Slack accuses Microsoft of anticompetitive behavior in EU

Slack accused Microsoft of antitrust practices in the European Union on Wednesday. 

Slack filed a complaint against the tech giant with the European Commission, claiming it used its dominant market share to push customers toward Microsoft Teams, the company’s online collaboration tool, according to Slack’s official statement.

Slack claims that Microsoft tied Team to the Office suite, forcing millions to download the app and preventing it from being removed. Slack is asking the EU regulator to force Microsoft to sell Teams as a stand-alone product, instead of throwing it in with its Office bundles. 

“This is much bigger than Slack versus Microsoft – this is a proxy for two very different philosophies for the future of digital ecosystems, gateways versus gatekeepers,” said Jonathan Prince, Vice President of Communications and Policy at Slack, in the company’s announcement of the complaint. “Slack offers an open, flexible approach that compounds the threat to Microsoft because it is a gateway to innovative, best-in-class technology that competes with the rest of Microsoft’s stack and gives customers the freedom to build solutions that meet their needs. We want to be the 2% of your software budget that makes the other 98% more valuable; they want 100% of your budget every time.”

The European Commission has to look at Slack’s complaint and decide if it wants to move forward with a formal investigation against Microsoft. A Microsoft spokesperson told Digital Trends that they are open to providing additional information and answering any questions to the European Commission.

“We created Teams to combine the ability to collaborate with the ability to connect via video, because that’s what people want.  With COVID-19, the market has embraced Teams in record numbers while Slack suffered from its absence of video-conferencing,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “We’re committed to offering customers not only the best of new innovation, but a wide variety of choice in how they purchase and use the product.”

Both Slack and Microsoft Teams offer fairly similar conversation threads for messages including plain text and tagging.

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