Microsoft is close to settling its big cloud antitrust case

European Union
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Over a year has passed since Microsoft was challenged for unfair practices and terms that made it difficult and often costly for its cloud users to go with a competitor - however an end may now be in sight, following reports the tech giant is on the cusp of reaching a deal to settle the case.

A Bloomberg (paywall) report suggests Microsoft is building on its revised licensing terms introduced in the second half of last year as it seeks to make a deal with the companies that raised the challenge.

It also claims that Microsoft is nearing a settlement with France’s OVHcloud, Italy's Aruba SpA, and the Danish Cloud Community, which would see them suspend their antitrust complaints to the European Commission (EC).

Microsoft antitrust complaints

Problems first arose when the companies had decided that Microsoft’s business practices that made it difficult to migrate to its rivals were anticompetitive, leading to complaints being filed with the EC.

Microsoft President and Vice Chair Brad Smith, announced that a revision to the terms that had been described as unfair was coming “within weeks, rather than months or years” - a change that came into force in October 2022.

With the case ongoing, Reuters (paywall) reports that the company has recently offered up a “concrete proposal” to change cloud computing practices in order to lay to rest the complaints.

TechRadar Pro has contacted the European Commission, Microsoft, and the three companies that launched the complaint for further comment on the settlement. Aruba, OVHcloud, and the Danish Cloud Community declined to comment, while a Microsoft spokesperson told us:

"In October 2022, we introduced changes to our licensing practices that address the feedback that we heard from European cloud providers. We are grateful for the productive conversations that led us there and appreciate the feedback that we have received since. We are committed to the European Cloud Community and their success."

The European Commission did not immediately respond to our request.

CISPE, of which Aruba is a member along with AWS and a number of other IaaS providers, said it was not part of the settlement, and that it had not seen anything that suggests changes that would go on to ensure fair competition. 

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!