that to enable customer choice and competition in the cloud market, there is a need to address and eliminate the restrictive licensing practices currently serving as the primary obstacle. Earlier, the company criticized its rivals on these practices to US and European Union officials.

In a recent cloud services market investigation by the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) in the UK, one of the highlights of harmful competition was that "Egress fees harm competition by creating barriers to switching and multi-cloud leading to cloud service providers entrenching their position."

A respondent on a Hacker News thread commented:

I read through a couple of these responses to the CMA by MS, Google, AWS, and their smaller competitors; as expected, the hyper scalers refuse to acknowledge that the free ingress and expensive egress is a lock-in mechanism, and their smaller competitors complain bitterly about this.


The hyper scalers say they have to charge egress fees to pay for the costs of building their networks, but for some reason, this doesn't apply to ingress (which they're silent on); if they want to play this game, then the CMA should simply make them charge the same for ingress and egress that way, they can "fund their network costs" without issue, and if they want to make them both free then that's their decision.

Lastly, when customers like to exit from the Google Cloud Platform, they are eligible for free data transfer when data resides in Google Cloud data storage and data management products and other criteria mentioned on their Google Cloud exit page.

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