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Why are EU regulators investigating Microsoft Teams?

Why are EU regulators investigating Microsoft Teams?

Patrick Devaney

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Microsoft Teams is the powerful communication and chat program that comes bundled in with the Microsoft 365 productivity suite. Although having a multi-functional suite of products that can cover pretty much all of your productivity needs from word processing to database building, offering all products as a single offering can actually harm smaller, independent developers who are looking to provide a single app to take care of a single aspect of your daily work. This is why EU regulators are investigating Microsoft Teams for antitrust issues. Let’s take a look at what it means for you.

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Back in 2020, Slack, the instant messaging app designed to facilitate communication between workers and teammates, filed a complaint to the European Commission that accused Microsoft of illegal and anti-competitive behavior.

The complaint specifically related to Microsoft Teams and focused on the fact Microsoft forcefully installs Teams onto Microsoft 365 machines without offering a way to remove it or even informing customers about the cost that is associated with the program. A key aspect of the complaint relates to the fact that the move effectively removes the option for users to choose Slack as the messaging solution, with claims that it addresses a broader philosophical issue relating to tech company business practices:

“But 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.”

It seems that the European Commission feels that the Slack complaint is at least worth examining as it has already laid the groundwork for a detailed investigation. The investigation looks likely to investigate Microsoft’s interoperability and bundling of products and could also seek to define remedies, according to a report by Reuters. Theoretically, the move could mean that Microsoft may have to unbundle Microsoft Teams from the Microsoft 365 productivity suite and sell it separately.

In other recent Microsoft news, it might be time to boost your Windows 11 antivirus and antimalware security.

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