“Remember how Microsoft spent years in hot water in the late ’90s and early ’00s by forcing Internet Explorer on its customers?” asks ZDNet.
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 about Microsoft’s anti-competitive behavior by aggressively bundling its OneDrive cloud, Teams, and other services with Windows 10 and 11.
Nextcloud claims that by pushing consumers to sign up and hand over their data to Microsoft, the Windows giant is limiting consumer choice and creating an unfair barrier for other companies offering competing services. Specifically, Microsoft has grown its EU market share to 66%, while local providers’ market share declined from 26% to 16%. Microsoft has done this not by any technical advantage or sales benefits, but by heavily favoring its own products and services, self-preferencing over other services. While self-preferencing is not illegal per se under EU competition laws, if a company abuses its dominant market position, it can break the law. Nextcloud states that Microsoft has outright blocked other cloud service vendors by leveraging its position as gatekeeper to extend its reach in neighboring markets, pushing users deeper into its ecosystems. Thus, more specialized EU companies can’t compete on merit, as the key to success is not a good product but the ability to distort competition and block market access….
So, Nextcloud is asking the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition to prevent this kind of abusive behavior and keep the market competitive and fair for all players. Nextcloud is doing this by filing an official complaint with this body. In addition, Nextcloud has also filed a request with the German antitrust authorities, the Bundeskartellamt, for an investigation against Microsoft. With its partners, it’s also discussing filing a similar complaint in France.
Nextcloud is being joined in its complaint by several open-source, non-profit organizations. These include the European DIGITAL SME Alliance; the Document Foundation, LibreOffice‘s backing organization; and the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)… Numerous businesses are also supporting Nextcloud’s legal action. This includes Abilian, an open-source software publisher; DAASI, an open-source identity management company; and Mailfence.