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German Antitrust Regulator Probes Microsoft’s Market Power

 |  March 28, 2023

The antitrust authority in Germany has initiated an investigation of Microsoft to evaluate its market influence, which may result in regulatory action against the American technology company, reported The Financial Times.

The Bundeskartellamt announced on Tuesday that it will investigate whether Microsoft should be considered of paramount significance for competition across markets.

The German Competition Act’s Section 19a is being utilized to launch the action, positioning Berlin at the forefront of European efforts to regulate Big Tech’s influence.

Read more: German Watchdog Consider Whether Microsoft Subject To Competition Rules

Germany’s antitrust authorities have been granted additional powers through a law that went into effect in January 2021. This law enables them to take action against companies like Meta, Google, and Amazon, who are considered gatekeepers. Sanctions such as forced divestment and even breaking up companies can now be imposed.

“Such a finding would allow us to take action at an early stage and prohibit possible anti-competitive practices”, said Andreas Mundt, head of the agency.

Mundt noted Microsoft’s “very strong position” in operating systems and office software, the growing importance of its cloud services Azure and OneDrive, “which are often linked to other Microsoft applications”, and the “resounding success” of Teams, its videoconferencing software. He also alluded to its Xbox gaming console, the LinkedIn platform, its Bing search engine and its AI applications, which it had recently integrated.