LONDON (NEWSnet/AP) — Microsoft violated European Union antitrust rules with “possibly abusive” practices by tying Teams messaging and videoconferencing app to its software.

European Commission said Monday it informed Microsoft of its preliminary view that the U.S. tech giant has been “restricting competition” by bundling Teams with applications such as Office 365 and Microsoft 365.

The commission said it suspects Microsoft might have granted Teams a “distribution advantage” by not giving customers a choice of whether to have the resource when they purchase the software. The advantage might have been widened by limits on the ability of rival messaging apps to work with Microsoft software, it said.

“We are concerned that Microsoft may be giving its own communication product Teams an undue advantage over competitors, by tying it to its popular productivity suites for businesses,” said Margrethe Vestager, the commission’s executive vice-president for competition policy. “Preserving competition for remote communication and collaboration tools is essential as it also fosters innovation on these markets.”

Microsoft made some changes last year in an effort to avoid a penalty, including offering the software packages with Teams for European customers. But the commission said the changes are not enough and that it needs to do more to “restore competition.”

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