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Slack complaint spurs EU to investigate Microsoft Teams Office integration

Microsoft Teams PC
Microsoft Teams PC (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Slack filed a complaint with EU antitrust regulators over Microsoft bundling Teams with Office.
  • Said regulators are now surveying Microsoft rivals to find out if this bundling activity gives Microsoft unfair market advantages.

Another day, another controversy. This time, it's a result of Slack filing a complaint against Microsoft's Teams and Office activities. Specifically, Slack Technologies made the claim that Microsoft integrating Teams with Office constituted an illegal move that disadvantaged products attempting to rival Teams (via Reuters).

Slack is one of Teams' rivals, as are Zoom and Facebook. In response to Slack's complaint, EU antitrust regulators are contacting said rivals to ask them specifics such as how many of their customers had left for Teams or Office, how much money those migrations cost them, and the overall impact of these elements in concert.

It's no secret that Microsoft is keen on integrating Teams into more and more PC users' lives. It routinely boasts about the quarter of a billion people that use its communications platform, and has even made it part of the core Windows 11 experience via the Chat app. But rivals of Microsoft argue that the tech giant is, in essence, making Teams too deeply nestled within the PC lifestyle for their products to have a fair shot.

Slack, in its complaint, highlighted that Teams comes preinstalled, is hard to uninstall, and that Microsoft hadn't provided key information so that rivals could work with Office and Teams instead of being cut out of the loop.

It's unclear what the end result of the antitrust regulators' efforts is beyond determining if Microsoft is creating an unfair situation for the competition. Verdicts, consequences, and responses from the involved parties remain to be seen.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

