© Reuters. 3D printed clouds and figurines are seen in front of the Microsoft Azure cloud service logo in this illustration taken February 8, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain’s media regulator on Thursday asked the country’s antitrust authority to investigate U.S. tech giants Amazon (NASDAQ:) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:)’s dominance of the UK cloud market.

Ofcom said it had identified features that made it more difficult for UK businesses to use multiple cloud suppliers.

“The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) will now conduct an independent investigation to decide whether there is an adverse effect on competition, and if so, whether it should take action or recommend others to take action,” it said.

Ofcom said in April it was worried about the practices of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft because of their market positions, and it planned to ask the competition regulator to investigate.

AWS and Microsoft had a combined 70-80% share of Britain’s public cloud infrastructure services market in 2022, Ofcom said. Google (NASDAQ:) was their closest competitor with 5-10%.

AWS and Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Ofcom was expected to push for an antitrust investigation.

UK businesses told Ofcom they were concerned it was too difficult to switch or mix and match cloud provider.

“So, we’re referring the market to the CMA for further scrutiny, to make sure business customers continue to benefit from cloud services,” said Ofcom director Fergal Farragher.

The CMA welcomed the move, saying many businesses relied on cloud services, making effective competition in the 7.5 billion pound ($9.1 billion) market essential.

Google vice president Amit Zavery said Ofcom’s referral demonstrated the need to create an open cloud market with no vendor lock-in.

“UK government agencies, businesses, and consumers want to move easily across cloud platforms and choose which services best meet their needs,” he said, adding Google would continue to allow its products to run on any cloud without penalty.

The CMA will complete its investigation by April 2025.

($1 = 0.8232 pounds)

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