Slack files competition complaint against Microsoft in Europe

Slack files competition complaint against Microsoft in Europe
© Getty Images

Workplace messaging service Slack announced Wednesday it has filed a complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission on Wednesday, alleging the tech giant is using its market dominance to crowd out competition.

The complaint accuses Microsoft of illegally tying its workplace product, Teams, to its suite of productivity tools, forcing millions of installs and hiding the true costs from enterprise customers.

“We’re confident that we win on the merits of our product, but we can’t ignore illegal behavior that deprives customers of access to the tools and solutions they want,” Jonathan Prince, vice president of communications and policy for Slack, said in a statement Wednesday.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Slack threatens Microsoft’s hold on business email, the cornerstone of Office, which means Slack threatens Microsoft’s lock on enterprise software.”

A spokesperson for Microsoft told The Hill they "look forward" to answering any questions in a potential investigation.

"With COVID-19, the market has embraced Teams in record numbers while Slack suffered from its absence of video-conferencing," they continued. "We’re committed to offering customers not only the best of new innovation, but a wide variety of choice in how they purchase and use the product."

Slack is asking that the European Commission, the bloc's antitrust body, stop Microsoft from bundling Teams with its other products.

The two workplace services have been competing for years, although each company has claimed until now that they are not true competitors because they focus on different facets of office communications.

Both Slack and Teams say they have grown significantly in recent months with the coronavirus pandemic forcing companies to adopt work-from-home policies.

The European Commission will now assess the complaint to determine whether a formal complaint should be opened.

Microsoft is one of the few American tech giants that has largely avoided intensifying regulatory scrutiny of the industry.

The executives of Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook are set to testify before Congress next week on digital marketplace competition issues.

Updated at 12:55 p.m.