Concerns that Microsoft might have bundled its productivity software part of the Office package with its collaboration product Teams prompted the European Commission to open a formal investigation on Thursday.
The European Commission’s decision stems from the complaint filed three years ago by Teams’ competitor, Slack, accusing Microsoft of putting rivals at a disadvantage by illegally tying Teams to its productivity software package.
The emergence of new players such as Teams and Slack was boosted by the demand for collaboration tools when the global COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people to work remotely.
The complaint, which dates back to 2020, also alleges that Microsoft abused its dominant position in the productivity software market by restricting the interoperability of its services with competing offerings like Slack.
The EC found ground in the concerns that Microsoft might have given Teams an advantage and will conduct an in-depth investigation since the so-called bundling, the practice of tying products together to harm rivals’ chance of competing, is a breach of EU competition rules.