The EU’s Investigation Into Microsoft Teams: A Preliminary Assessment

July 8, 2024


EU has opened an antitrust investigation into Microsoft's policy of including the communication software Teams in its Office 365 packages. Very little is known about the case and the alleged grievances, as only a short press statement is available. This identifies Office 365 as dominant, and the integration of Teams as directed at monopolizing the market for communication software and shielding Office 365 from competition.

The first comports badly with market data, and the latter points to a case that has less to do with Teams and more with Office 365 and a ring-fencing strategy, shielding Microsofts core business.

DG COMP has shown its commitment to progressing the issue by filing a SO, which has also provided Microsoft with opportunities to provide justifications for its actions. This necessitates challenging the market definition and the risk of foreclosure, while also considering how bundling enhances efficiencies through seamless integration and counters rival communication software providers as a potential long-term threat to Microsoft. The ring-fencing strategy, which (potentially) acts as the governing incentive, relies on the latter.

However, Microsoft may justifiably dismiss it as disconnected from reality. Regardless of everything, currently our ability is limited to making informed conjectures, which is just somewhat more sophisticated than interpreting coffee grounds.