Thursday, 02 December 2021 10:50

EU tech firms file anti-trust complaint against Microsoft Featured

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EU tech firms file anti-trust complaint against Microsoft Pixabay

Open-source file syncing and sharing software company Nextcloud, along with 30 other technology companies in the EU, has filed an anti-trust complaint against Microsoft for allegedly forcing companies to use its file-hosting service One Drive on Windows.

A statement from Nextcloud said the complaint had been made to the European Commission and Germany's competition authority, with a complaint in France anticipated.

The 31 companies, which have banded together under the name Coalition for a level playing field, accused Microsoft of integrating its 365 service deeper and deeper in its software.

"OneDrive is pushed wherever users deal with file storage and Teams is a default part of Windows 11," the statement said.

"This makes it nearly impossible to compete with their SaaS services. 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%.

"Behaviour like this is at the core of this growth of the tech giants and has to be stopped.

"This is a similar situation to the late 1990s when Microsoft bundled Internet Explorer with Windows to compete with Netscape. This is not an incident. Other big tech firms like Google and Amazon are doing a similar thing and the EU should take a stand."

The coalition has asked the EU to ensure:

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.

The statement said Nextcloud had filed an official complaint with the EU Directorate-General for Competition about Microsoft's behavior of Microsoft.

It has filed a similar complaint with German anti-trust authorities and is working with our coalition members in France to file a complaint there.

Frank Karlitschek, chief executive and founder of Nextcloud, said: "This is quite similar to what Microsoft did when it killed competition in the browser market, stopping nearly all browser innovation for over a decade.

"Copy an innovators' product, bundle it with your own dominant product and kill their business, then stop innovating. This kind of behaviour is bad for the consumer, for the market and, of course, for local businesses in the EU.

"Together with the other members of the coalition, we are asking the anti-trust authorities in Europe to enforce a level playing field, giving customers a free choice and to give competition a fair chance.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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