Microsoft Announces ‘Proactive Changes’ to Stave Off EU Antitrust Concerns

Microsoft is making "proactive changes" to how it offers Teams in an effort to prevent further EU antitrust measures....
Microsoft Announces ‘Proactive Changes’ to Stave Off EU Antitrust Concerns
Written by Staff
  • Microsoft is making “proactive changes” to how it offers Teams in an effort to prevent further EU antitrust measures.

    The EU has been scrutinizing Microsoft’s bundling of Teams with Microsoft 365 and Office 365, following complaints by Slack that the Microsoft’s tactics give it an unfair advantage. The EU announced a formal investigation in late July, prompting Microsoft’s most recent changes.

    Nanna-Louise Linde, Vice President, Microsoft European Government Affairs, announced the changes in a blog post:

    Today we are announcing proactive changes that we hope will start to address these concerns in a meaningful way, even while the European Commission’s investigation continues and we cooperate with it. These changes will impact our Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites for business customers in the European Economic Area and Switzerland. They are designed to address two concerns that are central to the Commission’s investigation: (1) that customers should be able to choose a business suite without Teams at a price less than those with Teams included; and (2) that we should do more to make interoperability easier between rival communication and collaboration solutions and Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites.

    Before offering more details, let me provide some added context. We believe that business customers in Europe and around the world expect a modern work solution to include modern communication and collaboration capabilities. That’s why, for more than a decade, we have included these capabilities in our business suites, starting with Office Communicator in 2007 and evolving and innovating over the years through Lync, Skype for Business Online, and most recently Microsoft Teams.

    At the same time, we recognize our responsibility as a major technology provider to support a healthy competitive environment. We appreciate the clarity that has emerged on several of the concerns from extensive and constructive discussions with the European Commission. With the benefit of this clarity, we believe it is important that we start to take meaningful steps to address those concerns. We do this not with the sense that this will necessarily resolve all concerns, whether from the Commission or our competitors, but we believe this is a constructive step that can start to lead to immediate and meaningful changes in the market.

    Moving forward, Microsoft will unbundle Teams effective October 1, 2023. The company will also work to improve interoperability between Microsoft 365/Office 365 and other platforms. Finally, the company will make it possible for companies to host Office web apps on competing platforms.

    Only time will tell if these measures will be enough to stave off further EU action.

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