The update came into effect on Dec. 1 and applies to all users, including Microsoft’s paid customers. The Register was first to report the change.
The update prohibits users from mining — the process of verifying and adding transaction records to proof-of-work blockchains — on Microsoft’s online services, largely relating to its cloud platform Azure.
Microsoft's updated universal license terms under “accepted use policy” states: “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.”
A post shared with Azure users listed the update as one of many actions made to “secure the partner ecosystem,” referring to partner firms that work to sign up software clients to Azure's cloud services. Microsoft did not offer further explanation in the post.
The decision brings Microsoft in line with other tech giants like Google, which prohibits crypto mining on its cloud platform without approval. Amazon Web Services also bans its free-tier users from mining.