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Microsoft Faces EU Antitrust Charges Over Teams Software

 |  May 13, 2024

Brussels is gearing up to take on tech titan Microsoft once again as the EU’s European Commission prepares to issue fresh antitrust charges. The focus of the latest legal action is Microsoft’s widely-used videoconferencing application, Teams, with concerns swirling that the company’s practices may be stifling competition in the market.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the European Commission is poised to file a formal charge sheet against Microsoft, highlighting worries that the company’s actions are impeding fair competition within the sector. This move, reported by the Financial Times, signals a significant escalation in the ongoing clash between European regulators and the world’s most valuable listed tech firm.

Microsoft recently attempted to ward off regulatory intervention by offering concessions, including a proposal to unbundle Teams from its suite of software products, not only in Europe but globally. However, insiders suggest that these efforts have fallen short of assuaging the concerns of EU officials, who remain apprehensive about the impact on market fairness.

Read more: Microsoft Offers To Charge For Teams In EU To Appease Watchdog

A key bone of contention among rivals is the fear that Microsoft may tilt the playing field in favor of Teams by ensuring its compatibility with other Microsoft software while potentially hindering interoperability with competing platforms. Additionally, there are concerns about the lack of data portability, making it challenging for existing Teams users to transition to alternative solutions.

The roots of this impending legal battle can be traced back to 2020 when Slack, now under the umbrella of Salesforce, lodged a formal complaint against Microsoft’s Teams. This impending action would mark the end of a decade-long truce between EU regulators and the U.S. tech behemoth, following a series of antitrust investigations that concluded in 2013. Notably, during that period, the EU imposed a hefty €561 million fine on Microsoft for breaching antitrust rules related to bundling the Internet Explorer browser with its Windows operating system.

Sources close to the matter suggest that the charges could materialize in the coming weeks, underscoring the intensifying scrutiny facing Microsoft. Stakeholders, including Microsoft’s rivals and EU officials, are scheduled to convene this week to discuss the case, hinting at the imminent filing of charges.

Source: Financial Times