Alfaview Files an Antitrust Complaint Against Microsoft
German rival, Alfaview, lodged an EU antitrust complaint against Microsoft on Thursday, taking issue with the tech giant's practice of bundling its video app, Teams, with its Office product suite. This marks the second such grievance aimed at Microsoft's alleged unfair competitive practices, as the EU regulators gear up to examine the US technology company.
Previous Antitrust Complaints Against Microsoft
Microsoft first came under the scrutiny of EU competition enforcement in 2020. At that time, the workspace messaging app Slack, owned by Salesforce, voiced its concerns over Microsoft's integration of Teams with its Office suite. Microsoft now faces similar accusations from Alfaview, a significant player in the communication software industry, boasting a robust workforce of 500 based in Karlsruhe, southwestern Germany.
Alfaview's Accusations Against Microsoft's Teams Integration
According to Alfaview, Microsoft's bundling strategy affords Teams an unjustified competitive edge that rivals cannot match, significantly skewing the competition landscape in the communication software market. Alfaview’s managing director and founder, Niko Fostiropoulos, said in a statement, "Tying Teams with the other applications in the Microsoft 365 suite creates a multipolar distribution advantage for the US group."
The European Commission's Response
While Microsoft has refrained from commenting on Alfaview's accusations, the European Commission confirmed receiving the complaint and stated that it would assess the situation based on its standard procedures. The Commission is also preparing to probe into Microsoft's alleged monopolistic practices after the tech company's attempted remedies failed to meet expectations.
Microsoft's Previous EU Antitrust Penalties
Microsoft, previously fined a hefty 2.2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) over the past decade for infringing upon EU competition rules, has proposed lowering the price of its Office product sans Teams. However, regulators are pressing for a larger price reduction. While a formal investigation hasn't been launched yet, an informal probe into Microsoft's practices is underway.
Alfaview Urges Formal Investigation
Alfaview has strongly urged the EU antitrust watchdog to launch a formal investigation, insisting that the solutions proposed by Microsoft to the Commission are far from sufficient. In the meantime, a Microsoft spokesperson stated, "We continue to engage cooperatively with the Commission in its investigation and are open to pragmatic solutions that address its concerns and serve customers well."