Tech

Microsoft Settles with CISPE, Averts EU Antitrust Probe

Microsoft averts EU antitrust probe with CISPE deal, easing cloud software license restrictions.

By Athena Xu

7/10, 11:11 EDT
Amazon.com, Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
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Key Takeaway

  • Microsoft avoids an EU antitrust probe by reaching a deal with CISPE, backed by Amazon, leading to the withdrawal of the complaint.
  • The agreement includes changes to Microsoft's software license agreements, aimed at easing customer transitions between cloud providers.
  • Industry reactions are mixed; while some see it as fostering competition in Europe’s cloud market, others remain skeptical about its long-term impact.

Microsoft Avoids EU Antitrust Probe

Microsoft Corp. has successfully averted a potentially lengthy antitrust investigation by the European Union into its cloud business. This development follows a deal brokered with the Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe (CISPE), a trade lobby backed by Amazon.com Inc. CISPE had previously lodged a complaint against Microsoft, alleging that the company's software license agreements made it difficult for customers to switch cloud providers by tying its business software to its Azure cloud services.

The agreement, reached on Wednesday, will see CISPE withdraw its complaint to the EU’s competition department. Microsoft President Brad Smith commented on the resolution, stating, “After working with CISPE and its European members for more than a year, I am pleased that we’ve not only resolved their concerns of the past, but also worked together to define a path forward that brings even more competition to the cloud computing market in Europe and beyond.”

Concessions and Market Impact

The deal marks the end of a prolonged period of negotiations and concessions from Microsoft aimed at addressing the concerns raised by cloud service providers. The EU regulators had been informally gathering information from market rivals and customers about Microsoft's conduct, which added pressure on the tech giant to find a resolution.

Microsoft's concessions included changes to its software license agreements to make it easier for customers to switch cloud providers. This move is expected to foster greater competition in the European cloud computing market, which has been a point of contention for several years. The specifics of the concessions were not disclosed, but the agreement indicates a significant shift in Microsoft's approach to its cloud business in Europe.

Industry Reactions

The resolution has been met with cautious optimism from various stakeholders in the cloud computing industry. The agreement is seen as a positive step towards increasing competition and providing more options for customers in the European market. However, some industry analysts remain skeptical about the long-term impact of the deal.

"While this agreement is a step in the right direction, it remains to be seen how it will affect the competitive landscape in the long run," said an industry analyst. "Microsoft's dominant position in the market means that any changes will need to be closely monitored to ensure they lead to meaningful competition."

Management Quotes

  • Brad Smith, President of Microsoft:

    "After working with CISPE and its European members for more than a year, I am pleased that we’ve not only resolved their concerns of the past, but also worked together to define a path forward that brings even more competition to the cloud computing market in Europe and beyond."