German software company Alfaview has filed an antitrust complaint against American tech giant Microsoft with the European Union (EU). The complaint centers around Microsoft’s bundling of its video app, Teams, with its Office product suite. This is the second such complaint that Microsoft has received on this issue, prompting the EU regulator to prepare for an investigation into the matter.
The controversy began in 2020 when Microsoft came under the scrutiny of the EU competition enforcer following complaints from Slack, a workspace messaging app owned by Salesforce. Slack had raised concerns about Microsoft’s practice of bundling Teams with Office, arguing that it gave Teams an unfair competitive advantage.
Alfaview, which employs 500 people, has echoed these sentiments in its own complaint to the European Commission. The company contends that the bundling of Teams and Office gives Teams an unmatched competitive edge that is not justified by its performance. This, according to Alfaview, creates an imbalance in the communication software market that competitors cannot match.
Niko Fostiropoulos, the managing director and founder of Alfaview, stated that the integration of Teams with other applications in the Microsoft 365 suite creates a multipolar distribution advantage for Microsoft. He believes this has a significant and lasting impact on competition within the industry.
Microsoft, which replaced Skype for Business with Teams in its Office 365 suite in 2017, has yet to comment on Alfaview’s complaint. The European Commission has confirmed receipt of the complaint and will assess it following standard procedures.
This is not the first time Microsoft has faced scrutiny over potential violations of EU competition rules. In the past, the company has been fined a total of 2.2 billion euros for such violations. While no formal investigation has been launched at this time, Microsoft is currently under an informal probe. Regulators are reportedly seeking a larger price reduction for the Office product without Teams.
A spokesperson for Microsoft stated that the company continues to engage cooperatively with the Commission in its investigation and is open to pragmatic solutions that address its concerns and serve customers well.