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Slack hits Microsoft with EU antitrust complaint

The workplace messaging company says tying Teams to Office violates competition law.

Slack isn't happy with Microsoft tying its Teams collaboration software to Office.
Angela Lang/CNET

Slack filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft in the European Union on Wednesday. The workplace messaging company said Microsoft linking its Teams collaboration software to its Office programs violates competition law.

Microsoft forces people using Office to install Teams, stops them from removing it and won't let the software work with some of its rivals' programs, Slack alleged. It wants the EU to make Microsoft offer Teams on its own, not just in bundles with Office.

"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, Slack's vice president of communications and policy, said in a release. "Slack threatens Microsoft's hold on business email, the cornerstone of Office, which means Slack threatens Microsoft's lock on enterprise software."

Read more: Europe is so not done regulating Google and other US tech giants

Microsoft noted that Teams was created to combine the ability to collaborate with the ability to connect via video.

"With COVID-19, the market has embraced Teams in record numbers while Slack suffered from its absence of video-conferencing," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "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. We look forward to providing additional information to the European Commission and answering any questions they may have."

A European Commission spokesperson confirmed that it received the complaint. News of the lawsuit was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.

In recent weeks, the EU has launched antitrust probes into developers of smart home products, Google's deal with Fitbit, Apple Pay and the App Store and Amazon's treatment of third-party sellers.