Microsoft Introduces Changes to Cloud Computing Service for Complaints, to Revise Licensing Terms

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Microsoft, which had been fined EUR 1.6 billion (roughly Rs. 13,066 crore) by EU antitrust regulators, will revise its licensing terms and allow cloud service providers to better compete in response to complaints, its president Brad Smith said on Wednesday.

The company was taking the first step but not the last to address the concerns, Smith told a conference organised by think tank Bruegel in Brussels.

Microsoft wants to listen and act on the complaints, he said.

“It really starts by giving more options to European cloud providers. So if there’s a company that has a data center but wants to run solutions in its cloud PBX data center, we’re creating more options for them to do so with our software, because that’s what they’ve been asking for,” he said.

Smith said the changes include allowing cloud service providers to offer Windows as a complete desktop operating system, providing longer-term price protection and revising licensing terms.

The company found itself on the EU competition enforcer’s radar again after German software provider NextCloud, France’s OVHcloud and two other companies filed complaints about Microsoft’s cloud practices.

Back in April, EU antitrust regulators quizzed Microsoft’s rivals and customers about its cloud business and licensing deals, a questionnaire seen by Reuters showed, in a move that could lead to a formal investigation and renewed scrutiny of the US software company.

The European Commission has fined Microsoft a total EUR 1.6 billion (roughly Rs. 13,066 crore) in the previous decade for breaching EU antitrust rules and for not complying with its order to halt anti-competitive practices.

The company found itself on the EU competition enforcer’s radar again after German software provider NextCloud, France’s OVHcloud and two other companies filed complaints about Microsoft’s cloud practices.

“The Commission has information that Microsoft may be using its potentially dominant position in certain software markets to foreclose competition regarding certain cloud computing services,” the questionnaire said.

Regulators asked if the terms in Microsoft’s licensing deals with cloud service providers allow rivals to compete effectively.

They also want to know if companies needed Microsoft’s operating systems and productivity applications to complement their own cloud infrastructure offering in order to compete effectively.

© Thomson Reuters 2022




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