German company Alfaview has challenged Microsoft in the latest antitrust complaint against the US tech giant in Europe. On Thursday, the German firm voiced concerns at the bundling of Microsoft Teams with Office, arguing it gives Microsoft an unfair competitive advantage.
Alfaview’s Managing Director and Founder, Niko Fostiropoulos, highlighted the bundling of Teams with other applications as creating “a multipolar distribution advantage for the US group.” This is the second antitrust complaint filed against Microsoft’s bundling of the two products together, reported Reuters.
Microsoft added Teams to its Office 365 package for free in 2017, and the application has since superseded Skype For Business. Competitors of Microsoft have expressed their disapproval of the bundling of Teams with Office, most notably Salesforce-owned messaging app Slack.
The European Commission is set to launch an investigation into the bundling of Teams with Office, as Microsoft’s remedies pertaining to the issue have so far fallen short. Microsoft has faced numerous fines from the EU watchdog in the past decade totaling 2.2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) for breaching EU competition rules.
In response to Alfaview’s complaint, Microsoft stated, “We continue to engage cooperatively with the Commission in its investigation and are open to pragmatic solutions that address its concerns and serve customers well.”
The US tech giant has proposed to lower Office’s price tag without including Teams, an issue the watchdog is looking at closer. However, Alfaview has pushed the Commission to open a formal investigation into the bundling. The company does not believe that the remedies offered by Microsoft to the Commission have gone far enough.
The latest antitrust complaint against Microsoft by Alfaview highlights the increasing scrutiny tech giants are facing from efforts to regulate big tech companies. Competition in the communication software market is at stake, and the EU Commission’s investigation into Microsoft’s bundling approach could have significant implications for how the tech giant operates.