Microsoft opens settlement negotiations with CISPE

Apr 20, 2023 | News

Following media reports that Aruba, OVHcloud and the Danish Cloud Community prepare to settle their cloud complaint, Microsoft has approached CISPE with an outline settlement agreement. CISPE’s own complaint against the unfair software licensing practices of Microsoft was filed in November last year. It supported the previous complaints and extended them to cover sector-wide issues as well as proposing remedies based on the Ten Principles for Fair Software Licensing devised in partnership with software and cloud customers across Europe. The CISPE complaint currently remains open, and our members continue to provide evidence of ongoing harm to European Anti-trust Regulators.

We are encouraged that Microsoft has made the move to address the concerns of our members and we are entering into negotiations with the shared desire to quickly find mutually acceptable ways forward that will return fair competition to the European cloud infrastructure sector. To date, the software giant has shared a set of changes it proposes to its license terms.

However, there is still some way to go. From the outset we have established several red lines which must be satisfied if an agreement is to be acceptable. These include:
• Any agreement must be principle-based and apply to all cloud infrastructure providers operating in Europe.
• Any agreement must benefit all customers in Europe. Any business must have the right to run the software they license on the cloud of their choice, without financial or technical penalties.
• Any settlement must be transparent and clear, open to scrutiny, future-proof and auditable for compliance over time.

What we have seen from Microsoft to date is a first step. However, there is still a long way to go and significantly more detail to be agreed. There remain several important issues that have yet to be addressed in the SPLA and the new CSP-Hoster Microsoft licensing programs, including discriminatory pricing.

Our members are scrutinizing the proposed changes and settlement agreement and will provide feedback to Microsoft in the coming days, including on key elements that are required to solve sector-wide issues. Francisco Mingorance, Secretary General of CISPE said: “Our preference is for the European cloud sector to find a rapid resolution that allows our members to compete on a level playing field. A swift resolution is necessary to encourage sustainable investments in the creation and expansion of cloud infrastructures in Europe.”


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