back to article Nextcloud and cloud chums fire off competition complaint to the EU over Microsoft bundling OneDrive with Windows

EU software and cloud businesses have joined Nextcloud in filing a complaint with the European Commission regarding Microsoft's alleged anti-competitive behaviour over the bundling of its OS with online services. The issue is OneDrive and Microsoft's habit of packaging it (and other services such as Teams) with Windows …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    No problem with Android and Google Drive, and iOS and iCloud?

    Do they fear Microsoft less than the other two? Maybe risking to be booted out of their respective stores?

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: No problem with Android and Google Drive, and iOS and iCloud?

      They joys of having a de facto monopoly. This renders many regulations useless because parties won't exercise them out of fear of losing access to platforms in questions which is essentially an economic suicide.

      If regulator was serious about anti-trust (and GDPR falls into that as well) there would be protections from retaliatory measures.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No problem with Android and Google Drive, and iOS and iCloud?

        If the regulators were serious about anything, they'd take action against people screwing their customers.

        In grumpy old git mode, the consumer rights a couple of hundred years ago were that if a baker shortchanged you deliberately and you made a complaint that was proved, the legal remedy were huge fines or flogging which the offender would feel for the next few months, and the scars would be with him for life. The bakers therefore switched to producing a bakers dozen (ie 13) items instead of 12, with the extra for goodwill and the promise that if one was defective then you've got a replacement, and if more then obviously it was a genuine error and talk to me please instead of the law.

        Consumer rights ~2000. Two companies sell you meat. One is injected with industrial chemicals and water and is much heavier, but most of it evaporates as soon as you cook it . The other is actually genuine meat.

        The regulators response is to remind the retailers that when more than 10% of the product is injected water they have to tell the customer on the packaging or face getting a reminder letter.

        Oh, and the chap responsible for the discovery that you can cheat customers like this is awarded a knighthood for "services to industry". One wonders what the officials three hundred years ago would have done with the same business practices.

        1. Mike 137 Silver badge

          Re: No problem with Android and Google Drive, and iOS and iCloud?

          "One wonders what the officials three hundred years ago would have done with the same business practices"

          Not sure about 300 years ago, but in the Victorian era (and at least as late as 1914) adulteration of produce was rife.

          1. Claverhouse Silver badge

            Re: No problem with Android and Google Drive, and iOS and iCloud?

            Indeed, but only up to a point. Bread and as well, Ale --- which is related --- came under the King's Laws from 1266 onwards, recognizable to the Assizes, with inspectors doing their thing

            'Offenders might find themselves pilloried, imprisoned, dragged on hurdles through the streets, and if still recalcitrant, finally banished from the town'

            Nobody wants that for modern CEOs.

            However with the explosive growth in Libertarianism, and 'Customer Beware' of the later Whigs and modern Liberals, the Royalist Edicts were denounced and repudiated as Royal tyranny and the Assize was repealed in 1815 by the House of Commons. Also, the Free Market would make everything cheaper and all that jazz.

            Henceforth 19th century baking became a sweated trade with the slum dwellers kneading the dough with bare legs in basements, then baking the loaves all night with fiercely hot ovens, hardly paid, as their masters desperately strive in price with a competitive race to the bottom to cheapen the product still further.

            Beer and Ale were even more adulterated; everything had vile ingredients added by those who were inclined. Tea was worst ; most other food were adulterated as far down as they were cheapest --- the average person could not afford to stock up at Harrods. The German Accum warned about British food, but was forced out of England. It was not until Drs. Hassall and Postgate and Wakley etc. agitated in the 1850s that the scum of parliament passed several useless Acts and a proper final Act in 1875.

            The French had had regulations since 1802; and the Americans, who had as great, or perhaps greater, adulteration disease followed the British in the early 20th century --- with thousands of deaths more, because Freedom!

            1. nematoad Silver badge

              Re: No problem with Android and Google Drive, and iOS and iCloud?

              "Nobody wants that for modern CEOs."

              Speak for yourself, there's one or two I wouldn't mind see being dragged around on a hurdle.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: No problem with Android and Google Drive, and iOS and iCloud?

                "Nobody wants that for modern CEOs."

                Citation needed.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: No problem with Android and Google Drive, and iOS and iCloud?

              Apart from deliberate adulteration it was advisable to run a magnet over your ground coffee in case ground off bits of the machinery were in it.

              The Co-operative movement was partly in response to adulteration. BTW the Rochdale "pioneers" weren't the first.

            3. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: No problem with Android and Google Drive, and iOS and iCloud?

              >"Nobody wants that for modern CEOs."

              Well, funny how events ca prove you wrong.

              It would seem that P&O's board and senior management seem to be volunteering for that privilege.

