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The big picture: Dozens of European tech firms have accused Microsoft of abusing its dominant position in the industry due to how it aggressively pushes and bundles first-party services (OneDrive, Office 365, Teams etc.) with Windows. German cloud storage company, Nextcloud, has revealed that it officially asked the EU and German authorities to put a stop to Microsoft’s anticompetitive behavior, and that it’s also looking to file a complaint in France with a coalition of nearly 30 partners to establish a level playing field.
According to Nextcloud, anticompetitive practices from tech giants including Microsoft, Google and Amazon have allowed Big Tech to capture 66 percent of the total European market share over the years, while local providers had their share reduced to 16 percent, down from 26 percent.
The German cloud firm is leading an initiative against Microsoft and has organized the ‘Coalition for a level playing field’ to voice their concerns with the EU. Microsoft’s OneDrive integration with Windows, which rivals competing file storage services, has been likened to the browser wars of the late 90s, when it bundled Internet Explorer to compete with Netscape’s Navigator. There’s also a much more recent example of Microsoft demonstrating similar behavior with Edge.
Nextcloud accused Microsoft of pushing OneDrive onto users by pre-installing the service as part of the OS installation, giving users free storage and promoting the app in Windows with pop-up alerts. Microsoft Teams, which became the subject of Slack's EU lawsuit last year, was also highlighted, as the app has now become a default part of Windows 11.
The coalition includes LibreOffice' devs The Document Foundation, OpenProject, and dozens more
“This makes it nearly impossible to compete with their SaaS services,” noted Nextcloud on its antitrust website, where the firm is also gathering additional coalition partners and has posted the following set of demands for the EU:
- No gate keeping (by bundling, pre-installing or pushing Microsoft services) for a level playing field.
- Open standards and interoperability that make an easy migration possible. This gives consumers a free choice.
Nextcloud says it filed a complaint with German authorities due to waning interest in the original complaint filed with the EU earlier this year, and that it plans to lodge one with French authorities soon.
The company also believes that the EU’s proposed Digital Markets Act could reign in Microsoft’s gatekeeper position to give smaller players a fair chance at competing in the European market.