European SMEs stand up to Microsoft, urging the EU to open antitrust investigation

  • Nextcloud has filed an official complaint with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition about the alleged anti-competitive practices of Microsoft related to OneDrive.

  • It is important that SMEs speak up against dominant behaviours by Big Tech. Therefore, the European DIGITAL SME Alliance strongly welcomes this initiative.

  • “Only by forcing everyone to play by the rules will consumers be able to choose the best digital products in an open and competitive market, where SMEs can also win,” remarked DIGITAL SME Secretary-General Sebastiano Toffaletti.

Nextcloud GmbH has filed a formal complaint to the European Commission over Microsoft’s anti-competitive behaviour by bundling its OneDrive cloud, Teams and other services with Windows and aggressively pushing consumers to sign up and hand over their data to Microsoft. According to Nextcloud, this behaviour by Microsoft limits consumer choice and creates a barrier for other companies offering competing services. 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%.

Nextcloud is a German software SME that offers open source solutions for organisations and individuals who want to host their own secure cloud services with features like file sharing and collaboration. These solutions are functionally similar to Dropbox, Office 365 or Google Drive.

Speaking up against Big Tech’s unfair behaviours

As a representative of small and medium-sized enterprises in the ICT sector, the European DIGITAL SME Alliance welcomes this initiative by Nextcloud. “The global tech platforms often abuse their market dominance to prevent smaller competitors from succeeding. 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,” said Sebastiano Toffaletti, Secretary-General of DIGITAL SME. “This complaint also shows the importance of the upcoming Digital Markets Act, the EU’s new ex-ante rule-book for competition in digital markets,” Sebastiano concludes.

It is crucial that SMEs’ voices are heard. In 2016, DIGITAL SME was recognised as an independent intervener in the Google Android antitrust case and in July 2018, Google was fined a record amount of €4.3 billion for having abused its dominant market position. DIGITAL SME also spoke out against the alleged unfair business practices in the Apple-Spotify case. Filed in March 2019, the antitrust complaint by Spotify alleged arbitrary restrictions and “taxes” imposed by Apple on competing third-party apps that are distributed via its App Store. In the discussion around the Digital Markets Act, DIGITAL SME has stood up to represent ICT SMEs in the ongoing negotiations in the European Parliament.

As DIGITAL SME Secretary-General Toffaletti pointed out, “only by forcing everyone to play by the rules will consumers be able to choose the best digital products in an open and competitive market, where SMEs can also win.” The Alliance welcomes 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.

Find out more directly from Nextcloud, and stay informed about our activities around the Digital Markets Act by checking out this page.

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