Reports indicate that Microsoft is launching two data center facilities in Germany and this will cost the Redmond, Washington-based software maker up to $120 million. The new Microsoft data centers will ensure that the data of its Germany-based customers is kept in the country. The privacy laws of Europe’s biggest economy are relatively strict.
According to the reports Microsoft was already offering cloud services in Germany but in a partnership it had formed with telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom. Microsoft which competes with the likes of Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services for the global cloud computing market worth $260 billion, also owns other data centers located in Amsterdam and Dublin for its European customers.
Weak cloud services demand
The reports further indicate that demand for cloud computing services in Germany had been weak. This was attributed to higher pricing as well as lack of flexible plans for lifting data and shifting it.
This comes in the wake of court filings that were made public earlier in the week indicating that 238 internal complaints were filed by women employees of Microsoft over sexual harassment and gender discrimination in 2010 to 2016. Plaintiffs cited the figures in a lawsuit filed three years ago against the biggest software maker in the world. The lawsuit accuses Microsoft of systematically denying promotions or pay raises to female employees.
Though the lawsuit is three years old, it is getting wider attention in the wake of the #MeToo movement which has seen powerful men getting fired or having to quit their positions over their behavior towards women in various sectors including politics, media and entertainment.
Class action suit
Attorneys of the plaintiffs are pushing for a class action suit covering over 8,000 women. The trial is yet to be scheduled and currently documents are being exchanged. Per details in the lawsuit 118 complaints of gender discrimination were filed by female employees of Microsoft though only one was found to have any basis.
In court filings Microsoft argued that there were no practices which impact enough of its workers to necessitate a class action suit. The software giant also disclosed that it spent over $55 million annually in efforts to promote inclusion and diversity.
“Diversity and inclusion are critically important to Microsoft. We take all employee concerns seriously and have a fair and robust system in place to investigate employee concerns and take appropriate action when necessary,” said a statement from Microsoft.