Microsoft's ongoing legal tussle regarding the dominance of its Microsoft Teams communication app could intensify. Sources indicate that the tech giant's recent proposal to separate Teams from Office in Europe did not appease EU regulators. The underlying concern lies in Microsoft's potential monopolistic practices surrounding Teams, as outlined in a recent Bloomberg report.
EU Regulators Unmoved by Divestment Proposal
Microsoft had offered to split off Teams in Europe as a countermeasure to alleviate antitrust concerns. However, this gesture reportedly “did not satisfy EU regulators.” Such a response from the regulatory body hints at potential strict actions that might be directed towards the tech titan in the near future. Though the specific points of contention have not been detailed in available reports, Microsoft's expansive growth and its consequential influence in the digital collaboration space seem to be at the crux of the matter.
The Context of Microsoft's Dominance
The Teams video app, originally integrated into the Microsoft 365 suite, has witnessed a surge in popularity and user adoption, especially during the global shift to remote work. As businesses worldwide leaned heavily on digital collaboration tools, Microsoft's product suite became more central to daily operations. This increasing dependence on Teams and its tight integration with other Microsoft products is what regulators might be viewing as a potential monopolistic behavior, putting other competitors at a disadvantage.
EU's stance on tech giants and their practices has always been under the spotlight, and this recent development is an extension of that scrutiny. Microsoft, like other major tech companies, will likely continue to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of global regulatory norms.
From October 1, 2023, in Europe, Microsoft will sell its Microsoft 365 and Office 365 packages without Teams for a bit cheaper (€2 off every month or €24 off every year). But if businesses still want Teams, they can buy it on its own for €5 a month or €60 a year. Microsoft also plans to make it easier for its products to work with other apps and services. They'll also let other software solutions use Office web apps.