Several tech companies have lodged a formal complaint with EU and German authorities citing anti-competitive behavior from Microsoft. Once again, for Microsoft, the issue is bundling - namely, its One Drive cloud application being shipped and enabled as the default solution in Windows releases. The coalition is now looking to extend their complaints to the French authorities and others that might help them against Big Tech.
Led by German-based Nextcloud, the complainants include thirty companies operating to some capacity in the cloud-provider space. Microsoft has already been in hot water before for including Internet Explorer pre-installed with its Windows Operating System (OS). More recently, the company even admitted to anti-competitive behavior regarding its Chromium-based Edge browser.
According to Nextcloud, the anticompetitive practices from tech giants including Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have allowed these "Big Tech" companies to capture 66% of the European market share over the years. The issue is that these local providers don't benefit from the customer-easing software bundles that Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Amazon can implement.
For example, not only is Microsoft's One Drive bundled with Windows, but the company also implemented pop-ups that onboard new users throughout the already-installed software suite, thus making it all the more comfortable for consumers to simply stick with the manufacturer-provided services - to the detriment of opting for solutions from Microsoft's competitors.
According to Nextcloud's press release on the matter, "Local, more specialized 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," noting that "This makes it nearly impossible to compete with their SaaS services."
The higher difficuly for local providers in onboarding new customers has reduced their market share to 16%, down from 26% a few years ago. To level the playing field with smaller, local providers, the coalition is calling for two particular changes: one, that gatekeeping and services bundling is considered illegal; and two, that Big Tech be forced to adhere to open standards and interoperability that would make an eventual service migration as easy as possible - and actually providing users with a free choice.