German Regulator Launches Antitrust Review of Microsoft's Market Power

The German regulator responsible for enforcing antitrust laws is investigating Microsoft’s market power, a move that may result in an examination of the tech giant’s business practices and potential bans if they are deemed to damage competition. The Bundeskartellamt will determine if Microsoft should be designated as a company “of paramount significance for competition across markets,” a finding that would allow early action to be taken and possible anti-competitive practices to be prohibited, according to Bundeskartellamt President Andreas Mundt.

Microsoft has acknowledged its responsibility to support a healthy competitive environment and stated that it will collaborate with the Bundeskartellamt to explain its role in digital markets. The regulatory proceedings are the first step in a two-part process and do not involve an evaluation of the company’s particular practices, the regulator explained in a statement.

If complaints or other information suggest that Microsoft is participating in potentially anti-competitive activities, a separate decision will have to be made in this regard, in conjunction with the European Commission and possibly other competition authorities. The German regulatory agency has already designated Google parent Alphabet and Facebook owner Meta as companies of paramount significance for competition across markets.

Mike Hunt

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