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Microsoft, Amazon-Backed Cloud Body in Talks Over EU Dispute

CISPE said it wants to make "substantive progress" on the cloud software licensing dispute this quarter.

(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corporation and European trade association CISPE are in talks to resolve their dispute over how the tech giant licenses software for cloud infrastructure providers.

The association of Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe, which has more than two dozen members including said it wants to make “substantive progress” on the dispute this quarter, but said that the talks are at an early stage. The group didn’t provide details on what potential remedies the parties were discussing. 

A representative for Microsoft said the company continues “to work constructively with CISPE to resolve concerns raised by European cloud providers.”

If the two sides come to an agreement, CISPE could withdraw its complaint, potentially saving Microsoft a legal battle with the EU’s antitrust enforcers. CISPE filed a complaint with the European Union’s competition authority against Microsoft in November 2022, arguing that Microsoft made it too difficult for customers to change cloud providers by tying its business software to its Azure cloud services. 

Amazon is behind a number of advocacy groups targeting Microsoft’s cloud business globally, Bloomberg News has reported. In addition to CISPE, it’s a driving force behind the Coalition for Fair Software Licensing and the Alliance for Digital Innovation. The groups, which have dozens of members, argue that Microsoft has unfairly locked customers into Azure, hurting competition. 

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