Microsoft makes concession to AWS customers

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Microsoft has made a minor concession that allows customers with specific licenses to run Office wares in an AWS cloud. The move comes a week after Europe’s competition regulators decided to officially probe Microsoft’s business practices.

The licensing tweak reverses a change made in 2019 that meant customers with perpetual licenses would need to buy fresh licenses to run those applications on AWS, Google Cloud or Alibaba infrastructure. This made it five times more expensive to use Microsoft software on any other major cloud computing provider than Azure.

The new licensing terms only help AWS clouds customers. Customers with Microsoft 365 E3/E5/A3/A5 and Microsoft 365 Business Premium licenses will be able to run Office wares on Amazon WorkSpaces. The new licensing terms are effective August 1, 2023 and does not apply to customers with other Microsoft licenses.

Wes Miller, analyst at Directions on Microsoft, said the concession gives users a “very premium way to run ‘Office’ on WorkSpaces, partially addressing some issues with Microsoft on AWS.” However, he said it remains a costly alternative to Azure.

Francisco Mingorance, secretary general at the Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers of Europe (CISPE), said the news was a “positive step” but “does not go far enough.” He called for software licensing restrictions to be lifted for all cloud customers.

Microsoft has not commented on whether it plans to extend the concession to other cloud providers.

The sources for this piece include an article in TheRegister.

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