Microsoft reaches deal with European cloud players over privileging Azure

Microsoft reaches deal with European cloud players over privileging Azure

Microsoft ends a disagreement in which it was embroiled with European cloud players. The dispute revolved around Microsoft abusing its dominance to grow its cloud service Azure.

The complaining party included several European cloud players, united under the name CISPE (Cloud Infrastructure Providers in Europe), but also received support from Azure’s biggest competitor, Amazon AWS. The parties felt that Microsoft was using tricks to market Azure as a cloud service better. Specifically, the higher fees charged by the Windows provider for using Office outside of Azure were scrutinized.

Adjustments promised

The discussion is now coming to an end. Microsoft will compensate affected parties if they withdraw the official complaint again. The complaint was submitted to the EU antitrust regulators in November 2022. Microsoft also promises to make the necessary changes to the software licenses to prevent future disputes. The changes should be implemented in nine months.

“CISPE has given Microsoft the benefit of the doubt and believes this agreement will provide a level playing field for European cloud infrastructure service providers and their customers,” said Francisco Mingorance, secretary general of CISPE.

Individual parties are not satisfied

Not everyone is happy about the agreement between Microsoft and CISPE. For example, an Amazon spokesman has criticized the deal and continues to support the parties continuing to move forward until Microsoft ends all unfair practices. “Unfortunately, this settlement delivers nothing for the vast majority of Microsoft customers who cannot use the cloud of their choice in Europe and the rest of the world,” the spokesperson told POLITICO.

Interestingly, during the course of this discussion, which took more than two years, Microsoft decided to exempt AWS users from additional fees. Google filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to get this and other unfair licensing practices checked.

Also read: Microsoft licensing remains doubtful, AWS gets Office privilege