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Slack files antitrust complaint over 'weak copycat' Teams

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Jul 2020 9:06

Slack files antitrust complaint over 'weak copycat' Teams

Slack has filed a complaint with the top competition regulator in the European Union, targeting Microsoft's Teams conferencing platform.
Comparing Microsoft's current practices and tactics with those of the 'Browser Wars' more than two decades ago, Slack VP Jonathan Prince is crying foul on Microsoft's bundling of Teams with its existing popular Office products.

Both group chat and conferencing products are very similar. In fact, they are so similar that Prince was comfortable describing the product as a weak copycat of Slack's product. He then goes on to compare Microsoft's deployment tactics for Teams to that of its bundling of Internet Explorer with its Windows operating system which resulted in an antitrust case in the U.S. two decades ago.

"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.'," Prince writes.

Teams launched in 2016 and was met with a trolling welcome placed in the New York Times by Slack. However, in the 4 years since Microsoft has seen its Teams userbase outgrow that of Slack.

Slack's position is that this growth is not generic, or based on the superiority of its product, but rather it's down to Microsoft producing an imitation and bundling it with existing popular software.

It is asking the European Commission to ensure a level playing field that allows for competition to flourish. The European regulatory body has previously levied record fines against Microsoft for alleged anti-competitive practices.

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