Microsoft's Cloud to Spread Over France

Kicking off a four-day tour of Europe, Microsoft announces an expansion of its cloud into France.

Microsoft cloud

Next year, Microsoft is planning to open new Azure cloud data centers in France. The announcement was made in Dublin at the Microsoft Experiences event today, the first day of a four-day tour of Europe, in which Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Brad Smith will meet with the region's leaders and businesses. Other stops include Paris, Berlin and London.

Dublin is a highly symbolic site for Microsoft. Not only does the Redmond, Wash., software company operate a cloud data center in the Irish capital, it was an email stored there that sparked a major court case with cloud privacy and data sovereignty implications.

The U.S. Department of Justice served Microsoft with a warrant in 2013 for emails stored in the Irish facility. Arguing that warrants cannot be enforced in other countries under U.S. law and that the act of turning over the emails would trample on Irish and European privacy law, Microsoft went to court to challenge the order. This past summer, Microsoft finally prevailed in the closely watched case (at least among IT types).

In 2017, Microsoft plans to start serving up its cloud infrastructure and application services—Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365—in France from multiple data centers, complete with protections the meet Europe's tough data privacy standards. "The Microsoft Cloud, offered from datacenters in France, will offer the same enterprise grade performance and reliability Microsoft customers have come to expect across the globe, combined with data residency to further support the digital transformation of businesses and organizations in France," said Vahé Torossian, president of Microsoft France, in an Oct. 3 announcement.

To date, Microsoft has invested $3 billion on its European cloud. In the past year, its cloud capacity in the continent has more than doubled, according to the company.

"We continue to invest heavily in cloud infrastructure to meet the growing demand from European customers and partners," said Nadella in a statement. "Building a global, trusted, intelligent cloud platform is core to our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more."

Coinciding with Microsoft's European cloud tour is the release the company's latest book, A Cloud for Global Good, which the company describes as a "roadmap to a trusted, responsible and inclusive cloud." The book offers 78 policy recommendations for policy makers and the IT industry spanning several areas affected by cloud computing, including educations, the environment and artificial intelligence.

Unsurprisingly, data privacy is another strong theme. "Data needs to move across borders, but people need to retain their rights in their personal information and governments need the ability to work together to protect public safety," wrote Smith in a blog post. "A new generation of global technology requires a new generation of international law."

Microsoft's book, available in electronic format here, also explores the digital divide, the skills gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and online exploitation.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...