Microsoft thinks it might have made a breakthrough on its cloud monopoly case

European Union
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Microsoft has entered discussions with the Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe (CISPE) to address its ongoing antitrust case in Europe.

The case relates to the company’s unfair dominance of the cloud market, which is reported to have been boosted by technical and financial limitations, causing customers to be locked into Microsoft’s own services.

According to Reuters, Microsoft’s approach to resolving the issue could see the company avoid a full-on EU investigation, which could result in fines, mandates, and significant reputational damages.

Microsoft is trying to reach a deal with CISPE

CISPE, which represents 26 EU cloud providers, including Amazon (but not Google), filed the complaint with the European Commission late in 2022, alleging that Redmond’s licensing terms were harming competition in the EU.

In a statement, CISPE confirmed: “Today, CISPE confirms that it has opened discussions with Microsoft aimed at resolving ongoing issues related to unfair software licensing for cloud infrastructure providers and their customers in Europe.”

Discussions are in the early stages, but both parties are actively exploring potential resolutions. CISPE noted that “substantive progress” must be made within the first three months of 2024, alluding to the fact that the added pressure on Microsoft may see the company reach an agreement before an EU investigation goes ahead.

Microsoft has racked up $1.7 billion in antitrust fines over the past decade, and that’s just within the European Union. The company has been seen to mellow in recent years, taking a more accommodating approach to avoid further penalties.

At the same time, other companies have also started to improve interoperability, likely due to mounting pressure within the EU for a more competitive landscape.

A Microsoft spokesperson told TechRadar Pro in an email: "We continue to work constructively with CISPE to resolve concerns raised by European cloud providers."

A CISPE spokesperson shared a press release with us, including the following statement: "As the foundation for discussions, CISPE has reiterated that any remedies and resolution must apply across the sector and to be accessible to all cloud customers in Europe. Furthermore, any agreements will be made public, subject to scrutiny and monitoring by third parties."

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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!