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Communications: EU accuses Microsoft of abuse of dominant position by favoring its Teams application

The European Commission said the tech giant's efforts to comply with its regulations are "insufficient to address its concerns."

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(AFP / VOZ MEDIA) Microsoft violated E.U. antitrust rules by bundling its Teams communications application with its popular Office suite, the European Commission said Tuesday, concluding an investigation opened last year.

The European Commission, the E.U.'s executive arm, informed Microsoft of its "preliminary view" that it had "breached E.U. antitrust rules" by bundling Teams with its cloud-based Office 365 and Microsoft 365 suites.

Anticipating the charges, Microsoft had since September last year introduced changes to the way Teams operates, arguing that it sought to make it easier for competing applications to operate.

However, the commission found that the changes introduced by Microsoft did not go far enough.

"The Commission preliminarily finds that these changes are insufficient to address its concerns and that more changes to Microsoft's conduct are necessary to restore competition," the commission said in a statement.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that "Microsoft now has the opportunity to reply to our concerns."

Microsoft in favor of implementing more measures to please the EU

Microsoft President Brad Smith has indicated that Microsoft would be willing to take additional measures.

"Having unbundled Teams and taken initial interoperability steps, we appreciate the additional clarity provided today and will work to find solutions to address the Commission's remaining concerns," Smith said in a statement obtained by AFP.

If the case is not resolved, Microsoft could face a hefty fine or other penalties.

E.U. regulators are also investigating Microsoft's partnership with ChatGPT developer OpenAI to determine whether it is a disguised merger.

In late 2022, the European Commission also received a complaint from trade group CISPE against Microsoft over its licensing practices for cloud products and services.