Sina Technology News Beijing time on the evening of July 17, it is reported that a number of people familiar with the matter said today that the European Union will launch a formal antitrust investigation into Microsoft's Office office suite bundled with Teams applications next week, which will be the first time that Microsoft has faced an EU antitrust investigation in 15 years.
Four people familiar with the matter said that while Microsoft has proved to have made some concessions to allay competition concerns, it does not seem to be enough. Two of the people added that once the investigation began, Microsoft could face formal charges from the European Union as early as this autumn.
As early as July 2020, Slack Technologies complained to the European Commission about Microsoft, accusing it of unfair competition. Slack Technologies claims that Microsoft abused its market dominance to eliminate the competition facing Microsoft Teams by bundling Microsoft Teams with its popular Office office software.
Microsoft Teams is an intelligent team collaboration tool based on chat, which can share documents synchronously and provide instant messaging tools for members, including voice and video conferencing. Slack Technologies also operates similar products.
Microsoft's bundling of Microsoft Teams with Office means that millions of users are forced to install Microsoft Teams and cannot be deleted. Subsequently, the EU sent a questionnaire to Microsoft's competitors: will the bundling of Microsoft Teams and Office bring more influence to Microsoft?
The European Commission's decision to launch a formal antitrust investigation into Microsoft highlights the EU's determination to crack down on the anti-competitive behaviour of large technology companies, analysts said today. Previously, Apple, Google and Meta were all under investigation for suspected anti-competitive behavior.
It was reported in April that Microsoft would stop forcing its customers to install Teams automatically on their devices. But talks between the European Commission and Microsoft have stalled because Microsoft has not made enough concessions, people familiar with the matter said today. In addition, there are differences between the two sides on the pricing of Teams.
People familiar with the matter also said that the current negotiations between the two sides mainly focused on "how Microsoft can avoid a formal investigation", but the reality is that the investigation seems inevitable.
Microsoft said: "We will continue to work with the European Commission and be open to pragmatic solutions to address EU concerns and better serve customers."
The EU said: "the assessment of this complaint is under way."
Over the past decade, Microsoft has been fined 2.2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) by the European Union for bundling and other practices. In addition to Slack Technologies, other companies that offer applications similar to Microsoft Teams include Zoom Video Communications, Google, Meta and Cisco.
Responsible Editor: Zheng Zhuo