Microsoft has reportedly agreed to stop bundling Teams with its Office productivity suite to avoid a full-blown antitrust investigation in the EU.
Slack, Teams’ main competitor, filed an antitrust complaint in the EU in mid-2020, alleging that Microsoft was unfairly competing by bundling its application with Office. There appeared to be support for Slack’s claim, as Teams usage skyrocketed once Microsoft began bundling it. As of late-2022, Microsoft was looking for ways to settle the complaint before it escalated.
According to a Financial Times report, Microsoft has appeased regulators and prevented a full antitrust investigation by agreeing to stop bundling Teams with Office.
Microsoft gave the following statement to FT:
We are mindful of our responsibilities in the EU as a major technology company. We continue to engage cooperatively with the commission in its investigation and are open to pragmatic solutions that address its concerns and serve customers well.
While it’s good to see Microsoft make this change, some are pointing out that it only did so when it absolutely had to, in order to avoid regulatory hassle.
“Yet again, current Microsoft customers are left with more questions than answers as the legacy software provider is reportedly considering changes simply to avoid more regulatory action,” Ryan Triplette, Executive Director of the Coalition for Fair Software (CFSL), said in a statement provided to WPN. “All eyes are on Microsoft to see what the company will do to protect customer choice as it decouples these two ubiquitous software offerings. We have seen Microsoft use restrictive software licensing tactics in the cloud to increase customer dependence on its products and limit choice. Unbundling two products is not enough to address the valid concerns of customers and regulators about its restrictive software licensing practices.”
Regardless of the motive, the decision will hopefully help contribute to a more level playing field between Slack and Teams.
The decision should help contribute to a more level playing field between Slack and Team.