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Microsoft Cloud licensing is going through a revamp in the European Union (EU). To appease regulators and accusations of anti-competitive behavior, Microsoft says it will make it easier for smaller cloud service providers to reach customers.

European Commission regulators have been putting Microsoft Cloud under a microscope for three years. Smaller cloud providers have been concerned the company’s practices are shutting them out of the market.

Earlier this year, Microsoft made an initial round of concessions, including allowing cloud providers to host Windows and Microsoft 365 apps on their own infrastructure.

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In a new blog post, the company is also addressing licensing concerns that were part of the investigation. Specifically, Microsoft is revising its licensing terms:

“We recognize the importance of a competitive environment in the European cloud provider market, in which smaller competitors can thrive. It is therefore critical for us to remain mindful of our responsibilities as a major technology company.”

The new licensing terms are available to partners and customers in the European Union, and customers “around the world”. These changes will start on October 1, 2022. According to Microsoft, it has changed licensing to help encourage competition and help partners grow. The company says the new terms “provide more flexibility for their customers”.

New Terms

The three changes driving the new terms are as follows:

  • “Make it easier for customers to bring their software to the partner’s cloud: Expanded use rights allow customers to run their software, including Windows 11, on hosters’ multitenant servers and more easily license virtual machines for Windows Server.
  • Ensure partners have access to the products necessary to sell cost-effective solutions that customers want: Create more opportunities for partners to work with more customers, to sell the solutions they need, and to run them where they prefer.
  • Empower partners to build hosted solutions with speed and scale: Enable partners to build hosted desktop and server solutions to help directly fulfill customers’ hosting needs.”

It is worth noting Microsoft seems to have been in cooperation with antitrust authorities throughout this sage. In fact, the company did admit there was validity in the complaints. It is unclear why it has taken Microsoft so long to make changes.

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