Science & Technology

EU complaint claims Microsoft anticompetitive for bundling services with Windows

A coalition of European Union companies and groups led by Nextcloud GmbH has filed a complaint with the European Commission over Microsoft Corp. bundling services, including OneDrive, with Windows 10 and 11.

The “Coalition for a Level Playing Field” claims that Microsoft is engaging in anticompetitive behavior in bundling services with Windows.

“Microsoft is integrating 365 deeper and deeper in their service and software portfolio, including Windows,” the coalition claimed in a Nov. 26 statement, making it “nearly impossible to compete with their SaaS services.” Specific mention is made of OneDrive and Teams being a default part of Windows 11.

The obvious parallel to the complaint is Microsoft bundling Internet Explorer with Windows in the late 1990s and the coalition specifically mentions the famous case.

Although the complaint is targeted at Microsoft, the coalition also mentions Google LLC and Amazon Web Services Inc. as well.

“In the wider context, you see that over the last years, Microsoft, Google and Amazon have grown their market share to 66% of the total European market, with local providers contracting from 26% to 16%,” the coalition noted. “Behavior like this is at the core of this growth of the tech giants and has to be stopped.”

The coalition, which along with Nextcloud includes 27 other companies and groups, notable among them LibreOffice, the Document Foundation and the Free Software Foundation Europe, have two demands for the EU. The demands are, first, no gatekeeping by bundling, pre-installing or pushing Microsoft services for a level playing field, and second, open standards and interoperability that make an easy migration possible.

“This kind of behavior is bad for the consumer, for the market and, of course, for local businesses in the EU,” Nextcloud Chief Executive Officer Frank Karlitschek said in a statement. “Together with the other members of the coalition, we are asking the antitrust authorities in Europe to enforce a level playing field, giving customers a free choice and to give competition a fair chance.”

The complaint with the EC is not the only complaint against Microsoft over allegations of anticompetitive behavior. Nextcloud has also filed a complaint with German antitrust authorities and there are plans to file a similar complaint in France.

Microsoft has not commented on the complaint publicly.

Image: Nextcloud

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