Microsoft will no longer charge data egress fees for customers exiting its Azure cloud, following in the footsteps of rivals AWS and Google Cloud.

The company is the last of the three major cloud providers to make this move ahead of the impending EU Data Act that will come into effect in September 2025.

In a blog post published on March 13, Microsoft said: "We support customer choice, including the choice to migrate your data away from Azure.  

"Azure now offers free egress for customers leaving Azure when taking their data out of the Azure infrastructure via the internet to switch to another cloud provider or an on-premises data center."

Azure's exit policy is similar to that of Google, which was announced in January 2024, and requires a full exit from the cloud provider.

To exit the provider, you must inform Azure of the date you plan to start the transfer and the amount of data you plan to egress. Once logged, you have 60 days to comply from your start date, and must then cancel all subscriptions. After exiting, you can claim credit for your egress charges.

Microsoft added in the blog post: "The exemption on data transfer out to the Internet fees also aligns with the European Data Act and is accessible to all Azure customers globally and from any Azure region."

Earlier this month AWS announced similar plans to remove some of its data transfer fees for customers. Unlike Microsoft and Google, it seems that customers do not have to fully exit AWS as a customer, but similarly has a rigorous approval process and allows only 60 days to complete the migration.

The upcoming EU Data Act requires public and private cloud computing service providers to remove "obstacles to effective switching" between their own and competing cloud services, including commercial, contractual, technical, or organizational hurdles.

The cloud computing market has been the topic of several discussions and investigations regarding its anti-competitiveness.

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority has launched an investigation into the market after Ofcom identified several features that make it difficult for customers to switch and use multiple cloud suppliers including egress fees, cloud repatriation fees, and discounts to incentivize customers to use only one provider.

Similar occurrences have been seen across Europe and the US.

This topic has been explored in depth in our latest Cloud & Hybrid Supplement.