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Slack has hit Microsoft with an anti-trust complaint. This happened after Microsoft integrated Teams within Office.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) has been slammed with a complaint by workspace firm Slack Technologies Inc (NYSE: WORK). The complaint was filed with the European Union. It alleges that the Microsoft Teams collaboration product unfairly integrated with Office. Taking into consideration that Slack has a purely collaborative platform, the company has alleged that Microsoft isn’t playing fair.
Microsoft (MSFT) Teams is also in competition with Google‘s Meet, Zoom Video Communications Inc (NASDAQ: ZM), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) Rooms, and others. Teams is Microsoft’s video chat platform, that was launched in 2016. At the beginning, Slack mocked the product. However,today things are different. The reason for this is simple. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced just about everybody to work from home.
Slack Anti-Trust Complaint on Microsoft
It has created a demand for collaboration platforms. Microsoft Office is one of the software giants’ cash cows at the moment. The integration itself helps to increase collaboration. Slack is having none of it. Besides the formal complaint in the EU, itis also going to move against Microsoft in the U.S. This represents a shift in behavior for Slack. It had previously considered itself to be the champion in work collaboration. This time, things are different.
It also comes at a time when CEOs of four biggest tech firms are going to testify before Congress. Their testimonies will be on the alleged monopolistic practices of the tech industry. David Schellhase Slack’s General Counsel said:
“Microsoft is reverting to past behavior.”
“They created a weak, copycat product and tied it to their dominant Office product, force installing it and blocking its removal, a carbon copy of their illegal behavior during the ‘browser wars'”.
Slack is asking the EU to prevent Microsoft from exploiting its market dominance. Already they consider the move by the software giant as an existential threat. The European Union is also known for its Anti-Trust stance. In a bid to protect the competition, it actively slams fines on larger companies accused of such activities. If the petition by Slack warrants a formal investigation, things could move in that direction.
Anti-Competitive Behavior Is a Broad Concept
Corporate monopolistic behavior isn’t limited to just monopolies. Anything that prevents fair play also fits the bill. That is why the anti-trust movement exists. They function on the premise that a superior product will always sell as well as that innovation will always win. Therefore, companies have gone to great lengths to avoid anti-trust perception.
The “live and let live” approach by the larger companies indicates a willingness to approach the matter with some flexibility. Also, it could be the last trump card for companies who have run out of innovative fuel. Companies with a single product line often feel that those with multiple product lines have an unfair advantage. Just like in this case. How the Slack vs. Microsoft issue will play out depends on how the market place responds.
If at the end of the day, Microsoft Teams fails, the company will still be standing. On the other hand, Slack has a lot to lose if Teams takes its place.