          2. smot

            Re: No problem with Android and Google Drive, and iOS and iCloud?

            Still happens. Even this week there are reports of imported honey being diluted with cheap sugar syrup and available in major retailers.

            1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

              Re: No problem with Android and Google Drive, and iOS and iCloud?

              In the US, unless the label says "pure honey" and you look at the ingredients and the only one is "honey" then you are buying a product that may be 30% or less honey and the rest sweet corn syrup.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC - Re: No problem with Android and Google Drive, and iOS and iCloud?

          We don't have the time for consumer rights, we're making tons of money here. Consumers have the right to bring in their money.

  2. rjsmall

    Wrong angle?

    Not sure they are on the right track with accusing Microsoft of copying a competitors product and then bundling it. OneDrive grew out of Live Mesh which was released about a decade (or more) ago and then gradually morphed into a cloud based product once cloud storage became more accessible and home internet links faster and more reliable. Looking at Nextcloud's webpage they were established in 2016 so a little bold to be suggesting others were copying an existing product.

    Possibly the bundling could be an issue but then again that could be said for Google Drive with Chromebooks and Apple devices with iCloud.

    1. sova

      Re: Wrong angle?

      Not quite. If you think about Nexcloud as a synced file storage, then Dropbox started earlier. But Nextcloud is much more than that. It's more of groupware. Think file storage and sync, mail client, photo/video browser, calendar, contacts and more. All in a browser. And that does sound like Office 365. Just smaller, open-source and optionally self-hosted.

      Karlitschek started coding Owncloud in 2010 and then forked it to Nextcloud, when his Owncloud chums decided to be less open-source and more "enterprise", aka "they've done Mongo". So LiveMesh is not the right comparison. However, it was a lovely product, but as soon as they turned it to SkyDrive, I went to Owncloud.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wrong angle?

        > and then forked it to Nextcloud, when his Owncloud chums decided to be less open-source and more "enterprise"

        Please note, that is one (Karlitschek's) side of the story. I understand that there are other versions. Some of the former developers have spoken out publicly so a web search should bring to light the different points of view.

        Personally, Nextcloud is a great concept sadly not followed by a great implementation. I had to remove it around v18 due to recurring stability and quality issues. There seems to be quite a bit of variability amongst developers as well, judging by their source code.

        There's a Swiss company, Infomaniak, who offer a much better implementation at very reasonable prices.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wrong angle?

          Hmmm; we're using Nextcloud here without problem and have been for a few years. I used it at other places I worked and didn't have issues there either.

          To be honest I've been fairly impressed as these things go. I can't comment on all the add-ons you can get but for file sharing and some of the group work bits it seemed good.

        2. Starace

          Re: Wrong angle?

          It was seeing the AGPL license and the locking down of the documentation and the strong arm tactics to push buying (expensive) licenses that made me jumpy.

          I don't mind if it's a known quantity out of the box but it all felt very commercial for something that still leaves you to bolt together a solution from a pile of bits or having to rely on third parties for some sort of packaged solution.

          Throwing lawsuits around isn't exactly brilliant either, especially if they look weak. I'll use your stuff if it's better.

          1. ayay

            Re: Wrong angle?

            Eh? The documentation is open and quite good, better than most open source projects.

            The license prevents the bait and switch of "open source until it suits, then we take the ball and run, thus making it ours".

            What am I missing here?

  3. Kev99 Silver badge

    I had an update installed on a computer I haven't touched in several months. I couldn't get the nags to stop and win10 finally just installed by itself. To add insult to injury, I couldn't get past the install screen without logging into a microsoft account, nor could I back out of the screen. ALT-F4 and CTRL-F4 were both worthless. And as soon as I decided to open a document from and email, office 365 opened it instead of Libre Office or even word 2016 already on the box. And to kill the log-in I had to hunt all over the start menu to find the log out screen. Thank goodness I have Puppy Linux running, quite nicely I might add, on our 11 year old Toshiba NB255 netbook.

    1. Our Lord and Savior Rahl

      I gave up with LibreOffice - I wanted to be cool and love it and avoid Word/Excel etc but honestly, it was just a bit shit. Maybe it's because I've used Office for the last xx many years, but most of the time it felt like I was fighting with it.

      I don't use Office because I want to - if I'm writing documents / sending emails and the like it's because I have to before I can get back to whatever I was doing that was actually useful, so anything that gets in the way of that normally annoys me pretty quickly.

      Some software I hugely prefer the alternatives for (anyone who's successfully wrangled Dynamics/Navision etc I salute you) and some I don't. It's not because it's MS, I just kinda like Office as for me, it works better than the alternatives and that's the bit I care about. I run a business to make money, not for ideological purity unfortunately and so I'll take the path of least resistance every time.

      I know, blah blah, MS shill etc.

