Business Essentials for Professionals


With The Teams App, Microsoft Faces An EU Antitrust Lawsuit And A Large Punishment

With The Teams App, Microsoft Faces An EU Antitrust Lawsuit And A Large Punishment
The European Commission accused Microsoft of illegally connecting its chat and video programme Teams with its Office product, giving it an unfair edge over competitors like Slack. As a result, Microsoft risks a hefty antitrust penalties.
The EU competition watchdog's most recent move, which came over two decades after Microsoft's previous EU sanction, was prompted by a 2020 complaint from Salesforce-owned competitor office messaging tool Slack.
The EU was drafting the accusations, according to a Reuters article from April.
The European Commission, which oversees EU competition, claimed that Teams had received a distribution edge and that competitors were further hampered by restrictions that prevented them from interacting with Microsoft's products.
"Preserving competition for remote communication and collaboration tools is essential as it also fosters innovation on these markets," EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
Two decades ago, the US IT giant was fined 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) by the EU for violating antitrust laws by linking together many products and other crimes. If found guilty of the most recent alleged antitrust violations, it might face fines equal to up to 10% of its annual global revenue.
The Commission said that additional adjustments were required to restore competition and that Microsoft's actions did not adequately address its concerns.
According to sources with direct knowledge of the situation, the EU enforcer wants the business to offer Office without Teams for less than what it has indicated, while competitors want greater incentives for consumers to move to them and more transparent interoperability agreements.
Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, restated remarks made earlier in the month on the company's commitment to fixing the problem.
"Having unbundled Teams and taken initial interoperability steps, we appreciate the additional clarity provided today and will work to find solutions to address the Commission's remaining concerns," Smith stated.
In order to restore a free and fair choice, Salesforce President and Chief Legal Officer Sabastian Niles encouraged the Commission to take immediate action towards a binding and effective solution.
Alfaview, a German competitor and complaint, likewise applauded the Commission's accusation against Microsoft.
In 2017, Teams was a free addition to Office 365, taking the role of Skype for Business. Due in part to its video conferencing capabilities, its popularity surged during the epidemic; nonetheless, competitors said that combining the products provided Microsoft with an advantage that is unfair. 
In an attempt to allay EU antitrust worries, Microsoft unbundled Teams from Office in April and made it simpler for competitors to use its products. However, according to insiders, this move was unlikely to satisfy authorities.

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc