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EU coalition urges EU to push back against gate keeping by Microsoft, files official complaint

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Microsoft

A coalition of EU software and cloud businesses joined Nextcloud GmbH in respect of their formal complaint to the European Commission about Microsoft’s anti-competitive behavior in respect of its OneDrive (cloud) offering. In a repeat from earlier monopolistic actions, Microsoft is bundling its OneDrive, Teams and other services with Windows and aggressively pushing consumers to sign up and hand over their data to Microsoft. This limits consumer choice and creates a barrier for other companies offering competing services.

Over the last few years have grown their market share to 66% of the EU market, while local providers lost out from 26 to 16%. By heavily favoring their own products and services (so-called “self-preferencing”) or outright blocking other vendors they leverage their position as gate keepers to extend their reach in more and more neighbouring markets and push users deeper into their ecosystems. Local, more specialised vendors are unable to compete “on the merits” as the key to success is not a good product but the ability to distort competition and block market access.

“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 behavior 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 antitrust authorities in Europe to enforce a level playing field, giving customers a free choice and to give competition a fair chance,” said Frank Karlitschek, CEO and founder of Nextcloud GmbH

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Some media coverage

  • Nextcloud: Complaint to the Federal Cartel Office about Microsoft

    The German software company Nextcloud has applied to the Federal Cartel Office to check whether Microsoft has a dominant position. Company founder Frank Karlitschek announced this on Friday and confirmed a report by the news magazine “Der Spiegel”.

    Nextcloud competes with Microsoft products such as Office 365, OneDrive, Azure and Teams.

    The Stuttgart company’s complaint now states that the US group is using its power to sell package solutions for Microsoft Office. The Teams cooperation platform also has a significant market share, as does the OneDrive cloud solution. The complaint is primarily directed against the deep integration of the cloud solution. Nextcloud argues that the service is regularly displayed to users of the widespread Microsoft Windows operating system during relevant work steps.

  • Deutsche Softwarefirma beschwert sich beim Bundeskartellamt über Microsoft [Ed: A Bill Gates-bribed (repeatedly) 'news' site]
  • EU tech sector fights for a Level Playing Field with Microsoft

    Microsoft is integrating 365 deeper and deeper in their service and software portfolio, including Windows. OneDrive is pushed wherever users deal with file storage and Teams is a default part of Windows 11. 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%. Behavior like this is at the core of this growth of the tech giants and has to be stopped.

    This is a similar situation than in the late 90s 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 the same thing and the EU should take a stand.

EU companies issue formal complaint against Microsoft OneDrive

  • EU companies issue formal complaint against Microsoft OneDrive Windows integration

    Remember how Microsoft spent years in hot water in the late '90s and early '00s by forcing Internet Explorer on its customers? European open-source cloud company Nextcloud does.

    Now, with a coalition of other European Union (EU) software and cloud organizations and companies called the "Coalition for a Level Playing Field," Nextcloud has formally complained to the European Commission (EC) about Microsoft's anti-competitive behavior by aggressively bundling its OneDrive cloud, Teams, and other services with Windows 10 and 11.

Microsoft boosters

  • Microsoft Weekly: Defender for the win, trouble with Nextcloud, and ARM exclusivity

    Microsoft seems to have found itself in a bit of bother at the European Union (EU). This is due to a Nextcloud-led coalition that has filed a complaint against the Redmond tech firm for anti-competitive behavior. Other notable members of the coalition include Tutanota, OnlyOffice, Free Software Foundation Europe, The Document Foundation, and European Digital SME Alliance.

    Together, these parties claim that Microsoft is bundling its 365 services such as OneDrive and Teams natively into Windows and is shipping the OS with them installed by default. According to the group, this pushes users to Microsoft's bundled software rather than third-party alternatives. As of now, the challenging party's demands include Microsoft unbundling its software from Windows and adopting open standards that makes it easier for users to switch software. The issue is still evolving so do keep an eye out on our coverage.

    In related news, the German state of Schleswig-Holstein has announced that it is shifting 25,000 government machines running Windows to open-source alternatives like Linux by the end of 2026. This will be a multi-step process initially involving migrating to LibreOffice from Microsoft Office, and then switching to Linux entirely. One of the reasons being cited for this massive transition is licensing costs. It is important to note that Munich city attempted the same a few years ago but the experiment eventually failed, with the government going back to Windows in 2015.

Nextcloud Asks EU to Stop Microsoft From Bundling OneDrive With

Nextcloud has asked the European Commission to stop Microsoft from pre-installing OneDrive and Teams on Windows to give competitive services a fair chance to appeal to PC users.

"Microsoft is integrating 365 deeper and deeper in their service and software portfolio, including Windows," Nextcloud says on a web page dedicated to its antitrust complaint against Microsoft. "OneDrive is pushed wherever users deal with file storage and Teams is a default part of Windows 11. This makes it nearly impossible to compete with their SaaS services."

Nextcloud CEO Frank Karlitschek said in a statement:

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 behavior 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 antitrust 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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EU Companies File Formal Complaint Against Microsoft

  • EU Companies File Formal Complaint Against Microsoft, Fight For A Level Playing Field - TFiR

    In a repeat from earlier monopolistic actions, Microsoft is bundling its OneDrive, Teams and other services with Windows and aggressively pushing consumers to sign up and hand over their data to Microsoft. This limits consumer choice and creates a barrier for other companies offering competing services. Nextcloud, along with almost 30 other European companies, has formally complained to the European Commission (EC) about Microsoft‘s anti-competitive behavior in respect of its OneDrive (cloud) offering.

    The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition exists precisely for the purpose of preventing this kind of abusive behavior and keeping the market competitive and fair for all players. Nextcloud said that it has filed an official complaint with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition about the abusive practices of Microsoft related to OneDrive.

Nextcloud Forms European Coalition — Begins Antitrust Actions...

  • Nextcloud Forms European Coalition — Begins Antitrust Actions Against Microsoft

    A European coalition formed by Nextcloud is taking antitrust action against Microsoft like it’s 1999.

    The Germany-based company behind the on-premises content collaboration platform that shares its name, has put together a coalition of 30 organizations to fight Microsoft on antitrust grounds.

    “The 90s have just called and they see that nothing has changed,” Stefane Fermigier, founder and CEO of open source software vendor Abilian — a part of the coalition — said in a statement. “Microsoft’s anti-competitive practices remain a major concern for the competitiveness of the European software and cloud industry. As it has done in the past in similar cases, the European Commission must put an end to these practices.”

In IDG this week

Nextcloud and cloud chums fire off competition complaint...

  • Nextcloud and cloud chums fire off competition complaint to the EU over Microsoft bundling OneDrive with Windows

    EU software and cloud businesses have joined Nextcloud in filing a complaint with the European Commission regarding Microsoft's alleged anti-competitive behaviour over the bundling of its OS with online services.

    The issue is OneDrive and Microsoft's habit of packaging it (and other services such as Teams) with Windows software.

    Nextcloud sells on-premises collaboration platforms that it claims combine "the convenience and ease of use of consumer-grade solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive with the security, privacy and control business needs." Microsoft's cloud storage system, OneDrive, is conspicuous by its absence.

    The accusation of bundling is reminiscent of concerns raised during the 1990s browser wars, when Microsoft eventually received a severe slap on the wrist over Internet Explorer. Today, the concerns are in relation to how difficult it is to avoid OneDrive when dealing with storage in Windows; that business app Teams turned up built into Windows 11; and all manner of Microsoft 365 grumbles.

Two more articles

  • Microsoft accused of using Windows to push OneDrive and Teams over rivals | TechRadar

    A coalition of software and cloud companies has filed a complaint with the European Commission (EC) against Microsoft's anti-competitive behavior of bundling its OneDrive cloud storage, Teams, and other services with Windows 10 and Windows 11.

    The Coalition for a Level Playing Field includes several European Union (EU)-based companies led by open source hosted cloud storage vendor Nextcloud.

    “This is quite similar to what Microsoft did when it killed competition in the [web] 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,” says Frank Karlitschek, CEO and founder of Nextcloud.

  • Microsoft integrates its services to phase out its competitors

    A complaint has been filed by a coalition of cloud and software companies, with the European Commission against Microsoft’s anti-competitive behavior. They bundled up Teams and OneDrive cloud amongst other services with both Windows 11 and Windows 10.

    The Coalition had to even out the playing field by including a couple of European based companies, such as open source hosted by cloud storage vendor Nextcloud.

    “This is quite similar to what Microsoft did when it killed competition in the [web] 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,” said Frank Karlitschek, CEO and founder of Nextcloud.

EU complaint claims Microsoft anticompetitive for bundling...

  • 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.

Open Letter to Members of EU Parliament

  • Open Letter to Members of EU Parliament

    Today, the Coalition for Competitive Digital Markets (https://competitivedigitalmarkets.eu/), a group of more than 50 technology companies from 16 different European countries, sent an open letter to members of the European Parliament to raise awareness about interoperability and to impose stricter rules on big companies – the so-called ‘big tech’ companies – that act as gatekeepers and prevent transparency and openness in digital markets.

Nextcloud Asks EU to Stop Microsoft From Bundling

  • Nextcloud Asks EU to Stop Microsoft From Bundling OneDrive With Windows

    Nextcloud has asked the European Commission to stop Microsoft from pre-installing OneDrive and Teams on Windows to give competitive services a fair chance to appeal to PC users.

    "Microsoft is integrating 365 deeper and deeper in their service and software portfolio, including Windows," Nextcloud says on a web page dedicated to its antitrust complaint against Microsoft. "OneDrive is pushed wherever users deal with file storage and Teams is a default part of Windows 11. This makes it nearly impossible to compete with their SaaS services."

Nextcloud-led coalition complains to the EU about Microsoft...

  • Nextcloud-led coalition complains to the EU about Microsoft stifling competition

    The cloud storage company, Nextcloud, is leading a coalition against Microsoft in the European Union over what it claims to be anti-competitive behaviour. To back up its claims, it has assembled a coalition of organisations who would also benefit from the action including Tutanota, OnlyOffice, Free Software Foundation Europe, The Document Foundation, European Digital SME Alliance, and many, many more.

    According to the coalition, Microsoft is more deeply integrating its 365 services into Windows, for example, OneDrive and Teams ship by default and pushes people to use them. The coalition believes that actions like this make it impossible for them and other smaller firms to compete so it wants the EU to do something about it. Over the years, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have grown their European market share to 66% while local providers declined from 26% to 16%.

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