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Microsoft’s potential licensing about-face

In the “stories that crossed my desk twice” department, Microsoft may be making changes to the way they license software, specifically focused on customers who want to run products on other cloud providers.    This is from Bloomberg reporting, which focuses on European competition authorities responding to complaints from a French cloud provider.  

The specific issue relates to a 2019 change Microsoft made that blocked Office (not Office 365) on AWS or Google Cloud.   It also significantly increased the cost of Windows Server on everything but Azure, blocked using Amazon Workspaces to run virtual desktops using Office, and additional licensing costs for Windows Server on AWS or Google Cloud.    

There is no specific timeline for the changes. Still, Bloomberg also got Microsoft President Brad Smith to acknowledge that the company needs to address these “valid” concerns, even though he provided no details on when or how the company will do so.  

Why do we care?

The collision of legislation and licensing.    The Europeans are leading here.   Interesting to note how US partners write petitions, but Europeans go to court and get things changed.

That alone should be pretty telling.