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Microsoft offers to change cloud licensing practices to avoid EU antitrust probe, says report


Microsoft has reportedly agreed to change its cloud computing practices in order to avoid an antitrust probe from the European Commission, the EU’s antitrust authority.

The potential probe relates to complaints made by European cloud companies including Aruba, OVHcloud, Danish Cloud Community and the Association of Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers (CISPE) about changes Microsoft first made to the terms of its outsourcing license agreement in 2019, and then modified again in 2022.

The cloud vendors raised concerns after their customers were asked to pay more to run Microsoft software in non-Microsoft cloud environments, under what they saw as restrictive cloud licensing policies.

As a result of these licensing changes, on November 9, 2022, CISPE filed a formal complaint with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition (DG Comp) stating: “Microsoft uses its dominance in productivity software to direct European customers to its own Azure cloud infrastructure to the detriment of European cloud infrastructure providers and users of IT services.”

Now, in order to avoid another antitrust probe by the EU Commission, Microsoft has offered to change its cloud computing practices to settle antitrust complaints filed by smaller rivals, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The European Commission refused to comment on the news, while Aruba, CISPE, the Danish Cloud Community, and OVHcloud did not respond to requests for comment.

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