March 28, Berlin – After a complaint filed by Nextcloud on behalf of a coalition of dozens of European cloud tech providers in November 2021, the German Bundeskartellamt (federal antitrust authorities) has now begun an official investigation into Microsoft to assess if the company has a dominant position in the market. This has already been established for other tech giants like Meta and Alphabet/Google. Nextcloud welcomes this development, as this is a first step towards investigating the anti-competitive behavior of Microsoft with regards to OneDrive bundling and other gate keeping actions. Rapid developments in AI only serve to strengthen the need for oversight, as the Bundeskartellamt itself also points out.
Microsoft continues to act as a gate keeper, picking the winners and losers. And of course, its own services benefit immensely from this, getting shielded from the competition. This brazen effort of promoting its own services at the expense of competitors and distorting the market in their favor harms the consumer, the wider market and European businesses and threatens the digital sovereignty of countries. Together with our coalition members we call upon the German and EU authorities to enforce a level playing field, giving consumers choice and competition a fair chance.
Frank Karlitschek, CEO and founder of Nextcloud GmbH
Since the initial complaint to the European Commissions’s Directorate-General for Competition, Microsoft has continued to limit on the freedom of choice for consumers. Bundling of software with its operating system continues to expand, while on-premises solutions are eliminated, decreasing the control organisations have over their data. Microsofts’ influence on openAI has already resulted in a decrease in openness about AI research, coinciding with Microsoft firing its ethics team, increasing societal risks regarding artificial intelligence. While Nextcloud has responded to these developments, introducing a Microsoft SharePoint migration service to enable organisations to keep data on-premises, and introducing an Ethical AI solution with integration across its products, anti-competitive behavior limits access of customers to these services.
We are glad to see this issue coming more to the forefront, with even a well known comedian like John Oliver addressing the challenges with big tech. But while there is movement across the globe, real action still has not been taken and the tech giants continue to push out competition by all means available to them.
Jos Poortvliet, Director Marketing at Nextcloud GmbH
The German anti-trust authorities’ role is to prevent the kind of abusive behavior seen by Microsoft from distorting the market, ensuring its competitiveness of the market. Legal expert on digital competition, Dr. Hartmut Seibel noted that this first step, investigating the market position of Microsoft, is key to prepare deeper investigations into specific anti-competitive behavior.
Dozens of European SMEs organisations support these efforts to push back against Big Tech and create a level playing field, supporting innovation and local (European) businesses. A full list of these companies as well as non-profits and industry consortia can be found on https://antitrust.nextcloud.com
About Nextcloud GmbH
Nextcloud Hub is the industry-leading, fully open source, on-premises team productivity platform, combining the easy user interface of consumer-grade cloud solutions with the security and compliance measures enterprises need. Nextcloud Hub brings together universal access to data through mobile, desktop and web interfaces with next-generation, on-premise secure communication and collaboration features like real-time document editing, chat and video calls, putting them under direct control of IT and integrated with existing infrastructure.
Nextcloud’s easy and quick deployment, open, modular architecture and emphasis on security and advanced federation capabilities enable modern enterprises to leverage their existing file storage assets within and across the borders of their organization. For more information, visit nextcloud.com or follow @nextclouders on Twitter.
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