As expected, the European Commission today opened a formal investigation to find whether Microsoft may have breached EU competition rules by bundling Teams with Office or Microsoft 365 suite.
The Commission is concerned that Microsoft may be abusing and defending its market position in productivity software by restricting competition in the European Economic Area (‘EEA’) for communication and collaboration products.
Here’s what the Commission thinks:
By bundling Teams with Office, Microsoft may not be 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 will carry out its in-depth investigation on this matter. The Commission has informed Microsoft that it has opened proceedings in this case.
“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,” said argrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy.
Right now, Slack has about 20 million monthly active users while Teams has about 270 million monthly active users. It will be interesting to see how this EU investigation will affect Teams’ market position in the communication and collaboration market.