The sheer scale of Microsoft Teams dominance could mean big trouble

Microsoft could be set to face a probe into supposed unfair practices that give it a helping hand in the office software space.

Reuters says an EU antitrust investigation could focus on the fact that the video conferencing service is bundled in with the Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) suite, which includes apps like Word, Excel, and OneDrive cloud storage.

This so-called unfair integration was highlighted by Slack, another big player in the online collaboration space – which is likely suffering as a result of the Microsoft 365 pricing model.

Teams vs Slack

Slack currently costs from $7.25 (£5.75) per user per month on an annual contract, offering full chat support, video conferencing and voice call support.

Microsoft’s cheapest business plan costs from $6 (£4.50) per month, annually, and includes Teams, 1TB of cloud storage, and web versions of its major apps. A subscription with full desktop clients costs from $12 (£7.90) per month.

Reuters says Slack has urged the EU competition enforcer to require that Microsoft sells its Teams platform separately, outside of the Microsoft 365 suite, which would promote better competition from the likes of Slack, Zoom, and Google Workspace.

The European Commission has reportedly sent out more questionnaires after a batch sent out last October, which some people believe could be the start of an investigation into the company’s practices.

Microsoft is currently working on a premium version of Teams that will see the introduction of things like AI transcription in 40 different languages and more advanced security features. It’s set to arrive in Q1 2023, but for now, at least, this won’t stop the standard version of Teams remaining part of the broader 365 package.

TechRadar Pro has asked Microsoft for a comment – any responses will be updated here.

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