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Microsoft pledges changes to European cloud licensing policies

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Microsoft has outlined a set of five new European Cloud Principles in response to recent criticism from rival European cloud vendors after customers were asked to pay more to run Microsoft software in non-Microsoft cloud environments, under what were seen as restrictive cloud licensing policies.

The changes come a month after Reuters reported that the EU commission had started asking European Microsoft customers questions about their cloud licensing terms.

In a blog post published on May 18, Microsoft president Brad Smith outlined a set of five European Cloud Principles that Microsoft plans to adopt.

These are:

  1. We will ensure our public cloud meets Europe’s needs and serves Europe’s values.
  2. We will ensure our cloud provides a platform for the success of European software developers.
  3. We will partner with and support European cloud solution providers.
  4. We will ensure our cloud offerings meet European governments’ sovereign needs, in partnership with local trusted technology providers.
  5. We will recognize that European governments are regulating technology, and we will adapt to and support these efforts.

Microsoft also announced it would be expanding the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program, to better support European cloud providers.

Microsoft has also pledged to make it easier to license Windows Server for virtual environments by relaxing the licensing rules “that reflected legacy software licensing practices, where licenses are tied to physical hardware.”

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