It's official: EU probing bundling of Teams with Microsoft 365

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Updated The European Commission has officially launched a “formal investigation” into whether Microsoft flouted EU title rules by bundling Teams pinch ascendant productivity package suite Office 365 and Microsoft 365.

It’s been a agelong clip successful nan making: Teams was integrated into nan Windows-maker's package line-up successful 2017, and Slack complained to nan EU successful 2020 that nan move was anti-competitive arsenic it forced nan instal connected millions of customers, removal was blocked, and nan existent costs of nan collaboration app was hidden.

Today, arsenic it embarks connected nan antitrust investigation, nan EC pointed retired nan value of web-based video conferencing apps, whose usage soared during nan pandemic arsenic labor worked from location and consumers tried to enactment successful touch pinch friends and family.

Teams had amassed 280 cardinal regular progressive users by February, according to Microsoft. In comparison, Slack has amassed 43.7 cardinal regular progressive users.

The Commission said it is “concerned” that Microsoft whitethorn beryllium “abusing and defending” its level successful productivity package by “restricting title successful nan European Economic Areas for connection and collaboration” tools.

The astir pressing worry, nan EC says, is that Microsoft is giving Teams an advantage by “not giving customers nan prime connected whether aliases not to see entree to that merchandise erstwhile they subscribe to their productivity suites and whitethorn person constricted nan interoperability betwixt its productivity suites and competing offerings.”

These practices and policies whitethorn “constitute anticompetitive tying aliases bundling” that diminishes nan expertise of rivals to compete, to nan “detriment of customers” successful nan EEA. The Commish says it will transportation retired nan inspection s a “matter of priority.”

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President successful complaint of title policy, said successful a statement: “Remote connection and collaboration devices for illustration Teams person go indispensable for galore businesses successful Europe. We must truthful guarantee that nan markets for these products stay competitive, and companies are free to take nan products that champion meet their needs.

"This is why we are investigating whether Microsoft's tying of its productivity suites pinch Teams whitethorn beryllium successful breach of EU title rules," she added.

In caller months, Microsoft is understood to person offered galore concessions to nan EU complete Teams stave disconnected nan threat of a afloat blown probe, including offering to unbundle nan products and offering to charge different prices for Office (aka Microsoft 365) pinch aliases without Teams. Clearly this did not appease nan regulators operating successful nan antitrust team.

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We person asked Microsoft to remark but nan section comms squad often waits for Redmond to aftermath up earlier it emits a statement. We person besides offered Salesforce, nan proprietor of Slack these days, nan opportunity to comment.

In summation to Slack, German biz alfaview past week made a complaint to nan EC astir Teams and its integration into Office, though nan powers that beryllium had apt made their mind up astir pursuing nan probe already.

Other tech firms person complained astir Microsoft’s unreality package practices of charging higher prices to customers that want to run its package successful a 3rd statement nationalist cloud different than Azure. Nothing general has been launched successful this area but it is clear nan regulators are listening. ®

Updated astatine 15.34 UTC connected July 20, 2023 to add:

A sokesperson astatine Microsoft sent america a statement: "We respect nan European Commission's activity connected this lawsuit and return our ain responsibilities very seriously. We will proceed to cooperate pinch nan Commission and stay committed to uncovering solutions that will reside its concerns."

Salesforce has refused to comment.