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Microsoft bans cloud mining

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has banned digital asset block reward mining from all its online services, joining fellow tech giants Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), which have restrictive policies on mining.

Microsoft quietly updated its Universal License Terms for Online Services recently, with the guidelines coming into effect on December 1. The update, which covers all “Microsoft-hosted services to which Customer subscribes under a Microsoft volume licensing agreement,” mainly targets users of the company’s cloud computing platform Azure.

“Neither Customer, nor those that access an Online Service through Customer, may use an Online Service: to mine cryptocurrency without Microsoft’s prior written approval,” the updated guidelines stated.

Initially, the software giant didn’t explain its sudden changes, nor did it publicize them in any other way aside from updating its user guidelines. However, after news outlet The Register reported on the changes, Microsoft issued an advisory to its partners.

“…the Acceptable Use Policy has been updated to explicitly prohibit mining for cryptocurrencies across all Microsoft Online Services unless written pre-approval is granted by Microsoft. We suggest seeking written pre-approval from Microsoft before using Microsoft Online Services for mining cryptocurrencies, regardless of the term of a subscription,” the advisory stated.

Speaking to The Register, the company further clarified that it made the changes because it believes block reward mining can disrupt its online services. Miners have often been linked to cybercrime and abuse attacks, it added.

“We made this change to further protect our customers and mitigate the risk of disrupting or impairing services in the Microsoft Cloud,” it revealed.

Microsoft joins other tech giants that have banned or restricted block reward mining. Google Cloud and Digital Ocean require a user to obtain written permission before being allowed to mine, while OVH and Oracle have banned it altogether. Amazon Web Services, the cloud market leader, prohibits users in its one-year free trial from mining digital assets.

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