Title: European Commission Launches Antitrust Investigation into Microsoft’s Bundling Practices
The European Commission has announced an official investigation into Microsoft, focusing on antitrust concerns related to the bundling of its Teams software with its Office productivity suite. This move comes after Slack filed a complaint against the tech giant in July 2020, accusing it of engaging in anti-competitive behavior.
The investigation, which aims to determine if Microsoft breached EU competition rules, will be conducted in-depth. Specifically, it will examine the tying or bundling of Microsoft Teams with Office 365 and Microsoft 365. Margrethe Vestager, the executive vice-president of competition policy, emphasized the importance of competition within the markets for remote communication and collaboration tools.
Microsoft has responded to the complaint, expressing its commitment to finding solutions to address the concerns raised. According to reports from the Financial Times, the company offered concessions to the European Union but failed to reach an agreement on the removal of bundling and pricing impacts.
Interestingly, Microsoft’s recent decision to remove its Teams integration in the highly-anticipated Windows 11 update could potentially be correlated to the ongoing EU investigation. This marks Microsoft’s first encounter with an antitrust probe in the European Union in nearly 15 years.
In the past, Microsoft faced similar investigations centered around the bundling of Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer, resulting in the company offering alternative versions of its operating systems in the EU and facing significant fines.
As the investigation progresses, the European Commission will carefully scrutinize Microsoft’s bundling practices to ensure fair competition within the industry. The outcome of the investigation has the potential to impact the tech giant and the future of remote communication and collaboration tools in Europe.