Microsoft’s Brad Smith says tech giant is eager to resolve Teams antitrust probe

Microsoft president Brad Smith delivers his speech at Microsoft's French headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux, south of Paris, on May 13, 2024.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Microsoft is steeling itself for further EU scrutiny over its Teams product, with President Brad Smith acknowledging the likelihood of further action at a media roundtable in Brussels. 

Despite the firm's efforts to ease the concerns of antitrust regulators so far, Smith accepted Microsoft’s work was “not done yet” and that other measures may need to be pursued, according to reporting from Euronews

Smith also said he wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft were to receive a statement of objections detailing the commission's concerns, which is the next step of the formal investigation process in the bloc.

This does not always result in a case though, Smith added, so Microsoft is still in the unknown in terms of any potential regulatory crackdown.

“If we get one we will work with it to see and understand. We are committed, wherever we can, to find a solution to the concerns,” Smith said.

Smith said Microsoft was committed to finding a resolution in this ongoing antitrust investigation, mentioning the steps taken by the firm so far.

“I wanted us to find a resolution to the Teams issues, that's why we took the steps in Europe and outside of Europe. We have taken the steps that people were looking for us to take, but I think it might take additional steps,” he said.

According to reports, Smith met the EU’s competition commissioner, Margarethe Vestager, on the same day as he made these comments, though he did not reveal any details about the discussion. 

Microsoft has been staving off regulators for some time 

Smith’s comments come during what has been a drawn-out conflict between Microsoft and EU regulators. The back and forth between the tech giant and lawmakers began in 2020 after productivity software competitor Slack issued a complaint against the Teams platform.

Following that, Microsoft announced plans to unbundle Teams from its Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites for its EU customers only, hoping to ward off further regulatory scrutiny sparked by Slack’s complaint. 

Microsoft then announced that it would be pursuing similar measures globally, unbundling Teams from its wider software packages for all customers in a move that it hoped would “ensure clarity” for customers.

Microsoft has been fighting on multiple fronts with regard to its alleged anticompetitive practices, with the tech giant fending off complaints over its software licensing scheme in the cloud computing industry. 

European cloud industry trade body, CISPE, also lodged a complaint with competition regulators over the firm’s practices. Microsoft is currently in discussions with the trade group to resolve the situation, with reports this week suggesting the pair are close to an agreement.

George Fitzmaurice
Staff Writer

George Fitzmaurice is a staff writer at ITPro, ChannelPro, and CloudPro, with a particular interest in AI regulation, data legislation, and market development. After graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in English Language and Literature, he undertook an internship at the New Statesman before starting at ITPro. Outside of the office, George is both an aspiring musician and an avid reader.