EU tech sector fights for a Level Playing Field with Microsoft

Big Tech is harming EU consumers and businesses

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.

Our demands

The companies in this coalition say: this behavior is harming the IT industry and is limiting customer choice. We want government to take action and force Microsoft to allow for a level playing field.

We demand the EU ensures:

  • No gate keeping (by bundling, pre-installing or pushing Microsoft services) for a level playing field.
  • Open standards and interoperability that make an easy migration possible. This gives consumers a free choice.

Consumers should have a free choice and competition should have a fair chance!

Anti-competitive behavior complaint

The European Directorate-General for Competition exists precisely for the purpose of preventing this kind of behavior and keeping the market competitive and equal for all players. In early 2021, Nextcloud GmbH filed an official complaint with the EU Directorate-General for Competition about the behavior of Microsoft. Nextcloud has also filed a similar complaint with the German anti-trust authorities and we are working with our coalition members in France to file a complaint there.

Press release

A quickly growing coalition of dozens of European SMB organizations support these efforts to push back to Big Tech and create a level playing field, supporting innovation and local businesses.

If you also want to support this coalition, contact us on antitrust at

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News and updates

July 14, 2023

The German newspaper Handelsblatt covers the dark side of Microsoft, including a section about it's anti-competitive behavior and Nextcloud's role in pushing back.

Read more in our Blog post.

March 28, 2023

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.

Read more in our Press release.

March 23, 2023

Reuters updates on the status of the anti-trust case, noting that according to OVHCloud and Nextcloud, Microsoft has failed to take any steps to resolve the challenge, yet the EU hasn't taken any serious steps either.

Read more in the article by Reuters.


NGO's and industry representatives

The global tech platforms often abuse their market dominance to prevent smaller competitors to succeed. This contributes to the false perception that only Big Tech can master digital technologies. The European DIGITAL SME Alliance is convinced that smaller IT companies can be as innovative as Big Tech and have success on the market with their best products. The Alliance supported the EU Commission antitrust case against Microsoft for bundling Windows with Explorer. Later it intervened in the Android case, where Google received the record fine of 4.2 B€.
SEs have to speak up against illegal practices and unfair behaviors by Big Tech. Only by forcing everyone to play by the rules, consumers will be able to choose the best digital products in an open and competitive market, where also SMEs can win. We welcome the initiative by NextCloud, a proud and innovative European mid sized tech firm, and we hope that this will convince many more SMEs to fight for their right to succeed in the digital markets.

-- DIGITAL SME Secretary-General Sebastiano Toffaletti

European citizens should be able to decide by themselves about the digital tools they use to create, store and share contents, including an open document format for their files. Big Tech's actions, based on their monopoly power in the operating system area, force consumers to use proprietary software, thus reducing their freedom and digital rights. We support the complaint about this anti-competitive behaviour and urge the EU to take action immediately.

-- Lothar Becker, The Document Foundation (Home of LibreOffice), Chairman of the board

We call on the European Commission to promptly investigate any allegations of anticompetitive conduct raised against vendors of proprietary offers. Proprietary "Software as a Service" offers seriously threaten the freedom of European computer users and their ability to maintain effective control over their devices and data.
Also over the last few years, we have witnessed the emergence and growth of many SaaS offerings that are Free Software and put their users in control of their data.
We worked with regulators in the past and we will continue to support them to ensure that markets remain fair and proprietary competitors do not engage in illegal anticompetitive efforts to snuff out competitors who empower their users.

-- Heiki Lõhmus, vice president, Free Software Foundation Europe

With Euclidia, we are demonstrating that European SMEs can offer competitive cloud solutions to governments and industry. What we cannot compete with is lobbying, anti-competitive behavior and abuse of dominant market positions. We therefore support the initiative of Euclidia member Nextcloud and hope the European Comission fulfills its role of ensuring a fair competitive landscape across the continent and in the cloud.

-- Philipp Reisner, Vice-President of Euclidia

European IT businesses

The 90s have just called and they see that nothing has changed. Microsoft's anti-competitive practices remain a major concern forthe competitiveness of the European software and cloud industry. As it hasd one in the past in similar cases, the European Commission must put an end to these practices.

-- Stefane Fermigier, founder and CEO

We believe every European citizen should be untitled to chose how and where its personal data is being processed.
Microsoft and other big techs should not be abusing of their dominant position to limit this essential right.
We urge the European Commission to protect its citizens and to take actions allowing a fair competition within the European IT industry.

