The EU thinks Microsoft Teams is giving the company an unfair advantage

(Image credit: unsplash)

The European Union (EU) has formally accused Microsoft of breaching competition rules by bundling its Teams video conferencing app with its popular Microsoft 365 subscription.

The EU issued a statement of objections on June 25, claiming that Microsoft;s practices have negatively impacted competition in the market.

Europe’s investigation, which has been ongoing for the best part of a year, stems from a July 2020 complaint submitted by Salesforce-owned online collaboration tool Slack.

Microsoft has been found guilty of anticompetitive practices

The European Commission stated that it “is concerned that Microsoft may have granted Teams a distribution advantage by not giving customers the choice whether or not to acquire access to Teams when they subscribe to their SaaS productivity applications.”

In its statement, the Commission acknowledged that Microsoft partially unbundled Teams from its productivity software subscription earlier in 2024, however it looks like this wasn’t enough to address the concerns.

The EC says that Microsoft has been informed of its preliminary view, which asserts that the company has breached EU antitrust rules.

Margrethe Vestager, the Executive VP in charge of competition policy, commented: “If confirmed, Microsoft’s conduct would be illegal under our competition rules. Microsoft now has the opportunity to reply to our concerns.”

In response to the latest developments, Salesforce President & Chief Legal Officer Sabastian Niles added:

“The Statement of Objections issued today by the European Commission is a win for customer choice and an affirmation that Microsoft’s practices with Teams have harmed competition. We appreciate the Commission’s thorough investigation of Slack's complaint and urge the Commission to move towards a swift, binding, and effective remedy that restores free and fair choice and promotes competition, interoperability, and innovation in the digital ecosystem.”

The news comes just a couple of weeks after Microsoft admitted it may need to take “additional steps” to address the ongoing antitrust investigation.

Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith commented: "Having unbundled Teams and taken initial interoperability steps, we appreciate the additional clarity provided today and will work to find solutions to address the Commission‘s remaining concerns."

More from TechRadar Pro

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!