- A complaint lodged by Slack in 2020 is finally being addressed by the European Commission.
- The complaint alleges that Microsoft illegally tied Teams up with its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 products.
- Microsoft has said it will co-operate with European lawmakers in their investigation.
The investigation was seemingly prompted by a complaint from Slack in July 2020 alleging that Microsoft illegally tied Teams to its “dominant productivity suites”.
At issue is the fact that Microsoft bundles Teams with Office 365 and Microsoft 365 which concerns the Commission.
“In particular, the Commission is concerned that Microsoft may grant Teams a distribution advantage by not giving customers the choice on whether or not to include access to that product when they subscribe to their productivity suites and may have limited the interoperability between its productivity suites and competing offerings,” the European Commission wrote.
Furthermore, the Commission is worried that Microsoft may be abusing its market position to defend that position.
“Remote communication and collaboration tools like Teams have become indispensable for many businesses in Europe. We must therefore ensure that the markets for these products remain competitive, and companies are free to choose the products that best meet their needs. This is why we are investigating whether Microsoft’s tying of its productivity suites with Teams may be in breach of EU competition rules,” executive vice-president in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager said in a press statement.
Should the investigation find that Microsoft has indeed abused its position, it may be in violation of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This piece of legislation has been used in matters regarding Google, Apple and Amazon, all of which have been found to have violated the rules set out in the law.
Microsoft has reportedly said it will cooperate with the European Commission and will remain committed to finding solutions that address the Commission’s concerns per a report from Reuters.
This case is being fast-tracked and European lawmakers are reportedly hoping to issue formal charges sometime in the next few months, unless of course Microsoft makes changes to its product offerings.
To date, Microsoft has amassed €2.2 billion in anti-trust fines and we suspect it doesn’t want anymore impacting its bottom line.