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EU questions Microsoft rivals over Teams integration in Office

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BRUSSELS, Oct 8 (Reuters) – EU antitrust regulators are following up on a grievance by Slack Technologies by asking Microsoft’s (MSFT.O) rivals if its Teams app built-in with its Office product provides it larger clout, in an indication that they may open an investigation.

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

Slack, purchased by enterprise software program maker Salesforce.com (CRM.N) in July, took its grievance over Microsoft’s Teams software program to the Commission 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 Teams with Office was unlawful and urged the EU competitors company to separate the 2.

It mentioned Microsoft pre-installs the office chat, it was troublesome to un-install and that the U.S. firm refused to supply info which might enable rival merchandise to work with Teams and Office.

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

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

Rivals had been requested for a listing of consumers who’ve switched to Microsoft Teams or its bundled Office, the share of income that they had misplaced because of this, in addition to the affect of the built-in merchandise on their investments in innovation and the standard and worth of their merchandise.

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

Other firms which offer office apps embody Zoom Video Communications (ZM.O), Alphabet’s Google, Facebook (FB.O) and Cisco (CSCO.O).

($1 = 0.8641 euros)

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Alexander Smith

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