The tech giant succumbed to pressure and made its EU terms “fairer”.

This week Microsoft announced changes to its licensing deals and contracts to make it easier for cloud service providers to compete with the company, according to a report in Silicon Angle. The new terms are set to go into effect on October 1.

The announcement comes in response to a three-year-old complaint over Microsoft’s unfair licensing terms in the European Union, the article says.

Writing on its EU Policy Blog, Microsoft said it recognizes the importance of a “competitive environment in the European cloud provider market, in which smaller competitors can thrive”. As such, the company says, it’s taking steps to “remain mindful” of its responsibilities as a major tech provider.

A change three years in the making

The move dates back to 2019. A number of EU-based Microsoft customers filed complaints stating that the company’s licensing terms prohibitively made it more expensive to run Office and Windows workloads on cloud computing platforms like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. That led to inquiries by local antitrust regulators.

Microsoft eventually admitted that the complaints were valid. Nonetheless, the giant from Redmond dragged its feet. Almost three years later, in May 2022, it finally announced it would take steps to ensure EU customers could run its software on non-Microsoft cloud platforms at similar rates. The exact details of the plan were announced on Monday, August 29.

The company said that it will overhaul its outsourcing and hosting terms within the next two months. As a result of those changes, companies will find it easier and more cost-effective to use Microsoft’s software on rival cloud platforms.

According to Microsoft, the change is meant to “make it easier for customers to move their licenses between different clouds”. This in turn will give them more flexible deployment options for the Microsoft software on which they rely.

Tip: AWS SVP accuses Microsoft of unfair licensing practices