The European regulator said that it is concerned that Microsoft may be misusing and defending its market position in productivity software by limiting competition in the European Economic Area for communication and collaboration products
The European Commission (EC) has launched a formal probe to determine if Microsoft has violated European Union (EU) competition rules by tying or bundling the Teams app to its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 suites for businesses.
Teams, which is a cloud-based communication and collaboration tool, delivers functionalities like messaging, calling, video meetings, and file sharing. It also combines Microsoft’s and third-party workplace tools and other applications.
The EC said that it is concerned that Microsoft may be misusing and defending its market position in productivity software by limiting competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) for communication and collaboration products.
According to the Commission, Microsoft may offer Teams a distribution advantage by preventing customers from choosing whether or not to include access to that product when subscribing to their productivity suites.
Besides, the technology major may have restricted the interoperability between its productivity suites and competing offerings, said the regulator.
Furthermore, the EC said that the actions of Microsoft may amount to anti-competitive tying or bundling and hinder suppliers of other communication and collaboration tools from competing, which would harm customers in the EEA.
The investigation comes after a complaint filed by Slack Technologies in 2020 accusing Microsoft of unlawfully tying Teams to its dominant productivity suites.
EC Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “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.”
The antitrust investigation is not subject to any legal deadline.