    2. MrReynolds2U

      I have found that disconnecting yourself from the network allows you to skip the requirement of a Microsoft account on the splash screen. YMMV

  4. Norman123

    I am glad someone paid attention to question the OneDrive in your face every time one starts the Windows.

  5. MacroRodent

    Late to the lawsuit party

    Hasn't OneDrive (originally known as SkyDrive) been in Windows for over a ten years? Why do the complain about it only now?

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Late to the lawsuit party

      Interesting, I have never heard of SkyDrive despite having used Windows for what seems like forever.

      However OneDrive is very much "in your face".

      Maybe that's why now, and not before.

      1. MacroRodent

        Re: Late to the lawsuit party

        SkyDrive had to be renamed to OneDrive, because Sky TV complained, otherwise it is exactly the same. But there is one later change: in earlier Windows versions it was still optional, but in Windows 10 and later it is more integrated to the OS. Even then, it has been many years since Windows 10 was released. Slow fuse.

  6. Our Lord and Savior Rahl

    Normally I'm with them, but OneDrive came out 3 years before OwnCloud, and 7 years before NextCloud - so the "copying other peoples ideas" argument is a little hypocritical in this case.

    And I hate hypocrisy.

    Almost as much as Heresy.

    1. SImon Hobson

      Which would be a valid comment IF that was what they were complaining about.

      They aren't. What they are complaining about is that MS are bundling OD, fully integrated into Windows, in such a way that it's rather hard for the user to not use it - and making it nearly impossible to "sell" something that for many user could be better. Basically it is all about the browser wars again - give away enough of something free to kill competition, and based on your de-facto monopoly in a field.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    anything office 365 is a nightmare

    try turning on auto save (, it then switches your file to save in the fucking onedrive cloud shit. takes a fucking age to find out that you then have lost control of file and deleteing it is pretty much impossible.

    FUCK M$ and their fucking monopoly shit.

    1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

      Re: anything office 365 is a nightmare

      If you have the Office 365 then that is how it works and you cannot change it. Believe me I have tried. If you have a stand alone version of Office (is that still available?) you can change the save location.

  8. localzuk Silver badge

    Not sure this works any more?

    Back in the day when we didn't have a multitude of device types, with a variety of OS's, it was blatantly obvious that MS was leveraging one product to dominate another.

    But now? When MS only have 32.44% of the worldwide client OS market vs 39.75% Android, and 16.7% iOS? Not so sure it holds any more.

    If you narrow your definition down and down until you get back to the old world way of thinking about software - desktop OS vs mobile OS vs tablet OS etc... then maybe, but then where do you put ChromeOS? You can buy a desktop PC with it on, and it not only comes bundled with Google's suite, its a necessity to be able to use it.

  9. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

    Oh Please!

    Not more of this!

    So, all the hrumphing and blustering about the "browser wars" and in the end Microsoft lost because I.E. was a blithering piece of Shite!

    They bundle the software because "it's their software" They are not charging for it! All they are doing is allowing computer purchasers to avoid downloading the damn software. If you have a better product then convince people you have a better product! Even if the software wasn't bundled, people will gravitate to MS. Because it is MS! IMO Azure is a horrible cluster ****! Yet I know so many companies who have signed up on Azure, why? Because it is Microsoft! Certainly not because it is a better, less expensive service.

    Regarding the whole "cloud vendor issue", yeah, I can just see myself going to management and suggesting we use the cloud vendor who has a piece of the 16% of business that AWS, Google and Microsoft do not have. I'd be lucky to still be employed after that presentation!

    1. SImon Hobson

      Re: Oh Please!

      OK smarta**e, you think you have a rather neat design of mousetrap - and you think you can sell it at a reasonable price and make a reasonable profit. Great. Only trouble is, the house builders bundle mouse traps with all the houses - in fact it's so bad they've made it nearly impossible for a home owner to even get rid of them if they think your mouse trap is better.

      So, how do you sell your mouse trap to these home owners ? As is usual with MS stuff, OD is horrible - "sort fo good enough" that most people won't hate it enough to pay for something else instead of using the "free" product.

      OK, so no home builder has a monopoly like MS does in the desktop/laptop business, so the analogy is a bit lame - but that's what's going on.

      Same with Teams, it's a horrible pile of sh**e (we're afflicted with it at work - where security allows) but it's bundled making it a harder sell to compete with. And so on.

      I agree to an extent that bundling is bound to go on - and to be honest, up to a point it's a good thing. If it didn't go on then we'd get a bare system and have to buy loads of basics just to start work - it would be like buying a house and finding we need to buy locks, and hinges, for the doors, and oh yes, we need to buy doors as well. But we expect to bring our own choice of furniture, TV, curtains, etc.

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