An investigation into Microsoft's potential antitrust practices is underway nearly three years after Slack first filed a complaint against the company. The European Commission has announced a probe into if Microsoft bundling Teams with its product suites violated EU competition rules. Slack filed its antitrust complaint in 2020, alleging that Microsoft's decision to include Teams with Microsoft 365 or Office 365 is illegal and that the company blocked some users from removing the software.
In April, Microsoft agreed to remove Teams from its Office suite in an attempt to prevent a probe, but said it was unclear how it would do so. The effort wasn't enough to avoid concerns and make a deal. In its announcement opening the investigation, the European Commission said it "is concerned that Microsoft may grant Teams a distribution advantage by not giving customers a choice on whether or not to include access to that product when they subscribe to their productivity suites and may have limited the interoperability between its productivity suites and competing offerings."
A Microsoft spokesperson responded to the news: "We respect the European Commission’s work on this case and take our own responsibilities very seriously. We will continue to cooperate with the Commission and remain committed to finding solutions that will address its concerns."
This isn't the first time Microsoft has found itself in hot water with the European Commission. In 2009, the company agreed to offer EU users different browser options instead of forcing them to use Internet Explorer in Windows. Four years later, the European Commission fined Microsoft €561 million ($625 million) after a "glitch" stopped the browser choice screen from consistently appearing. The current investigation has no decision deadline, so it might be some time before the European Commission announces Microsoft's fate.