UK software firm sues Microsoft for £270 million over anticompetitive practices

The UK software company ValueLicensing has sued Microsoft against its alleged anticompetitive practices, including restrictive contractual requirements and abuse of dominance in the software market. ValueLicensing buys Microsoft software’s licenses from businesses that no longer require them for several reasons, including that they are switching to the cloud or have declared insolvency. The company then sells the licenses to interested consumers. Since 2016, Microsoft has asked businesses to give up selling their licenses to third-party companies in exchange for discounts on its cloud-based services, such as Office 365.

ValueLicensing alleges that the result of Microsoft practices has been higher prices and less choice for customers who have been forced into cloud-based Office365. The company claims that Microsoft is the dominant provider of office software application and by suppressing the availability of pre owned perpetual licences that compete with the latest Office365 product lines, it harms the operations of reseller rivals. Surplus licenses are resold by several companies in different countries.  

Microsoft has been working for years to shift users to a subscription model instead of the old perpetual-licensed contracts. In the beginning of 2021, Microsoft reduced the length of support perpetual licence holders could expect.