Home Technology EU antitrust investigates Microsoft for bundling Teams in Office

EU antitrust investigates Microsoft for bundling Teams in Office

by Marcos

The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust violation investigation against Microsoft regarding the bundling of Teams software with the Office productivity suite. The EU investigation will focus on carefully examining whether Microsoft has breached competition rules. Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for Competition Policy at the European Commission, explained:

“Remote communication and collaboration tools, such as Teams, have become indispensable for many companies in Europe. Therefore, we must ensure that the markets for these products remain competitive and that companies are free to choose the products that best meet their needs. That’s why we’re investigating whether bundling Microsoft’s productivity suites with Teams could be a violation of EU antitrust rules.”

In response to the EU complaint, Microsoft stated.

“We respect the work of the European Commission on this case and take our responsibilities very seriously. We will continue to work with the Commission and are committed to finding solutions that address its concerns.”

It should be noted that in the past Microsoft has already included Teams with its Office subscriptions. Slack’s original complaint, dating back to 2020, claimed that Microsoft had “illegally connected” the Microsoft Teams product to Office, forcibly installing it for millions of users and preventing its removal, while also hiding the true cost to enterprise customers. This gave the “la” to the current practice, however it seems that Microsoft’s offer to the EU to discontinue the bundling was not enough to avoid an official investigation for antitrust violations. Recently, Microsoft also decided to remove the integration of Microsoft Teams in Windows 11.

This is the first time in nearly 15 years that Microsoft has been the subject of an antitrust investigation in the EU, following two major cases involving the bundling of Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer. In 2009, the EU investigated the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows, and Microsoft ended up selling a “Windows 7 E” version of the operating system in Europe, i.e. without built-in Internet Explorer. Microsoft was also forced to implement a screen that allows the choice of a web browser in its Windows operating system.

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