EU launches antitrust investigation into Microsoft over Teams

The Microsoft company logo is displayed at their offices in Sydney, Australia, on Feb. 3, 2021.
The Microsoft company logo is displayed at their offices in Sydney, Australia, on Feb. 3, 2021. Copyright AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File
By Giulia CarbonaroAP
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The European Commission will verify whether including Teams in Microsoft's Office 365 and Microsoft 365 packages gave the app an unfair advantage over its competitors.


The European Union has launched a formal investigation into Microsoft over concerns that the company gave its messaging and videoconferencing app Teams an unfair advantage over its competitors by including it in its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 packages.

The investigation, announced by the European Commission on Thursday, will look into whether the US tech giant has breached EU competition rules by bundling up Teams to its popular suites for businesses.

"Our concern is that Microsoft may be abusing its market position in the cloud-based productivity software by restricting competition in this area," European Commission spokesperson Arianna Podestà said during a press briefing. 

"Therefore we will look into this matter. At this stage, possible commitments are too early to be discussed. We first need to identify indeed if there is a breach of antitrust considerations."

The EU suspects that Microsoft tying Teams to its business suites might have prevented suppliers of other communication and collaboration tools from competing, "to the detriment of customers in the European Economic Area (‘EEA')," a press release from the Commission reads.

The Commission called the investigation a "priority," though Podestà said that, at this stage, they're looking into the matter closely.

"Remote communication and collaboration tools like Teams have become indispensable for many businesses in Europe," Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy, said in a statement. 

"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."

In July 2020, Slack - another messaging app used for remote work - filed a complaint against Microsoft, accusing the company of illegally tying Teams to its dominant productivity suites.

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