32 Comments
  • This is bulls**t. Doesn't Microsoft have the right to include a piece of software alongside its other offerings? They can complain about Microsoft making it difficult for other apps to connect to Office but bundling? Imagine if MS loses this case, and then VLC, Files, 7Zip filing a complaint against MS for bundling video player, file explorer and compression manager as part of core Windows OS.
    In their fight for market share, it's us the users who are affected the most. We might have to pay for Office and Teams, GSuite and Meet separately.
  • You tell 'em. Also, do me a solid and put a * on bullsh*t or other such terms in future comments. Asking mainly 'cause that kinda stuff gets moderated and it's prob best to avoid attracting any attention over (I don't mess with readers' comments, but I also don't speak for everyone).
  • I thought they made this complaint before and it was already settled?
  • Evidently not, based on today's report.
  • "Unfair" is an absurd term in this context. Companies compete. When MS made it so that WordPerfect wouldn't run on Windows in order to create uncertainty in the marketplace if WordPerfect was a viable product compared to MS Word, which ran great, that was unfair, because they created a false impression about a competitor's product. They did approximately the same thing before that to make DR DOS appear to be a non-viable PC OS by releasing software specifically coded not to work with their competitor's system. Those were underhanded moves that hurt their own customers in order to sabotage their competitors and MS deserved the anti-MS sentiment they engendered. However, when they bundled Word and Excel to provide a competitive advantage over WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 (each from a separate company), that was just good business. Should WordPerfect have been able to successfully claim that creating an Office Suite was "unfair"? The same with bundling Teams with Office today. Instead of whining that your competitor is beating you, how about upping your game, Slack? I used to use Slack. Loved it for the new features and work modes it created. I switched to Teams, not because it was free with Office, but because it was a MUCH better product, doing many really useful things that Slack doesn't touch. Slack rested on its laurels and, as always happens in tech, if you don't evolve and improve, you will lose your users to the innovators. See Skype, Windows Mobile -> Phone -> dead, Internet Explorer, etc. All were dominant just like Slack, and fell to more innovative solutions. MS is hardly immune to this effect, but neither should they be persecuted simply for their other successes.
  • I totally agree.
  • Wrong sub-thread, correcting...
  • Not saying you're wrong but, I've found Teams to be really bad compared to Slack when it comes to; hackability/extensibility/modularity. It just doesn't seem to be geared for that kind of sophisticated user/dev, it's more of an *all things to all people* 'monolith' approach. I don't suppose you can point to some good resources that explain why/how, it is in fact; much better WRT hackability/extensibility/modularity? And integrations (ones that are not part of the same family of co's or partnerships) seem to be much more insular/limited too. But again, if you know of some resources that do highly detailed comparative analysis & come to different conclusions, I'd love to see them! Thank-you.
  • "I've found Teams to be really bad compared to Slack when it comes to; hackability/extensibility/modularity."
    Then kindly enlighten Slack and find out what their whining is truly all about. If Slack is better, why are they complaining? Maybe they should write their own Office suite and integrate Slack into it.
  • Teams included in Windows 11 is for consumers, not businesses.
  • i don't think any of them have much to worry about Teams personal, I don't think it will do very well, and it is easy to get rid.
  • I think they are correct, seems like Ms wants everyone to use teams, even if there is no advantage in it.
  • It's called Asset leverage. Slack would be doing the same if they had the chance. Any company would as at the end day engagement is what sells products and services thus more profit.
  • You may be right,k but I doubt the company I work for would try to push slack onto us, the only reason they are pushing teams is no doubt because they already pay for it as Managers use it and it is integrated into Microsoft 365, so they push it on to us, but a limited version, so they get more value for their money.
    If that is how it works, I presume they pay for a licence that allows them to use Teams/ Microsoft 365 for a certain amount of people.
    I could be wrong, I have not looked into it.
    I am getting fed up with being pushed into things that does nothing and to me, and for the work I do, Teams is a total and complete waste of time
  • Don't mean to offend but If so then the fault is of your company for doing that, since its your company that decided to force a low value bundle on to you, if it affects your productivity and everyone who works with you for that matter, then you should rather discuss it with your co workers then lodge a complaint about the said failures and provide a better alternative? or solution so that the company may hopefully consider better options ?
  • Out of 300 people there is only 3 that use it, a few more have it on their phone, but way over half have not even installed it. Ii don't think it will stay for much longer, suppose to be a trial, but the trial time ended a couple of weeks ago, but it is still being pushed.
    I can understand managers having a need for it, but it is not for us.
  • @ad47uk what you described is a both a policy failure and consultation failure - providing you are not only mentioning parts that support your opinion. Secondly, poor usage is down to lack of training and familiarisation training. Teams is extremely advance when it comes to collaborative working. However, it is no means perfect and has some serious shortcomings. However in terms Microsoft 365 integration it's obviously better than zoom or slack. In regards to how you feel about Teams, that's really not Microsoft's fault but the company's fault again due to poor consultation. Plus, there's also your personal bias factor. The question to you, do you use SharePoint?
