Microsoft Settles Antitrust Dispute with European Cloud Providers

Microsoft Settles Antitrust Dispute with European Cloud Providers

Alessia Rossi
2 min read

Microsoft Settles Antitrust Dispute with European Cloud Providers

Microsoft has reached a settlement with the Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers in Europe (CISPE), resolving an antitrust dispute and avoiding lengthy legal battles and fines. CISPE, which includes major players like Amazon Web Services, had accused Microsoft of undermining the European cloud ecosystem and limiting customer choices. The agreement requires Microsoft to enable European cloud providers to offer its applications and services locally, including access to virtual desktop infrastructure based on Windows 11 and pay-as-you-go licensing for SQL Server. Microsoft will also financially support CISPE for litigation costs and software licensing campaigns.

As part of the resolution, CISPE will withdraw its 2022 complaint to the European Commission and establish an independent European Cloud Observatory (ECO) to oversee the agreement's implementation. Microsoft will make an undisclosed multimillion-dollar payment to CISPE. However, this settlement does not extend to major cloud competitors like AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and AliCloud. Francisco Mingorance, CISPE's secretary general, praised the agreement as a victory for European cloud providers, while a group affiliated with Amazon criticized it for not addressing Microsoft's anticompetitive practices. Microsoft's president, Brad Smith, expressed satisfaction with the resolution and emphasized the collaborative effort to enhance competition in the European cloud market. Despite this settlement, Microsoft's global antitrust challenges persist, with regulatory authorities in the UK and the US continuing to scrutinize its cloud licensing practices and relationships with AI developers.

Key Takeaways

  • Microsoft settles antitrust dispute with CISPE, avoiding potential fines.
  • European cloud providers to be allowed to offer Microsoft's apps and services locally.
  • CISPE to establish an independent European Cloud Observatory to monitor the agreement.
  • Microsoft to make an undisclosed payment to CISPE to cover litigation costs.
  • CISPE pledges to reinstate the complaint if Microsoft fails to comply within nine months.


The Microsoft-CISPE settlement strengthens the competitiveness of European cloud providers by facilitating local access to Microsoft's services. This development is likely to compel AWS and Google Cloud to adjust their strategies in Europe. Financially, Microsoft's multimillion-dollar payment to CISPE stabilizes the European cloud ecosystem but may strain its short-term budget. In the long term, the creation of the European Cloud Observatory ensures ongoing compliance and competition monitoring, potentially influencing future global tech regulations. However, this resolution may heighten scrutiny from UK and US regulators, prolonging Microsoft's antitrust challenges.

Did You Know?

  • Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers in Europe (CISPE):
    • CISPE is an association representing European cloud infrastructure service providers and advocates for a fair and competitive cloud market in Europe. Its members include influential players like Amazon Web Services.
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI):
    • VDI allows users to access a virtualized desktop environment over the internet. Microsoft's obligation to provide access to VDI based on Windows 11 to European cloud providers empowers them to offer desktop services independently of Microsoft's direct offerings.
  • Pay-as-you-go licensing:
    • This model enables customers to pay for software services based on actual usage rather than a fixed fee, offering flexibility and cost efficiency. Microsoft's agreement to offer this licensing model for SQL Server to European cloud providers is a significant concession aimed at fostering competition.

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