More than a year after Slack complained to the EU about Microsoft’s decision to integrate Teams into Office, the European Union’s antitrust authorities are giving the first steps to investigate this case.
It should also be remembered that in June of this year Microsoft doubled its bet and announced that Teams would be integrated into Windows 11.
Ask the competition
Thus, and according to Reuters, EU officials are asking Microsoft’s rivals if you consider that integrating Teams into Office gives you more influence and power.
The questions focus on the period from 2016 to 2021. It should be noted that Microsoft announced Teams in early 2017 to compete with Slack and other collaboration applications.
Slack complained to the European Union in July of last year about Microsoft’s decision to ensure that linking or bundling Teams with Office was illegal. The company He demanded that the anti-competition authorities force the company to separate the two products.
In addition, Slack ensures that, once integrated into Office, users did not have an easy time uninstalling Teams and that Microsoft did not provide information so that third-party applications (such as Slack) could integrate and work better with the office suite.
These complaints have led the EU to ask whether packaged products can give companies access to data that allows them to take advantage of their position in the market. Something that, at the same time, could make it difficult for third parties to compete, especially those who only have one product.
However, while Slack was just a collaboration app at the time, it was later acquired by Salesforce. What’s more, Salesforce has already started integrating Slack into some of its native apps as well.
The impact of Covid
The questionnaire sent by the European authorities also asks about the barriers to entry or expansion in the market for applications in the workplace, the costs that changing applications may entail and the importance of protecting user data. .
Rivals have been asked to provide a list of customers who have switched to Microsoft Teams or its Office suite, the percentage of revenue they would have lost as a result of this change, as well as the impact of integrated products on their investments in innovation and the quality and price of their products.
We have asked several competing companies about these questions sent by the EU without, for the moment, none of them having wanted to declare anything.
In addition, it also investigates whether the pandemic has driven the demand for applications in the workplace and how these companies believe it will evolve.
An old record
It should be remembered that Microsoft spent almost ten years litigating with the EU on antitrust issues.
In those years, it was another integration (that of the browser in the operating system) that opened the door to one of the longest processes between technology and European authorities. But also that of the music player in Windows motivated another complaint for undermining the competition.
For now, these questions are only the beginning of an investigation whose consequences are still unknown.