Slack has filed an anticompetition criticism in opposition to Microsoft in Europe, arguing that the software program big “illegally” bundles Teams into its omnipresent Microsoft Office product.
Microsoft launched its Slack-style enterprise communication Teams platform again in 2016, and the 2 firms have loved some wholesome rivalry. Slack even went as far as to take out a full-page advert within the New York Times telling Microsoft what it must do to achieve the crew communication sphere.
While both Slack and Microsoft Teams have benefited from the surge in distant working because of the COVID-19 disaster, Slack has formally filed a criticism with the European Commission (EC), asking it to take “swift action to ensure Microsoft cannot continue to illegally leverage its power from one market to another by bundling or tying products.”
While Slack is broadly accessible as a standalone service and software with various pricing tiers, Microsoft Teams comes as part of an Office 365 subscription, although a free model of Teams is out there too. The crux of Slack’s criticism is that Microsoft is utilizing its market dominance with Office to drive tens of millions of individuals to put in Teams, with no option to take away it and even know the way a lot it really prices, because it’s bundled right into a broader subscription.
Slack writes in its criticism:
Microsoft has illegally tied its Teams product into its market-dominant Office productiveness suite, drive putting in it for tens of millions, blocking its elimination, and hiding the true price to enterprise clients.
There has been a sluggish however regular build-up to at this time’s information, with Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield often calling out Microsoft over the way in which it bundles Teams with Microsoft, in addition to the way in which Microsoft defines its every day energetic customers (DAUs) to spotlight the product’s progress in comparison with Slack.
According to Microsoft, “active usage” is any motion that takes place contained in the Microsoft Teams app, together with beginning a chat, sharing a file, and making a video name — Microsoft Teams accommodates performance comparable to Skype-like VoIP calling, which means companies might not all the time be utilizing Teams as they’d Slack. Butterfield has long argued that Teams is used primarily for voice- and video-calling, much like Zoom, and that “Microsoft benefits from the narrative” that Teams is a direct competitor to Slack.
What’s maybe most attention-grabbing is that Butterfield has not too long ago gone on report as saying he doesn’t view Teams as a real competitor, but Slack is now submitting an anticompetition criticism in opposition to Microsoft. What Slack is admittedly accusing Microsoft of right here is utilizing its energy to kill Slack, which it mentioned threatens Microsoft’s maintain on an enterprise that’s nonetheless largely reliant on electronic mail.
“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,” mentioned Jonathan Prince, VP of communications and coverage at Slack, in a press launch. “Slack threatens Microsoft’s hold on business email, the cornerstone of Office, which means Slack threatens Microsoft’s lock on enterprise software.”
Slack has solely filed a criticism for now — the following step shall be for the EC to resolve whether or not to open a proper investigation.
A Microsoft spokesperson informed VentureBeat that it purposefully constructed Teams with each collaboration and video in thoughts as a result of that’s the place demand lies, including that this has been to Slack’s detriment.
“We created Teams to combine the ability to collaborate with the ability to connect via video, because that’s what people want,” the spokesperson mentioned. “With COVID-19, the market has embraced Teams in record numbers while Slack suffered from its absence of video-conferencing. 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.”
In reality, Slack does actually supply video-conferencing performance, although it’s maybe not a core use-case for a lot of customers — plus it has inherent limitations. Slack presents one-to-one calling on its free model, a determine that rises to 15 contributors on a paid subscription. Microsoft Teams, alternatively, helps conferences of as much as 250 individuals on its free model, whereas these on a paid plan can even host occasions and webinars with as much as 10,000 digital attendees.
“We look forward to providing additional information to the European Commission and answering any questions they may have,” the Microsoft spokesperson added.