A coalition of European companies against Microsoft: “It favors Teams and OneDrive via Windows”

A coalition of European companies against Microsoft: “It favors Teams and OneDrive via Windows”
A coalition of European companies against Microsoft: “It favors Teams and OneDrive via Windows”

Under the name of Coalition for a Level Playing Field, a coalition of European companies and associations has formally sued Microsoft to the European Commission for the anti-competitive behavior had by favoring Teams, OneDrive and other services integrated in Windows to the detriment of third-party solutions.

The coalition is led by Nextcloud, a company that offers a collaboration platform between working groups, and to which important names have also been added such as The Document Foundation, the non-profit that developed LibreOffice, European DIGITAL SME Alliance and Free Software Foundation Europe.

The formal complaint was presented to the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission which has Margrethe Vestager as executive vice-president among its ranks.

“With Teams and OneDrive, Microsoft creates a barrier for other companies”

The coalition accuses Microsoft of repeating previous monopolistic actions implemented in the late 1990s, through which by integrating the Internet Explorer browser in Windows it had an anti-competitive behavior towards Netscape.

The current Windows integration of OneDrive, Teams and other services is driving consumers to sign up and hand their data to Microsoft and this state of affairs “it limits consumer choice and creates a barrier for other companies offering competing servicesThe coalition said in a statement.

Not citing exactly the sources of the data and for which sectors, the coalition claims that in recent years Microsoft “increased its market share to 66% of the EU market, while local suppliers lost from 26 to 16%.”This quota has been reached not on merit but thanks to the ability to distort competition and block market access, says the coalition.

The coalition companies ask that the Commission intervene and force Microsoft to allow a fair playing field (hence the English name of the coalition, ed); specifically, that there are no pre-installs or pushes for Microsoft services. Furthermore, they call for open standards and interoperability that make easy migration possible.

Microsoft has not yet publicly responded to the coalition’s formal complaint to the European Commission.

Like Slack in 2020

More than a year later, this complaint from the Coalition for a Level Playing Field follows that of the Slack collaboration platform again against Microsoft and more specifically for the integration of Teams into the Office suite. The allegation was that market dominance was exploited to favor Microsoft’s collaboration platform by forcing its installation, blocking its removal, and hiding the true cost to corporate customers.

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Go to the deepening

Microsoft’s response, in July 2020, was: “With Covid-19, the market has embraced Teams in record numbers, while Slack has suffered from its absence of videoconferencing. We are committed to offering customers not only the best of the new innovation, but a wide variety of choices in how to purchase and use the product. We look forward to providing further information to the European Commission and to answer any questions they may have.

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