No Spying in Microsoft Data Centers

Starting next year, Microsoft will give European customers the option of having their cloud-based data stored in new, Germany-based data centers.

Notably, the data centers, in Magdeburg and Frankfurt, will be operated by T-Systems, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. “Microsoft will not be able to access this data without the permission of customers or the data trustee, and if permission is granted by the data trustee, will only do so under its supervision,” Redmond said.

The move comes as companies around the globe remain concerned about the reach of U.S. surveillance agencies. By housing these data centers outside the U.S. and (ideally) beyond the reach of the NSA, Microsoft hopes EU firms will feel more confident doing business.

“Our new datacenter regions in Germany…will not only spur local innovation and growth, but offer customers choice and trust in how their data is handled and where it is stored,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

It also comes about a month after Europe’s high court invalidated an international agreement for the transfer of digital data between the European Union and the United States. The EU and U.S. now have three months to hash out a new plan.

“Microsoft is pioneering a new, unique solution for customers in Germany and Europe,” Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hottges said. “Now, customers who want local control of their data combined with Microsoft’s cloud services have a new option, and I anticipate it will be rapidly adopted.”

The data centers—which will handle Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics CRM Online data—will be open to those in in Germany, the EU, and theEFTA.

Nadella, meanwhile, said Microsoft will also offer Azure and Office 365 cloud services from local U.K.-based data centers in late 2016. He also announced an expansion of data center facilities in Ireland and the Netherlands.

Speaking of Ireland, Apple reportedly plans to hire 1,000 more staff there, where the company declares much of its overseas profit for tax purposes, Reuters said. Apple has also committed 1 million Euros to a fund dedicated to the development of ocean energy in Ireland.


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