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EU Accuses Microsoft of Antitrust Violations Over Teams and Office Bundling

 |  June 25, 2024

The European Union has leveled serious antitrust accusations against Microsoft, alleging that the tech giant engaged in “abusive” practices by bundling its Teams communication software with its popular Office productivity suites, Office 365 and Microsoft 365. This announcement was reported by CNBC on Tuesday.

In a formal Statement of Objections, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, stated, “The European Commission has informed Microsoft of its preliminary view that Microsoft has breached EU antitrust rules by tying its communication and collaboration product Teams to its popular productivity applications included in its suites for businesses Office 365 and Microsoft 365.”

The Commission’s concerns arose despite Microsoft’s attempt last year to alleviate antitrust worries by unbundling Teams from Microsoft 365. However, the changes were deemed “insufficient to address its concerns and that more changes to Microsoft’s conduct are necessary to restore competition,” according to the Commission’s Tuesday statement.

Read more: Microsoft Offers to Charge for Teams in EU to Appease Watchdog

The EU’s investigation into Microsoft began in July 2023, triggered by a complaint from Slack, a rival chat service owned by Salesforce. Slack accused Microsoft of unfairly bundling Teams with its Office products, thereby stifling competition.

A Statement of Objections is a crucial step in European Commission investigations, outlining the specific concerns and allowing the implicated companies to respond. Should the Commission find that an infringement has occurred following these responses, it has the authority to prohibit the conduct and impose fines of up to 10% of the company’s global revenue.

This latest development underscores the EU’s ongoing scrutiny of major tech firms and their business practices, emphasizing the region’s commitment to maintaining fair competition in the market.

Source: CNBC