Microsoft is the most recent computer juggernaut to come under scrutiny from Germany’s antitrust agency.
The Federal Cartel Office (FCO), commonly known as the Bundeskartellamt, has announced that a case has been filed to see if the company’s operations in Germany can be subject to specific misuse measures. This is a reference to Microsoft’s broad digital ecosystem, which it noted spans a number of businesses, including OS systems and office software, cloud computing, gaming, business networking, Internet search, and — more recently — unique AI applications.
The special abuse control regime is applicable to Google, Meta, and Amazon’s businesses, according to earlier FCO reviews (although Amazon is appealing). This increased the regulator’s ability to take enforcement action against anti-competitive behavior by utilizing updated powers that are intended to target digital giants with “paramount significance for competition across markets.”
The FCO also launched a review of Apple’s market dominance back in June 2021; it highlighted that the review is currently “far underway.” But, it did not provide a deadline for making a decision on Cupertino.
By its investment in (and relationship with) OpenAI, a former not-for-profit turned capped-profit AI developer, whose technology supports the “new Bing,” it has most recently, as previously said, been close to the center of the frenzy surrounding so-called AI search. Hence, rumors that Microsoft is attempting to exert pressure in an effort to prevent competitors from creating their own AI models could undoubtedly raise worries about unfair competition.