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New Microsoft licensing agreements. What you need to consider

In reaction to European competitors complaints for anti-competitive practices, Microsoft announces that new license agreements and cloud hosting conditions will be effective on October 1, 2022. For the Redmond firm, there is no doubt that joining a maximum of European cloud operators would allow to better counter its competitors, in detriment of the end user, that will be more and more locked in.

In May 2022, after being targeted by a complaint from OVHcloud and Nexcloud for anti-competitive practices, Microsoft had committed to review and simplify its licenses policy in Europe to help cloud providers to host its solutions and help customers to use their licenses with other providers, the same way they do with MS Azure.

In fact, Microsoft is shifting away from a multicloud paradigm, allowing European cloud providers to use its sofware licenses at lower costs, while also charging more for the use of its software running in the clouds of competitors (AWS, Google, Alibaba), also called "listed providers" in its licensing policy.

"Today, it is indeed up to 80% cheaper to run Windows Server virtual machines on Azure and SQL Server VMs on Azure than with our main competitor," said the president of Microsoft.

What will change on October 1?

  • Running workloads in other clouds

Customers using Software Assurance or subscription licenses will be able to use their own licensed software to create and run workloads on their choosing provider, with the exception of AWS, Google, and Alibaba. European operators and customers (excluding those using competitors' stacks listed by MS) will be able to more easily migrate Windows Server workloads from local servers to the cloud.

French and/or European CSPs that have built their cloud solutions on AWS, Google, and Alibaba infrastructure will also be impacted by the new Microsoft licensing agreement (as regard to MS licence policy i.e. any subcontractor using a vendor on the list of excluded CSPs as part of the subcontracting service).