Cloud rivals hit back at Microsoft licensing changes • The Register

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Microsoft cloud competitors have reacted negatively to the licensing changes the company announced this week, saying they are anti-competitive and will deter customers from switching to other cloud providers.

The Redmond-based giant confirmed major revisions and upgrades to its outsourcing and hosting terms on August 29, saying these would benefit partners and customers around the world by simplifying licensing terms for outsourcing and hosting. using Microsoft software in the cloud.

In a nutshell, the changes taking effect from October allow customers with Software Assurance or subscription licenses to use those existing licenses “to install software on the infrastructure of any subcontractor” of their choice.

But like The register noted at the time, this specifically excludes “listed providers”, a group that includes Microsoft’s biggest cloud rivals – AWS, Google and Alibaba – as well as Microsoft’s own Azure cloud, in a bid to guide customers to Microsoft’s partner network.

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And while the company said these changes were made for the benefit of customers and in response to partner feedback, Microsoft was actually responding to legal action from European cloud operators such as OVHcloud over its licensing practices. disadvantageous, with higher operating costs. Windows in clouds other than Azure, for example.

However, some in the cloud industry are unhappy with Microsoft’s overhaul, with the general feeling that Microsoft hasn’t gotten to the root of the problem.

“The promise of the cloud is flexible and elastic computing without contractual lock-in. Customers should be able to move freely between platforms and choose the technology that works best for them, rather than the one that works best for Microsoft,” wrote Google Cloud Vice President for Government Affairs and Policy Marcus Jadotte, in reaction job on Twitter.

Meanwhile, according to Reuters, AWS parent company Amazon was even more critical, with a company spokesperson saying “Microsoft is now doubling down on the same harmful practices by implementing even more restrictions in an attempt unfair to limit the competition it faces”. — rather than listen to its customers and restore fair software licenses to the cloud for all.”

These criticisms aren’t entirely new, and some in the cloud industry made similar remarks after Microsoft disclosed some of the licensing changes it intended to make in May.

A cloud operator who requested anonymity said The register in June that Redmond’s proposed changes fail to “move the needle” and ignore the company’s “other problematic practices.”

Another AWS executive, Matt Garman, posted on LinkedIn in July that Microsoft’s proposed changes did not represent fair licensing practice and were not what customers wanted.

“MSFT’s response is not to do what’s right for customers and set their policy so that all customers can run MSFT’s software on whatever cloud provider they choose; rather, under the guise of to meet European technology needs, MSFT offers to select cloud providers on which it is less concerned with competition and authorizes the MSFT software to operate only on these providers,” he said.

Microsoft is currently under investigation by the European Commission over these allegations of anti-competitive practices regarding its cloud licensing. While the license changes may appease some European cloud operators, it seems likely that the company could still face issues related to the policy of deliberately excluding its major competitors from the new terms.

The Big Three vendors dominate the global cloud market, accounting for 65% of cloud infrastructure services spending in numbers since the first quarter of this year. Amazon accounted for 33%, Microsoft Azure 22% and Google Cloud 10%. ®

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