  • It is down to pushing something that is not needed, they say it is, so we can chat with our colleagues, why would I want an app to do that when I pass them all the time? I don't work in an office based company, I work in a warehouse in a super store, other people in the store also don't feel the need for it. I had this discussion with my manager a couple of weeks ago.
    I can understand Teams being used when people are away from the office or work in a different building, town, country what ever, but not when in the same building, also when do we get time to use it anyway? I unload and load up lorries and sort out stock, when would i get the time to use Teams, even if I wanted to? I don't blame MS, but I do think they should be clamped down, getting far too large now i use sharepoint now and again, I have to get paperwork from it, also our training is on it which we have to do every year and I have to check what is on the lorries before they come, it is all on SharePoint.
  • Teams is a communications platform. Not sure id ever care which one my job uses. I get paid to use it. I o ly care when I'm making the choice for myself, and paying to use it. If work says Teams, I use it and don't bat an eyelash.
  • Consumer rights:-
    Even if they did, the users have a right to have optional apps as such for ease, no one said no to Microsoft Defender cause of "options", but it doesn't mean folks wouldn't install their own anti-virus programs instead of it cause you can if you need, the point is simple an OS is only useful as what its bundled with, and these apps aren't even tied to the platform unlike *cough*and*cough*roid*cough*, which means users get to decide if they need it or not, cause you can uninstall all of it..., its quite simple, Groove music, Movies & TV app , outlook apps, Office, Edge, these are simply there as optional services so the users don't have to waste their time trying to find 3rd party programs cause not everyone is capable of installing programs to make use of their OS... and if you forgot about it, Sales:-
    Microsoft isn't making their money mainly from selling Windows anymore, so they have a fair right in the market they are trying to dip into, instead of selling an OS, they're prioritizing on selling services so they can continue to give us Windows mostly for free... Business model:-
    If you are to consider the business right to it then they are in the right cause they aren't getting paid for Windows 11 "mostly" because anyone who owned Windows 7 - 10 can upgrade to Windows 11... free of charge.. Services:-
    Then again app bundling would have made sense if you actually used some common sense... like "ease of use" one of the most basic requirements in providing an OS = QoS matters.
  • Slack seriously misstepped here as effectively they are saying Teams always comes with bundled with office. It does not. It depends on the package / bundle. Unfortunately for Slack, the EU regulators are more well versed in technology than most US politcians. That's why we have better consumer rights when it comes to data protection, competitive practices, internet access just to name a few. Not to mention, corporate lobbyists dont weild that much influence here. The only sphere of influence they have (in the UK) is privatisation and reduced levels of taxes paid (due to the greedy, incompetent, idiotic tories).
  • The EU is so jealous of the success of American Tech Companies they will do anything they can to undermine them and extract $$ out of them. This week I read that Intel is planning to build a Manufacturing plant in the EU instead of the UK. Someone there must be insane trying to navigate the regulatory hell they will encounter trying to manufacture there. Bad move.
  • There is so much ignorance in that comment it's mind boggling.
  • Nah, it's just failing American companies trying to complain about successful American companies that provide users their right to have inbuilt services which makes users lives easier.
    simply put "mommy mommy they cant have those toys even though their parents gave it to them, that's unfair!" ..
  • The OP was referring to the EU not US companies lol.
  • They run to the EU cause the EU is friendly to these types of claims. Slack is an American company owned by Salesforce. They wouldn't bring this up in US court first. They'd do it in EU and only bring it here if the ruling there is favorable to them.
  • Microsoft had no idea how to make a compelling realtime communications platform for business until Skype came along and did it. It didn’t take long for Microsoft to duplicate the basics of Slack’s UI (poorly at first), redeploying their Skype for Business infrastructure for Teams … and then following the standard Microsoft playbook from the 90s, they ramped up the integration between Teams and Windows so most users wouldn’t think to look elsewhere. Yeah, I’m not surprised Skype lodged a complaint and I really don’t blame them. I don’t know how successful they’ll be with it, but that’s another matter.
  • Perhaps your thoughts made sense in your mind but they clearly did not make sense with each other after you decided to make a post about it.
  • >Teams comes preinstalled, is hard to uninstall
    Every single piece of software preinstalled in Windows 10
    >Slack
    I have never seen somebody using slack
    This is basically one company complaining to another company "you can't integrate that in your stuff even though you clearly own that service and you should have the right to!"
  • This literally has nothing to do with teams for life. Just like slack is a business product so is the office 365 teams. Nothing to do with the windows 11 inclusoon
  • Can they name one operating system without a native chat client? Oh that's right. They can't.
  • This isn't about Windows. Its about Office. Teams being in Office 365 means that no one will pay extra for Slack if they already subscribe to Office 365. It would be a waste of money. Microsoft is pretty de facto in the productivity software/services market. Slack wants Teams out of Officr 365 so that those people have a choice to pay for Teams or Pay for Slack. Teams I Windows doesn't work for business accounts. It only works for Personal Microsoft/Outlook.com accounts. They are different product DKUs, like consumer Skype and Skype for Business were. Or Windows Live Messenger and Office Communicator, etc. The Teams in Windows 11 is equivalent to Messages and FaceTime in macOS - not Slack. This is why Microsoft refers to it as "Chat." Frankly, the naming is somewhat confusing and they should have simply rebranded the entire thing. But, that's just me.