Microsoft Breached EU Antitrust Rules by Bundling Teams with Office

| Updated on 28 June 2024

Microsoft may be hit with massive fines by the European Union for possibly abusive tactics of bundling Teams with its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 software solutions for business. In the past 15 years, this is the first time that Microsoft has been charged with antitrust violations by the EU. 

The EU issued a statement regarding the same, here is what it said. “The European Commission has informed Microsoft of its preliminary view that Microsoft has breached EU antitrust rules by tying its communication and collaboration product Teams to its popular productivity applications included in its suites for businesses Office 365 and Microsoft 365.”

By bundling the Teams with Office, Microsoft has restricted competition in the communication space. They criticize the company for not giving users a choice to opt out of Teams when they subscribe to Office. Effectively, this gives the Teams a distribution advantage over competitors like Slack or other similar software. The advantage might have been widened by limits on the ability of rival messaging apps to work with Microsoft software.

“We are concerned that Microsoft may be giving its own communication product Teams an undue advantage over competitors, by tying it to its popular productivity suites for businesses. And preserving competition for remote communication and collaboration tools is essential as it also fosters innovation on these markets.”

Microsoft gave a statement to the Financial Times saying they are working with the EU to find solutions. “Having unbundled Teams and taken initial interoperability steps, we appreciate the additional clarity provided today and will work to find solutions to address the Commission’s remaining concerns.”

The EU opened its investigation into Microsoft last year after a complaint filed by Slack in July 2020. In its original complaint, Slack alleged that Microsoft had illegally tied its Teams to Office and is forced to install it on millions of computers, blocking its removal. 

Gaurav Pal

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