Microsoft is still facing EU antitrust charges despite unbundling Teams from Office

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It seems that Microsoft’s attempts to sidestep anticompetition legal action over its Teams software has failed. Although Teams has been -- begrudgingly -- unbundled from Office, the European Commission is believed to be forging ahead with antitrust charges.

Many rivals to Teams, including the likes of Slack, have expressed concern about what they believe to be anticompetitive behavior by Microsoft. Despite Microsoft decoupling Teams from Office and other software, EU officials are of the opinion that the company has not gone far enough to level the playing field.

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When Microsoft announced the unbundling of Teams from Office, it presumably thought that the gesture of doing this globally rather than just within Europe would be enough to stop the legal vultures circling. But the Financial Times reports that this may well not have been enough to calm concerns about the pushing of Teams and the effect this is having on rivals:

According to three people with knowledge of the move, the European Commission is pressing ahead with a formal charge sheet against the world's most valuable listed tech company over concerns it is restricting competition in the sector.

The unbundling of Teams from other software is seen as little more than a token gesture. There are still concerns that Teams is given preferential treatment when it comes to compatibility with other Microsoft software. The FT also says:

[Rivals] also argue that Microsoft has set the pricing of its own products in ways that give little incentive for users to choose other videoconferencing options. Another concern is the lack of data portability, which makes it difficult for existing Teams users to switch to alternatives.

While there is no official word from the EU about what exactly happens next -- or when -- it is thought that charges could be brought against Microsoft in the next few weeks.

With potential fines of up to 10 percent of global turnover, Microsoft has a strong incentive to play ball and offer further concessions to calm concerns.

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