Microsoft Likely to Face EU Antitrust Investigation in Coming Months

Microsoft is likely to face an EU antitrust investigation in the coming months after remedy discussions with the EU watchdog to avert such a move appear to have hit a roadblock, people familiar with the matter said.

Microsoft, which has been fined EUR 2.2 billion (nearly Rs. 19,670 crore) in the previous decade for practices in breach of EU competition rules, including tying or bundling two or more products together, found itself in the EU crosshairs after a complaint by Salesforce-owned workspace messaging app Slack in 2020.

Microsoft added Teams to Office 365 in 2017 for free, with the app eventually replacing Skype for Business. 

Slack alleged that its rival had unfairly integrated workplace chat and video app Teams into its Office product.

Microsoft kicked off talks with the European Commission last year in a bid to stave off an investigation. It recently offered to cut the price of its Office product without its Teams app.

The European Commission has been seeking a deeper price cut than that offered by the U.S. software giant, the people said.

The EU executive declined to comment. 

A Microsoft spokesperson said: “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.”

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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