The European Union is getting ready to launch an antitrust probe into Microsoft Corp. over its Groups video conferencing and messaging service, Politico reported as we speak.

Sources acquainted with the matter advised Politico that the EU plans to “escalate the probe rapidly.” As a part of the initiative, antitrust officers reportedly intend to concern an announcement of objections to Microsoft. A press release of objections is a doc outlining enterprise practices that regulators imagine to be anticompetitive.

In keeping with as we speak’s report, the antitrust probe will construct on a criticism that was filed by Slack Applied sciences LLC in June 2020. The criticism took concern with the truth that Microsoft consists of Groups in its Microsoft 365 productiveness suite, which was till just lately often known as Workplace. Slack argues that this follow quantities to anticompetitive habits.

Specifically, Slack costs that Microsoft is utilizing its productiveness suite’s dominant market place to offer Groups an unfair edge over rivals. Furthermore, the Salesforce Inc. unit argues that Microsoft makes it unnecessarily tough for customers to uninstall Groups and hides the appliance’s true value from enterprise prospects. 

When Slack filed the criticism in 2020, it acknowledged that Microsoft’s enterprise practices are “carbon copy of their unlawful habits throughout the browser wars.” In the course of the early days of the web, Microsoft bundled its Web Explorer browser with Home windows. Microsoft’s practices within the browser market had been the main focus of a high-profile antitrust case that ended with a settlement.

In keeping with as we speak’s report, EU officers have requested some Microsoft rivals and prospects to offer proof for the forthcoming antitrust probe. A spokesperson for the European Fee, the EU’s government department, mentioned in an announcement that the “evaluation of the criticism is ongoing.” It’s unclear precisely when the probe may very well be launched.

The event comes amid an EU probe into Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of online game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. for $68.7 billion. If permitted, the deal would make Microsoft the third largest online game by income. Reuters just lately reported that the EU may file an announcement of objections over the deal inside a number of weeks.

Final month, the U.S. Federal Commerce Fee sued to dam Microsoft from shopping for Activision Blizzard. The FTC costs that the deal would allow Microsoft to realize an unfair edge within the online game console and recreation streaming markets. 

The deal has additionally drawn scrutiny from the U.Okay.’s competitors regulator. The Competitors and Markets Authority, or CMA, started finding out the potential antitrust implications final June. It expanded the investigation in October after figuring out the deal would possibly negatively influence competitors within the online game business. 

Picture: Microsoft

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