According to reports on the evening of September 14th, Beijing time, people familiar with the matter said today that the European Union will formally accuse Microsoft Office of suspected monopoly in bundling the chat and video application Teams. This means that Microsoft’s proposal to separate Teams from Office has not dispelled the EU’s concerns.
In July this year, the European Union launched a formal antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s Office suite bundled with the Teams application. This was the first time Microsoft faced an EU antitrust investigation in 15 years.
At the end of August, Microsoft announced that it would separate Teams from Office to make it easier for rival products to be used with Microsoft software to avoid EU antitrust penalties.
But people familiar with the matter said today that the European Commission is not satisfied with this and is therefore preparing a statement of objections expected to be released in the next few months.
Microsoft and the European Commission have yet to comment.
The case stems from July 2020, when Slack Technologies complained to the European Commission that Microsoft abused its market dominance and eliminated competition for Microsoft Teams by bundling Teams with its popular Office productivity software.
Microsoft Teams is an intelligent chat-based team collaboration tool that can share documents synchronously and provide members with instant messaging tools including voice and video conferencing. And Slack Technologies operates a similar product.
Microsoft’s bundling of Teams with Office means millions of users are forced to install Teams with no way to remove it. Over the past decade, Microsoft has been fined 2.2 billion euros (approximately $2.6 billion) by the European Union for practices such as bundling.