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Germany’s Alfaview files EU antitrust complaint against Microsoft over bundling of Teams into Office

German software company alfaview on Thursday filed an EU antitrust complaint against the US software giant Microsoft over its bundling of video app Teams into its Office product. 

This is the second antitrust complaint so far over bundling both products together.

Alfaview, based in Karlsruhe in south-western Germany and with a 500-strong workforce, said it had filed a similar complaint to the European Commission.

The German company said that bundling both products together gives Teams a unique competitive advantage that is not justified by performance and which rivals cannot match.

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

Microsoft has been on the EU competition enforcer’s radar since 2020, when Salesforce-owned workspace messaging app Slack complained about the tying of Teams with Office.

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

This has significant and permanent impact on competition in the communication software market, alfaview said.

The Commission is set to launch an investigation into the move after Microsoft’s remedies fell short, a Reuters report said earlier this month.

Over the past decade, Microsoft has faced fines amounting to a total of 2.2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) for practices that violated EU competition rules.

In an attempt to address concerns, Microsoft has proposed lowering the price of its Office product without Teams.

“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,” Microsoft said.

Alfaview urged the EU antitrust watchdog to open a formal probe, saying remedies offered by its US rival to the Commission were insufficient.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Updated: 20 Jul 2023, 06:22 PM IST

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