EU investigating Microsoft for Teams antitrust complaints made by Slack

by Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
Radu Tyrsina has been a Windows fan ever since he got his first PC, a Pentium III (a monster at that time). For most of the kids of... read more
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  • Microsoft is under the European Commission's radar yet again, following Slack complaints
  • The European Union is seriously gearing up to investigate the Redmond-tech company
  • Apparently, there are some antitrust issues related to the way the Teams service functions.
slack eu investigation teams

There’s no denying the fact that the online communication tools market has had its fair share of competition even prior to the COVID outbreak.

Since the need for such utilities has seen a meteoric rise with the relatively recent shift to hybrid work trends, the competition got even more fierce and unfair.

There has always been friction between platforms such as Teams and Zoom, or Slack, and now things are taking a more legal turn.

Slack complaints against Teams trigger EU investigation

Even though Microsoft’s Teams is the software of choice for many firms that are already leveraging Microsoft’s suite of products, let’s not forget about other competitors such as Slack and Zoom.

The people behind Slack have always been displeased with how Microsoft conducts its business, especially after the tech giant bundled Teams with the new OS it launched (Windows 11).

Now, it seems like European Union regulators are looking to investigate Microsoft over some antitrust issues related to the way the Teams service functions.

Thus, the European Commission (EC) is looking to launch an investigation against Microsoft for purported anti-competitive practices related to its Teams software.

We anticipated your next question, so know that the basis for this scrutiny is a complaint filed by Slack back in 2020. 

In this complaint, the company stated that bundling Teams with the Microsoft 365 suite of products forces it to be installed on many machines while hiding the true cost to enterprise customers.

Slack actually urged the regulator to force Microsoft to remove Teams from its Microsoft 365 suite and offer it separately at fair commercial prices.

This is much bigger than Slack versus Microsoft – this is a proxy for two very different philosophies for the future of digital ecosystems, gateways versus gatekeepers. […] Slack offers an open, flexible approach that compounds the threat to Microsoft because it is a gateway to innovative, best-in-class technology that competes with the rest of Microsoft’s stack and gives customers the freedom to build solutions that meet their needs. We want to be the 2% of your software budget that makes the other 98% more valuable; they want 100% of your budget every time.

Furthermore, according to this report, the European Commission sent out a new set of questionnaires last month, which is a sign that it’s considering ramping up its investigation against Microsoft.

We know that the Commission is looking at Microsoft’s interoperability and bundling but more detailed this time.

They are looking for information that allows them to define remedies and preparing the ground for an investigation, according to credible sources.

As you surely know by now, this isn’t the first time Slack and Microsoft have clashed, with Microsoft even considering acquiring Slack for $8 billion at some point. 

That didn’t happen, but the Redmond tech giant ended up launching the Teams app itself, thus starting this ever-burning fire.

No matter how you slice the matter, the truth is that this would not be a good time for Microsoft to be engaged in another antitrust investigation.

Microsoft is already being probed by European regulators over its $69 billion proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

This surely won’t help the Redmond-based company’s case, but we’ll just have to wait and see the results of this investigation.

What is your take on this whole matter? Share your thoughts and opinions with us in the comments section located below.

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