Microsoft launches a “sovereign” cloud to seduce governments

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Microsoft has announced the launch of a public cloud for governments and its public sector customers. The firm is positioned in a global government cloud market estimated at $71.2 billion by 2027.

Microsoft

The Gafams continue to sell themselves as guarantors of digital sovereignty. We saw this a few weeks ago with Google Cloud, which presented itself as a “French cloud” during the launch of its France region. We see it again in July with Microsoft, which has just announced the launch of a public cloud, presented as “sovereign”, for governments and its public sector customers.

Called Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty, this solution will provide governments “better control over their data and increased transparency over cloud governance and operational processes”, assures the American giant. Customers who opt for this offer will have access to all the services of the Azure platform and will be able to choose the geographical location where their data will be hosted among the 60 cloud regions of the American group.

With this new offer, the Redmond firm is positioning itself in a global government cloud market which should weigh 71.2 billion dollars by 2027, against 27.6 billion in 2021, according to the firm Imarc Group. For now, no launch date has been announced. However, Microsoft has already conducted tests.

An offer to target Europe

Customers based in Europe have been able to experiment with it in recent months. In this context, Microsoft has notably collaborated with the Belgian telecom operator Proximus, “to help address the privacy and sovereignty challenges of businesses and organizations in the public and regulated sectors”. But also with the Italian group Leonardo, specialized in aeronautics and defence, “to create a solution that meets national government data classification standards and supports the country’s digital transformation goals with public cloud-based solutions, controls, policy governance and hybrid management”.

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Putting Europe first is not surprising since the EU has made digital sovereignty one of its priorities to protect the data of its citizens. And while Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and Google Cloud capture 69% of the European market for cloud computingEuropean players in the sector are mobilizing to counter the American behemoths.

The American giants at the party despite the offensive of European competitors

Earlier this year, OVHcloud filed an antitrust complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission to denounce its commercial practices, deemed anti-competitive by the Roubais-based company, in order to gain ground in the rapidly expanding cloud market. This complaint aroused the curiosity of European antitrust authorities, who sent a questionnaire to rivals and customers of the American giant on its activities in the cloud and its licensing agreements. Depending on the answers provided, this questionnaire consulted by Reuters could lead to an official investigation by the European Commission and an in-depth examination of the activities of the company headed by Satya Nadella.

Burned by the almost unchallenged domination of groups from across the Atlantic, European cloud solution providers, OVHcloud and 3DS Outscale in the lead, have called on the EU not to give in to lobbying by American giants on the European certification scheme for cybersecurity for cloud services (EUCS), which they want to make more flexible in order to maintain their growth in the European market. The fears of companies from the Old Continent are all the more justified since the American giants seem to have found the solution to free themselves from the constraints of certain countries, such as France.

While the “trusted cloud” label, launched in 2021 by the French government, was only to be granted to companies “European and European-owned”and holders “servers operated in France”to guarantee a “complete independence from US extraterritorial laws”, according to the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, large French companies are still turning to North American groups for cloud solutions. The preferred way to get into the nails: create joint ventures. This is particularly the case with Bleu, the Orange and Capgemini cloud platform launched with Microsoft. This will be operational in 2024 and hopes to obtain the “trusted cloud” label. With Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty, the Redmond firm wants to go even further with a “sovereign” cloud to appease governments around the world, including in Europe.

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