Cloud in Europe: Microsoft is reviewing its licensing policy

In early April, Microsoft officials said they would address some of the complaints from European cloud service providers about restricting licensing policies that charge customers to run Microsoft software on non -Microsoft clouds environment. On May 18, Microsoft announced its plans via a blog post from Microsoft President Brad Smith.

In this blog post, Microsoft outlines five “European Cloud Principles”. But the main point is the planned changes, which aim to level the playing field for European cloud providers when it comes to running Microsoft software on-premises, such as Windows, Windows Server, SQL Server and Office. , on their own infrastructure.

Microsoft introduced the controversial outsourcing license restrictions in 2019. Customers who used AWS and Google Cloud as Dedicated Host to run Windows Server and customers were directly affected, but some of them were hindi. Didn’t realize the magnitude of the impact until their contracts with Microsoft expired this year. Microsoft’s changes to its “bring-your-own-license” terms of service have made their contracts more expensive if they want to run Microsoft software on anything other than Azure. To justify the changes, Microsoft officials said rivals, such as AWS or Google, are still free to take similar licensing and pricing measures.

“Victim of friendly fire in competition between Microsoft and Amazon”

In April, Mr. Smith said Microsoft would look for ways to address partner concerns that he believed were valid. Microsoft agreed to look into the matter after European antitrust regulators began digging into complaints from partners and customers.

In today’s blog post, Smith said he and other senior Microsoft officials have met with CEOs of two European vendors, as well as other companies in various European countries. He mentions:

“Some of the most compelling comments for me personally came from a CEO who said he felt‘ the victim of a friendly fire in competition between Microsoft and Amazon.“. It’s hard to hear, but he’s right. In recent years, we’ve focused on competing with the largest technology providers, which has caused us to be less attentive to the impact on our cloud provider partners. We’re making changes to address it, from now on. ”

Mr. Smith said Microsoft will provide European cloud service providers with support to enable Microsoft software to run on their cloud infrastructure. This extension of the terms covers Windows, Office, and Microsoft 365 Apps for businesses and professionals. Microsoft will also make it “easier than ever” to license Windows Server in virtual environments through relaxed licensing rules “that demonstrate old software licensing practices, where licenses are tied to physical hardware.. ” (This is one of the biggest complaints from Microsoft’s cloud competitors after announcing licensing changes in 2019). He explains:

“Today, Software Assurance benefits do not include license mobility rights for products such as Windows, Office, or Windows Server, so customers must use such software in more stringent programs or in hardware specifically geared towards these customers.We will extend Software Assurance to allow customers to use their licenses with any European cloud provider that provides services in their own data centers, in the same way they can in Azure today, whether hardware dedicated or multi-tenant.

Smith also said Microsoft plans to expand the range of products that can be offered to customers at a fixed price for a longer term, “which will bring more stability and price certainty to vendors and their customers. clients. ”

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