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Microsoft makes a $21.7 million deal with European cloud companies to try to avoid EU probe

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A new settlement between Microsoft and a group of cloud server companies in Europe could help the company keep the European Union from launching a formal investigation into Microsoft's cloud division.

Reuters reports that the Association of Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers of Europe (CISPE) has accepted a $20 million euro ($21.7 million) settlement from Microsoft. The CISPE includes one of Microsoft's big cloud competitors, Amazon Web Services, as one of its members, along with a number of smaller cloud companies.

Previously, the CISPE sent a complaint to the EU's regulatory body, the European Commission, claiming that Microsoft's cloud business practices were negatively affecting competition from other companies.

TechCrunch reports that in addition to the monetary settlement, Microsoft has agreed to let the members of the CISPE run Microsoft's software. It states:

This includes a collaboration between all the parties to release an “enhanced version of Azure Stack HCI” for European cloud providers, which will offer features such as multi-session virtual desktop infrastructure based on Windows 11; free Extended Security Updates (ESU); and pay-as-you-go licensing for SQL Server.

Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a statement:

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.

Microsoft will have nine months to get this new software collaboration in place.

While this settlement was made by Microsoft so it could avoid a formal probe into its cloud business by the European Commission, this deal with the CISPE does not include Amazon Web Services. While the company is a part of the CISPE, it was not a part of the talks with Microsoft. A spokesperson for AWS told Reuters:

We continue to stand with the growing number of customers, providers, and regulators globally who are calling on Microsoft to end its discriminatory practices for all customers.

We will have to see if this new deal between Microsoft and the CISPE will make a big enough difference for the European Commission to stop them from launching a investigation.

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