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EU questions Microsoft rivals over Teams integration in Office

Microsoft Groups app is seen on the smartphone positioned on the keyboard on this illustration taken, July 26, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Picture

BRUSSELS, Oct 8 (Reuters) – EU antitrust regulators are following up on a criticism by Slack Applied sciences by asking Microsoft’s rivals if its Groups app built-in with its Workplace product provides it better clout, in an indication that they might open an investigation.

In a questionnaire despatched to rivals and seen by Reuters, the European Fee is specializing in the interval 2016 to 2021. Microsoft launched Groups in early 2017 to compete with Slack and others within the fast-growing office collaboration market.

Slack, purchased by enterprise software program maker Salesforce.com in July, took its grievance over Microsoft’s Groups software program to the Fee final 12 months.

Microsoft, which has been handed 2.2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) in EU fines for circumstances involving so-called tying and different practices in earlier decade, declined to remark.

Slack alleged that tying or bundling Groups with Workplace was unlawful and urged the EU competitors company to separate the 2.

It mentioned Microsoft pre-installs the office chat, it was tough to un-install and that the U.S. firm refused to offer info which might permit rival merchandise to work with Groups and Workplace.

This has prompted the Fee to ask if bundled merchandise give firms entry to knowledge that will improve their market energy in each markets and on the similar time make it tougher for rivals, particularly these with solely product, to compete.

It has additionally requested about limitations to entry or growth within the office apps market, switching prices for purchasers and the significance of person knowledge safety.

Rivals have been requested for an inventory of consumers who’ve switched to Microsoft Groups or its bundled Workplace, the share of income they’d misplaced because of this, in addition to the influence of the built-in merchandise on their investments in innovation and the standard and worth of their merchandise.

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The questionnaire requested if the COVID-19 had boosted demand for office apps and the way this can evolve post-pandemic.

Different firms which give office apps embrace Zoom Video Communications , Alphabet’s Google, Fb and Cisco .

($1 = 0.8641 euros)

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Enhancing by Alexander Smith

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