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The US tech giant’s EU competitors are not happy with the remedies proposed so far.

This week Reuters reported that the companies who filed antitrust complaints against Microsoft in the EU are rejecting the US tech giant’s initial offer to resolve the issues.

German software provider Nextcloud said Microsoft “needs to do more”, as European regulators consider whether to open a formal investigation into the matter. OVHcloud, the French cloud computing services provider and fellow complainant, is also demanding a more concrete proposal from Microsoft, according to the Reuters report.

A giant fine looms over Microsoft

Should the EU decide to investigate, it could lead to a fine imposed on Microsoft equal to as much as 10% of its global turnover. The EU has been threatening such an antitrust probe since last year.

Resolving the complaints directly with the companies could help Microsoft “stave off” such an investigation. The question is if Microsoft can pursue the complainants to take their complaints off the table.

Complaints focus on licensing and bundling

Nextcloud, a cloud services provider, first took its grievance to the European Commission in 2021. The company’s complaint charged Microsoft with abusing its dominance by bundling its OneDrive cloud storage service with its Windows 10 and 11 operating system.

Nextcloud Chief Executive Frank Karlitschek told Reuters that Microsoft “reached out” a year ago but did not address the bundling issues. “I would be interested in more talks but it would have to be a serious conversation,” he said.

The complaints filed by France’s OVHcloud, Italian cloud service provider Aruba and the Danish Cloud Community, an association of cloud service providers, focused on Microsoft’s cloud practices and licensing deals.

Microsoft is a favourite antitrust target

When it comes to prosecuting anticompetitive behaviour, Microsoft is a favourite target of the European Commission. The EU antitrust authorities have fined the Redmond-based company more than 1.6 billion euros over the past ten years.

In response to the latest wave of complaints, Microsoft said it introduced changes to its licensing practices in October last year that addressed feedback received from European cloud providers.

“We are grateful for the productive conversations that led us there and appreciate the feedback that we have received since,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.