EU probes Microsoft over Teams and Office 365 ‘bundling’

27 Jul 2023

Image: © Tobias Arhelger/

Following a complaint by Slack in 2020, the EU Commission believes Microsoft Teams may be in breach of competition laws in Europe.

The European Commission has launched an investigation to determine whether Microsoft is guilty of breaking EU competition rules by bundling its Teams platform with Office 365 and Microsoft 365.

In an announcement today (27 July), the Commission said it is concerned that Microsoft may be “abusing and defending its market position” in productivity software by restricting competition for communication and collaboration products in Europe.

It argued that Microsoft may grant Teams what it calls a “distribution advantage” by not giving customers a choice on whether to include access to that product when they subscribe to their productivity suites, resulting in limited interoperability with competing tools.

The practice, if found to be true, constitutes “anti-competitive tying or bundling”, the Commission said, and may prevent suppliers of other communication tools from competing.

EU competition chief Margarethe Vestager said that the investigation is important because remote communication and collaboration tools like Teams have become “indispensable” for many businesses in Europe.

“We must therefore ensure that the markets for these products remain competitive and companies are free to choose the products that best meet their needs. This is why we are investigating whether Microsoft’s tying of its productivity suites with Teams may be in breach of EU competition rules.”

The Commission said that the investigation can be traced back to a complaint submitted by Slack three years ago, a competing workplace collaboration platform, that Microsoft “illegally tied” Teams to its dominant productivity suites.

There is no legal deadline set for the antitrust investigation to end, the Commission said, and the duration will depend on the complexity of the case and the extent to which the companies concerned cooperate with the commission.

Earlier this month, the Commission approved Broadcom’s $61bn bid to acquire US cloud company VMware, provided the hardware giant complies with interoperability commitments.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic