The European Union is likely to launch an antitrust investigation into Microsoft in the wake of a complaint filed by messaging app Slack two years ago, accusing the Redmond company of bundling apps to boost market share.

Reuters reported that the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, had been looking into Slack’s complaint since October last year.

The EC had now sent a fresh round of questions to those it had looked into in October, which was interpreted as a sign that the ground was being set for a formal investigation.

The slack grievancemade in July 2020, accused Microsoft of tying its Teams product to its Office suite in what was allegedly an “illegal and anti-competitive practice of abusing its market dominance to extinguish competition in violation of European Union competition law “.

Microsoft introduced Teams in 2017, in an effort to capture a slice of the enterprise communications market.

Slack accused Microsoft of tying “its Teams product to its market-dominant Office productivity suite, forcing installation for millions, blocking its removal and hiding the true cost to enterprise customers.”

At the time, Jonathan Prince, Slack’s VP of communications and policy, said, “We’re confident we’ll win on the merits of our product, but we can’t ignore illegal behavior that deprives customers of access to the tools and solutions they want.” .

“Slack threatens Microsoft’s hold on corporate email, the cornerstone of Office, which means Slack threatens to block Microsoft on corporate software.

“But this is much bigger than Slack than Microsoft: This is a proxy for two very different philosophies for the future of digital ecosystems, gateway versus gatekeeper.

“Slack offers an open and flexible approach that exacerbates the threat to Microsoft because it is a gateway to world-class, innovative technology that competes with the rest of Microsoft’s stack and gives customers the freedom to build solutions that meet their needs .

“We want to be the 2% of your software budget that makes the other 98% more valuable; they want 100% of your budget every time.”

The use of communications software has grown by leaps and bounds during the pandemic years, with Teams being a major beneficiary.


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