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German Watchdog Consider Whether Microsoft Subject To Competition Rules

 |  August 14, 2022

German regulators are reportedly considering whether Microsoft should fall within the scope of new competition rules, as they have determined several other big tech companies do. 

The country’s competition regulator may launch proceedings under Section 19a of the German Competition Act, POLITICO reported Thursday (Aug. 11), citing two people who are close to the matter and adding that Google, Meta and Amazon have already been determined to be subject to the rules. Apple also is being considered for examination. 

Under the act, which went into effect in January 2021, Germany can move fast to prohibit conduct that is anti-competitive, such as self-preferencing and pre-installation of services, per the report. 

To be subject to the rules, companies must be found to have “paramount significance for competition across markets,” according to the report. 

Elsewhere in Europe, Microsoft’s deal to buy Activision Blizzard is being looked into by the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority, Reuters reported in July. 

“We’re committed to answering questions from regulators and ultimately believe a thorough review will help the deal close with broad confidence, and that it will be positive for competition,” said Lisa Tanzi, corporate vice president and general counsel of Microsoft, according to the Reuters report. 

In addition, 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, charging Microsoft with undermining its competition and limiting consumers’ computing services choices, Bloomberg reported April 13. 

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