One of the key factors for a thriving cloud computing market is the ‘interoperability’ between the relevant hardware and software that govern the cloud services. While a complete interoperability means different cloud users being able to exchange the management tools, server images and other software, this is infrequently realised because users are locked into (proprietary) cloud ecosystems. This (problem of vendor lock-in) is potentially accompanied with another problem revolving around the content delivery networks being integrated with the distinct clouds along with possible harms to media pluralism as well as interoperability. In view of these concerns, this study focuses on competition law, standardisation and regulatory policies, and elaborates on to what extent cloud interoperability needs to be secured under EU legal fora. Overall, it is found that vendor lock-in might be attended by ‘coupling’ and complex ‘layering’ strategies, whereas efficiency and/or security based justifications would arise as the counter-balancing reasons. Based on the findings, the study concludes that while focusing on the vertical (i.e., vendor lock-in) concerns, a comprehensive viewpoint needs to be upheld, allowing efficiencies (i.e., proprietary enhancements) based on the architectural design and innovations, obviating narrowly-fashioned (i.e., foreclosure-based) interventions such as in Microsoft case. It is also underlined that cloud interoperability has a content dimension that would require a broader perspective, extending to horizontal concerns and requirements within the context of EU policy making strategies.
- Cloud computing, interoperability, competition law, vendor lock-in, innovation, content delivery