Launched during the COVID pandemic, Microsoft Teams was integrated with Office 365, Microsoft 365 and Windows 11 packages, making it almost impossible to avoid it from a PC, whether you needed a video conferencing solution or not.
Meanwhile, the importance of Microsoft Teams has paled in the face of newcomer Bing Chat, but that doesn’t mean the Windows developer has been quick to reduce its presence in related products, letting the European Union’s red tape go all the way with the much-proposed corrective measures time ago.
Following the nearly completed investigations by the European Commission, Microsoft risks stinging fines for anti-competitive practices related to the integration of the Teams video conferencing platform with other company services. Thus, Microsoft has only a small respite left for the voluntary withdrawal of the numerous bundles that aimed at the forced promotion of the Teams platform. The move follows a three-year antitrust lawsuit filed by rival Slack, alleging that Teams’ integration with Microsoft products is illegal and that the Windows developer is preventing users from getting rid of the pre-installed app.
Since the beginning of the year, Microsoft has taken the first steps in the direction of separating Teams from its productivity products, but delaying the process as much as possible. So much so that European Commission officials have launched their own investigation into possible violations of European anti-competitive legislation.
With few options left, it would appear that Microsoft is trying to please the European Commission by at least partially admitting the allegations: “We recognize our responsibility as a major technology provider to support a healthy competitive environment. We appreciate the clarity that has emerged on several of the concerns from extensive and constructive discussions with the European Commission,” says Microsoft’s vice president for European government affairs, Nanna-Louise Linde.
Microsoft also says it will create additional support resources to direct developers to public APIs and answer user questions, such as how their data is transferred from Teams to other competing services. In addition, Microsoft “will develop a new method” of using its programs in competing applications.