San Francisco: To avoid an official antitrust probe by European Union (EU) regulators, Microsoft has announced that it will no longer require users of its popular Office software to also install its Teams video conferencing and messaging app on their devices.
According to the Financial Times, citing sources, Microsoft has made the concession to avoid a formal investigation, following a 2020 complaint by rival Slack (an enterprise chat app) alleging Microsoft bundling the service together was anti-competitive.
Slack has requested that EU officials compel Microsoft to sell Teams independently of its Office software.
Slack’s complaint came at a time when the trend towards working from home was accelerating.
Apps like Teams and Slack exploded in popularity during the Covid pandemic, creating a multibillion-dollar opportunity as users and businesses increasingly adopt tools that enable remote working, the report said.
“We are mindful of our responsibilities in the EU as a major technology company. We continue to engage cooperatively with the commission in its investigation and are open to pragmatic solutions that address its concerns and serve customers well,” Microsoft was quoted as saying.
Moreover, the report said that Microsoft was accused by the commission in 2008 of using its dominant position to force users to download its Internet Explorer browser by bundling it with Windows.
Although the company settled with the commission and offered users a choice of browsers, the EU fined the company 561 million in 2013 for failing to fulfil its promise.
Meanwhile, Twitter CEO Elon Musk has threatened to sue Microsoft over claims that the company “trained illegally using Twitter data”.
Musk reacted after Microsoft dropped Twitter from its advertising platform as it allegedly refused to pay Twitter’s application programming interface (API) fees.