-- Raphael NICOUD, Président

Microsoft cannot hold citizens' data hostage and more specifically our French students' data with Microsoft 365. This monopoly undermines our digital sovereignty. Our data, our digital sovereignty!

-- Cozy Cloud

The monopolistic strategy of Microsoft has always been a hindrance for open markets and digital self-sovereignty. The long history of Microsoft's anti-competitive behavior, from eliminating DR-DOS to patent lawsuits against Linux and Open Source was detrimental to consumers, as well as to public and private organizations and must not be allowed to continue in this manner.

-- Peter Gietz, CEO

By embedding services like OneDrive, Team or parts of Office 365 in Windows, Microsoft is forcing customer choices and therefore harming the complete IT ecosystem in Europe. Microsoft should compete on the merits of their solution, not pushing it down users throats with anti-competitive behaviours.
We urge the European Commission to put an end to these practices.

-- Gaël Duval, founder and CEO ECorp/Esolutions

By bundling several online services directly into the Windows operating system, Microsoft is limiting customers' choice, abusing its market power, and harming the complete IT ecosystem in Europe. We promote open standards and interoperability, and we believe consumers should have a free choice. Therefore, we support the complaint about this anti-competitive behavior and urge the EU to take actions for a level playing field, allowing fair competition and helping the European IT industry.

-- Ralf und Birgit Becker, Managing directors

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We need to re-balance the European market around collaborative tools in order to limit Microsoft's anti-competitive actions around its bundled solutions like MS365.

-- Alain GARNIER, CEO Jamespot

Microsoft is abusing its dominant position to oust European players of the digitalworkplace offers from the market. It is time for these anti-competitive practices to end. The European innovators must join forces to combat these actions. All together, we need to develop our own European Digital Way

-- Alexandre ZAPOLSKY, Président de LINAGORA

Microsoft dominates the marked of desktop computer operating systems. In the last years Microsoft started to bundle it's services with the operating system, to expand the desktop monopoly to its services. We see this as an unfair step.

-- Ingo Wichmann, CEO

Microsoft repeatedly uses its monopoly power to limit customer choice. This behavior is anti-competitive. It restricts consumers. It stifles fair competition. Instead of advertising the benefits of its solution and competing against rivals, Microsoft is stifling the market through the power of its monopoly. This behavior harms the EU economy and the entire IT ecosystem in Europe. We call on the European Commission to take action to create a level playing field, enable fair competition and support the European IT industry.

-- Ansgar H. Licher (CEO)

Microsoft limits competition and consumer choice by bundling more and more of its services into its operating system.  We ask the EU to halt the abusive practices of Big Tech gatekeepers in the interest of the end-users. 

-- Patrick De Schutter, Co-founder

Microsoft aggressively limits search interoperability and choice. Windows users are forced to use Bing for taskbar searching. Google, Apple, and Bing conspire together to ensure that Google and Bing are the only real search options in Chrome, Edge, and Safari. The only other search options are in fact Bing search syndication partners, and Microsoft collects search and fingerprinting data through them.

-- Colin Hayhurst, CEO, Mojeek

Microsoft is using single point of access to prevent diversity and tie consumer to its solutions. We are back to the end of the 90s with Microsoft dominance

-- Valentin Przyluski, CEO Netframe

Imagine all our devices today would have to run Internet Explorer. The past anti-competitive case brought forward against Microsoft in the US not only opened the market for other browser vendors, but competition also forced Internet Explorer to become more reliable. Whether its cloud credits, lobbying or bundling sales, the European Commission must step up its efforts as a referee to ensure that our common market remains competitive, that our IT ecosystem is not put at a disavantage and that consumers have a choice.

-- Sven Franck, Head of Marketing

We support the idea of putting an end to the incorrect policy of spreading monopolistic solutions in the technology market, which calls into question the freedom of choice and the development of current alternatives

-- Galina Goduhina, Sales Direсtor

I am deeply concerned about the increasing dependence on large US monopolies. We must finally make a binding commitment to data sovereignty in the European Union, even if this is sometimes uncomfortable.
Bundling Microsoft services in the operating system will create even greater dependence and further weaken IT providers in Europe.
We urge the European Commission to take action to ensure a level of equal competitive environment that encourages Europe and the European IT industry to provide alternatives.

