Microsoft reportedly faces EU antitrust probe after remedy discussions hit roadblock
A complaint by competing workspace chat app Slack put Microsoft in the European Union’s regulatory crosshairs.TJ Denzer
The deal to acquire Activision Blizzard isn’t the only thing that has had Microsoft appearing before European Union anti-trust commissions. The company could see action from the EU on another matter regarding its workspace messaging app, Teams. The company has been attempting to stave off investigations based on a complaint from Salesforce-owned competitor Slack, but allegations that Microsoft has not done enough to assuage anti-trust concerns may see the company facing fines in the near future without further action.
Word of the EU’s supposedly imminent probe against Microsoft regarding Teams and Slack were reported via Reuters. The probe would be based on a complaint filed by Slack against Microsoft in 2020. The original complaint alleged that Microsoft engaged in anti-competitive business when, in 2017, the company began bundling Teams into the Microsoft Office 365 suite of apps for free. Microsoft reportedly began talks with the European Commission in 2022 to attempt to circumvent investigations, including reducing the price of Office bundles that did not include the Teams app.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, the EU found the cuts in price to Office without Teams to be too small. According to anonymous sources familiar with the matter, the European Commission has sought a deeper price cut from Microsoft on its Office bundle than what has been offered, supposedly leading to the upcoming probe. If Microsoft is found to be in breach of EU antitrust regulations over the matter, it could see a fine of up to 10 percent of its global turnover. Nonetheless, Microsoft seems confident it can come to an agreement with the EU and will continue to negotiate the matter.
“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,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.
Microsoft may have convinced the EU to let its Activision Blizzard deal go through, but the company continues to find itself in regulatory hot water on other fronts. Stay tuned as we continue to follow this story for further updates.