Microsoft has announced a major overhaul of its cloud hosting rules within the EU.
The changes will allow EU cloud providers to offer Windows and Office directly as part of a desktop solution that they can build, sell and host on their own server infrastructure, including products that have traditionally been allowed to run only on a customer’s own desktop or on-premises server computers.
The announcement comes after Microsoft drew heavy criticism for overly restrictive software licensing in Europe from companies including French cloud provider OVH and Italian cloud service provider Aruba.
What does this mean for EU cloud providers?
Microsoft is also set to expand its software assurance program to allow customers to use their licenses on any European cloud provider providing services in their own data centers, in the same way that they can do it on Azure today, whether the hardware is for dedicated or multi-tenant hosting.
Microsoft says it will make Windows Server licensing easier for virtual environments and the cloud by relaxing licensing rules related to physical hardware.
With the changes that Microsoft will make, customers will now be able to purchase licenses only for the virtualized compute capacity they need, without having to count the number of physical cores on which the virtualized environment is hosted.
A new Microsoft team will also be created to work with European cloud providers and “create a tighter feedback loop”.
In addition, Microsoft outlined a set of broader commitments, including recognizing “that European governments regulate technology” and providing “cloud offerings that meet the sovereign needs of European governments in partnership with local technology providers from trust”.