German regulators are said to be questioning whether Microsoft should fall within the scope of the new competition rules, as they have determined several other big tech companies.
The country’s competition regulator can initiate proceedings under Section 19a of the German Competition Act, POLITICO reported Thursday (August 11), citing two people familiar with the matter and adding that Google, Meta and Amazon have already been determined to be subject to the rules. Apple is also being considered for consideration.
Under the law, which took effect in January 2021, Germany can act quickly to ban anti-competitive behavior, such as self-preference and pre-installation of services, according to the report.
To be subject to the rules, companies must be recognized as having “primary importance for competition between markets”, according to the report.
Elsewhere in Europe, Microsoft’s deal to buy Activision Blizzard is being reviewed by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, Reuters reported in July.
Read more: UK antitrust watchdog reviews Microsoft Activision deal
“We are committed to answering questions from regulators and believe that a thorough review will help close the deal with broad confidence and be positive for competition,” said Lisa Tanzi, vice president and general counsel at Microsoft, according to the Reuters report.
Additionally, Italian cloud provider Aruba SpA and several Denmark-based cloud providers filed a complaint against Microsoft with the European Union’s antitrust watchdog in April, accusing Microsoft of undermining its competition and limit consumers’ IT service choices, Bloomberg reported on April 13.
Read more: Microsoft faces cloud-based antitrust complaints in Italy and Denmark
Microsoft customers have regularly complained about having to pay more to use Windows and Office when programs run through cloud computing systems competing with Microsoft’s Azure, a practice that Bloomberg says shows Microsoft uses its power in one market to undermine competitors in another geographic region.