Microsoft will no longer force users of its popular Office suite to also automatically install Teams video calling and collaboration service. The company decided to avoid an investigation by the EU antitrust authorities, writes the Financial Times.
The US tech giant made the concession to avoid a formal investigation by the European Commission, two people with direct knowledge of the decision said. The investigation was to be conducted following a complaint from the developer of the Slack platform, filed back in 2020. That complaint specifically alleged that Microsoft’s practice of bundling the two services was anti-competitive.
Financial Times sources said that in the future, when companies buy an office suite, they will be able to refuse to buy Teams, but the mechanism for this process is not yet fully developed. Negotiations on this issue are still ongoing.
Microsoft had long disappeared from the eyes of the EU antitrust authorities. The European Commission last showed interest in the tech giant in 2008, when it accused Microsoft of using its market dominance to trick users into downloading its Internet Explorer browser by bundling it with Windows. The company agreed with the European Commission to offer users the ability to choose a default browser, but was fined €561 million in 2013 for not delivering on that promise.
Slack, which has filed a complaint against Microsoft, has asked EU officials to oblige the latter to sell Teams separately from Office software. The filing of this complaint comes at a time when many office workers are rapidly transitioning to remote work due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the popularity of remote work apps like Teams and Slack skyrocketed.