EU antitrust regulators are following a Slack Technologies complaint by asking Microsoft’s competitors whether its Teams app built into its Office product gives it more leverage, a sign they might open an investigation.
In a questionnaire sent to competitors and viewed by Reuters, the European Commission focuses on the period 2016 to 2021. Microsoft introduced Teams in early 2017 to compete with Slack and others in the growing on-premises collaboration market. of work.
Slack, acquired by enterprise software maker Salesforce.com in July, presented its grievance over Microsoft’s Teams software to the Commission last year.
Microsoft, which has been fined 2.2 billion euros ($ 2.6 billion or around 19,100 crore rupees) in European fines for cases involving related and other practices during the previous decade, declined to comment.
Slack alleged that linking or regrouping teams with Office was illegal and urged the EU’s competition agency to separate the two.
He said Microsoft pre-installs workplace chat, it was difficult to uninstall, and the US company refused to provide information that would allow competing products to work with Teams and Office.
This prompted the Commission to ask whether bundled products give companies access to data that could increase their market power in both markets and, at the same time, make it harder for competitors to compete, especially those who have only one product.
He also asked about the barriers to entering or expanding the workplace application market, the costs of change for customers, and the importance of protecting user data.
Rivals were asked to provide a list of customers who switched to Microsoft Teams or its Office bundle, the percentage of revenue they lost as a result, and the impact of the integrated products on their investments in the. innovation and the quality and price of their products.
The questionnaire asked if COVID-19 had driven demand for workplace apps and how that would evolve after the pandemic.
Other companies that provide workplace applications include Zoom Video Communications, Alphabet’s Google, Facebook, and Cisco.
© Thomson Reuters 2021