software microsoft bundling teams into office suite is in violation of competition laws slack say

Microsoft May Face Antitrust Investigations According to Reuters Sources

Microsoft Antitrust
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The European Commission is likely to open an antitrust investigation into Microsoft over the bundling Teams into Office Suite according to Reuters sources. In July 2020, Slack filed a competition complaint with the European Commission against Microsoft Corporation.

The complaint accuses Microsoft of illegal and anti-competitive practices by bundling Teams into Office, forcing installation and blocking removal. At the time, General Counsel at Slack David Schellhase wrote in a blog:

Slack simply wants fair competition and a level playing field. Healthy competition drives innovation and creates the best products and the most choice for customers. Competition and antitrust laws are designed to ensure that dominant companies are not allowed to foreclose competition illegally. We’re asking the EU to be a neutral referee, examine the facts, and enforce the law.

Preparing an Antitrust Investigation

Now, according to Reuters sources, “[the Commission] are preparing the ground for an investigation,” and “the Commission is looking at [Microsoft’s] interoperability and bundling but more detailed this time. They are looking for information that allows them to define remedies.”

Slack, launched in 2013, is a workplace collaboration tool that people can use to work together, connect software tools and services, and find information that they need. Similarly, Teams is a workplace collaboration tool launched by Microsoft in 2017. David Schellhase had this to say about Team:

Microsoft is reverting to past behavior. They created a weak, copycat product and tied it to their dominant Office product, force installing it and blocking its removal, a carbon copy of their illegal behavior during the browser wars.

It’s Not the First Time Microsoft is in Hot Water

As David mentioned, it’s not the first time Microsoft has come under the hammer for a competition complaint. In 2007 Opera, a Norwegian web browser company, filed a complaint with the European Commission that forced Microsoft to make it easier for users to select a web browser other than Internet Explorer.

The Commission likes making examples of brands

Microsoft obeyed the antitrust ruling by adding a Browser Choice Screen pop-up. However, Microsoft didn’t include the pop-up in a 2011 update to Windows 7, which resulted in them being fined $731 million dollars in 2013 by the European Commission.

Slack has urged the Commission to force Microsoft to separate Teams from Office Suite and charge for its use separately. On this occasion, it’s not clear what the European Commission will do, but they have a history of making examples out of large corporations and not being afraid to lay down the law.

James Capell

Technical editor and journalist. I have a particularly strong interest in NLP, AI ethics and cyber crime. Not too fond of cats.