CISPE rebuffs "pay off" claims in Microsoft antitrust case

Logo and branding of Microsoft, developer of the MAI-1 AI model, pictured at night in New York City.
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Cloud trade body CISPE has denied claims it is nearing an agreement with Microsoft to settle an antitrust lawsuit over its cloud licensing regime. 

Reports from Politico over the weekend suggested the trade body, which represents a host of cloud providers including AWS, was due to announce a “multi-million euro deal” with Microsoft to drop its complaint.

The report, which cited two unnamed sources, claimed that CISPE would withdraw its request for the European commission to investigate Microsoft’s cloud licensing practices.

Sources noted that the deal hadn’t yet been accepted by members of the trade group.

A spokesperson for CISPE told ITPro that no agreement with Microsoft has yet been made.

“Discussions with Microsoft are ongoing, and proposals have been made. However, no agreement has been reached,” the spokesperson said.

“CISPE remains committed to a principle-based remedy to bring an end to the harmful impact of unfair software licensing practices for all cloud customers seeking to run productivity software in the cloud of their choice.”

CISPE first filed a complaint with the European Commission in November 2022 amid claims that Microsoft’s software licensing terms were harming competition and restricting competitors in the European cloud computing market.

At the time, CISPE said Microsoft leveraged its dominant position in the productivity software space, adding that the practice “restricts choice and inflates cost” for European customers seeking to move to the cloud.

The legal dispute has been a long-running affair, but earlier this year positive steps toward a resolution materialized. In February, the trade group said it had begun official talks with Microsoft in an attempt to remedy the situation.

“As the foundation for discussions, CISPE has reiterated that any remedies and resolution must apply across the sector and to be accessible to all cloud customers in Europe,” CISPE said in a statement.

“Furthermore, any agreements will be made public, subject to scrutiny and monitoring by third parties.”

The trade group emphasized that the talks were still “at an early stage” and that any resolution would be dependent upon Microsoft implementing “effective remedies”.

Ross Kelly
News and Analysis Editor

Ross Kelly is ITPro's News & Analysis Editor, responsible for leading the brand's news output and in-depth reporting on the latest stories from across the business technology landscape. Ross was previously a Staff Writer, during which time he developed a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership, and emerging technologies.

He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research.

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