Alfaview files EU antitrust complaint against Microsoft

German technology company Alfaview has lodged an antitrust complaint against Microsoft with the European Union.
Microsoft storesThis is the second complaint that Microsoft has faced over its practice of bundling its video app, Teams, into its Office product. The European Commission, the bloc’s regulator, is now gearing up to investigate the U.S. tech giant’s business practices.

The EU competition enforcer had already taken notice of Microsoft in 2020 when Salesforce-owned messaging app Slack raised concerns about the bundling of Teams with Office. Following Slack’s complaint, Alfaview, based in Karlsruhe, southwestern Germany, and employing 500 people, has now followed suit and submitted a similar complaint to the European Commission.

Alfaview argues that combining Teams with Office gives the U.S. company an unfair advantage in the market, a claim that other competitors cannot match. According to Alfaview, this situation has a considerable and lasting impact on competition in the communication software market.

Niko Fostiropoulos, managing director, and founder of Alfaview, said: “Tying Teams with the other applications in the Microsoft 365 suite creates a multipolar distribution advantage for the U.S. group.”

Microsoft has declined to comment on Alfaview’s complaint. The European Commission confirmed the receipt of the complaint and stated that it will evaluate it according to standard procedures.

In 2017, Microsoft integrated Teams into Office 365 for free and eventually replaced Skype for Business. The Commission is now poised to launch an investigation into this integration, as Microsoft’s proposed remedies were deemed inadequate, Reuters news report said.

In the past decade, Microsoft has faced a total of €2.2 billion ($2.5 billion) in fines for violating EU competition rules. To address the current concerns, Microsoft offered to lower the price of its Office product without Teams. However, regulators are pushing for more significant reductions.

While no formal investigation has been initiated yet, Microsoft is currently the subject of an informal probe by the EU antitrust watchdog. A Microsoft spokesperson commented, “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.”

Alfaview has called on the EU antitrust watchdog to launch a formal investigation, stating that the remedies proposed by Microsoft to the Commission are inadequate and fail to address the core issues at hand.

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