Microsoft Cloud App Security

Microsoft faces new antitrust complaint over licensing cloud software in Europe

The corporate mentioned that Microsoft’s modifications to its cloud licensing of Home windows and utility software program with the intention to “make it simpler to convey workloads and licenses to accomplice clouds” have angered these cloud companions, a few of whom have collectively filed an antitrust grievance within the European Union.

They’re involved that Microsoft is utilizing software program licensing to restrict European corporations’ selection of cloud service supplier for companies together with desktop virtualization and utility internet hosting.

Microsoft’s licensing modifications took impact on October 1, 2022.

Microsoft Principal Accomplice Nicole Disen described the modifications as making it simpler for organizations to convey software program they’ve licensed right into a accomplice cloud — for instance operating apps on Home windows 11 on multi-tenant servers — and for service suppliers to extra simply construct and promote options of their most popular cloud.

Nonetheless, the modifications additionally embody some notable limitations. Firms can’t transfer their present licensed software program to Alibaba’s cloud, Amazon Net Providers, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, or any third-party vendor that depends upon their infrastructure, and should as a substitute purchase new licenses from the related internet hosting service.

That is nice information for small regional cloud hosts — except their companies, similar to Netherlands-based Leaseweb Providers, embody creating hybrid clouds that embody their very own infrastructure and Microsoft Azure structure, or one of many different supersoftware on Microsoft’s exclusion record.

It was these restrictions that aggravated Cloud Infrastructure Service Suppliers in Europe (CISPE), a Belgian non-profit group whose membership contains Amazon Net Providers, a gaggle of French internet and utility internet hosting corporations (most famously OVH), Leaseweb within the Netherlands, and native and multi-hosting corporations Different nationalities current in Finland, Italy and Spain.

official grievance

On November 9, 2022, CISPE submitted a proper grievance to the European Fee’s Directorate-Common for Competitors (DG Comp), the best antitrust physique within the 27 EU nations. It mentioned, “Microsoft makes use of its dominance in productiveness software program to direct European clients to its Azure cloud infrastructure on the expense of European cloud infrastructure suppliers and IT service customers.”

CISPE declined to offer full particulars of its grievance, citing the necessity to give the European Fee’s case crew time to learn it first, however launched an govt abstract.

A spokeswoman for the European Fee mentioned CISPE had knowledgeable the Fee that it will file a grievance towards Microsoft, and that the Fee would assess it based mostly on its commonplace procedures.

Step one on this process is to find out whether or not Microsoft occupies a dominant place out there through which the grievance is worried. Then, chances are you’ll select to open an investigation into whether or not this dominance is being abused. On the finish of this investigation, it could concern a press release of objections, to which the events to the case can reply earlier than the fee reaches a proper determination, which can result in the implementation of an motion or the fee of a superb.

Three in a row

Nonetheless, this isn’t the primary grievance of its form that UNHCR has obtained from Microsoft’s opponents. In early 2021, German on-line storage service supplier NextCloud filed a grievance with DG Comp relating to the bundling of Microsoft Onedrive with the Microsoft365 software program suite. Her grievance later received the assist of a gaggle of European on-line service suppliers, totally different from CISPE membership.

A spokeswoman for OVH, together with CISPE member and a gaggle of Danish cloud suppliers, mentioned then, to file a joint grievance about Microsoft’s practices in early 2022.

After these two complaints grew to become public, Microsoft chief Brad Smith on the corporate’s weblog in Might validated a few of the claims and introduced plans to assist European cloud suppliers by means of modifications to licensing — modifications that took impact on October 1, 2022.

It stays to be seen whether or not the third grievance, CISPE, will immediate additional modifications in Microsoft’s place. However that is maybe one of the best hope for organizations and repair suppliers affected by licensing guidelines. Whereas EU antitrust circumstances can lead to heavy fines, they’re very sluggish.

Earlier European antitrust motion towards Microsoft over bundling considered one of its merchandise with others has been happening for years. In 2004, the corporate paid a superb of $611 million after the fee discovered it responsible of illegally bundling media participant software program with Home windows XP (launched in 2001), then $357 million in 2006 and one other $1.3 billion in 2008 for failure to adjust to the 2004 ruling.

In 2013, he was additionally fined $731 million for Compilation of his Internet Explorer browser with Windows 7A case began in 2011 towards an working system launched in 2009.

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