Microsoft officials repeatedly have said they were in favor of legislation, not legal action, in settling these kinds of matters. Though it seems contradictory, Microsoft actually backed The CLOUD (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data) Act, which stipulates that cloud providers comply with court orders for data regardless of whether the information is located in the U.S. or not.
The government said it didn't intend to pursue the original warrant that was at the heart of the case. Microsoft execs also made it clear that Microsoft retains a right to challenge to U.S. warrants - including new warrants - on comity grounds.
Microsoft plans to review the new DOJ warrant for the emails stored in Ireland before deciding if the company believes it is obliged to comply.
Microsoft officials have said their goal in backing The CLOUD Act is to avoid repeated court visits and legal battles and to establish new international privacy rights rules. Microsoft execs claim that The CLOUD Act gives cloud service providers added legal rights to protect privacy under these kinds of international agreements.
"More than anything, we now need governments to move forward quickly to put new international agreements in place. ... The ultimate goal - one that is likely to take some additional years to achieve -- is a set of agreements that create an accepted model and establish clear international legal rules that satisfy law enforcement and privacy advocates alike," said Smith in his blog post today.
Microsoft's data-privacy case began in 2013 over emails from a drug trafficking investigation suspect stored in Microsoft servers in Dublin. A federal judge in New York issued a warrant for the emails, and Microsoft decided to challenge the order in court.