Microsoft slows antitrust case by unbundling Teams

As part of a trend of “malicious compliance” by big tech firms, news has emerged of an attempt by Microsoft to avoid antitrust fines. The video chat application Teams will be sold separate from the Microsoft 365 offering. However, there are no indications that Microsoft will stop bundling Teams in Microsoft Windows, nor separate its on-premises version of Office from its cloud offering, or separate OneDrive from its office bundle or desktop operating system. In short, it’s a very, very minimal move in the right direction by the industry giant, only aiming to placate the regulators and likely delay any enforcement activities in lieu of ‘negotiations’.

Logo of the Coalition for a level playing field supporting Nextcloud in its antitrust case against Microsoft

Nextcloud calls upon the regulators to look through this charade and not be deterred in their efforts to reign in the anti-competitive behavior of Microsoft.

Antitrust cases against Microsoft

There is a series of antitrust cases against Microsoft. The case by Slack resulted, 3 years after filing, in an investigation and is behind Microsoft making a minor concession here, following similar approaches by Apple as it tries to comply in the most minimal way with new EU regulations.

Early 2021, Nextcloud filed an antitrust complaint and, later that year, together with a coalition of some 30 NGO’s and other European tech companies, called publicly on the EU to take action. But, while it also has been well over 3 years, unfortunately there has not been any progress. It is unclear whether that is because the complaint came from a number of smaller companies, due to delay tactics by Microsoft or simply slow bureaucracy.

What it is definitely clear is that the regulators are not able to keep up with the pace at which technology moves and big tech firms abuse their power.

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