Germany’s antitrust watchdog has launched a probe into Microsoft to assess its power in the market, in a move that could presage a regulatory crackdown against the US tech giant.
The federal cartel office, or Bundeskartellamt, on Tuesday said it would examine whether Microsoft should be designated of “paramount significance for competition across markets”.
The action is being launched under Section 19a of the German Competition Act, a law that places Berlin at the vanguard of European attempts to restrict the power of Big Tech.
The law, which came into force in January 2021, gives Germany’s antitrust authorities powers to go after so-called gatekeepers such as Meta, Google and Amazon, including the ability to impose sanctions like forced divestments against companies and even break them up.
“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.