The European Commission announced that Microsoft breached EU antitrust rules by illegally bundling its chat and video app Teams with its Office product.(Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)


European Commission accuses Microsoft of breaching antitrust rules


The European Commission announced that Microsoft breached EU antitrust rules by illegally bundling its chat and video app Teams with its Office product.

“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” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy.

“Preserving competition for remote communication and collaboration tools is essential as it also fosters innovation in these markets. If confirmed, Microsoft’s conduct would be illegal under our competition rules,” she added.

The European Commission is concerned that Microsoft may have granted Teams a distribution advantage by not giving customers the choice whether or not to acquire access to Teams, they said in a statement published on June 25.

“The conduct may have prevented Teams’ rivals from competing, and in turn innovating, to the detriment of customers in the European Economic Area,” they wrote.

Following the formal proceedings opened on July 2023, Microsoft introduced changes in the way it distributed Teams, however, the EC finds that these changes are “insufficient to address its concerns and that more changes to Microsoft’s conduct are necessary to restore competition.”

According to Reuters, Microsoft said it would work to find solutions to address the regulators’ concerns.

The investigation against Microsoft was triggered following a complaint by competing workspace messaging app Slack Technologies and a second complaint by another company called Alfaview. Both of these companies raised similar concerns regarding the distribution of Teams.

This is not the first time that Microsoft is under the EU regulators’ eye.

For example, the EU regulators look into Microsoft’s financial backing for ChatGPT maker OpenAI, as it may be subject to European Union merger rules.

“The European Commission is checking whether Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI might be reviewable under the EU Merger Regulation,” they said on June 9.

European regulators have launched a series of probes into Big Tech.

In the latest moves, on June 24, the EU antitrust authorities accused Apple of breaching the Digital Services Act (DSA).