Slack files EU antitrust complaint against Microsoft

It’s about bundling teams and office. Microsoft is to gain an unauthorized competitive advantage. Slack also assumes the exploitation of a dominant position.

Slack Technologies has filed a cartel complaint against Microsoft with the EU Commission. The software company is said to abuse a dominant position to wipe out the competition. Specifically, the provider of software for team communication is about linking Microsoft Teams with the Office-Productivity applications.

Slack (graphic: slack)According to the complaint, the Redmond company “illegally” integrated its team product into Office, “forcing” millions of users to install the application. Microsoft also prevents the deletion of the teams app and conceals the actual costs for teams from its enterprise customers.

In fact, Microsoft makes teams of many of its Office 365 business customers available at no additional cost. Microsoft, like Slack, also offers a free version. In April, Microsoft reported 75 million daily team users. Slack, in turn, said it had 12.5 million users accessing its service at the end of March. Microsoft also has nearly 260 million paid business subscribers for Office 365.

In his complaint, Slack also compared Microsoft’s approach to “illegal behavior during the browser war”. During the time when Internet Explorer dominated the browser market, Microsoft had also been accused of artificially increasing its distribution by bundling it with Windows and setting it as the default browser in the operating system and consequently hindering competition. Ultimately, however, the dominance of Internet Explorer was not ended by antitrust regulations, but by the advent of new web standards and browser functions, above all Google Chrome supported better than the Microsoft product.

In addition, Slack claims that it only wants “the two percent of your software budget to make the other 98 percent more valuable,” while Microsoft is always “100 percent of its budget.” In May, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield said Microsoft was not a competitor to Slack. However, Microsoft is listed as the main competitor in a current Slack listing.

Microsoft, however, rejects the allegations. “We designed teams to combine the ability to collaborate with the ability to connect video because that’s what people want. With COVID-19, the market has recorded teams in record numbers, while Slack suffered from the lack of video conferencing. We strive not only to offer our customers the best in new innovations, but also a wide range of ways in which they can buy and use the product. We look forward to providing the European Commission with additional information and answering any questions they may have. “

The EU cartel guards must now examine the complaint and decide whether to accept or reject it.

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