Microsoft Cloud is making changes to how it works in Europe by overhauling the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider partner program. It seems the company is making a bunch of concessions, likely to appease regulators who have been investigating various complaints.
In a blog post, Microsoft President Brad Smith points to the following changes that focus on giving more abilities to service providers in Europe:
- Allow them (cloud service providers) to host Microsoft Office, Windows, Microsoft 365 and Windows 11 apps on their own infrastructure.
- Permit hosting of Windows and Office builds that were bought from Microsoft partners.
- Provide access to Microsoft products at “fixed pricing for longer terms”.
While these are all great news for service providers, they feel like Microsoft stepping back. In other words, it looks like the company is conceding before regulators enforce these changes either way. The company has been facing complaints about Microsoft Cloud products and rising costs of hosting Windows Server/SQL Server on their own infrastructure.
Microsoft makes it more affordable to host its services on its own Microsoft Azure platform. Other providers say this gives Microsoft an unfair advantage and the company is breaking European Commission anti-competition laws.
Smith says the announcement means Microsoft will now meet the demands of European regulators. He says the company will simplify its licenses under the rules of Fair Software Licensing Principles. Licensing features will be clearer and Microsoft will be more transparent about costs. Smith also spoke of changes to the Software Assurance program:
“We will revise and expand our Software Assurance program, in which customers purchase new version rights, disaster recovery, failover support, license mobility, and many other benefits. Today, Software Assurance benefits do not include license mobility rights for products such as Windows, Office, or Windows Server, so customers must use that software in more restrictive programs or on hardware dedicated specifically to those customers.”
Smith went on to discuss how Microsoft is changing how it looks at licensing costs for Windows Server:
“We will make it easier than ever to license Windows Server for virtual environments and the cloud by relaxing licensing rules that reflected legacy software licensing practices, where licenses are tied to physical hardware. With the changes we will be making, customers will now be able to buy licenses just for the virtualized compute capacity they need, without needing to count the number of physical cores on which the virtualized environment is hosted.”
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