Gaia X: Microsoft now wants to join the European cloud

Microsoft, as one of the major US cloud providers at Gaia X, no longer wants to remain in an observer position. The Federal Government's concept paper on the European computer cloud "contains many correct approaches and also invites market participants outside Europe to participate in it," wrote Sabine Bendiek, CEO of Microsoft Germany, in a guest contribution for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Tuesday. "That is why we officially registered our interest in participating in the Federal Ministry of Economics."

Microsoft Germany boss Sabine Bendiek

(Image: dpa, Matthias Balk / Archive)

In contrast to many other IT companies and industry associations, Microsoft reacted extremely cautiously in October to the plan by Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier (CDU) to strengthen the sovereignty of the old continent in a key digital technology with the European cloud "Gaia X". A government-driven solution was taking too long and would not be successful on the market if users had to live with weaknesses, Bendiek had initially considered. The concept of digital sovereignty is all too often mixed with "self-sufficiency".

In a directory of participants in the Gaia X working groups that became known earlier this year, Microsoft did not appear, in contrast to its major competitors Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google. The approximately 60 organizations involved so far include companies such as Deutsche Telekom, 1 & 1 Ionos, IBM, SAP, BMW, Arvato Bertelsmann, Bosch, QSC, ENBW, Red Hat and Secunet.

Essentially, in the age of artificial intelligence (AI), the question was "how existing data treasures can be raised and used sensibly", explains Bendiek in her contribution, In order to exploit the potential of AI, a "completely new willingness" is required to "share data across companies and industries". "Agile, technologically fully developed cloud infrastructures with scalable computing and storage capacities that meet the highest data protection standards are also required."

For the head of Microsoft Germany, "Partnerships are the key to digital innovation" because they strengthen competitiveness and the ability to act, thus ensuring the sovereignty of companies and states. On the sketch for Gaia X, she praised the point that "fair and equal conditions of competition and the affirmation of free competition by all players in the market" should be at the center.

The business economist is understandable that "anyone could pull the plug" and "shut down a cloud" could paralyze entire states or companies. But such fears are "excessive". It is technically possible to provide cloud solutions "without such an off button" for customers with special security requirements. With such infrastructures, it is not the manufacturers, but only the customers themselves who determine the access to the platform.


. (tagsToTranslate) Cloud Computing (t) Gaia X (t) Microsoft (t) Sabine Bendiek