-- Niels Lindenthal – CEO OpenProject GmbH

We would like to support and join the coalition against the monopolistic practices of Microsoft. We are a company that offers customers Nextcloud services and Zimbra email servers, and every day we face more and more barriers set by Microsoft. Microsoft limits the fundamental free choice of consumers, pushes them to close themselves in one Microsoft ecosystem without the possibility of choosing other solutions that better protect customer privacy.
We are deeply concerned about this. We believe that this is the last chance to block the monopoly of some of the largest companies and give customers the freedom of choice and the ability to protect their own privacy, which is systematically and yearly limited more and more by the largest corporations.

-- Piotr Esse, Ruslan Polovyi - Founders and owners of PUQ.

Institutions and all stakeholders in economic sectors must work to ensure fair competition among firms. The products and services they offer must not in any way, lead to an abusive deployment of the laws of competition (e.g., barriers to entry). Companies, whether small, medium, or large, that obstruct healthy competition must be prosecuted to protect consumers and users and to guarantee their representation.
Digital business fields bring up new challenges to competition, exploiting levers such as user lock-in and the offer of free services even below margin in order to retain and bind customers to companies.
Such practices establish and consolidate abuses of dominant positions since no other competitor has the economic capacity to supply a similar level of services and obtain adequate margins from the service provided.
The European productive system has already shown, also in relation to the pandemic, its inability to equip itself with adequate supply chains in strategic economic sectors, such as the data market, health services technology, and cloud services. The absence of an industrial policy that rewards the local productive network, together with the growing dominance of big tech, is creating a Europe where consumers are increasingly at the mercy of the economic forces of other countries, limiting themselves to suffering unfair commercial practices rather than governing.

Alessio Cecchi -- CEO of Qboxmail Srl

Microsoft has been sentenced in the past in both the US and Europe for abusing their market position. Yet, here we are again. European citizens greatly benefit from having a competitive marketplace and it is the EU who has to ensure it remains this way. If fines are no longer a strong deterrent, maybe it is time to revisit the original US judgement from 2000 which asked to dismantle Microsoft.

-- Jean-Paul Smets, CEO

Microsoft is using its monopoly to impose own products and services upon Windows users, in a way that competitors can’t. The European Commission should step in to create an equal playing field, but above that, allow users to choose their own core services.

-- Luc Pasmans, co-founder

We believe that diversity means innovation. Another way in the Digital Workplace market is already here. Anti-competitive and monopolies behavior is harming businesses and killing diversity.

-- Philippe PINAULT, CEO

Microsoft's anti-competitive behaviour harms the European tech industry and limits customer choice. We call on the European Commission to take action to create a level playing field, enable fair competition and support the European IT industry.

-- Arne Möhle (Co-Founder and CEO of Tutanota)

For a successful, participatory digitization, we need openness, innovation and competition. The behavior of providers of proprietary platforms to prevent competition in specific areas through dominant positions in other technology areas is therefore unacceptable and must be stopped by the European Commission.

-- Peter Ganten, CEO

Microsoft is taking advantage of its dominant position to increasingly impose the widest range of its applications on consumers and organisations. This has the effect of wiping out all competition. We call on the European Commission to urgently address this practice which is contrary to our principles and laws.

-- Thomas FAURÉ, Président, Whaller

Monopolies have proven to be destructive for any markets in the past. Currently, Microsoft benefits form a clear monopolistic position in the European market, distorts deeply the necessary competition, and prevents the upraising of a European alternative. As European citizen and entrepreneur, it is our responsibility to alert the regulators in order to change the situation and to restore healthy market conditions.

-- Lionel Roux, CEO

As a European SME, we work for OpenSource, open standards and for security under the the European laws. As an certificated sustainable SME, we denounce companies that focus on creating monopolies and ignore and bypass national and regional laws. There is not only one car manufacturer on the world, but there is only Microsoft at European schools. Microsoft is influencing the complete school system, is forcing schools to use their communication systems and suppress alternatives. Europe has to stop this monopolistic behavior and the European Commission should act NOW.

-- Nikolaus Dürk, CEO

In the technology industry, many actors use bundling to push new offers and services to captive consumers, allowing them to increase their stronghold on the market. This hurts competition and hinders innovation in Europe. We support the action against Microsoft anti-competitive behavior and urge the European Commission to push for fair competition in the European IT industry, as well as imposing open standards and interoperability as a mean to allow new competitors to enter the market.

-- Ludovic Dubost (Founder and CEO)

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