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Microsoft Strikes Multi-Million-Euro Deal to Settle CISPE’s Antitrust Complaint

 |  July 10, 2024

Microsoft has announced a multi-million-euro agreement with CISPE (Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe) to resolve an antitrust complaint related to its cloud computing licensing practices. This settlement effectively averts a potential European Union antitrust investigation that could have resulted in substantial fines for the American tech giant.

The complaint, originally filed by CISPE with the European Commission in late 2022, alleged that Microsoft’s new contractual terms, imposed on October 1 of that year, were detrimental to the European cloud computing ecosystem. CISPE, whose membership includes Amazon and several smaller EU cloud providers, raised concerns that these terms stifled competition and innovation in the sector.

Microsoft, currently trailing market leader Amazon but ahead of Alphabet’s Google in the cloud computing arena, has been in discussions with CISPE and its European affiliates for over a year to address these issues. “After working with CISPE and its European members for more than a year, I am pleased that we’ve not only resolved their concerns of the past but also worked together to define a path forward that brings even more competition to the cloud computing market in Europe and beyond,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith.

Related: EU Scrutinizes Microsoft, Google and Samsung AI Deals

As part of the agreement, Microsoft will introduce a new product enabling CISPE members to operate Microsoft software on their own platforms using Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure at prices equivalent to those offered by Microsoft itself. This move aims to level the playing field and foster greater competition in the European cloud market.

Additionally, Microsoft has agreed to compensate CISPE members for revenue losses incurred due to licensing costs over the past two years. However, this settlement does not extend to major players like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and AliCloud.

CISPE has confirmed that it will withdraw its complaint from the European Commission and will not initiate or support further complaints regarding these issues in Europe or elsewhere.

Source: Reuters