Following up on a complaint from Slack Technologies, EU antitrust authorities are questioning Microsoft's competitors if its Teams software, which is linked with its Office product, gives it more influence, indicating that they may launch an inquiry. The European Commission is focused on the period 2016 to 2021 in a questionnaire addressed to competitors and reviewed by Reuters. Microsoft launched Teams in early 2017 to compete with Slack and other workplace communication apps on the fast-growing market.
Last year, Slack, which was purchased by enterprise software company Salesforce.com in July, filed a complaint with the Commission over Microsoft's Teams product. Microsoft, which was fined EUR 2.2 billion ($2.6 billion) by the EU in the previous decade for cases involving so-called tying and other abuses, declined to comment.
Slack said that linking or combining Teams and Office was unlawful, and requested the European Commission's competition authority to separate the two. Microsoft pre-installs the workplace chat, making it impossible to uninstall, and refusing to share details that would allow competing solutions to function with Teams and Office, according to the report.
As a result, the Commission has inquired as to whether bundled goods provide firms access to data that might strengthen their market power in both sectors while also making it more difficult for competitors, particularly those with only a product, to compete. It also inquired about hurdles to entrance or expansion in the workplace app industry, consumer switching fees, and the necessity of protecting user data.
Rivals were requested to provide a list of customers who had migrated to Microsoft Teams or the packaged Office, as well as the proportion of revenue they had lost as a result of the transition, as well as the impact of the integrated products on their innovation investments and product quality and pricing. The survey questioned if the COVID-19 had increased demand for workplace applications and how this would change after the epidemic. Zoom Video Communications, Alphabet's Google, Facebook, and Cisco are among the firms that provide workplace apps.