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Microsoft’s EU Nightmare Reborn


Microsoft’s Sins: EU Demands Justice After Teams’ Abusive Reign

The European Union has finally caught up with Microsoft’s monopoly tactics, slapping the tech giant with a potential fine of up to 10% of its global annual turnover for illegally using its market dominance to crush rivals.

For years, Microsoft’s dominance in the Office suite has been enforced through the bundled inclusion of its popular chat and video app, Teams, which gives it an unfair advantage over competitors like Slack. The EU’s anti-trust authorities have been investigating Microsoft’s anticompetitive practices, and on Tuesday, they formally accused the company of illegally restricting competition.

Microsoft’s bundling of Teams with Office, which includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, is a clear example of exclusionary tactics designed to prevent smaller companies from entering the market. As a result, rival workspace messaging apps like Slack have been unable to break into the lucrative market, giving Microsoft a stranglehold on the remote communication and collaboration tool industry.

EU officials are seeking a fine and a settlement that would require Microsoft to sell Office without Teams, or at a lower price, while also guaranteeing interoperability between Teams and competitors. This move would restore fair competition and give customers a genuine choice between products.

Meanwhile, Microsoft President Brad Smith, fresh from announcing a separation between Teams and Office, has attempted to sound conciliatory, saying the company "appreciates the additional clarity" provided by the EU and will "work to find solutions" to address the competition commission’s concerns.

However, many believe the damage is done, and Microsoft’s past transgressions will prove difficult to erase. As the stakes are higher this time around, we can only hope the EU’s resolve to take on Big Tech is matched by its ability to effectively enforce its regulatory powers.

Stay tuned for further developments as this saga unfolds.



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