September 30, 2023

The European Fee has opened right this moment an antitrust investigation to find out if Microsoft bundling Microsoft Groups with its Workplace 365/Microsoft 365 business subscriptions is anti-competitive. The EU probe follows a 2020 antitrust grievance from Slack, which accused Microsoft of doing “a carbon copy of their unlawful habits through the ‘browser wars.’”

Microsoft Groups, which launched as a barebones Slack competitor again in 2017, skilled unprecedented progress through the pandemic. “They created a weak, copycat product and tied it to their dominant Workplace product, drive putting in it and blocking its elimination,” Slack complained again in 2020.

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Quick ahead to 2023, the European Fee will now perform an in-depth investigation to search out out if Microsoft is definitely giving Groups a “distribution benefit” by not giving clients the selection to not get the app once they subscribe to Workplace 365/Microsoft 365. “These practices could represent anti-competitive tying or bundling and forestall suppliers of different communication and collaboration instruments from competing, to the detriment of shoppers within the European Financial Space,” the EU Fee mentioned right this moment.

Again in April, the Monetary Instances reported that Microsoft had agreed to cease bundling Microsoft Groups with its Workplace suite to keep away from an antitrust investigation within the EU. Nevertheless, the publication reported on the time that the mechanism Microsoft would use to permit clients buying Workplace to get Groups or not was nonetheless unclear.

From Slack’s standpoint, it’s fairly apparent that organizations that already get Groups for “free” as a part of their Workplace 365/Microsoft subscription have just about no incentive to pay for Slack or some other cloud-based collaboration instrument. In recent times, Groups actually grew to become a core Microsoft 365 app with numerous synergies with the remainder of the corporate’s productiveness apps. A shopper model of Groups can be put in by default on Home windows 11.

“We respect the European Fee’s work on this case and take our personal tasks very significantly. We’ll proceed to cooperate with the Fee and stay dedicated to discovering options that can deal with its considerations,” a Microsoft spokesperson mentioned right this moment in response to this new EU antitrust probe.