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Exclusive: EU antitrust regulators ramp up Microsoft scrutiny, probe likely – sources

BRUSSELS, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Microsoft (MSFT.O) is likely to face an EU antitrust investigation as regulators step up their investigation into Microsoft’s (MSFT.O) practices in a case sparked by Salesforce.com’s ( CRM.N) workspace messaging app Slack, people familiar with the issue said on Thursday.

Last year, Slack filed a complaint with the European Commission, saying that Microsoft unfairly integrated its workplace chat and video app Teams into its Office product. Microsoft introduced Teams in 2017, seeking a share of the fast-growing and lucrative workplace collaboration market.

Slack urged the EU antitrust enforcement agency to order the US software giant to separate Teams from the Office Suit and sell them separately at fair commercial prices.

The Commission sent out another series of questionnaires last month as a follow-up to those sent out in October last year, a sign that EU competition law enforcement is paving the way for a formal investigation to be opened, the people said.

“The Commission is looking at (Microsoft’s) interoperability and bundling, but this time in more detail. They are looking for information that will help them define remedies,” one of the people said.

“They are preparing the ground for an investigation,” said a second person.

The Commission and Microsoft, which have been fined 2.2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) for instances of so-called tying and other practices in the previous decade, declined to comment.

($1 = 0.9612 euros)

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee Edited by Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

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