Slack says it has filed an anti-competitive complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission. “The complaint details Microsoft’s illegal and anti-competitive practice of abusing its dominant market position to extinguish competition in violation of European Union competition law,” Slack said in a statement. Slack alleges that Microsoft “illegally linked” its Microsoft Teams product to Office and “forces it to be installed for millions, blocking its removal and hiding the real cost to business customers.”
“Microsoft is going back to its past behavior,” said David Schellhase, general counsel at Slack. “They created a weak, copier product and linked it to their dominant Office product, forced it to install it and blocked its removal, a carbon copy of their illegal behavior during the ‘browser wars.’ Slack calls on the European Commission to take swift action to ensure that Microsoft cannot continue to illegally harness its power from one market to another by bundling or linking products. “
Slack has consistently claimed that Microsoft Teams is not a real competitor, in large part because it is more focused on video calls and meetings. This is clearly not true, and Slack and Microsoft have been engaged in a battle for the future of workplace communications for months.
Microsoft has claimed Slack does not have “the breadth and depth” to reinvent work, and Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield previously said Microsoft was “unhealthily concerned with killing us.”
Competition between the two companies began almost four years ago when Slack paid for a full-page newspaper ad to “welcome” Microsoft Teams as a competitor. Microsoft overtook the use of Slack a year ago and has recently reached a large number of users thanks to the demand related to the pandemic. Microsoft has revealed that it had 75 million daily active Microsoft Teams users in April, and the company may well update that number when it calls for results later today.
Slack previously revealed that it had 12 million daily active users as of October, but the company has not publicly updated that number since. Slack broke user records in March as more businesses turned to remote work.
The European Commission will now assess Slack’s complaint to determine whether it meets the grounds for a formal investigation. Microsoft has not faced a formal antitrust investigation in Europe since 2008, when the company was finally forced to offer a browser ballot choice after bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. Microsoft was then fined $ 730 million for not including the browser voting screen in Windows 7 SP1.