Principles for Fair Software Licensing in the Cloud

€1 Billion Cost of Unfair Software Licensing

In a follow-up to his earlier research, Professor Jenny, has found that unfair software licensing practices connected to just one product, cost European businesses over €1 billion in surcharges. This new research highlights the real harm and ongoing cost to customers of the bad practices of legacy software giants leveraging dominance in adjacent markets to lock European customers into their own cloud infrastructure.

Read our blog and download the full research for more information.

Principles of Fair Software Licensing
for Cloud Customers

Launched by CISPE and Cigref, the Ten Principles of Fair Software Licensing are being adopted by organisations around the world to challenge the unfair licensing terms of some legacy software companies. The Principles have been developed as an auditable best practice framework for businesses looking to the Cloud for growth, innovation and flexibility.

Fair Software Study

CISPE commissioned renowned economist and expert on competition policy, Professor Frédéric Jenny, to examine the prevalence and impact of unfair software licensing terms on Cloud infrastructure service providers and their customers.

Complaint Against Microsoft with European Commission

CISPE has filed a formal competition complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition (DG Comp). The complaint seeks to represents the whole European cloud infrastructure sector and outlines serious unresolved issues that affect both vendors and customers of cloud infrastructure services. It proposes remedies that will benefit customers and vendors in a vibrant marketplace for cloud infrastructure services.

Recent announcements, blogs and FAQ documents published by Microsoft in an effort to head-off market investigations have not provided the detail, clarity or assurance that it truly intends to bring a swift end to its anti-competitive licensing practices. Microsoft’s ongoing position and behaviours are irreparably damaging the European cloud ecosystem and depriving European customers of choice in their cloud deployments. CISPE feels it has no option but to become a formal complainant and to urge the European Commission to act.

Read the Executive Summary of our complaint here


The CISPE complaint is a confidential legal document. However, in the interests of transparency we hope to publish a redacted version here as soon as we are able. Please check back in the coming weeks to read the CISPE complaint.


* The press release and executive summary are available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and Korean


To date, the Principles have been supported by CISPECigrefCIO Aica ForumCIONet ItaliaCIO Club ItaliaAUSEDFIDA InformDanish Cloud CommunityDutch Cloud Community and Coadec.

Main achievements so far

  • The 10 Principles of Fair Software Licensing for Cloud Customers have been published in 19 languages.
  • Campaigns have been rolled out in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, and the Netherlands.

  • An auditable framework has been developed to allow customers and authorities to rate suppliers’ adherence to the Principles



Contact Person

Bálint Sedlmayr