Under pressure, Microsoft has downgraded its cloud practices in Europe

Caught between anti-competitive authorities and European cloud operators, Microsoft is changing its cloud policy. With the key to a more flexible use of the exploitation of its software licenses to restore control to its partners.

Microsoft is definitely a foreign cloud player that wants to show the most white foot in Europe. Although the shadow of the Cloud Act is far from disappearing, the Mountain View firm is stepping up initiatives (building datacenters in many European countries in France over 4 years while Google will not be there until the end of June 2022, participation in Gaia-X, stakeholder in Bleu along with Capgemini and OBS as a trusted cloud …) to try to reassure companies about its promises to address the challenges of European sovereignty. But the American giant must also face legal action for skills deemed anti-competitive in the cloud. Recently, OVH climbed the plate last summer by filing a complaint against it with the European Commission. But this is also the case, for example, of German Netcloud which filed a similar complaint in 2021.

Knowing that this act of disobedience could snowball, the Redmond firm-through the voice of its president Brad Smith-attempted to counter-fire a lengthy blog post that went through the text explanation box . “As I told reporters at the time, we felt that while not all of these claims were valid, some of them were true, and we will make changes as soon as possible to address them, “said the leader. The plan of action – rescue? – the group has officially stated around 5 basic principles: to ensure that its public cloud meets the needs of Europe and serves its values, that its cloud serves as a platform for the success of Europeans software developers, to commit and support European cloud providers, ensuring that its cloud offerings meet the sovereign requirements of governments in partnership with technology providers. And finally, it recognizes that administrations control technologies, adapt and support these efforts.

Run Microsoft software on European cloud provider infras

Quite a program, but there is important work to be done. At the beginning of April 2022, the Commission sent a questionnaire to Microsoft’s competitors and customers related to the licensing agreements associated with the provider’s cloud services. A first step towards starting a deeper investigation against the competitive. “The Commission has information that Microsoft could use its potentially dominant position […] to avoid competition with some cloud computing services, ”the questionnaire warned. Feeling the wind was blowing and to avoid a possible legal conflict, Microsoft announced several initiatives.

“We will enable and further assist European cloud providers to host and run Microsoft products on their infrastructure for customers, including products that have traditionally been only allowed to run on the customer’s own desktops or servers.” , explains Brad Smith. In fact, cloud providers will now be able to directly offer Windows and Office as well as 365 as part of an offer that they can make, market and host on their own infrastructure. One way to restore control to suppliers is to have more freedom to provide personalized offers to their customers. The expansion will also allow European cloud providers to offer this service to customers who purchase Windows and Office software from other Microsoft partners and want a European cloud provider to host the software. that’s for them. . “We are also addressing an issue that cloud providers bring to our attention by expanding the range of products that can be offered to customers at longer fixed prices, which will provide greater price stability and certainty. to suppliers and their customers.

Listening to user groups including Cigref in licenses

On the basis of requests pushed by user groups such as Cigref and CISPE, the Redmond company is also committed to modifying its sacrosanct software licenses by directing them to a “fair licensing” principle. “Many of the Fair Software Licensing Principles relate to how customers can transfer their licenses to the cloud, take advantage of shared hardware, and have more flexibility in deployment options for the software they purchase. To that end, we will revamp and expand our Software Assurance program, where customers purchase new version rights, disaster recovery, failover support, license mobility, and many other benefits. ” Suffice it to say that Microsoft is expected to turn around, despite the words, it remains to be seen to what extent and when the group will make the desire to open up to risk if it takes time to pass the great number of caudine forks.

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