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European cloud providers deny they're close to a deal with Microsoft

The Microsoft logo in front of the EU flag

Yesterday, we reported on a story originally reported by Politico that mentioned anonymous sources claiming Microsoft and CISPE, a European cloud provider association, were nearing a settlement where Microsoft would pay millions of euros and CISPE would not lodge antitrust complaints against the Windows maker.

Speaking to Reuters, however, CISPE has denied the report. In a message to Reuters, the body said:

“These rumors are incorrect. Discussions between CISPE and Microsoft are ongoing, and while proposals have been made, no agreement has been reached. Any offer will need to be submitted for acceptance to the association’s General Assembly, which includes 34 European cloud providers located in over 14 Member States.”

In the report yesterday, two industry sources, albeit anonymously, came forward and told Politico that Microsoft and CISPE were nearing an agreement. The deal would have seen Microsoft pay several million euros for an antitrust complaint lodged by CISPE in the EU to be dropped. According to the sources, CISPE would also agree not to lodge complaints against Microsoft anywhere in the world either.

In a statement to Politico included with the original report, Microsoft said that it’s working constructively with CISPE to resolve concerns. Meanwhile, CISPE confirmed that proposals have been made but that an agreement hasn't been reached.

The issue stems from a complaint lodged by CISPE to the European Commission in 2022. It claimed that Microsoft was abusing its power via software licensing terms which has led to the creation of discriminatory pricing that locks customers into Microsoft services, which makes it harder for other competitors to compete.

Most of the members of CISPE are pretty unheard of companies but one notable member is Amazon Web Services (AWS), a major competitor to Microsoft in the cloud. A cynic might suggest that Amazon is pulling the strings somewhat to make Microsoft’s situation as difficult as possible in Europe to help its position.

Source: Reuters

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